Transcript of Should Canada West Join Confederation?
By: Jahanvi, Amanda, and Lucas From: 8GN Should Canada West Join Confederation? Population In the early 1860's, the total population of Canada West was approximately 1,396,000 people. The population increased by 1867, when there were 1,500,000 people living in Canada. Of these 1,500,000 people, 79% of those people living in Canada had been born in Canada. These people that lived in Canada were given the name of “British North Americans”. The cities within Canada were broken up into separate population counts. Toronto had about 56,000 people, then Hamilton had 26,700, Ottawa had 21,500, London had exactly 18,526, Kingston had 12,400 people and Brantford had the least with 8100. The colony of Canada West had the greatest population of all the colonies of British North America, hence, the reason George Brown suggested representation by population when there was a political deadlock in 1841. The people that lived in Canada had cultures of the French, mainly, while the rest of British North Americans was constructed of English, Welsh, Irish, Scottish, and the remainder consisted of other foreign origins. Location Political Situation Political Situation Part II Location: Canada West was west of Canada East, and for the most part, northern of the United States. At the time, and still currently, it remains as the southern part of British North America, (today, Canada). On the map below, it is a diagram showing the location of Canada West( Upper Canada) back in the early 1860's. Back in the 1860's each of the colonies had their separate capital city. The government travelled to the different cities, and discussed while inclosed in the Legislative Assembly. During this time, there were many political situations. For instance, Sir John A. MacDonald had been Prime Minister at the time leading the Conservative, and was against George Brown and his opposing party, the Reform Party. There were political problems such as Canada West wanting more seats in the Assembly. This was a possible idea, in the form of Representation by Population suggested by George Brown because of political deadlock. Political deadlock in the 1860's was because both Canada East and Canada West had identical seats in the Assembly, therefore, whenever a vote took place, the votes were evenly matched, hence forth, no bills or laws could get by. That was the moment when George Brown suggested 2 ways to get out of political deadlock. The first was to do representation by population. And of course, Canada East disagreed because Canada West had a larger population than themselves. Therefore, they would be out voted in government. The second way was Coalition Government; this was when 2 political parties would join into one government in the time of an emergency. Since both sides were evenly matched, this solution was called for. So then, George Brown convinced members of his party to join and support the coalition government, and furthermore, coalition government also had 2 ways to go. One was form the union of all the British North American colonies. The second was to split up Canada into the two current provinces, Quebec and Ontario. Digging deeper into solution #2, each province would have it's own control and local affairs, and would have representation by population, which was one of the solutions suggested by George Brown, but there would be one main government that watched over the other provinces. The other colonies could join in Confederation later if desired. Another political problem back then was the double shuffle. The double shuffle was a situation where either party would receive a non-confidence vote within 48 hours. A non-confidence vote a vote that if passed, basically “kicked out” the current government out of control. It was a way of saying, “we no longer support you”. John A. MacDonald and George Brown each received non-confidence votes within 48 hours. This activity was named the double-shuffle. The Assembly eventually voted for John A. MacDonald to come back and the assembly forced George Brown and his grits out of Prime Minister control and the government. After Sir John A. MacDonald returned to his reign, he laughed about the “double-shuffle”. Economy (Major Industries, Resources, Trade) Economic Situation: In the 1860’s there were very little industries, and included few workers as well. Back then, the only industries were timber, milling in canals, (in agreement with the Corn Laws from Great Britain,) the railway construction, glass, paint, furniture, carriages, clothing, and agriculture. The main economic action that took place in Canada West during 1846-1865; Great Britain, Canada, and the United States of America were involved with it. Two main events; the cancelation of Corn Laws and the Trade Preference, continued by free trade, and the Reciprocity agreement among Canada and the United States of America. Back before 1846, there was something known as the “Corn Laws”. A law provided by Great Britain that