Confederation

Report
Chapter 2: Building A Nation 1840-1867 pgs. 73 – 88
CONFEDERATION
BUILDING A NATION
Politicians dreamed of
Confederation, a union of
the BNA colonies into a
federation (division of
powers btwn central govt
and local govt).
 It took many deals and
compromises for it to
become a reality.

1846 – BRITAIN REPEALED THE CORN LAWS
The Corn Laws gave trading
privileges to Britain’s colonies
 But Britain wanted to move
towards Free Trade
 Britain now bought goods where
they were cheapest
 The cancelling of the Corn Laws
left Canada in a depression. A
period of low economic activity and
high unemployment.
 Thus, Canada started looking
towards creating its own country.

1847 - LORD ELGIN BECOMES GOVERNOR
Sent by Britain with the task
of putting Responsible
Government into operation.
 Colony would become
Britain’s economic partner,
not Britain’s responsibility.


Advantageous to Britain b/c it
was expensive to govern,
defend and financially support
the colonies.
1849 – REBELLION LOSSES BILL
Government of Canada
passed a bill giving financial
compensation to anyone,
including the rebels who lost
property during the Rebellions
of Upper and Lower Canada.

Reaction:
Anti-Rebel forces were outraged
 Lord Elgin was outraged – but powerless (No Veto)
 Treason seen as being rewarded
 Violence erupts – riots, Elgin’s carriage attacked, and …

PARLIAMENT BUILDING’S BURNT DOWN

Elgin’s signature marked the beginning of a new form
of government in Canada  RESPONSIBLE GOVT
FILM CLIP
CONFEDERATION: THE CREATION OF CANADA

Advantages:

Disadvantages:
SIX FACTORS LEADING TO CONFEDERATION
The Pressure Points:
1. Need for Rail Links
2. War and Expansionism in
the US
3. Fenian Raids
4. Trouble with Trade
5. Changing British Attitudes
6. Political Deadlock
#1 RAILWAY LINKS

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A railway linking the colonies was needed to increase trade
and to move troops for defence.
Travel by water was slow and rivers froze in the winter
Railways made it possible to get farm crops and
manufactured goods to market quickly and cheaply.
Vital importance to the economy of Canada
If the colonies joined together they all shared in the costs of
an Intercolonial Railway.
#2 WAR AND EXPANSIONISM OF USA

American Civil War
(1861 – 1865)
The Northern and
Southern American
states were at war with
one another
 Britain supported the
South
 In the end, the Northern
states accused the
British colonies of
helping the Southerners
 There was talk of
invading BNA colonies

#2 WAR AND EXPANSIONISM OF USA

MANIFEST DESTINY:
the idea that the destiny of the US was to include all of BNA

As a result, Canadians were very suspicious of US intentions
Scattered BNA colonies had weak defences against the Americans
BUT – as a UNITED and INDEPENDENT nation, the US would be less likely
to invade.


“As fragments, we shall be lost; but let us be
united and we shall be a rock.”
- Thomas D’Arcy McGee
(Canada East)
“If we desire to obtain England’s support for our
defence, we must help ourselves. When we are
united, the enemy will know that if he attacks
any province he will have to deal with the
combined forces of the Empire.”
- George-Etienne Cartier
(Canada East)
#3 FENIAN RAIDS




The Fenian Brotherhood started in
Ireland to promote armed rebellion
against British rule.
The Irish resented British rule and
occupation and still blamed Britain
for the Potato Famine.
When the rebellion in Ireland failed,
the Fenians in American planned to
harm Britain by striking at Canada.
Some Fenians believed that a
takeover of Britain’s North American
possessions would force Britain to
negotiate freedom for Ireland.
#3 FENIAN RAIDS




The Fenians never mounted more than small border raids
Although small in scale, the invasions and resulting rumours
had a major impact.
The Fenian attacks convinced many that the US threat to
Canada was real.
Macdonald used the raids to his political advantage in
developing support for his dream of Confederation
#4 TROUBLE WITH TRADE

Repealing of the Corn Laws




Cancellation of the Reciprocity Treaty


Britain entered a period of free trade (trade between
countries w/o taxes involved)
BNA colonies lost their special trade relationship with Britain
Result: Economic hard times.
In 1865 limited free trade ended between BNA and the USA
New idea amongst the BNA colonies – if the colonies
joined together among themselves, removing the
tariffs(taxes) btwn colonies, economic prosperity would
continue.
#5 CHANGING BRITISH ATTITUDES

Great Britain wanted her colonies to be more
self-sufficient.
 Colonies
were too expensive to govern, defend, and
support financially.

