Constitutional Questions in Nova Scotia. The Attorney-General of Nova Scotia v. The Legislative Council of Nova Scotia

This argument, cost, which has manifested itself over time as a perpetual amorphous “efficiency” to be imposed on all levels of government, represents an unending centralization — it’s been used in addition to another argument, that asserts the Federal government took all powers “of significance” at the BNA and so there was no need for an upper house to provide a check on the lower, in relation to provincial affairs, and otherwise as regards the “intergovernmental interface”.

Since that time, with (what used to be municipal and are now) provincial responsibilities like education and health being the main drivers of provincial budgets, as well as being on the receiving end of an unending volley of constitutional impositions from Ottawa for what are now clearly ideological reasons, totalitarian in nature — having a house of sober second thought could’ve helped prevent the implementation of so many of these successive impositions on behalf of the legislature, not to mention the need to help prevent the absurd scenarios recently brought forward by the courts, which in many cases act as little more than a political arm of “Ottawa” to legitimize their political aims.

“All Articles of the Growth, Produce, or Manufacture of any one of the Provinces shall, from and after the Union, be admitted free into each of the other Provinces”, Section 121 of the BNA is very clear, yet the decision in R v Comeau is proof that nothing is sacred or insulated from perpetual de-evolution at the highest levels of Canadian courts.

Provincially there’s Gee and Grabher, but there are others: the former ruled that a person doesn’t have the right to inspect a product they can otherwise legally procure, previous to its purchase — the latter being that an anonymous complainant, who perhaps purposefully misunderstood the sprit of a personalized license plate because of political orientation, should have the right to force the forfeiture of the license plate from its holder, primacy given to the complainants subjective aggrievement, without any consideration of the fact the term in question is the last name of the individual who holds the personalized license plate.

At the municipal level was the somewhat recent introduction of a smoking by-law which seems to have brought about or reinforced the constitutional predicate required for spatial, geographical restrictions on freedom of movement, enabling illegal parks as well as restrictions on inter and intra-county travel within the province that came about during the pandemic. The criminalization of riding a bicycle without a helmet has been another imposition, in conflict with what I would assert is a natural right to determine one’s risk if they’re to be considered a sentient human being. Many of these may be the manifestation of a significant disease process, a parasite on our local self government, that of a monopoly health insurance concern, itself part of an omnipotent eugenics monopoly at the Provincial level.

All this without getting into the clear de-evolutions in other areas — in regards to the centralization of healthcare administration and provision in general, the courts in terms of dominion government interference through political appointments, their reorganization without the Sessions (which became the municipal courts at Dartmouth’s incorporation), the Grand Jury (another power bestowed on Dartmouth at incorporation, an institution at the very center of Howe’s acquittal), School districts and boards (another municipal concern), let alone what passes for a municipal container itself in terms of what one finds in “HRM” — all of this has occurred thanks to the constitutional impositions brought forth by the Charter in 1982.

I’m of the opinion we need bicameral house, both provincially and federally, with the Senate being appointed by the elected legislature as it was in the United States previous to the 17th amendment, as it was in Nova Scotia previous to its own Senate’s dissolution in 1929. The founders were right to use the Senate as a kind of amelioration of the directly democratic, to help insulate the second chamber from popular feeling in order to steady the course of governance overall, including through its use of staggered six year terms.

This serves as a middle ground between the entirely democratic and the present intolerable Canadian circumstance of a federal only Senate, full of appointees whose grace we suffer until they reach age of 75, appointed by an irresponsible executive — now full of his supposed “independents” — a purposefully weak upper house which is at the same time completely insulated from the people, seemingly designed to enable its dissolution altogether in a not too distant future in a kind of repeat of the Nova Scotia template set down almost a century earlier.

