Legitimacy, or otherwise, of the BNA

Is the BNA illegitimate? Let these facts speak for themselves.

  1. The members of the Legislative Assembly elected in 1863 were only authorized to legislate under the Colonial Constitution and had no authority to make significant changes to it without first obtaining the people’s consent through a vote.
  2. The resolution of April 10, 1867, which preceded the enactment of the British North America Act, was the only authority possessed by the delegates who procured the Act, and it did not empower them to arrange a federal union without including Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island.
  3. The delegation was not legally constituted, as it did not have equal representation from each colony as required by the resolution.
  4. The delegates did not ensure just provision for the rights and interests of Nova Scotia, as mandated by the resolution, and the proposed union would deprive Nova Scotians of their rights, liberty, and independence, furthermore it would expose them to arbitrary and excessive taxation, by a Legislature over which they can have no adequate control.
  5. The scheme of confederation was never submitted to the people of Nova Scotia for their approval before it came into effect, which the resolutions argue is essential for its constitutionality.
  6. The resolutions express dissatisfaction with the way Confederation was forced upon Nova Scotia without their consent and against their will.
  7. The people of Nova Scotia expressed loyalty to the Queen and her government but requested the repeal of the British North America Act as it pertains to Nova Scotia and asked for the revocation of the Queen’s Proclamation regarding Confederation.

Wilkins examines the unique constitutional situation of Nova Scotia, which was granted a constitution by King George II, further developed by his successors on the English throne. Despite its effectiveness, the constitution had some deficiencies, notably the lack of a court for impeaching and punishing political offenders.

He expresses a preference for Nova Scotia’s constitution, molded after British monarchy, which he sees as superior despite acknowledging the United States’ constitutional craftsmanship. The speaker then shifts focus to contrasting Confederation with Canada, which he finds “hateful and detestable”. He argues that joining the United States would afford Nova Scotia more freedom and self-governance than being part of Canada’s oligarchical system.

He highlights the loss of Nova Scotia’s freedom under the British North America Act, which gives Canada extensive power to tax Nova Scotia arbitrarily. He criticizes the lack of control Nova Scotia has over Canada’s legislature, with only 19 out of 253 members representing Nova Scotia at the time, since dwindling to 11 out of 338 members.

He concludes by asserting Nova Scotia’s right to preserve its own constitution, which he claims belongs to the people of Nova Scotia and cannot be taken away by the Parliament of England. He argues that Nova Scotia has never been legally confederated with Canada and asserts that it is up to Nova Scotia to decide its future regarding Confederation.

Speeches delivered by Hon. Martin I. Wilkins, (attorney general) in the House of Assembly of Nova Scotia, session 1868, on resolutions relative to repeal of the “British North America Act, 1867”. Wilkins, Martin I. (Martin Isaac), 1804-1881. https://archive.org/details/cihm_23507

On the Nature of a Colonial Constitution

What was Nova Scotia’s colonial constitution?

According to Hon. Martin I. Wilkins, attorney general at the time of the imposition of the BNA, Nova Scotia possessed a chartered constitution, irrevocable except through force. Nova Scotia, once known as Acadia, was possessed by both the French and English, ultimately becoming British territory after a conquest and subsequent cession by Louis XIV to Queen Anne in 1713.

The treaty of Utrecht solidified Nova Scotia’s status as belonging to the British Crown “forever.” This grant to Queen Anne is emphasized as absolute ownership, surpassing typical property titles. Wilkins argues that neither the people nor the Parliament of England had jurisdiction over Nova Scotia at that time; it belonged solely to the Queen and her heirs.

In 1747, under George II, a patent was issued to Lord Cornwallis, granting Nova Scotia a constitution. This constitution mimicked Britain’s, establishing a Governor, Council (Senate), and House of Assembly. Wilkins highlights the power vested in Cornwallis to summon general assemblies and enact laws for the province’s welfare, emphasizing the constitution’s permanence.

However, subsequent governors delayed convening the Legislative Assembly, preferring to govern through the Council. In 1755, Nova Scotians protested, arguing that only the House of Assembly could enact laws under the granted charter. The matter was referred to England, where Attorney and Solicitor Generals affirmed that the Governor and Council alone lacked authority to make laws for the colony.

The irrevocability of the charter is underscored, with a comparison drawn to a similar case in Grenada (now known as Cambell v Hall). After issuing a commission similar to Cornwallis’, the King attempted to impose taxes on Grenada, leading to a legal challenge. The Court of King’s Bench, led by Lord Mansfield, ruled that the King had relinquished legislative authority over Grenada upon issuing the commission, thus invalidating the taxes.

