Bob Rae's essay Founding Concepts, Part 2: Regional Splits
as displayed on the WWW from July 1999 to June 2009, at
Re: The Federalist Experiment in Living, July 10.
Like a vast number of Canadians, I like and respect Bob Rae, so I am commenting with sorrow rather than malice when I express astonishment at his lack of knowledge of Nova Scotia history.
He writes of Joseph Howe pulverizing Charles Tupper in the 1868 election and that the first act of Howe's administration was to try to get Nova Scotia out of Confederation.
None of this is correct, but it is indicative that even eminent Upper Canadians do not know the history of the Maritimes or understand what we are about.
Actually, Charles Tupper, who had been premier from 1864 to 1867, resigned and went into the federal Parliament on July 1, 1867. He was succeeded as premier by Hiram Blanchard and in September of 1867, it was Mr. Blanchard who was pulverized by Bill Annand, an esteemed journalist, who then served as anti-confederate and Liberal premier until 1875.
The only administration that Joseph Howe headed as premier was from 1860 to 1863. In 1867, Charles Tupper was elected to the new federal Parliament by 97 votes from Cumberland County and Joseph Howe was elected to Ottawa from my native County of Hants by 574 votes. Thus, Mr. Howe's overtures to Westminster were made as a federal MP and not as the leader of a provincial administration.
As to 1868, there was no electoral activity in Nova Scotia that year, but the province's unsuccessful efforts to get out of Confederation or to get revised terms did not end then. Even in the years of the premiership of W.S. Fielding between 1884 and 1896, efforts were still being made in that direction.
Why were these efforts made? Primarily, because the high tariff policy that may have been good for Ontario was punitive for Nova Scotia with a location that depended on international trade for its existence then as it does today.
That "national policy" built Ontario, but ruined Nova Scotia. Thank God for free trade today; but in the meantime, Ontario has had a head start of more than 100 years.
I trust Bob Rae will brush up on Nova Scotia history before writing further on such matters.
Gerald A. Regan, Halifax
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Bob Rae's medley of mistakes no longer appears in the Dominion Institute's website, but they were displayed there continuously and prominently for ten years, 1999-2009. During that ten years, neither Mr. Rae nor the Dominion Institute saw fit even to acknowledge that these mistakes existed, let alone to publish a suitable correction statement.
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