There are several newspapers in Canada that during the past few months have given evidence of great crossness and irritability. Chief among the number are the Grit anti-confederate organs at Halifax, St. John and Charlottetown, and woe be unto him that runs afoul of the Halifax Chronicle, the St. John Globe, or the Charlottetown Patriot. These papers have been trying to work up a repeal “boom;” but the weather has been too hot and the repeal literature hurled at the masses has even failed to amuse, let alone convince. Hence the anti-confederate editors are angry and give way to exhibitions of petty and foolish sayings to such an extent that their near friends must be alarmed for their future.
Probably the Halifax Chronicle is the most rabid of these anti-confederate repeal organs, and it has been having a little argument with – the Toronto Globe, friendly of course, as to whether it is Confederation or the National Policy that is keeping Halifax from progressing as fast as the Chronicle thinks it ought to progress. The Globe is a great stickler for loyalty to the union and the empire, and blames the National Policy for hampering trade and crushing the people generally. The Halifax Chronicle holds confederation largely responsible for the mischief, imaginary or real.
Now, while it is not hard to believe that Halifax is not progressing as far as any great growth of population is concerned, we submit that neither Confederation nor the National Policy is to blame for the result. Confederation was necessary. The National Policy is necessary. Halifax is not the whole Dominion, by any means. Halifax only contains some thirty thousand inhabitants, and a very unenterprising, dead and alive thirty thousand at that. The Dominion contains four millions of people. The County of Westmorland contains as many people as Halifax – the Parish of Moncton more than a third as many. So it will be seen that Halifax, while no doubt quite an important city, is not the Dominion, or any of the Provinces, but simply a part. These remarks are somewhat necessary, as by constant reading of the Halifax Chronicle, one might be led to suppose that the Dominion of Canada was a part of Halifax, instead of vice versa,
A little advice to Halifax may not be out of place. The city has great natural resources, and there is little doubt that it is the wealthiest for its size on the Continent. But, the people are dead to enterprise. When the city wanted a sugar refinery, two or three hundred columns of newspaper advertising were necessary to effect a start, and after the stock lists had been open for weeks, we believe the amount was forthcoming. This was in a city where there were a couple dozen of gentlemen each able to take the whole amount. The slowness of the people of Halifax may be very unfavorably contrasted with the promptitude shown by another town, very much smaller and less wealthy, where a similar enterprise was propose and carried to a successful issue in a few weeks. This lack of enterprise, so painfully evident in the wealthy city of Halifax, is commented on by everybody and especially by strangers, who are astonished at the natural advantages possessed by the Maritime Provinces and wonder at the apathy of the people to take the benefit of them. Then what Halifax needs is a thorough waking up. It needs to strike out and adapt itself to the changing conditions of the country, just as other cities that are progressing have to do. If Halifax is not advancing as rapidly as Truro or Moncton, or the score or more of smaller towns along the railroads and sea coast, why blame the National Policy or Confederation, and why not put the blame where it properly belongs – on the backs of the people of Halifax?