Wilkins asserts that Nova Scotia’s charter is binding and immutable, having been granted by the Crown. The legal precedents cited affirm that once such charters are granted, the Crown relinquishes legislative authority, making any subsequent attempts to impose laws or taxes illegitimate.

Speeches delivered by Hon. Martin I. Wilkins, (attorney general) in the House of Assembly of Nova Scotia, session 1868, on resolutions relative to repeal of the “British North America Act, 1867”. Wilkins, Martin I. (Martin Isaac), 1804-1881. https://archive.org/details/cihm_23507

Letter of Hon. Robt. J. Walker, on the annexation of Nova Scotia and British America

Letter of Hon. Robt. J. Walker, on the annexation of Nova Scotia and British America

“But, in 1774, our people had been most loyal, and at a time when loyalty to kings was a sentiment; much deeper and more universal than it ever has been since the whole system has been rocking on its base under the teachings and results of the American Revolution.

Our complaint was taxation without representation; but, although this was a great grievance, it does not compare in atrocity with the attempt against your will and protest to transfer you as slaves to a foreign Dominion. Who wonders that you resist and denounce the effort?

As Lord Chatham said of us in the war of the Revolution, “You would be fit to be slaves if you did not resist.” Rest assured, England will never attempt to drive you by force into the Canadian Dominion, continue to endeavor to obtain for Nova Scotia a repeal of the Union.

But if, after one more effort, this should fail, or even if now you should regard the case as hopeless, then you should commence immediately a most earnest effort for annexation to the United States. In hoc signo vinces.

Appeal to the masses of the people everywhere, organize your committees in every county and district. Speak through the press, through public oral addresses, through lectures and social intercourse. Let there be no thought of war nor of any collision, except of argument and intellect. Do this, and your success is certain.”

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Hon. Robt. J. Walker. “Letter of Hon. Robt. J. Walker, on the annexation of Nova Scotia and British America”, Washington Chronicle. April 23, 1860. https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=aeu.ark:/13960/t2988tm5b&seq=6

Idea of continental union: agitation for the annexation of Canada to the United States, 1849-1893

“To the east, Nova Scotia; seemed to offer promise to the Revolutionaries. Three-quarters of its population had come from New England and showed a lively sympathy for the rebellion. Geography and the British navy, however, overruled sentiment and kept Nova Scotia; in the Empire. The distances and the wilderness which intervened between the scattered settlements. of the colony made it impossible for American sympathizers there to organize an effective force and to attain the unity of plan and of action necessary to military success. Washington refused to send an army north to capture “New England’s outpost”. He knew that an invasion must go by sea and that the British fleet could intercept supplies and reinforcements sent from the south. The invaders, cut off from succor or retreat and trapped between the Royal Navy and the wilderness and bogs of the interior , would fall an easy prey to the redcoats.

At the peace negotiations the wily Ben Franklin tried to gain by diplomacy what American arms had failed to take. He urged the British to cede Quebec to allay the rancors of war and to avoid future friction. This bold proposal did not convince the British, and Canada remained in the Empire. It is significant to note that the American plenipotentiaries showed little interest in the acquisition of Nova Scotia. Geography made Quebec a potential threat to the new nation, but Nova Scotia; gave them little concern.”

“The development of a “commerce of convenience” helped to increase Canadian-American trade. For example, Canada West purchased its coal from nearby Pennsylvania, while New England bought its fuel from Nova Scotia;. This type of trade was developing prior to 1854; the (Reciporocity Treaty of 1854) stimulated it, but did not cause it.”

“At the beginning of the Civil War, the assembly of Nova Scotia; asked the home government to state its attitude toward the union of British North America. The colonial secretary replied that the cabinet would give serious consideration to any such proposal from the colonies. The governments of the other provinces, however, considered the suggestion premature.44 But growing fear of American military force or economic pressure rapidly ripened their desire for closer unity. In the waning summer of 1864, the governments of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island called a conference at Charlottetown to consider the formation of a Maritime federation. A delegation from Canada appeared before this meeting and convinced it that the wider latitude of a union of all British North American colonies was possible and necessary.”

“Hostilities in the Maritimes, however, doomed the drive for a speedy confederation. Their people had initiated the movement for union and expected that leadership would be the reward of authorship. Instead, it was painfully apparent that Canada would assume the dominant position in the federation and the Maritimes would be a minority with particular interests which might be subverted by the majority.48 A psychological factor complicated the situation: particularism was a salient characteristic of political thinking in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island. The people of these colonies lived in their own world, geographically separated from the St. Lawrence Valley and with little desire to be politically coupled to it; they lived by and from the sea and tended to look out upon it and not toward the heart of the continent.”

