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tory, and the improvements required for the development of the trade of the great West with the seaboard, are regarded by this Conference as subjects of the highest importance to the federated Provinces, and shall be prosecuted at the earliest possible period that the state of the finances will permit.'
Fortunately, British Columbia was anxious to join forces with the Dominion. Vancouver Island had been leased in
1843 to the Hudson Bay Company. That company, intent upon the fur trade, saw in settlements a natural enemy. Nevertheless, the advantages of Vancouver Island for the purposes of colonization were too manifest for the reluctance of the company to prevent its development. On the mainland gold was discovered in the bed of the Fraser River in 1856, and from this time there set in a constant stream of immigration. At first, British Columbia, as it was named at the suggestion of Queen Victoria, and Vancouver Island were under the same Governor, but the interests of their populations seemed to be different, and, when a form of Constitution was given British Columbia in 1858, it was separated from Vancouver Island. The two Colonies were, however, again placed under a common government by an Act of Parliament of 1866. The population was as yet very small, and, to a great extent, migratory, so that the Home Government was unable to introduce responsible or even representative government. British Columbia was quick to recognize the significance of the passing of the British North America Act. In January, 1868, an unofficial memorial was presented to the Dominion Government, which suggested terms on which union would be acceptable. Such a union was desirable on many grounds, both financial and political; but a strong inducement was the expectation of a transcontinental waggon-road from Lake Superior to the point on the Lower Fraser river whence it was navigable, within a period of two years after joining the Confederation. The acquisition by the
Dominion of Rupert's Land and the North-West Territory made easier the way for union with British Columbia. When the proposals of British Columbia were considered by the Dominion Government, they were found to be reasonable, and such as, in the main, might be accepted. A transcontinental railway having now been decided upon, it seemed unnecessary to make another main road. The undertaking of the Dominion Government was therefore worded: The Government of the Dominion undertakes to secure the commencement simultaneously, within two years from the date of the union, of the construction of the railway from the Pacific towards the Rocky Mountains, and from such point as may be selected east of the Rocky Mountains towards the Pacific, to connect the seaboard of British Columbia with the railway system of Canada; and, further, to secure the completion of such railway within ten years from the date of such union.'
Under the 146th section of the British North America Act power was given to the Crown, on addresses from the Houses of the Parliament of Canada and from the Legislature of British Columbia, to admit that Colony into the Union on such terms and conditions as were expressed in the addresses. British Columbia was therefore admitted into the Union under an Order in Council dated May 16, 1871, which embodied the terms accepted by both the Dominion and British Columbian Legislatures. Under these, British Columbia was entitled to be represented in the Senate by three members and by six members in the House of Commons: such representation to be increased with the growth of population according to the provisions of the main Act.
The difficulties which subsequently arose from the delay in beginning the work of the transcontinental railway do not belong to our present subject. It must always be remembered, however, that, if Canada has become or is in the way of becoming a real nation, with national
aspirations and ideals common to it as a whole, it is largely due to the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway. It is this which has covered with flesh and blood the dry bones of the Union brought into being by the provisions of the British North America Act. With the acquisition of British Columbia the Dominion stretched from ocean to ocean; though in 1873 it secured a new member, by the entrance into it of Prince Edward Island under the terms of the same section of the British North America Act as that which applied to British Columbia. In this case financial exigencies effected what had hitherto proved impossible. The representation of Prince Edward Island in the Senate was provided for in the British North America Act, which enacted that on its joining the Union the island should receive four senators, the number of senators for Nova Scotia and New Brunswick being respectively reduced from twelve to ten. Prince Edward
Island started with six members in the House of Commons. By an Order in Council, dated July 31, 1880, all British territories and possessions in North America not already included within the Dominion of Canada, and all islands adjacent (with the exception of Newfoundland and its dependencies), were annexed to and formed part of the Dominion of Canada. Lastly, under an Imperial Act of 1886, doubt was set at rest with regard to the power of the Dominion Parliament to make provision for the representation in the Senate and House of Commons of Canada of any territories which, while forming part of the Dominion of Canada, were not included in any of its Provinces. In 1895 Newfoundland, under the stress of financial failures, sought to join the Confederation; but the Dominion Ministry was not quick to seize the proffered hand, and the opportunity, once missed, has never recurred.
Having sketched, however baldly, the history of Canadian federation, we are able to arrive at certain
obvious conclusions. In the first place, diversity of race and of interests dictated that it should be a federation and not a legislative union. To have proposed such a union would have been to court failure with the FrenchCanadians, and probably with the people of the Maritime Provinces. Moreover, the distances between the various Provinces were so great as to necessitate a more complete system of local self-government than is necessary in European countries. In the next place, it should be noted that the federation was accomplished in a country where there were no very large towns with a well-organized artisan population, so that a cautious Conservatism characterized the founders of the Dominion. In temperament and sympathies men like Cartier, Macdonald, and even Brown, far more resembled the type of the founders of the American Constitution than they resembled the Radical statesmen who framed the Australian Constitution. It is not without significance that whereas that Constitution provides for its alteration by the people of Australia acting under prescribed rules, the British Parliament is still the authority to which resort must be had when the Dominion Constitution requires amendment.
The British North America Act is further noteworthy as being a federal Constitution to a great extent drafted by men who were in favour of a legislative union. We know from Lord Blachford's Letters how leading a part was played by John A. Macdonald at the meetings in London which finally settled the form of the Act; but his influence at the Quebec Conference had been at least as powerful. It is to this influence that we may trace some features of the measure. Consider the half-hearted character in which the federal idea is worked out in the provisions with regard to the Senate. Of so little importance has the Senate proved as a bulwark of the federal principle that in the case of the representation in that body of the new Provinces the attempt was at first
hardly made to give expression to that principle. On the other hand, the federal idea is strongly expressed in the rule, unknown to the written Constitution, that the Dominion Privy Council must contain a proportional number of representatives from the different Provinces. We see again the vigorous hand of Macdonald in the provisions which, not content with the power of the Courts to pronounce provincial legislation ultra vires, give the Governor-General-in-Council, in other words the Central Government, the right to dismiss provincial Lieutenant-Governors as well as to disallow provincial measures: though it is fair to admit that the right of dismissal has been only once used unduly, and that the control of provincial legislation has upon the whole been exercised with great care and caution. In the elaborate division of powers in sections 91 and 92 we see an evident desire to exalt the central at the expense of the provincial governments, a desire which the subtlety of the Law Courts has known how to thwart. Still, while admitting faults in the Canadian measure, we must remember that it came first, and subsequent draftsmen have been able to profit by its failures; and, when all is said and done, the British North America Act will always be memorable, because, through its provisions and the triumphs of modern science which came in its wake, a new mighty nation sprang into life, of which as yet we know only the beginnings.
THE AUSTRALIAN COMMONWEALTH.
We have seen that in Canada political deadlock and the recognition of the need of westward expansion were the causes of federation. Moreover, the presence of a powerful neighbour to the south served to promote British North American union. In the Australian Colonies, on the other hand, there were present no such motives. The machinery, indeed, of party government worked with no little creaking and friction; but, somehow or another, the Queen's