The Cradle of Confederation: Some Reflections

“In Nova Scotia only the clever political footwork of Charles Tupper kept his province from vetoing the plan. But as soon as the new Dominion was formed Nova Scotians expressed themselves in no uncertain terms. Of 18 men elected to the House of Commons in Ottawa all but one, Tupper himself, were pledged to break away from what Joseph Howe called the “Botheration” Scheme. In a provincial election 35 of 37 elected members were anti-Confederationist.”

“And while secession never found such an organized voice as in Nova Scotia where elections were won on it, it is still a word which one hears in political circles in P.E.I. Speaking on the Throne Speech Debate during the 1956 session, the Leader of the Opposition, R. R. Bell, raised the old cry. He denounced The Hon. Mr. Pickersgill for having said in Newfoundland that that province could not secede. Said Mr. Bell, “Let him come here and say that and we will give him that famous answer of his senior colleague, Mr. Howe. ‘If we want to; who’s going to stop us?’ Mr. Bell asked if the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration would send the Canadian Army or Airforce against the Island in such an eventuality. Apart from any constitutional bar to secession it is of course a move which will never be taken…”

MacQuarrie, Heath N. “The Cradle of Confederation: Some Reflections” Dalhousie Review, Volume 37, Number 1, 1957