“The Maritimes had been wedded to free trade, for they depended upon lumbering and fishing for their livelihood and had to import much of what they consumed. Canada, on the other hand, dreamed of industrialization and would surely girdle the new union with its tariff wall.49 Nova Scotia particularly disliked the financial terms which would compel her to surrender most of her sources of revenue to the central government, receiving in return an annual per capita subvention of eighty cents. Such a bargain would beggar them. The income of the provincial government which had been $1,500,000 in 1865 would shrink to $750,000 under confederation. Besides, the province would have to contribute $640,000 annually to the upkeep of the new government, leaving little to support such necessities as education and public works.50

These were the reasons sufficient to impel the people of the Maritimes to resist adoption of the Quebec resolutions. The governments of Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island rejected the scheme out of hand, but they were small and peripheral colonies whose adherence was not considered essential. It was quite otherwise with Nova Scotia; and New Brunswick; the completion of the union depended upon their acceptance. When S. L. Tilley, the confederationist premier of New Brunswick dissolved his assembly and held an election on the question of confederation, he was roundly beaten.52 Dr. Charles Tupper, leader of the Nova;Scotian government and likewise a confederationist, learned wisdom from this example and did not make an issue of union in his colony. But the damage was done.”

“New Brunswick was the geographic pivot of the proposed federation, and its rejection of the scheme seemed a fatal wound. Fortunately, this was the darkness before dawn, and other forces were soon at work moving the recalcitrant province. The British government put its overwhelming pressure upon New Brunswick to accept the Quebec Resolutions. Lieutenant Governor Sir Arthur H. Gordon, who had sympathized with the anti-confederationists, was a hasty convert to the “true faith” upon receipt of a sharp admonition from the colonial secretary.53

The voting public lacked such clarifying revelations, but found the same conclusion in other experiences. They were deeply disappointed by the failure of attempts to renew reciprocity, upon which they had counted heavily. Talk of annexation in the United States, in Canada, and in New Brunswick itself gave them concern, and the Fenian raids frightened them.54 The chastened Gordon virtually forced a new election on his anti-confederationist government in 1866, and the results of the previous year were reversed. Nova Scotia also found the ways of righteousness, though through an iniquitous bypath. The wily Tupper, who had declined to challenge the federation question by making it an election issue, coaxed from his assembly a
resolution providing for the renewal of negotiations for union. Using this as a virtual carte blanche, he dispatched a delegation to London, where they joined representatives of the other two colonies. The upshot was the enactment of confederation by the British Parliament in the form of the British North America Act.

The anticonfederationists fumed and sputtered at this trick which Tupper had played upon them, and none more than their leader, Joseph Howe, a great and yet a pathetic figure in the history of British North America. He had had his day of glory when he led, and won, the struggle for responsible government in his colony. His interminable journeyings and campaigns throughout Nova Scotia had added to the fame which this victory had given him. There was scarcely an inhabitant of that province who had not seen and heard the gregarious “Joe” and shaken his hand-or been kissed by him if the subject were female, young, and pretty. Yet Howe’s stature had diminished by 1860. He had never duplicated his great triumph, and he had cheapened himself by his constant petitions to the British government for office. Charles Tupper, less flamboyant but a stumper of rare and rude power, was coming to dominate Nova Scotia. Howe needed again to lead a popular cause to restore his ancient glory. It is understandable that he should seek to retrieve fame by opposing confederation, for most Nova Scotians would follow him in this. Jealousy also dressed him for the role;
it is legend in Nova Scotia that when asked why he opposed union, Howe candidly replied that he refused “to play second fiddle to that damned Tupper.” There were more honorable reasons. Howe sincerely believed that the terms of the Quebec Resolutions were a bad bargain for his province, and he resented the trick by which Tupper had sent a delegation to London.

The “antis,” as the opponents of union were called, fought to block confederation in the British Parliament. They formed the League of the Maritime Provinces and sent Howe and others to London under instructions to point out to the Colonial Office that there were “propositions . . . made . . . in the Congress of the United States [which is] publicly entering the field in competition with Canada for the possession of the Provinces.”55 Howe was also to hint that if the Imperial government accepted the federation scheme, there would be “changes which none of us desire to contemplate and all of us deplore.”56