What happened to Nova Scotia with the dissolution of its Legislative Council has led us down a road to nowhere, we’re hopelessly lost in the woods always further from where we started, supposed evolutions that are in fact digging us a deeper grave on a daily basis. If we are to advance a great awakening — the spirit shown in Alberta, as monarchical as it may be could be the impetus for a reawakening of spirit all across Canada, and allow the opportunity for a rethink — we should study the Northwest Ordinance as a bridge, a guide to format our institutions, a roadmap to a Republic where “the people” are represented in a way that allows a proper check within the Constitution.

If we are for some reason forced to stay within the confines of the current constitutional environment we must endeavor to cut down the Federal government to as thin of a wedge as possible, both in terms of the financial as well as cultural. Defense, international trade, minting coin, the census, the post office, otherwise starve the beast, nullify Ottawa as much as possible. Bring back some semblance of the province as body politic, the people as its actuators, ancient concepts foundational to our constitution essentially erased by the BNA and the way it was imposed, further polluted by the Charter in a similar manner.

The Maritimes should “amalgamate” our landmass and provincial governments. Using the Congressional Apportionment Amendment of the US Constitution as a guide we could create a legislature based on a formula of one representative for every 40,000 residents, this would net us a lower house of 49 representatives, I suggest an upper house of one third that number, 16. This would create a check that reflects “land” and localities in terms of counties, in the way the US Constitution does for its States, some portion of which could be representatives chosen by Indigenous nations themselves.

For those whose priority is “efficiency” this would cut the number of districts in total between the three provinces by more than half, from 131 to 65. I argue reinstating a second chamber and reorganizing representation in regards to the urban rural fringe similar to Florida‘s recent efforts would improve representation, especially if protections for local government are enshrined along with what would otherwise be contained within in a written constitution like a Bill of Rights.

New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island both have strong protections for local government, something Nova Scotia has decided to unilaterally and purposefully erase, which we could adopt back in some way in union. A capital at Moncton makes sense, both geographically and culturally between the three provinces. The provinces together could accelerate the acquisition of the link to Prince Edward Island from the dominion government as local infrastructure.

We could implement official languages in the same way Alaska does, recognizing English, French, Mi’kmaq, Wolastoqiyik and Peskotomuhkati as official — if Gaelic is to be considered so too should be German — to implement that process interrupted by “Confederation” and its subsequent de-evolution, a Maritime Union, Nova Scotia’s ancient form under a number of names over time.

It’s my hope we could consider the US Constitution as our crown, not “Ottawa” or any of its many supranational tentacles — or perhaps more accurately, the tentacles of its various supranational masters, perhaps the source of what is seen as “arbitrary” by those stuck underneath. The status of US Territory gets us there, it would afford powers of self-government far beyond the status quo of forever childhood imposed on “the people” by Canada, though perhaps it wouldn’t be as much of a boon for “the province” in terms of resource development, hence I assume, the posture of Alberta.

How can we ensure the development of natural resources aren’t used as a political football and ideological cudgel, as they are now, but instead recognized as the blessing they are in terms of security and prosperity, while respecting conservation and the environment along with Indigenous rights? I contend “public lands” point the way forward in contrast to those of a crown.

Wrong turn at Albuquerque

After more than 150 years of wrong turns the road map currently points to a Canadian unitary state at Ottawa, a de-facto government of various foreign actors. This is in most cases our present and most certainly, in an ever increasing fashion, our future — unending impositions on behalf of the members of a crown adjacent uni-party with supranational ties, who will never bring about a balanced Constitution that recognizes the popular sovereignty of “the people” as a unit in combination with that of the provinces and the Federal government.

“I think I’m lost… Wow. First I passed the BNA, then I passed the Charter, then I passed amalgamation…”

The past provides the road signs and the framework to create a better future for all, not only for the aristocratic and “the crown”, the latter of which I assert is to be found in the US Constitution, but most certainly that of the people. A new deal is required.

What we need is not free money, but a free country — one which has “equality” and “we the people” at its root, not “equity”, not “we the vassals” and most certainly not “we the various intersectionalities, where some are more equal than others, in whatever way power can use us as a tool of forever divide and conquer”, which is the ultimate de-evolution and a recipe for disaster.

