Revisiting Confederation – November 30
I. Resistance in the Maritimes
•Support for Confederation strongest in Canada West and weakened the further
east one travelled
•The achievement of British North American Union involved significant
development related to terminology-Canada West renamed Ontario and Canada
oThe term they settled on for Canada was “dominion”
oOne hypothesis-one of the key fathers of Confederation, Samuel Leonard
Tilley, came across the 72nd Psalm in his Bible-talks about God having
dominion from sea to sea-he identifies this as an appropriate term
oTerminology speaks to the deep religious conviction of authorities like
oHas an important constitutional significance-dominion is suitable because
Canada was NOT an independent country legally. Great Britain remained
in control of Canada’s external affairs. Not recognized as an independent
country until the early 1930s
•Resistance to Confederation was both long-standing and widespread-i.e. vocal
opponents of Confederation before and after 1867
•Resistance to Confederation in Nova Scotia was strong
oGreat critic was Joseph Howe. His opponent was Charles Tupper
Tupper felt that Confederation would be beneficial in Nova Scotia.
Felt that an inter-colonial railway would attach the Maritimes to
the larger markets. Recognized that as a result of Joseph Howe’s
anti-Confederation arguments there was considerable opposition
Tupper decides to hold a vote on whether Confederation should be
Tupper forces a vote and prevents a meaningful debate over
Confederation from taking place
As a result of this vote, Confederation was ratified.
Representatives from the provincial legislature agreed to accept it
oNova Scotia was dragged into Confederation
oAll but one of the seats in Nova Scotia go to anti-Confederation
oTwo categories- 1.) people who wanted to maintain Nova Scotia’s
historical links to Britain 2.) advocated closer ties to the U.S.
In both cases, Confederation is viewed as a threat to what these
oBetween 1855 and 1866, a reciprocity agreement (mutual lowering of
tariff barriers) existed between the various BNA colonies and the U.S.
As a result of this agreement, there is an intensification of trade
between North America and the U.S.
In 1866, the U.S. elects to cancel the agreement-they do this