The Nova Scotian delegation was obviously shaking an annexation stick at the British. Howe continued in the same vein by pointing out to the Imperial government the “range of temptation” which political union with the United States offered to the people of the Maritimes: they would have free trade with a market of 34,000,000 people, access to American capital, and the benefit of American fishing bounties.57 But the Colonial
Office was unmoved by intimidation and gave Howe and his delegation no encouragement. He then sought to influence the public and political climate by showering the newspapers and leading men with pamphlets stating Nova Scotia’s case.58
Persuasion was no more successful than threats. The British were inexorably committed to confederation, and talk of annexation entrenched their convictions. Despite the efforts of John Bright and a few others whom Howe had converted, the government pushed the British North America Act through Parliament after a debate less lively than that on a dog tax bill which followed.
But the British had no more succeeded in convincing Howe and his party in Nova Scotia of the sapiency of Imperial policy than he had convinced them of its folly. These opponents of confederation would be heard again, and in unmistakable tones.”

“The opposition to the union in the United States was mildcompared to the distaste with which many in Canada regarded their new country and government. This antagonism, with its accompanying danger to the British connection, was present in Quebec and Ontario, but reached its greatest pitch in Nova Scotia. Here the anticonfederationist leader Howe had warned that his province might seek annexation to the United States if the Imperial government insisted on forcing it into the union. Nova Scotians showed no signs of accepting the Dominion as a fait accompli even after July 1, 1867, when their province became part of the federation. They stubbornly asserted that they would not remain in the union; the equally obstinate British government refused to heed their demands for release from it. A crisis was mounting and a small annexation movement had already made its appearance in the disaffected province.11 Confederation was inducing what it had been designed to prevent, rather than acting as an antidote to it.”

“It is not surprising that the resentment and protest was most acute in Nova Scotia. As already noted, the people of that province had carried their opposition to union to the Crown, only to be spurned. When Joe Howe returned from his fruitless mission to London, he found his province tottering on the brink of disloyalty. He had set a dangerous precedent and course when, in his correspondence with the Colonial Office, he had listed the temptations which annexation offered to his people. The antis of Nova Scotia continued in this direction. Newspapers and public speakers vied with each other in skipping along the verge of treason. Although many of their hints of annexation were attempts to frighten the British government into permitting the secession of the province, some of them were sincere. 17

This incipient annexation movement, however, soon received a check. Most of the antis still looked upon political union with the United States as a last resort and hoped to relieve their distress by other means. These soon seemed to offer. At the first provincial election under the new Dominion, the opponents of confederation achieved a smashing victory. Thirty-six of the thirty-eight members of the provincial assembly were antis, and Tupper was the only unionist among the nineteen members of the federal House of Commons returned from Nova Scotia. This was no victory for annexation. The repealers were confident that their startling success would compel the British government to heed their wishes, and the majority of Nova Scotians still believed that their problems could be solved within the Empire by a return to the status of a separate and self-governing colony. They could restore their old revenue tariff, the income of their government would rise, and no Canadian majority could trample their interests. They also believed that the United States would renew the treaty of 1854 with Nova Scotia alone. This questionable conclusion arose from the dubious assumption that Americans regarded the Canadian economy as competitive with their own, but the Nova Scotian economy as its complement.

So the anti triumph in the election of 1867 convinced Nova Scotians that annexation was unnecessary; they would soon escape the Dominion and return to reciprocity and prosperity. Since secession from Canada was the key which would unlock the door to this pleasant future, the repealers sought to gain it. The provincial assembly passed resolutions requesting the British government to release Nova Scotia from the Dominion, sent
Howe to London bearing this appeal, and awaited confidently for news of their deliverance from the Canadian yoke.
Howe did not share their optimism. His previous mission had taught him that the home government was committed to confederation as the only preventive for annexation.18 If Nova Scotia seceded, New Brunswick would probably follow, and the Dominion would collapse. The Governor General, Lord Monck, had reached the same conclusion. He pressed the colonial secretary to refuse Howe’s request graciously but firmly; if the union broke up, wrote Monck, “I have no hesitation in expressing my opinion . . . that the maintenance of British power or the existence of British institutions in America will soon become impossible.”19 This advice from the man on the spot fortified the determination of the British government to deny the repeal of confederation. As further insurance, the Dominion government sent Charles Tupper to London to counteract the eloquence of his anti rival.
The colonial secretary proved to be courteous in hearing the complaints of Nova Scotia but adamant in refusing to permit its secession.

