A Progression of Judges: A History of the Supreme Court of British Columbia

By David R. Verchere | Go to book overview

SIX
Confederation and After

Urged on by Governor Musgrave with support from the colonial secretary, Confederation came to British Columbia with remarkable speed. By an order of her Majesty- in-council made at Windsor on 16 May 1871, it was declared that the colony should become part of Canada from 20 July 1871 on the terms therein recited. 1 To the accompaniment of ringing bells and fireworks in Victoria, that event duly came to pass.

Many colonists, including at least one of the Supreme Court judges, disliked having to witness the introduction of responsible government into their territory as a necessary prelude to the acquisition of provincial status. In a letter written to Trutch, chief commissioner of Lands and Works and soon to be the first lieutenant-governor of the new province, in February 1871, Crease lamented: "it will be a sad breakup among old friends. I can't bear sometimes to think of it."2

A great deal of political activity in London, Ottawa, and Victoria had preceded British Columbia's decision to join Canada, and when the session of the Legislative Council which drafted the terms for Confederation had closed on 23 April 1870, a delegation composed of Trutch, Helmcken, and Francis Jones Barnard, the member for Yale, promptly went to Ottawa to negotiate with Dominion authorities. The feeling there was so positive that rapid progress resulted and on 7 July, the British Colonist's special correspondent telegraphed his paper that Canada favoured immediate union on the terms proposed. Helmcken and Barnard returned home at once with the terms of union; Trutch went on to London to be present

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