Letter to the Editor
Province of CBI Needed to Strengthen Region & Combat Alienation
Cape Breton Island (CBI) was annexed in 1820 without the consent of the Governor of CBI or consent of the island residents. Annexation was in response to the Crown losing a tax case 1816-1820 to two CBI mine owners, over Crown tax demands of the residents of CBI. In response, the Crown went outside the law and annexed CBI to Nova Scotia to collect the taxes. CBI’S leaders rebuked the annexation because of irregular procedural improprieties used. But the British Privy Council declined to vote on the appeal.
In 1867, Nova Scotia joined Confederation, but petitioned a year later to have the Constitution Act repealed. Nova Scotia is Canada’s first ‘separatist province’. It seems Sir Joseph Howe was furious with Premier Charles Tupper to join Confederation without consent of the electorate. Sir Howe waged a petition with 65% of the electorate of Nova Scotia at the time as signatories calling to pull the province out of Confederation. On presentation to the Queen, it was rebuffed as a Canadian parliamentary matter.
Sir Howe’s anti-confederation forces won all seats (except one held by Premier Tupper), formed a new government and unanimously passed legislation declaring Nova Scotia’s refusal to recognize the Confederation of Canada. This 1868 Nova Scotia Act was never repealed and stands on record to this day.
Nova Scotia felt strongly they’d be robbed of their taxes, resources and the ability to make important governance decisions that affect their local economy and wanted the ability to self-determine their own future as they feared Central Canadian motivations conflicted with the best interests of Nova Scotia.
Given the illegal annexation of CBI by Nova Scotia, the illegitimacy of the province’s own constitutional status, ongoing fiscal neglect and alienation of our island and region, CBI has a solid claim to re-instate its Colonial Charter granted by King George as Canada’s newest province, and under international law via 1. The Human Rights Charter of the United Nations, 2. The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and 3. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; which affirm the fundamental importance of the right of self-determination of all peoples, by virtue of which they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.
Mark Macneill, MBA, MPA, LLB, LLM Sydney, NS