Prime minister pays tribute to conference anniversary

Teresa Wright
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Prime Minister Stephen Harper chats with Lindsay Oehike, a Parks Canada interpretation officer, as they tour Province House in Charlottetown Thursday.

Harper takes tour of Province House, visiting room where Fathers of Confederation met in 1864

Prime Minister Stephen Harper paid tribute to the 150th anniversary of the Charlottetown Conference during a visit to P.E.I. Thursday.

Harper called this anniversary an auspicious one that marks the first meetings that led to the eventual formation of Canada.

“Even today the courage and foresight of the Fathers of Confederation is striking, but 150 years ago, given the state of colonial politics and the proximity of the world’s most powerful and hostile army, it was nothing short of remarkable,” Harper said.

“Isn’t that something worth celebrating?”

The prime minister took a tour of Province House Thursday, visiting the same room in which the Fathers of Confederation met in 1864 and came to an agreement on a national union.

Harper said it was his first time inside the building, and he took note of its beauty and historical significance.

“It’s a tremendous feeling to be right there where the Fathers of Confederation, the actual chairs they sat on around that actual table, and to really contemplate what they achieved here, the project they began here and what it has become today.”

During a speech delivered to invited guests at the Confederation Centre, Harper highlighted $10 million in funding recently announced for much-needed renovations to Province House, which still serves as P.E.I.’s provincial legislature.

The building has faced a series of structural problems, and even had to close recently after a section of plaster fell from the ceiling within the building earlier this year.

An engineer’s report prepared for Parks Canada identified extensive problems that could take years to address.

The PM also confirmed Thursday financial support for the sesquicentennial celebrations, much of which had previously been announced, including an additional $5-million to P.E.I. 2014 Inc.

This money will be used for the Celebration Zone on the Charlottetown waterfront, the Canada Day celebrations, Founders Week events in late August and a national marketing campaign to inform Canadians about the 150th anniversaries of both the Charlottetown and Quebec Conferences.

The federal news release for prime minister’s visit stated total federal support for the 150th anniversaries of the Charlottetown and Quebec conferences is more than $24 million.

But provincial officials were quick to point out this figure includes $12 million for the Province House remediation work as well as $4 million given to the Confederation Centre of the

Arts to renovate its Homburg Theatre.

The province argues these projects are not related to the 1864 anniversary celebrations.

Harper attended a few other private events in P.E.I. Thursday, including a meeting at the Charlottetown Hotel with local Progressive Conservative party members and a visit to MacKinnon’s lobster pound on the Charlottetown waterfront.

Organizations: Province House, Confederation Centre, Parks Canada Charlottetown Hotel

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Canada, P.E.I. Quebec MacKinnon

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Recent comments

  • Arnold Maclauchlan
    June 27, 2014 - 23:01

    What ever happened to Islander respect ? I was taught and still highly respect people in leadership regardless of political affiliation. Our Prime Minister comes to help celebrate Island history and make a very noteworthy financial commitment to P E I. If we are grateful and respectful our world and Island will be a better place. Thank you Prime Minister Harper for coming to P E I.

  • islander
    June 21, 2014 - 15:55

    Prime Minister Steven Harper's comment in the Gaurdian, Friday , June 20/14. he said that EI is not the problem as to the out migration of islanders because there are better paying jobs out west, that can't be denied, but that all depends where you may live out west some areas out west are far more expencesive to live in and the bigger pay does get swallowed up from the expences. yesterday the Prime Ministers, Minister jasom Kennedy announced that there will be stricter legislation for tempory workers which will help given that ( according to the media ) a lot of employers are hiring these overseas people to save money on wages. still that does'nt change my mind on the ridiculous EI changes that have been made by Ottawa, it is just another way to have political preference for his own region, regardless of the political argument of better jobs out west. when the fathers of confederation meet it was to ratify a deal that would be fair and inclusive for the whole of our nation, so these changes to EI are not in any way fair to the needs of our region and most will feel that indifferently, those that say EI is only been lazy and it is a unnessary abuse of a system to depended on, however how can our seasonal industry survive if (lets assume if every single Islander was to feel that way) The end result would be no seasonal industry, and if that happened our economy would suffer more.

  • enough already
    June 20, 2014 - 14:39

    The country has never been better. It is a pity you people can't get off your pity pots and take advantage of this wonderful country! You all want a living handed to you on a silver platter!

  • Observer from the East
    June 20, 2014 - 11:45

    With the way Harper has carried himself as PM, I just can't stand anything he says, even if there is any truth or legitimacy in it. I just hope Trudeau will start being a little wiser in what he says and does. Anybody but Harper for PM next election!

  • robinottawa
    June 20, 2014 - 09:50

    Living in the past. I'd be all for reasonable appreciation of recognition of our heritage, but not the point Harper does. His focus on ceremony and responsibility to the past to the detriment of the present makes me feel very cynical about it all.

  • fred
    June 20, 2014 - 09:04

    The average person making $10.00- $11.00 an hour can make more on e.i than they can make working .People are not lazy they are smart .Even at 55%.The cost to get back and forth to work is crazy .Car payments / insurance /maintenance / and gas pushing $ 7.00 a gal. not to mention child care etc. etc . Its the cost of living on p.e.i. that is driving people away . We have the lowest wages in canada and the highest cost of living and the only gov. hand outs are their own members and big corporations.Gov fails to get their priorities straight.They like to cut peoples e.i.off in the middle of the winter to force people to move away; yet can throw 40 to 50 million dollars at a foolish confederation party .

  • Aongasha
    June 20, 2014 - 08:37

    Leave it to the penny ante locals types to try and pick holes in the PM's statement. You got $24 million dollar boys, why not shut up and give the man a little credit. Ms. Shea as well. I'm sure you were polite enough when asking for the money. Typical though - never satisfied and always with the hand-out. Some of you folks need to 'get a haircut and get a job' (and a life).

    • Mike C
      June 21, 2014 - 20:47

      I think you're giving harper way too much credit. He's making his rounds, handing out our money for one reason. Buy votes! He is nothing but a pathetic excuse for a PM. The most self serving, undemocratic, one party supporter this Country ever had the disservice of witnessing. I would bet you believe he is actually a PC.

  • mike
    June 20, 2014 - 07:56

    no offense Mr.Harper but if you care about Canada stop destroying it. You and your government have been shutting down discussions on bills, Removing native rights, cutting funding to programs, making bills that seem to against human rights, you cheated in the election by using an auto dialer. Oh and the one I am most familiar with bill c-25 which is to reinforce a settlement the goverment made then changed the requirements on basicly lets them remove anyone from the native registry, and prevents them from being sued. How can a government do this kind of stuff. One other thing is the Harper government is allowing the building of the oil pipeline. Lines like this have always caused spills and he is ignoring nature, fresh water and people stating they do not want it in the area they live. He is the most hated politition I believe in a long time. I have seen petitions to get him removed from office with over 30,000 signatures, I have also seen some for him to be kicked out of the country and jailed for all the illegal activity his administration has done. But the power is always with those who are in office. I for one will leave Canada if he is re elected I don't like living in a country that's turning into a dictatorship

    • Good bye!!
      June 20, 2014 - 13:04

      Good- bye; and please take Robert Ghiz with you!!!