wheat and flour could enter from the British North American Colonies on a very low tax; the preferred rate. The U.S. would transport their wheat to Canada, Canada, had invested great amounts of money to build mills and canals to make flour and transport it. And then Canada would ship it over to Great Britain under decreased taxes to enter its markets. Then in 1846, Britain suddenly cancelled the Corn Laws, and put an end to the trade preference. This caused British North Americans crazy, and found themselves in economic turmoil. That had already spent all that money on canals and mills to make money off of wheat and flour and now it had all gone to waste. This was a tragic moment which made British North Americans think of another way to trade; Reciprocity. The Reciprocity Treaty was agreements among Canada and the United States of America to have their goods enter each other’s markets with no tariffs. Either side could end the Reciprocity Treaty within 10 years. It started in 1854, and yes, concluded in 1865. This was one of the reasons for Confederation. Economy Part 2 However, today we once again have free trade, which started not so long ago in 1989. In the Reciprocity Treaty, Canadians would ship over fish, timber. grain and cattle, in exchange for coal, pork, cotton, wool, and flour from the Unites States. The Reciprocity Treaty was then cancelled in 1865 for several reasons. 2 of the main ones were because the Americans knew that by signing the agreement to the reciprocity treaty, they were losing money by allowing Canadian goods into their market without tax, while Canadians were benefiting from the Reciprocity treaty because the other British North American colonies charged each other high tariffs for their goods, so by being able to ship goods into the States without tariffs was saving them bundles of cash. Also, during the American Civil the British supported the South, therefore, because British North American colonies had a strong ties with Great Britain, the Americans interpreted that as in which the British North American colonies supported the South as well, even though British North Americans did not want to be involved at all! In fact, the only major reason why Great Britain supported the South was because the South provided them with cotton. But in the end, the North won the civil war, and was angry at British North American colonies, (in this case, Canada West and East,) for “supposedly” supporting the South, they wanted to immediately wanted to cancel the Reciprocity Treaty, which sadly, in the end, got cancelled. This was the call for Confederation! Because currently, at the time, the colonies were charging each other extremely high tariffs to ship their goods in, so if they united as one, then the colonies could have free trade with one another, and so, the colonies would not go bankrupt. It was the only logical solution. Transportation Transportation was desperately needed in the eighteen hundreds. The union needed a railway to travel from Canada West to the Atlantic Ocean to Halifax. There were clearly no cars or trucks at the time, so they used trains to transport goods from one another. The rail links were a good idea because; it had the ability to transport people, goods, and other things by rail without having to enter the United States. The railway construction started in 1818. The year began to pass by, and the railway started to develop more and extend. In 1835, they started building steam powered trains. Then after 12 years, they managed to build 16km of railway. 11 years after that they had constructed 106km of railway. They had made excellent progress. Between 1850, and 1867, 3570 km of track was added to the colonies. Creating this railway greatly improved Canada West’s defense, so if the colony was to be attacked, troops could be transported by railway to any part of Canada along the Canada and United States border. The cost was tremendous. This is what caused Canada West to go onto the verge of being bankrupt. In order for the Grand Trunk to be completed, the colonies had to unite so that the expenses could be split. The rail connection with the Atlantic colonies was very essential or the defense of Canada. If British North America were to be attacked during the winter, troops would be rushed to Halifax. The St. Lawrence would be blocked by ice, which meant that there would be no way for the troops (the Maritime colony) to use a form of water transportation to get to Canada, without crossing the United States of America. A railway link was highly essential for the trade and defense of Canada. (Canada West, to be specific.) Defense The defense of Canada was related to the Threat of an American Takeover, and the Fenian raids. This was because from 1861-1865, and American Civil War took place; North vs. South. Then 1 year after in 1866, the Fenian Raid took place. Full transcript
