Let­ter to the Ed­i­tor

The Victoria Standard - - Commentary -

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

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