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The Confederation: The Building of Canada

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FC: The Confederation by Kirin Lamb - A Block

1: Imagine creating a country where there was none before. That is what the Fathers of Confederation achieved. They set into action their dreams for their homeland and laid the foundations for one of today's great nations: Canada.

2: Changes were happening quickly in the Canadas during the Victorian Age. The Canadas were now united with a responsible government. Many poli-tical figures dreamed that they could take it one step further and unite all | of the British North America colonies into a single nation with one strong central gov-ernment. After the Corn Laws were repealed in 1847 as an effort towards free trade, the colonial economies had been suffering a depression. Exports no longer had a guarunteed buyer in Britain. By uniting the colonies trade could be revived between them with the building of an inter-colonial railway, a feat that could not be achieved with the colonies as individules. A new country could also better protect its people. The American Civil War posed a threat against the British colonies. It was | JohnA. MacDonald | Advantages of Confederation

3: with the Catholic Church. But le Parti Bleu was willing to work with the English in Canada West, provided the French culture was unthreatened. Louis-Joseph Papineau led Canada East's other, more radical, political | feared that after the soldiers finished their war against the south they would turn north to settle scores against Britain. Fenian Raids were also a concern. The Americans would surely think twice about invading a free, independant nation. Confederation would also eliminate the inefficiancies of colonial government. Decision making would no longer be plagued with troubling coalitions and double majorities. George-Etienne Cartier was leader of le Parti Bleu, the more powerful politcal party in Canada East. Cartier and his party defended French-Canadian rights and worked | George-Etienne Cartier George-Etienne Cartier | The Great Coalition

4: party: le Parti Rouge. Le Parti Rouge hated the Act of Union and attracted French far-mers and business people opposed to English interests. Le Parti Rouge also favoured an Ameri-can style democracy. In Canada West, George Brown led the more radical party named the 'Clear Grits'. He was the publisher of the Toronto Globe news-paper and stood strongly for English interests, and disliked the French and Catholics. Brown supported | "rep-by-pop" which was violently protes-ted in Canada East, and wanted a demo-cracy for Canada. John A. MacDonald led the Tories, the other, less democra-tic, party in Canada West. He was a much more astute politician compared to Brown, and want-ed a strong central government. As confederation now seemed to be the only option for Canada, MacDonald, Brown and Cartier formed a coalition to work together and unite the colonies. | John A. MacDonald | George Brown

5: The first order of affairs for the Great Coalition was to convince the other colonies the benefits of Confederation. Accompanied by land speculator and railway builder Alexander Tilloch, they decided to attend the Charlottetown Conference in PEI which was originally intended to discuss a Maratime union. Cartier, MacDonald and Brown intervened these meetings to present their plan for Confederation. They were convincing enough in their discussions that delegates agreed that another conference to work out finer details be held in Quebec later that year. | The Conferences

6: Thirty-three delegates from PEI, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, and the Canadas attended the Quebec Conference in the fall of 1864. They dis-cussed plans for the new nation. They decided, after many disagreements, that provincial governments would retain much of their power yet others would be granted to a central government. This determined that the new nation would be a federation. The attendees at Quebec are now know as "The Fathers of Conferderation" alth-ough the 72 resolutions for government | and the drafted blue-print produced by the end of the conference were written mainly by MacDonald, after hours in his private quarters. But before Confeder-ation could be official the responsible gov-ernments of each colony had to debate the issue. Many speakers like Howe of NS, or Dorion of Quebec spoke against union and in the end Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the Canadas agreed to Confederation but PEI and Newfoundland felt that it was not in their best interests to join. The next step was to gain Britain's approval.

7: After the BNA Act was passed, Canada purchased the great Northwest, and Prince Edward Island, British Columbia and Newfoundland decided to join Confederation. Now the nation finally stretched from sea to shining sea with its independance reached peacefully and through negatiation. | England passed the British North America Act on July 1, 1867. It declared the colonies of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and the Canadas to be united as the "Dominion of Canada" with four provinces under the names of Ontario (formerly Canada West), New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Quebec (Canada East). It recognized Ottawa to be the capital of the new nation. The BNA act was based on the 72 resolutions written at the Quebec conferences which basically became Canada's constituition. But unlike the resolutions, the BNA act also recognized the authority of the English monarchy. | British North America Act

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  • Title: The Confederation: The Building of Canada
  • A summary of important people and events from the Confederation of Canada.
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  • Published: about 10 years ago