"We can't allow things that are inaccurate to stand." — The Word of Our Dan, February 19, 2008.

Monday, August 30, 2010

File under plus ça change

The Evening Telegram of May 3, 1890, reports on the proceedings of the Legislative Assembly of April 22. Morison, Blandford, and Morine were the three Members for the district of Bonavista, which had triple representation in the Assembly. Blandford was the only member of the Liberal government, while the other two were members of the Reform opposition. The "late election" was that of November 6, 1889, in which the Reform government of Thorburn had been soundly defeated by Whiteway's Liberals.

Does any of their language sound familiar?
Mr. MORISON presented a petition from J.H. Edgar and others, of Ship Island and Newell Island, on the subject of a ferry. The ferry in question was necessary to the people of Newell's Island, to enable them to get to church and, also, that their children might get to school; as now circumstanced, the inhabitants have to cross by whatever chance-boat should offer. The petitioners recommend the appointment of Mr. William Cross as ferryman, an elderly fishermen worn out in the pursuit of his avocation, but fully able to do the duties of his office. He hoped that the Government would grant a small sum for the purpose.

Capt. BLANDFORD supported the prayer of this petition, and believed in its necessity. To the people of Newell's Island it would be of great convenience, and he trusted, before he went out of power, to see a bridge connecting Ship Island with Newell's Island. He could assure hon. members that he was sorry to find, on his first acquaintance with politics, that allocations and road moneys were much more confounding than being out in a sealing vessel. He was sorry to find things in the state in which they were in his native district; but now that there was a Government in office, whom he was proud of, he believed that things would be remedied. The hon. members for his district, on the other side of the House, were always sending men to him. If a man from the district came to them for anything, their answer was, "if we were in the Government we would help you, but we are not; go to Captain Blandford, he is in the Government;" but he trusted that Captain Blandford would do what he had promised for his district. He was always ready to go with hon. members in the Opposition in anything, that was for the good of his district; but when it came to money matters, and to giving it away for selfish purposes, he could not agree with them. In his district he was sorry to say that the main line grant was very much in debt. There had been no work done on roads for the past four years until two days before the late election, and then the money was spent unfairly. In different places, to his certain knowledge, the main lines had not been touched for the past year at all, and the money had been squandered for election purposes. But, now that he was on the Government side of the House, and allied to a party that, to-day, he had more confidence in than when he joined it four months ago, he trusted that his district would receive her rights.

Mr. MORINE rose to support the petition, but he was sorry to see that the hon. member, Capt. Blandford, did not know enough about his district to be able to separate main lines from special grants. The main line was not in debt, as the hon. Captain had asserted. As regarded what had been done in the district, the hon. member said there had been no work there during the past four years, but he (Mr. M.) would venture to say that there had been more public work performed in the district during that time than had been done since the granting of responsible government. The special grant had been overdrawn, but a large portion of it could be found in the public wharf in King's Cove, and in a number of new school-houses that had been erected around the district. With regard to money being spent on the local roads a few days before the late elections, he would remind the hon. member that that was the usual time for spending the road money in the district, because the men would then have come home from the Labrador.



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