Alexander Gilbert was a Montreal journalist who toured the Maritime Provinces in 1867, with an interest in exploring anti-Confederation feelings there. The following is condensed and edited from his From Montreal to the Maritime Provinces and Back, first published in the Montreal Evening Telegram, and describes what he found in and around New Glasgow, Nova Scotia.
Read about what Angus L. MacDonald and Robert Stanfield thought about the failed economics of Confederation
A Nova Scotian View Of Confederation
AN ADDRESS BY The Hon. Robert L. Stanfield, PREMIER OF NOVA SCOTIA
To think of Nova Scotia is to be confronted by history. This is the "akade", the Micmac Indian word for "place", where Cabot and Cartier found the new world, where Champlain built Port Royal over 360 years ago and where the ravages of the wars of Europe left their toll during a period of 100 years, long before Canada was born.
"...the scheme [confederation with Canada] by them assented to would, if adopted, deprive the people [of Nova Scotia] of the inestimable privilege of self-government, and of their rights, liberty and independence, rob them of their revenue, take from them the regulation of trade and taxation, expose them to arbitrary taxation by a legislature over which they have no control, and in which they would possess but a nominal and entirely ineffective representation; deprive them of their invaluable fisheries, railways, and other property, and reduce this hitherto free, happy, and self-governed province to a degraded condition of a servile dependency of Canada."
Be beautiful and vote says the election advert for Lebanon's 2009 election. Either the best or most ironic of the many "just vote" ads coaxing and cajoling citizens to vote.
In Canada we citizens have our Charter of Rights and Freedoms that are the envy of the world's citizens.
But beyond the ballot box and beyond the Canadian box of citizen goodies, what does it mean to be a citizen?
Canada Day is coming up. A summer holiday long week end. Another reward for being a good citizen?
What makes us so deserving?
I know, from recent controversy, that history is as much about forgetting as remembering. Canada Day is a melancholy one for Nova Scotia. What was lost and what was gained remains, nearly 150 years later, largely uncounted and unaccounted for. Maybe it should be a day of sadness.
Here's an accounting of Confederation and "Canada" from newspapers around Nova Scotia on the first "Canada Day", then known as Dominion Day...
Writing about life, citizenship, and Nova Scotia.