Early in June, 1868, he informed Monck that the Imperial government could not consider any request for secession; all provincial grievances must and could be redressed within the framework of the Dominion.20 The publication of this dispatch, frustrating their highest hopes, was a terrible shock to the antis. They rained sorrowful and angry denunciations down upon the Canadian and Imperial governments. Many went beyond philippics and vowed that their loyalty was gone. A member of the Dominion Parliament and a former chief justice of Nova Scotia were enthusiastically applauded when they spoke for political union with the United States at a meeting in New Glasgow.21 Other town meetings became forums on annexation.22 The leading paper in the province, the Halifax Morning Chronicle, asserted that “with 30,000,000 of freemen alongside of us, Britain and Canada well
know that they cannot crush Nova Scotia, or force it into a hateful connection.”23 The annexation movement in the province, it was obvious, was waxing as repealers joined its ranks. This sedition was a startling contrast with the past. Nova Scotia had been a devoted colony. The Loyalists who flooded into it after the American Revolution brought with them love of mother country and antipathy to the United States. The Nova Scotians considered themselves a chosen people, and their demonstrations of attachment to the Crown seemed to outdo those of the English themselves. Extreme devotion was followed by immoderate reaction.”

44 Reginald G. Trotter, Canadian Federation, Its Origins and Achievements, (Toronto, 1924), 39-42.

48 These provinces were afraid that Canada would not consent to providing an adequate protection for their fisheries. Moreover, the total population of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island. was not equal to that of either Ontario or Quebec.

49 The Canadian tariff averaged 20 percent; that of Nova Scotia, levied principally on luxuries, averaged 10 percent. Joseph Howe Papers, 26, pt I, Miscellaneous Papers on Confederation (Public Archives of Canada, Ottawa).

50 Yarmouth Tribune, June 27, 1866.

54 The American consul at St. John reported that a quarter of the people of the province favored annexation. James Howard to Seward, May 14, 1866, Consular Despatches, St. John, VI, 159.
Curiously, the Fenian raids seem to have promoted the cause of annexation as well as the cause of confederation, for many Canadians who felt that their country was defenseless were ready for “peace at any price.” Monck to Henry Herbert, Earl of Carnarvon, September 28, 1866, G 180 B, Secret and Confidential Despatches, 1856-1866.

55 This is an obvious reference to the Banks bill, described in the next chapter.
56 Instructions to Howe from the League of the Maritime Provinces,
Howe Papers, IV, Letters to Howe, 1864-1873.
57 British Parliament, Accounts and Papers, 1867, XLVIII, 14-15.
58 Howe Papers, IV, 159-86.

11 There were many instances of annexationist activities in Nova Scotia. C. D. Randall to Macdonald, January 7, February 25, 1868, Macdonald Papers, Nova Scotia Affairs, III; Yarmouth Herald, July 18, 1867. Much of the annexationist materials described in this section on Nova Scotia has previously appeared in the author’s article, “The Post-Confederation Annexation Movement in Nova Scotia,” Canadian Historical Review, XXVIII (June, 1947), 156-65. I wish to express thanks to the editor, John T. Saywell, for permission to use the material in this study.

17 Some annexationists were even appealing to the Department of State for assistance in their projects. J. B. Cossitt to Seward, June 20, 1867, Stephen Howard to Seward, March 26, 1867, A. McLean to Seward, June 29, 1867, Miscellaneous Letters to the Department of State, 1867, March II, and June, II.

18 Though outwardly confident, Howe had written gloomy letters to his friends before departing for London. Archbishop T. L. Connolly to Macdonald, October 26, 1867, Macdonald Papers, Nova Scotia Affairs, III; Howe to A. Musgrave, January 17, 1868, Howe Papers, XXXVII, Howe Letter Book.
19 Monck to Richard Campbell Grenville, Duke of Buckingham, February 13, 1868, G 573 A, Secret and Confidential Despatches, 1867- 1869.

20 Buckingham to Monck, June 4, 1868, Macdonald Papers, Nova Scotia Affairs, III. Attempts by John Bright to set up a royal commission of inquiry were defeated, good sign that Howe’s cause was hopeless. Creighton, Macdonald, 17.
21 Yarmouth Herald, August 13, 1868.
22 Connolly to Macdonald, September 16, 1868, Macdonald Papers,
Nova Scotia Affairs, III.
23 Halifax Morning Chronicle, July 11, 1868.

