Nice try, says P.E.I. to N.B. over controversial new slogan
New Brunswick's Canada 150 slogan claims province is 'where it all began'
Prince Edward Island is pushing back against New Brunswick's claims to being the place where Confederation began.
The New Brunswick government announced last November that its slogan for Canada 150 celebrations this year is "Celebrate Where It All Began."
The claim comes, in part, from the efforts of Arthur Hamilton-Gordon, the lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick in the 1860s, who came up with the idea of a meeting to explore a union.
While Island MP Wayne Easter is willing to share some credit for the party planning, he isn't backing down on which province can claim to be the true birthplace of Confederation.
"And it was born in Charlottetown, P.E.I."
Bill before Parliament
Easter has been pushing the issue in Parliament, with a private member's bill seeking official recognition of P.E.I. as the birthplace.
"I think it's important that it is in legislation actually, so it is stated within the Parliament of Canada," Easter said. "It puts it in a more solid foundation, so that history can't be reinvented, as sometimes happens, as time goes on."
Certainly, the Island's Guardian newspaper is accusing New Brunswick of some historical revisionism.
In its "Cheers and Jeers" section, the newspaper lambasted the province for "trying to claim parts, if not all, the credit for the birthplace of Confederation."
It's not just pride at stake, she said.
"In terms of our tourism industry, it means a huge deal," Griffin explained. "A lot of people come to Prince Edward Island to see the birthplace of Confederation, they want to tour Province House."
UPEI historian Edward MacDonald concedes New Brunswick's Hamilton-Gordon first conceived of the idea of a meeting and proposed one, but it was a far cry from what eventually happened.
His meeting was only going to be about Maritime union, with just a small group.
That led to the huge conference in 1864, when the Fathers of Confederation laid out the groundwork for the nation.
"You know there's that saying, big things come in small packages? Well, in this time, great things started in small places," said Easter.
Easter and Griffin think Canada's 150th birthday would be a great time to have Charlottetown's position as the birthplace of Confederation enshrined in the law of the land.
Despite the Charlottetown Conference in 1864, Prince Edward Island initially was content not to join Confederation when New Brunswick and others did in 1867. It wasn't until 1873 that the Island became the seventh province.
From the Shift interviews by Vanessa Vander Valk