Lecture 20 and 21 – Road to Confederation and Making the Dominion
Road to Confederation
Reasons for considering Confederation
- Pressure from Britain for unification of colonies
- Public debt (railway)
- Political deadlock
- Desire to acquire Northwest
- Fear of American annexation
The Trent Affair – Nov, 1861, American warship seized two confederate envoys on their way
to England to secure resistance for the South
The Great Coalition – Union of Canada East and Canada West to form a federation. Led by
Brown and Macdonald
Charlottetown Conference – Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and PEI consider union among
themselves. Afraid of being drawn into religious struggles between Canada East and West they
begin talks and organize a meeting to push for self unification.
Quebec Conference – Delegates present 72 resolutions, these became the British North America
Debate over Confederation
Debate between the Canadas, Antoine Dorion felt English Canada was presenting confederation
as a tool for their own gain.
Felt English/Canadian representation from Canada West and the Maritimes would outnumber
George Cartier tried to prove confederation would be political and not cultural as much of the
French population thought.
Final vote on Confederation, 91 For and 33 Against
Atlantic Canada Relucatant A.J. Swith, opposition leader, led the anti-confederation forces in New Brunswick. He argued
that it would undermine New Brunswick to only 15 seats in parliament.
Joseph Howe argued that Nova Scotia would lose its identity in the Confederation, he favoured
colonial ties to Britain.
PEI felt confederation offered very little substance. It would mean higher taxes and higher tariffs.
By 1865 only Canada West was in full favour of Confederation. All 4 Maritime Provinces
opposed and Canada East has serious reservations.
British Support for Confederation
Britain wanted to reduce its expensive role in protecting its colonies.
Britain agreed to the loan interest for the intercolonial railway if the Maritimes joined
In 1865 some American politicians advocated using their experienced army to annex the BNA
Fenian Raids – Group of Irish republicans wanted to capture BNA colonies and hold them as
ransom to liberate Ireland from British rule.
The fear of American annexation pushed the population towards