Warner, Donald F. (Donald Frederick). Idea of Continental Union: Agitation for the Annexation of Canada to the United States, 1849-1893. Lexington: Published for the Mississippi Valley Historical Association by the University of Kentucky Press, 1960. https://hdl.handle.net/2027/uva.x000278662

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

“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)


This argument, cost, is no doubt a very important consideration, but it has manifested itself over time as a perpetual amorphous “efficiency” to be applied to all levels of government — it represents an unending centralization of power and the disassembly of any institution not yet under federal control. It’s been used in addition to another argument, that asserts the Federal government took all powers “of significance” at the BNA so that there’s 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 was once devolved to the municipal, at least in Nova Scotia’s case, and are now) provincial responsibilities like education and health being the main drivers of provincial budgets — both on the receiving end of an unending volley of constitutional impositions from Ottawa for what are clearly ideological reasons, totalitarian in nature — having a house of sober second thought provincially could’ve helped prevent the implementation of so many of these successive impositions on behalf of our unicameral ram-fest legislature. No doubt if we elected and/or appointed our own judges we could’ve prevented some of the absurd scenarios recently brought forward by courts stocked by the Canadians with those who act as little more than a political arm of “Ottawa”, to legitimize its political designs.

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, its supposed free trade basis and provisions likely one of the only ways they could’ve imposed the BNA without instituting an outright conflict, yet the decision in R v Comeau is proof nothing is sacred or insulated from constant Canadian de-evolution, even at the highest levels of “Canadian courts”.

What are obviously constitutional concepts of great significance are then reduced to their basest most literal interpretations possible, in what used to be the press, in the talking points of the smarmiest of crown adjacents of which there’s no shortage. They’ll be sure to share a laugh about the subject — R v Comeau now imposes a standard of “illegality” on “citizens” who dare purchase beer in one province only to try and transport it back to their home province — knowing full well what they’re ushering in as predicate as will be applied to any number of products in the future, always chipping away at anything not yet engineered with an exception.

Provincially there’s court cases like 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 which made an appearance during the pandemic.

This spatial angle was expanded into a kind of pass system like that which existed before the revolution, preventing certain people from entering or leaving the province, as they once did to debtors, apprentices, servants and slaves. Even “national and international media outlets” and their reporters were prevented from entry to Nova Scotia, unlike war torn Syria or Ukraine, after a mass shooting which the Federal government quickly utilized for political purposes, in order to bring about a number of restrictions on guns — restrictions which never would’ve prevented the tragedy in question in the first place, but which certainly leave “the people” defenseless and unable to partake in what I would assert is another natural right beyond self defense, that of subsistence from hunting, an activity more integral in terms of “Canadian culture” than just about anything else.

Even something as simple and elemental as riding a bicycle has recently been criminalized, it’s illegal without a helmet, another imposition in conflict with what I would assert is a natural right to determine one’s risk, that is if we are still considered sentient.

Many of these actions may be the manifestation of a separate but significant disease process, a parasite on our local self government, that of a monopoly health insurance concern, itself part of an omnipotent eugenics monopoly which operates at the Provincial level, increasingly regulated at the national and international level. Even organ donation — an amazing gift, proof we’re surrounded by those who possess an incredibly selfless spirit of giving — has been politicized. The provincial uni-party has decided one’s organs are the property of the monopoly health authority by default, unless one “opts out”, crediting the youth wing of one of the participant parties in the uni-party for floating the idea so as to portray any criticism of the policy as an attack, as insensitive. What kind of blemish those who dare call the government call center to re-claim ownership of their organs receive on their social credit score remains to be seen.

All this without getting into the retrogression in other areas — the centralization of healthcare administration and provision more generally, the courts in terms of their reorganization without the Sessions (which became the municipal courts at Dartmouth’s incorporation), the Grand Jury has been disappeared (another power bestowed on localities including Dartmouth at incorporation, an institution at the very center of Howe’s acquittal), School districts and boards have met the same fate. All were once municipal powers, a level of government with seperate jurisdiction since disappeared in favor of municipalized counties designed to deny the ability to incorporate. All has occurred since, I’d wager thanks, to the constitutional impositions of the purposefully paradoxical Charter of 1982.

Canada’s institutions have never been a reflection of the people but instead exist as a mechanism of control in opposition to people. “Canada” was imposed from some shadowy level above, avenues our system of governance which features a foreign crowned executive provides no shortage of — a “nation” predicated on the premise people aren’t capable of self government, that there’s a separate class of people unencumbered by the usual human weaknesses to whom our governance should be unquestioningly surrendered.

It seems strange to me that those so loyal, who would submit to any number of indignities foisted upon them or enacted in their name, for which they’re later expected to take the blame, can’t be trusted to govern themselves. In my opinion, it’s as close to the proof we will ever find that America’s founding fathers were on the most solid of moral ground, absolutely prescient, overwhelmingly accurate in their assessments of what it was they faced from across the Atlantic, their fate was sealed unless they took the actions they did.

In no way do I advocate for “democracy” as the solution other than that which is defined in the US Constitution, of which only a part is “democracy”. I’m of the opinion that for our safety we need fundamental change to reposition our institutions, to insulate us from powers being asserted by a run away federal government at Ottawa and its many international “partner organizations”, all of whom will never be amenable to our wishes.

