Lecture 23 – Expanding Confederation
The major challenge facing the nation was its sense nationalism, or lack thereof.
The assumed basis of national unity did not exist
- Common language
- Ethnic origin
Emerging Expressions of Nationalism
Canada First movement – British and Protestant Canada’s attempt to identify and promote a
nationalism for the new Dominion of Canada.
Ultramontane’s – French/Catholic group who believed in the subordination of the state to the
The Guibord Affair – An event when the Catholic Church refused to give Guibord a Christian
burial. In 1874 the British Empire ruled that burial was a civil right.
Conservative Government Forced to Resign
The Pacific Scandal – Revealed that Macdonald and Carter had accepted more than $300,000 in
campaign funds from the Canada Pacific Company who was a contender for the railway contract.
The scandal forced Macdonald to resign and a liberal government was formed.
Canada under Liberal Leadership
Alexander Mackenzie won office with 138 of 206 seats as Canada’s first Liberal leader.
The liberal party lacked internal unity; they built their party platform out of a common dislike for
Mackenzie took office during an economic depression; this forced him to postpone the building
of B.C.’s railway.
In 1875, they established the Supreme Court of Canada, the first Canadian court to review laws.
They also introduced the secret ballot and practice of 1 day election across the entire country
The National Policy of John A. Macdonald Macdonald’s “national policy” consisted of 3 essential items.
- National policy introduced, high protective tariff to secure national trade
- Completion of transcontinental railway
- Settlement of West through immigration
The conservatives argued that a protective tariff would shift trade from north/south axis to an
east/west axis and therefore help the national economy.
The liberals however believed that the tariff was simply there to benefit central Canadians.
The tariff heightened the feeling of division by pitting the Maritimes/BC against Ontario/Quebec
Building the Canadian Pacific Railway
A railway was needed to link all of Canada together and permit Canada to become a great North
Reasons for building the railway:
- The need to secure control over Northwest Territories to prevent American colonizers
- It would make Canada a valuable member of the British Empire by creating travel to Asia
- Politicians believed in the resource potential of the Northwest
- Seen as an essential component of uniting the new nation
- The promise to BC of a railway in 10 years obliged every government party to pursue the
building of the railway
Search for a Private Company
MacDonald favoured a private company to build the railway. He settled on the Canada Pacific
Company after receiving generous campaign funding from the company’s president.
The Pacific scandal caused them to resign and the Liberals only performed work on the railway
when money was available.
The Canadian Pacific Railway Company took over the contract under very generous terms with
the Conservatives re-took power.
The CPR Route The CPR Company adjusted their route based on proximity to the American railway, discovery
of coal mines, and increased confidence in fertile land in the pr