British governors in each colony were told to
encourage colonies to unite.
#6 POLITICAL DEADLOCK

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Under the Act of the Union, Canada East and West had
an equal number of representatives in the Legislative
Assembly.
Members from French and English provinces rarely
agreed on an issue, since what was good for French
Canada invariably hurt English Canada, and vice versa.
One group often voted against the other and no
legislation would pass
 political deadlock
Canada West wanted “rep by pop”
Since Canada West was larger, they would have more
representatives in the Legislative Assembly.
CANADA EAST

Parti Rouge (radicals)




Led by Louis-Joseph Papineau
Supported French-speaking
farmers & business people
Hated Act of the Union
Parti Bleu




Led by George-Etienne Cartier
Focused on the economic development of Canada
and protection of French-Canadian rights
Wide support in the province and in government
Prepared to work with Canada West to achieve its
goals
CANADA WEST

Clear Grits (radicals)





Led by George Brown
Defended English-Canadian interests
Disliked Catholics and French
Supported “rep by pop”
Tories (moderate)



Led by John A. Macdonald
Made a deal with the Parti Bleu to combine and form a
government
Strong proponent of Confederation with a strong central
government
#6 POLITICAL DEADLOCK

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Confederation was seen as a way to break the
impasse.
It would be more beneficial to give each colony
their own provincial governments to legislate
matters of provincial interest.
The Political Deadlock lead to the Great
Coalition in the United Province of Canada
called the Confederation Party.
The purpose: to create a federal union in the
Province of Canada and to seek a larger union
with the other BNA colonies.
The members of this union would retain some
powers over their own affairs and would turn
some powers over to a more powerful central
government.
THE CONFERENCES

Canadian confederation was actually more “deal”
than “ideal.” Why?

A series of meetings took place where
representatives from all the colonies hammered
out the details of a new union.
1.
2.
3.
Charlottetown Conference, 1864
Quebec Conference, 1864
London Conference, 1866
CHARLOTTETOWN CONFERENCE

The meetings began in 1864 in Charlottetown, PEI,
where the Maritime colonies planned to discuss a
Maritime union.


Members of the Great Coalition joined the meeting
Discussion of a Maritime union was replaced with
Canada’s proposal for a BNA federation
QUEBEC CONFERENCE



Planned the birth of a new nation
Difficult, time consuming, and much discussion, and
much disagreement.
OUTCOME:



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Provincial governments will retain many powers  nation
would become a federation.
Produced Seventy-Two Resolutions – statements on
government
Each colony had to debate and approve the legislation
by their own legislature.
In the end, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Canada
decided to join together as one nation, and to ask
Britain for permission.
LONDON CONFERENCE, 1866
In London, England the British Parliament
passed the British North American Act, creating
the Dominion of Canada on July 1st 1867.

BNA ACT: CANADA’S CONSTITUTION

The BNA Act became Canada’s constitution
 the
laws that outline the powers and
responsibilities of the government as well as
guarantee the rights of the people
DISTRIBUTION OF POWER
Federal
•Postal Service
•Defence
•Regulation of Trade and
Commerce
•Navigation and Shipping
•Coinage and Currency
•Fisheries
Provincial
•Education
•Administration of Justice
•Maintenance of Hospitals
•Timber
•Prisons
What responsibility do the Provincial and Federal
government share?
taxation
HOMEWORK
Many internal and external factors led to the
achievement of Confederation.
Choose either internal or external factors and
write a well-developed paragraph explaining
how it led to the achievement of
confederation. Double space!
 Due Next Class

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