MP Edward Blake’s speech as read by Hugh Barnett on 15 January, 2017
Edward Blake’s Aurora Speech, later renamed A National Sentiment, was delivered at the Aurora Armoury on October 3, 1874.
Transcript (Audio edit)
How long is this talk in the newspapers and elsewhere, this talk which I find in very high places, of the desirability, aye, of the necessity of fostering a national spirit among the people of Canada, to be mere talk?
The future of Canada, I believe, depends very largely upon the cultivation of a national spirit. We are engaged in a very difficult task—the task of wielding together Provinces which have been accustomed to regard themselves as isolated from each other, which are full of petty jealousies, their Provincial questions, their local interests. How are we to accomplish our work? How are we to effect a real union between these Provinces?
We must find some common ground on which to unite, some common aspiration to be shared, and I think it can be found alone in the cultivation of that national spirit to which I have referred.
Much remains to be done before we can say that the ideal of true popular Government has been reached. Some mistakes have been made; I do not believe it is consistent with the true notion of popular Government that we should have a Senate selected by the Administration of the day, and holding their seats for life.
With a hope for the future before us, I believe we might effect immense improvements upon the present system of popular representation.
Our principle of Government is that the majority must decide. But if the minority must, on this ground of necessity, bow to the voice of the majority, the majority is all the more bound to see that the minority has its fair share of representation. The majority must recollect that it may again become the minority one day.
I say the system of representation under which we now live is inadequate. The fact that you cannot reasonably approximate the real strength of popular opinion at the polls—these considerations are sufficient to condemn the existing system and send us on search for a better. That better can, I believe, be found, and if it be reserved for this Dominion to set the example of finding it, a great benefit will have been conferred by us on the cause of freedom throughout the world.