“At Confederation the Conservative Government then in power in Nova Scotia had filled all the vacancies in the [Legislative] Council (of which there were a number), occasioned not only by natural causes but by the appointment of a number of Councillors to the newly formed Senate of Canada; so that the Liberals who were returned in September of 1867 were in a minority in the Council.”

“As to the practical reasons behind this determined attempt to get rid of the [Legislative] Council-three main arguments are usually advanced. First: That it is obsolete and unnecessary and that all the other Provinces in Canada, except Quebec, carry on their affairs without an Upper House. Second: That it tends to become an obstructionist body when made up of an opposition majority, and that this obstruction is political and is not in the best interests of the Province. Third: That it is an unnecessary expenditure of money-the total yearly budget for the Council being at least $20,000 to $25,000.

On the other hand, there are all the arguments usually advanced in favour of a Second Chamber, i.e. that it is a necessary guarantee of good, safe government.”

MacKenzie, Norman. Constitutional Questions in Nova Scotia. The Attorney-General of Nova Scotia v. The Legislative Council of Nova Scotia. Journal of Comparative Legislation and International Law Vol. 11, No. 1 (1929)

Highway robbery

The steamer Druid was last evening towed round into the cove at Dartmouth to be fitted up into a gunboat for the protection of the fisheries.

The provincial government has offered a reward of $100 for the capture of four deserters from the 16th Regiment, who recently committed a highway robbery at Porter’s Lake, near Dartmouth.

Halifax Citizen, April 10 1866, Page 3 Column 6.

USS Augusta, USS Miantonomoh, Asylum Accomodations

The American Consulate paid an official visit to the U.S. warships in harbour today, and was saluted in due form by the Augusta.

The U.S. Monitor Miantonomoh and steamer Augusta sailed this afternoon for St. Johns, Nfld. We are informed that since their arrival here some 15 of the crew deserted, only one of whom was recaptured.

It is said that over one hundred men are employed in the extension of the Lunatic Asylum. If the Legislators Mr. Archibald set down as lunatics from Tupper down to Longley, in the Pictou railway debate, are to be accommodated there, the work cannot proceed too fast.


Halifax Citizen, May 17, 1866. Page 3, Column 4.

Ottawa’s a Hard Road to Travel

Oh listen to the East! oh listen to the West!
Oh listen to the fifing and the drumming!
The heart of Nova Scotia beats happy in her breast,
For HOWE and the people are coming!
Take off the coat boys, roll up the sleeve,
Howe and the people are a-coming!
Take off the coat boys, roll up the sleeve,
Howe and the people are a-coming I believe

The people cannot rest, they see the land opprest
With Tupper’s cruel nightmare “Botheration,”
And Johnathan’s warhorse tramples down our rights by force,
Till the people cry “confound Confederation.”
Take off the coat boys, roll up the sleeve,
Ottawa’s a hard road to travel,
Take off the coat boys, roll up the sleeve,
Howe and the people are a-coming I believe.

Tupper and McCully try to bluster and bully,
And never let the people put a word in;
But we’ll teach the tricky knaves that we were not born their slaves,
When we drive them to the other side of Jordan!
Woe to the turncoats who laugh in their sleeve,
We’ll give them a hard road to travel,
Woe to the turncoats who laugh in their sleeve,
For Howe and them people are a-coming I believe

Halifax Citizen, May 22, 1866. Page 1, Column 6.

Valuable Property in Dartmouth


For sale or to let. That waterside property (second wharf south from the steamboat) now occupied by Mr. Elliott as a lumber wharf.
It has a commodious wharf, a house on the street, and large carpenter’s shop, Garden, with a good well of water. The house is in good condition and immediate possession can be had.
The whole will be sold at a bargain, or the House and Garden to be let, with or without the Wharf and Carpenter’s Shop.
For particulars apply to James Farquhar. Estate Agent, 76 Barrington Street.


