Upper Canadian Rye & Confederation

December 10, 1867
Gooderham and Worts Ltd., Toronto Canada, Canadian Rye Whiskey. Source: Library and Archives Canada.Pinterest
Gooderham and Worts Ltd., Toronto Canada, Canadian Rye Whiskey. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

On December 10, 1867, a Customs Bill was introduced which would have serious consequences for New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, not the least of which was an increased duty on spirits entering Canada. In Ontario and Quebec, domestic Canadian rye whisky was the drink of choice, but Maritimers favoured imported rum and brandy, and the new customs duties affected them disproportionately. Finance Minister John Rose told the Maritimers to "accustom themselves to Upper Canadian rye." The Maritimers were furious, so much so that Nova Scotia threatened to pull out of Confederation. It was a small but important issue, one to which Sir John A., of all people, should have been sympathetic.