We need to restore our bicameral house provincially, we should try to strengthen our upper house federally. Senators should be appointed by those elected to the provincial legislature, as it was in the United States for each State previous to the 17th amendment, as it was in Nova Scotia from its counties previous to its own Senate’s dissolution in 1929 — this would ensure the Executive at either level can’t use their Senate as a vessel of patronage, while diffusing the voice of the people somewhat from that branch, at least temporally.

A Senate filled with the executive’s appointed toadies can never be a check on the executive, even (and perhaps especially) when the executive decides they’re “independent”. America’s founders were right to use the Senate as a kind of mollification of the directly democratic, to help insulate the second chamber from popular feeling as well as the Executive, in order to steady the course of governance overall including through the use of staggered six year terms.

That’s something we need to implement here, a staggered term on a timeline than differs from that of the lower house. This serves as a middle ground between the entirely democratic of a popularly elected Senate and the present intolerable Canadian circumstance of a Senate full of appointees, whose grace we could be forced to suffer for decades, 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 always digging us a deeper grave.

Provinces as entities do not receive their legitimacy from “Ottawa”, I see it the other way around: if “Ottawa” is to be legitimate it is because of the consent of its parts, any strength it enjoys comes from that of its parts and people. If we’re 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 across Canada and allow the opportunity for a much needed 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 for some reason we are 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 the cultural. Defense (which shouldn’t leave the provinces without the ability of instituting some equivalent to State guards), international trade and foreign affairs, minting coin, the census (which was successfully carried on long before Canada by its parts too, mind you), 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. This situation has become even more of a quagmire thanks to the Charter’s divide and conquer games, a document imposed from above, whose supposed benefits are nullified in multiple ways within the document itself.

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. George Washington was of the opinion that number should be 30,000 which would net us 65 representatives and 21 Senators based on our current population.

I prefer seats based on population and geography alone to those based on immutable characteristics, but I am interested in a system where Indigenous people feel represented. Bicameralism is a check on the legislature that reflects “land” and localities in terms of counties, as well as other interests, in the way the US Constitution proscribes for its States.

For those whose priority is “efficiency” a reorganization such as this would cut the number of districts in total between the three provinces by more than half, from 131 to 65 (or by one third if you subscribe to George Washington’s view, to 86). I argue reinstating a second chamber and reorganizing representation as it concerns 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 protection for local government 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 German — a Maritime Union is a return to Nova Scotia’s ancient form, under a number of names over time, a process interrupted by “Confederation”. To split 50,000 square miles (133,000 square kilometers) and almost 2 million people into three provinces is a happenstance of the impositions of 1867 and those of almost a hundred years earlier, actions that no longer make sense if they ever did.

Ultimately it’s my hope that we could consider the US Constitution as “the crown”, not “Ottawa” with its perpetually intractable drama and its innumerable 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. Treaties, at least in the case of the Maritimes, go back at least as far as 1725, a treaty the Government of Canada has decided not to recognize. What about Canada’s posture on the Jay Treaty, is Ottawa interested in upholding the treaties or only those that support their year 0 approach to Constitutional affairs?

Being a US Territory would be an evolution in so many ways, it would afford powers of self-government far beyond the status quo of forever childhood imposed on “the people” by Canada, most especially that imposed on the Indigenous who would gain the ability to levy taxes, institute various services and implement their own policies.

“Healthcare” is held up as some overarching and unique Canadian value, a service we’re supposedly currently enjoying, yet the world presents any number of models with better outcomes, plenty of inspiration we can use to design a system to deliver healthcare without needing to resort to our present role as subsurvients under Ottawa’s ideological cudgels — why are people so resigned to the status quo? Don’t people realize that with self government comes the responsibility, and the opportunity, to design and implement our own policies?

The issue as I see it, healthcare being the perfect example, is that under the status quo it is currently illegal to take charge at lower levels, everything has been designed to prevent anything other than dependency. The lowest level is the individual, yet Canadian courts have decreed that there is “no right to private healthcare“, officially vassalizing that which they pretend are sentient citizens, if there was any doubt previously, which streamlines completely with a system that has already decided physicians should be barred from accepting private payment. Not to mention the fantasy that there will be a stampede of physicians and other health professionals taking advantage of the “Nova Scotian lifestyle” to make up for their anemic government regulated incomes, a fraction of what they could earn in adjacent jurisdictions. We aren’t governed by the incompetent, but by the malicious.