Morning Chronicle, Oct 16, 1868. Page 2, Column 7, bottom.

Local and Other Matters


Some malicious person says that handsome women never trouble themselves upon the subject of women’s rights.

The annual meeting of the Halifax and Dartmouth Sabbath School Association will be held in Poplar Grove Church tomorrow evening.


Halifax Morning Chronicle, Nov 4, 1867. Page 2 Column 5.,4425561

“A Visit to a [Mi’kmaq] Encampment”


(From the Glasgow Sentinel, Aug 4, 1866.) From our American Correspondent.

A splendid morning! Not a cloud to obscure the effulgence of the sun. I intended to spend the day among my friends the [Mi’kmaq]. The journey – a short one – is to be performed partly by land and partly by water. The encampment is to the east of Halifax, and in order to reach it I must take the ferry steamer across the harbor to Dartmouth. This latter place stands precisely in the same relative position to Halifax as Helensburg does to Greenock, only the channel is not so wide.

After leaving Dartmouth, where I have been informed, is the direction in which the [Mi’kmaq] encampment lies, the road runs along the margin of a beautiful inland lake. As I walk slowly along I meet a few blacks, with whom, one after another, I enter into conversation. Every one of them is a ‘Blue Nose’ or Nova Scotian. I am now considerably nearer to the wigwams of the [Mi’kmaq]. In front is a square house of the apartment. It is made of wood, and, I am told, a family of two of the race live in it Acting on a hint I received before, starting I did not mope or fumble about the door, but lifting the hatch, at once entered

And vow I saw an [uncommon sight?]

a number of [Mi’kmaq] seated on the floor playing cards, with a considerable number of cents before each. Had I seen

Warlocks and witches in a dance

I could not have been more riveted by the spectacle. Indeed, to tell the truth, my good father taught me to believe that cards are in some mysterious way closely associated with

A (?) tyke, black, grim, and large
that was once seen in
A winnock bunker in the east.
Wher, glimmering thro’ the groaning trees
Kirk Attoway seem’d in a breeze,

On entering, the group never as much lifted their eyes; every thought, feeling, and emotion for the time seemed absorbed in the game, in which each had what to him or her was a great stake. The game had evidently reached a climax. Seeing something in the form of a chair or stool, I sat down and leisurely surveyed the group, which consisted of one man, two women – one of the latter with an infant in her arms – and a boy about fourteen years of age. This little [Mi’kmaq] sat right in front of me, and though so young, handled his cards as expertly as the most experienced player. His look under the undue excitement of the game, and in his anxiety to get some of the little pillars of cents that were on the opposite side, I can never forget. His eyes sparkled with excitement, and the [Mi’kmaq] words fell from his lips with the rapidity of peas from a bag. It would be impossible to say whether or not the boy’s hair had ever undergone the needful operation of combing. It was cut in front, in a line with his eyebrows, from ear to ear. His dark lustrous eyes, peering out from the superincumbent mass of hair, reminded me of those of a sky-terrier when he has smelt a rat. The man was more excited than the women, and was apparently as anxious to win as his youthful opponent. I could see that I was not at the moment a welcome visitor, but by showing attention to the baby, and addressing a few words which he did not understand to another little [Mi’kmaq], who sat, as his forefathers did, in a state of nudity, I at once secured their good graces. The latter child, apparently two years of age, reminded me forcibly of the fat boy in Pickwick in miniature. His dark eyes were literally embedded in fat, and his copper colored limbs were, for his age, of remarkable thickness. As he whimpered at the presence of a stranger, casting a woebegone look to his mother, who sat by his side, he presented a rare subject for a painter. Indeed, the whole group viewed in a pictorial sense, would be invaluable in the estimation of a Wilkie. In a corner of the room sat an aged woman. She seemed almost entirely blind. She was represented as at least ninety years of age, and her appearance did not belie the assertion. Poor body! presenting so remarkable a contrast to the baby in its mothers lap -the one on the verge of the grave, and the other just ushered into the world! My attention was so much occupied with the inmates of the house, if such I may term it, that I was seated for some time before I noticed the condition of the apartment. Two families seemed to live in it. There was neither bedstead, table nor chair, save the one on which I sat. The [Mi’kmaq] stretch their weary limbs on the bare floor, and go to roost with apparently as much pleasure as if they were to lay themselves on beds of down. I noticed a pair of blankets in a corner keeping company with some pots and pans. There was nothing, save my seat, which ventured beyond six inches above the floor. I made an attempt to draw my [Mi’kmaq] friend out a little. I said I could not play cards. “Suppose you be a Baptist”. “No”, I replied, I am not a Baptist. The reason of the remark I was afterwards informed, was the circumstance of a missionary connected with the Baptist body being employed amongst the [Mi’kmaq] who inculcated abstinence from the game of cards as leading to gambling. But the sarcastic leer with which the remark was accompanied indicated the possession of considerable humor, which I could, with the assistance of the baby and the fat boy, with whom I was a favorite, have brought out, were it not that my host’s attention was riveted by the King of Clubs or some other equally dignified personage. The following story shows that the [Mi’kmaq] are possessed of very considerable sarcastic humor – you may depend on the truth of it:-

