The Star. WEDNESDAY, APRIL 16, 1879.
Mr Wason, the Member for Coleridge, haß publicly announced that it is bis intention to resign his seat, and already several probable candidates for the vacancy havo been mentioned. Now, we have already asserted the fact that the representation of Canterbury constituencies appears, for some years past, to have fallen into the hands of a ring of squatters and land-jobbers ; and there cannot be a doubt that there is a very strong feeling, not only amongst the Mombers of the House itself, but throughout the Colony, that ag a general rule Canterbury membera are not only ultra Conservative in their politics, but given to carrying themselves with a pretentious air of superiority as if indeed conscious that they *' are nofc as others are." There may not bo tho slightest ground for any bucli feeling, but tbat tbere is a wide-spread belief in Canterbury snobbishness iB somewhat notorious, and possibly Canterbury Members suffer from this generally held opinion. About their politics, however, there cannot be the slightest doubt. We are not advocates for tho principle of the JblepreßGntution of Minorities. We have already in these columns shown its fallaciousness and ita imposßibifcy of equitable application ; yet we have in the representation of Ohristchurch three gentlemen belonging to the same party in Parliament, and, we venture to assert, supporting a policy in opposition to the views of a large majority of their c institueuta. If the electors of Christchurcb were polled tomorrow we feel certain that by an immense majority tbey would condemn " political rest " politics, that is, tbe politics of the — so-called — conser vative faction in New Zealand. We feel asBnred that the electors of this Oity are as emphatically Liberal in their views and sentimentß and as warm friends to a policy of progress as any within the shores of this island. So also, it may be said, of Canterbury as a whole. Cheviot, may be counted as "a Canterbury constituency. Last year, when an opportunity was afforded, the eleotors of Oheviot returned to Parliament a gentleman whom, from his professions, they believed held progressive principles, and was opposed to "rest" politics. That, from the ; moment of his entry into tbo House, Mr Saundees forsook his party arid allied himself with the foCB of progress is the misfortune, not the fault, of the ! eleotors of Oheviot. And we are per- < \
suaded thafc^he electors of Cheviot are no exceptional body. Last year also, a vacanoy occui red iv the representation of Timaru; a liberal was returned, and Mr Tubnbull is still faithful to the principles of activity and progress. The electors of Canterbury are
liberal and progressive to the core, ! and if progressive principles are represented in the person of any fairly acceptable candidate pufc forward for any Oanterbury constituency, we do not entertain aay doubfc of their triumph, Bufc it is light to recognise the fact tbat the ring — clique — faction — or whatever ofcher term may be mosfc applicable — into whose hands fche representation of Canterbury has fallen, are equally confident of retaining their power to manage .aud control fche constituencies. We fiud that it is their cue now to advocate iv their organs the principle of representation upon fcho basis of population — a democratic principle which they would never indorse, but for the discovery that, if adopted, it will give to Canterbury at least five additional members, and tbe additional members they fondly calculate will all belong to their colour and strengthen their hands. The people of Canterbury are expected to still play into the hands of a ring of politicians utterly dead to any sentiment of liberality or of any aspirafcion for their progress morally, mentally, or materially, a ring who regard tbe possession of power as a means in the advancement of ofcher objects than the general welfare of the people of this Colony. The Canterbury Representatives may be divided as follows : —
For a Policy of Pro- For a Political Rest gress. Policy. Hon J. T. Fisheh Hon C. C. Bowen Mr Montgombby Mr J. E. Brown Mr Tcbnbuii, Mr Mttbray-Aynslky Mr Moorhouse Hon. E. Richardson Mr Rolleston Mr Stevens Mr Saunders Mr Wason Mr "Wakefield Three Liberals and ten obstructives, and thus it ia that the political feeling of Canterbury is misrepresented. Leb the people glance at the ten members who belong to the Opposition, and who profess themselves favourable to turning oufc the present administration and the establishment of a Government who will keep things as they are, and answer for themselves whether these men do not represent a claßS — only a narrow, selfish class —in this Oolony ? Which do they really represent — the aspirations of the people or the interests of the squatting, iand jobbing, and financing class in Canterbury ? Every elector is free to thiuk for himself and answer for himself. Now we claim to represent a class — an industrious, intelligent, thinking, working — but not a fairly represented in Parliament class. The class who hold that ifc is the duty of man to progress, and who have no selfish purposes to accomplish out of political stagnation. We hold the opinion that the time has arrived when fchis — by far the largest, the mosfc important, and the mosfc patriotic section of the people of Canterbury — should have a voice in some degree proportionate to their numbers, and we turn to fche liberal electors in tho constituency of Coleridge, and ask them to affirm the samo view. No doubfc every effort will be made by the powerful friends of the Opposition in the centres of population to " conciliate " the people. The electors of Ashburton wore candidly told the other day thab in the Houee it was the policy of the Opposition to " conciliate the independent members," and the same policy is always pursued in the constituencies. Dust ia thrown in the eyes of tho people, *hey are flattered and "conciliated "in order fchat a class may buy up their lands — fche public lands — from fche Government cheap, and sell them back again to the individual colonist at their own dear price. We do not assert that this is the particular pnrpose in the present instance, although we shrewdly suspect thafc fche possession of the public lands will not be forgotten as part of a " rest" policy. Such has been the policy — in Oanterbury as elsewhere — in the past, and either tbat or equally selfish objects certainly will be followed again. Very shortly the eyea of the people in every part of the Colony will be turned to the constituency of Coleridge with expeotancy, and with hope. Will the electors continue to play into tho handa of a selfish faction, or will they act upon large considerations of the public welfare ? We trust that fche electors will not rashly, or out of cheer good nature, pledge themselves to support any candidate upon purely local or personal grounds. Wo hope, if there is to be a contest, that ifc will be purely a political fight— a party fight— a class fight. We know, although it will be warmly disavowed, that so far as . the opposition is concerned it is certain to bo a class fight — ifc is absolutely impossible to be anything else. Tho only question is whether those who, upon broad political and general grounds, should resolve resolutely as another class to be freo from their dominancy, will have tho patriotism and the public spirit to assert the position. We do not doubfc fchafc they j will. For our part, we shall do our besfc to examine thoroughly tho pretensions of all candidates that present themselves, bo that the electors of Coleridge shall, afc all events, not err through ignorance.
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The Star. WEDNESDAY, APRIL 16, 1879., Star, Issue 3436, 16 April 1879
The Star. WEDNESDAY, APRIL 16, 1879. Star, Issue 3436, 16 April 1879
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