Wrong turn at Albuquerque

Perhaps territory-hood wouldn’t be as much of a boon for “provinces” in terms of resource development as compared to the current setup under the BNA, hence I assume the posture of provinces like Alberta. How can we ensure the development of natural resources aren’t used as a political football, as they are now, but instead recognized as the blessing they are in terms of security and prosperity? I contend “public lands” point the way forward in contrast to those of a crown, when it comes to conservation, the environment or Indigenous rights, certainly in terms of “de-colonization” — a process which Canada supposedly stands ready to implement yet which it opposes in every way through its makeup and conduct.

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 foreign actors, directed by the UN, the WHO, the WTO and any number of other international organizations whose dictate increasingly serves as the basis for our local laws, dictate which can never be challenged. This is 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 who, along with their multitude of supranational masters, 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. There is currently no mechanism to prevent what is increasingly a one way street to a despotic tyranny.

It seems to be by design that Canada’s paradoxically named charter of rights and freedoms ushered in this governance by intersectionality in order to prevent any organization of “the people” as such, going so far as to bestow upon the indigenous equivalent of fiefs what should be the popular sovereignty of their people, in order to instead incorporate them as “indigenous municipalities” under the guise of “nationhood”, surrendering any land claims they might have had to the totalitarian government at Ottawa.

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

What we need isn’t free money but a free country — one which has “equality” and “we the people” at its root, not “equity”, not “we the vassals of wholly unaccountable international actors” 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”.

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. https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=D90uR9ClOh8C&dat=18660522&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

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. https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=D90uR9ClOh8C&dat=18660802&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

“So great a change in the constitution of the country would never be permitted without an appeal to the people”

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. https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=dw5aoL0HVgwC&dat=18650412&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

The Confederation Fenians

[From L’Union Nationale, Montreal, May 25th.]

Nous tenons de source absolument certaine que les journaux du government ne font courir des bruits de saise d’armes feniennes e d’attaques dans les provinces maritimes, que pour avoir l’occasion de tenir en eches les patriotes qui veulent lutter constitutionellement contre le projet de confederation. Il n’y a rien a craindre des fenians pour ce qui regarde le Canada, nouse pouvons en donner l’assurance positive.



We have it from an absolutely certain source that the Government Journals (of Canada) set rumors afloat of the seizure of Fenian arms, and attacks, in the Maritime Provinces, only to get a chance of checking the Patriots there who are struggling constitutionally against Confederation. We can give the most positive assurance that as regards Canada there is nothing to fear from the Fenians.

Halifax Citizen, June 2, 1866. Page 4 Column 2.  https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=D90uR9ClOh8C&dat=18660602&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

Halifax Citizen, Feb 3, 1866


The proceedings of the political meeting in Yarmouth, called by requisition to the Sheriff on the 29th ult, are fully reported in the Tribune of Wednesday. They were of such a character as to show that the Government have few friends in that township. Thomas Killam, Esq., M.P.P., and the Hon. Stayley Brown both spoke very decidedly against the general policy of the Government, not on Confederation alone, but with reference to the School bill, Retrenchment, and every other feature of Tupper’s policy. The former gentleman said, “Our alienation from our friends was accomplished step by step, as we saw one measure after another to which we were conscientiously opposed brought forward by them – sad principles to which we stood pledged deliberately abandoned.” Only two persons in the meeting, which was both numerous and respectable, opposed the resolution, which we published on Tuesday, and these explained their position by saying that they “did not wish to tie up the hands of the future member, and make him a mere tool.” Although no candidate was brought out at the meeting, John K. Ryerson, Esq., was named on the following day, and his card appears in the Tribune. He pledges himself to oppose Confederation, to endeavor to remove the political School Bill from the Statute Book, to effect a modification in the Militia Law, and to press for liberal aid to steam communication between Halifax and Yarmouth, and Yarmouth and Boston. The card closes with the final paragraph :-

“Finally, I pledge myself, if elected, to use my best endeavors to hurl the Tupper Government from the position they have disgraced by the infamous enactments of the [past two Sessions, under the operation of which the country is now suffering.”


The Confederation journals of New Brunswick, despairing of advancing the Quebec scheme on its own merits, seem to be trying to promote it by raising an Anti-Catholic cry. They are willing to get the assistance of the Catholics of Nova Scotia and of Lower Canada to carry the measure; but if they can divide the Protestant and Catholic anti-Confederate majority of New Brunswick by a cry of creeds, they appear to think that the Canadian end will justify the extraordinary means.

Halifax Citizen, February 3, 1866. Page 1 Column 1 https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=D90uR9ClOh8C&dat=18660203&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

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