There is a law on the Statute book of Nova Scotia which imposes a fine of one shilling on any one proven to have uttered a profane oath. On this charge a [Mi’kmaq] was brought before Judge M., now a venerable and highly esteemed gentleman, whose grey hairs are eminently honorable; the charge was proved, and the said fine accordingly imposed. The [Mi’kmaq] refused to pay the shilling. But Judge M. said peremptorily, “You must.”
“Suppose me must, me must,” said the [Mi’kmaq], handing the money to the clerk of court, adding -“Give me a receipt.”
The clerk informed him that no receipts were given for fines.
“What good will a receipt do you?” inquired Judge M.
“When me dies,” said the [Mi’kmaq], “and goes to heaven,” they say, “Whose there?” I say giving his name, “You no come here; you swear,” they say, Yes, but me pay for him. “Then where is your receipt?” they say. Then me have the receipt, and no be troubled going to [hell] to look for Judge M.”

Leaving my readers in the habitation to which I introduced them, I will, in my next letter, further describe my experience among the Indian wigwams.


Halifax Citizen, Sep 4, 1866. Page 1, Column 7.


Equally applicable to any epoch, I imagine.


Some of the Aldermen say that the citizens should themselves directly undertake the removal of “nuisances” from the city, instead of expecting the corporation which taxes them so highly to do it for them. Were the citizens to agree to this, and to commence the removal of the worst nuisances first, there would be a few vacancies in the City Council directly.

Halifax Citizen, Jun 1, 1865. Page 3 Column 5.

Anti-Confederate Petition

We publish today another installment of over 500 names of respectable citizens of Halifax, against the Quebec project of Confederation. This swells the list, of from the capital alone, to over 1500 names already published, and we have no doubt that there are still numbers in Halifax who would have signed the petition, but have not yet had the opportunity of doing so. The lists, however, will remain open for some days yet.


Halifax Citizen, Aug 2, 1866. Page 2, Column 3.

Sayings and Doings


A man named Thos. Tobin has been arrested and committed for trial in the Criminal Court, on a charge of enticing soldiers to desert.


Several attendants who have recently left the Lunatic Asylum have called on us with a long statement of what they conceive irregularities and unfair treatment, which they desire published. Before publishing such a statement it would seem to us more desirable that they should represent the matter to the government. If their complaints have a good basis, and the government take no action, then they may state their case through our columns.


Halifax Morning Sun, Jun 2, 1865. Page 1 Column 6.

Halifax Sun and Advertiser, Tue May 16, 1865


Some miscreants have destroyed several of the trees lately planted on the common. The vandals, if discovered, should be promptly and sharply dealt with.


Halifax Sun and Advertiser, Tue May 16, 1865. Page 2 Column 6.

