From 1867: Opposition to confederation seems feeble

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This year marks the 150th anniversary of Canada, so every Sunday we are looking back at editorials from our predecessor newspaper, The Daily British Colonist and Victoria Chronicle, in 1867.


Our colony was not part of the plans for Confederation, but strong interest in getting involved was expressed at a public meeting.


 


It is more natural than surprising that the proposed admission of this colony into the Confederation of British North America should be opposed by professed skeptics, unprepared or unwilling to become converts to the popular measure.


Opposition is healthy; it is as necessary to the well-being of the body politic as meat and drink to the body corporate; it is, in fact, the true and only specific whereby the life blood of progressive reform is strengthened and purified; checking abuses, preventing excesses, and pointing out the shoals and quicksands on which the ship of state through over-zealous and rash navigation would be liable to suffer shipwreck.


The opposition at the meeting of Monday night was feeble, and the resolutions were carried with almost one voice; yet would it be madness to close our eyes to the arguments used against the extension of the scheme to the west of the Rocky Mountains, and if they fail to carry weight when placed in the balance with the many advantages that this colony will derive from becoming the western link of the chain, they will at least cause us to avoid the folly of again blindly confiding our interests in other hands, and to hesitate before we consent to any other than “fair and equitable terms.”


It is superfluous to travel again over the now well-beaten track, and to reiterate the benefits that this country will derive by the proposed change.


It must be too obvious to every thinking man that the exchange of a free and liberal form of government — the government of the people by the people — for the hybrid constitution we now possess; the absorption of our colonial debt, amounting to some $150 per head, by the large area of the federal population; the great reduction of taxation by dispensing with an extravagant civil list; the sure and certain completion of the great overland route, and the consequent influx of population and capital, are blessings that will and can alone flow from the golden opportunity now within our reach.


A small number can make a great show of opposition in a public assembly, but if no more formidable opposition against the Confederation scheme, as applied to this colony, can be brought to bear than what we have yet witnessed, its adoption on fair and equitable terms may be regarded as the almost unanimous desire of the people of this section of the colony.


The Daily British Colonist and Victoria Chronicle, March 20, 1867

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