Reminiscent of something more recent:

Bark was stripped off roughly 30 trees at the Halifax Public Garden. Municipal staff will monitor the health of the trees over the coming months to see how many will be able to survive.

“Police are investigating after bark was stripped off the trunks of roughly 30 trees throughout the Halifax Public Gardens.

In an email, a municipal official said it’s possible the bark was stripped with an axe or a hatchet and the damage varies from tree to tree. Some of the damaged trees are 200 years old, according to a Halifax Regional Police statement released on Wednesday.”

Halifax Sun and Advertiser, Wed, Apr 12, 1865


House of Assembly – Monday, April 10.

In the evening, when the house resumed, Dr. Tupper’s resolution on “a Union of the Maritime Provinces” was taken up. The hon. gentleman went into an explanation of former attempts at Union, and its necessities, -the action last year in reference to a union of the maritime provinces, and the subsequent delegation to Quebec, after, as he said, the union first contemplated was found impactable. He then branched out on the beauties and particulars of the Quebec scheme, and for about two hours and a half travelled over pretty much the same ground as those in favor of the measure have taken, in the press and on the platform, over and over again. One thing the Dr. was honest enough to state, viz: that if the bargain was not a better one than it is for the lower provinces, “it was the fault of their own delegates.” He said “he did not come to the discussion of the present question supposing it would have any particular effect.” In this we agree with him, -it was moved to give him and others an opportunity, in a safe way, to get the Quebec scheme opened up to discussion. He expressed his belief “that that scheme had taken such a root in the country that it would soon be secured in all its entirety; and that, holding such view, was his excuse for trespassing so long on the House.” We cannot but think that in this the Dr. is most egregiously mistaken. He stated that out of the large amount of patriots presented against the scheme, the signatures to which had been obtained by all manner of means, there were not 3000 who had expressed against union, but rather for delays, &c.

The Dr. endeavored to impress on his hearers the great danger there was of being overrun by the Americans, -and the security we would have though Confederation.

The grounds of his arguments for apprehending hostilities by the Americans, were: the Repeal of the Reciprocity Treaty, -the termination of the Lake Treaty, -the Passport System, and the temper of the press of the States; all these went to show that the disposition of our neighbors was to close up all avenues of communication. -The speaker did not, in the slightest degree, refer to any of the causes which have produced unkind feelings, although he was perfectly well aware of them.

We believe, if as much time and attention had been given to the cultivation of friendly feelings and the extension of our commercial relations with the United States, as has been devoted to their annoyance, by acts and language, our position today would be much more agreeable.

At the close of his speech there was a slight expression of applause in one of the galleries, -on which, Mr. Miller remarked – if such conduct as repeated he should use his privilege of clearing the galleries. The noise made scarcely warranted the threat.

Mr. LeVesconte said he merely rose to correct one part of the Prov. Sec’s speech. In his county he did not believe there could be found 25 persons in favor of Confederation.

Mr. Locke spoke somewhat similar in reference to Shelburne.

Mr. Bourinot said he could readily understand applause from the people of Halifax, as they only were to be benefitted by the Union. But he would tell the hon. Prov. Sec. that so great a change in the constitution of the country would never be permitted without an appeal to the people.

The Prov. Sec. admitted that Richmond was an exception, that County had declared against Union; yet he was correct that there was not 3000 of petitioners who had stated their views.

Mr. Killam asked the Pro. Sec. if he was so confident of the feelings of the people, why it was that he was so afraid to go to the country?

After one or two other observations the debate was adjourned.

Halifax Morning Sun, April 12, 1865. Page 3 Column 4.

For Sale or to Let in Dartmouth


A Pleasantly situated two-story house, containing ten rooms, with frost proof cellars, having a commanding view of the harbour and city; also in sight and within ten minutes walk of the steamboat wharf. Possession given immediately. Terms and particulars made known on application to W Myers Gray, House and Estate Agent, 139 Hollis street.


Halifax Citizen, April 3, 1865. Page 2 Column 2.

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