The American Civil War: The Threat of an American Takeover: In 1861, there was the American Civil war. Great Britain took the side of the South, because the South provided them with cotton. When the North heard of that, they jumped to conclusions about Canada, (British North American colonies). Because the colonies had a very strong tie to Britain, so, even though the colonies did not want to be involved, the North interpreted that the colonies were supporting the South as well. This was what caused the threat of an American Takeover, and the cancellation of the Reciprocity Treaty, which was already explained. The Threat of an American takeover, or “Manifest Destiny”, was though up of because the colonies felt that the Americans were growing hostile towards them because they, “supposedly” supported the South during the civil war. Also, some believed in Manifest Destiny because of the Fenian Raid which occurred in 1866. Defense Part II . In 1866, on the night of May 31st, as group of Irish American soldiers alias Fenians invaded Canada. All that they were faced against were weak, untrained, and volunteer Canadian soldiers. Thankfully, though, parts of the colony included British soldiers at the time, so they fought the Fenians, who wanted to claim Canada as “New Ireland”. In the end, the Fenians did not have reinforcements rushed to them, so within a couple of days, the raid was withdrawn. At the time, the Fenians invaded Canada because they wanted to get revenge on Great Britain for taking control over their home country, Ireland. They cut all forms of communication, and wrecked the railways, which had taken decades to build. So, because of the Fenian Raid, and because the North was hostile to Canada, Canada had feared that one day, Manifest Destiny would become a reality. This was one of the factors leading to confederation. If the colonies united, then in case Canada ever got invaded again, other colonies, like the maritime, could send over troops to defend for Canada. For a long time…the British North Americans living near the United States border lived in fear…they were always alert, in case of another Fenian attack. This also caused Sir John A. MacDonald to turn the potential threat of the raids into an argument for Confederation. Canada’s weak defense made Confederation essential for the safety of British North Americans. Alternative I: Our Colony Should Join Others In Confederation Advantages: - Confederation would change 5 colonies into one huge powerful nation.
-It would allow the colonies to trade with each other without any tariffs.
-Canada would become the third largest sea-going nation in the world, following the United States and Britain.
- A new strong country would attract new people
- Since the U.S. cancelled the Reciprocity Agreement with Canada, confederation would provide other markets for their goods.
- In case of a Fenian attack, or war, the colonies could stand and defend each other.
- The French Rights would be protected.
- If colonies unite, then we will be able to finish the Grand Trunk. Disadvantages: - We will lose our independance.
- We have the most money... Why should we give it away to the smaller colonies?
- Don't want to make French second language.
- We only want one main language to communicate through
- Too much empty space; it'd be easier if we were each our own separate country.
- We have the largest population...Won't our descendants make up most of the army? Alternative II: Our Colony Should Not Join Confederation Advantages: - Our colony will have its own freedom and government
-When other colonies do ship in goods, we can still tax them high tariffs and make money off them. Disadvantages: -If we ever get invaded again, no other colonies will help us
-We will lose money shipping our good over to other colonies
-We are starting to be a nuisance to Great Britain, as we are relying on them too much
-Our ties with Britain are starting to weaken, so we are unsure if they will send over troops if we get invaded again
-Britain has cancelled the Corn Laws, and the United States of America have cancelled the Reciprocity Agreement, so if we do NOT join confederation, we will be in economic turmoil
-We need to build the railway to ship goods over! But we are broke! Joining confederation could help split the cost among colonies, but we can’t do that if we’re not joining confederation Alternative III: Our Colony should Join the United States Advantages: - It was a country since 1776, older countries have the resources and knowledge about how to use resources and ship goods faster. ( They know the routes, etc. )
- More people = stronger defense and militia.
- If we join their population, it'd be larger, which means more trade, business, and money. Disadvantages: - Lose independence
- Lose close ties with Britain
- Since we have the most money, we will have to share it amongst such a large population
- Manifest Destiny would partially become reality. Alternative IV: Our Colony Should Only Join a Union of Maritime Colonies Advantages: -In case of a takeover, the Maritime provinces can ship over their troops to help us
-To build a railway to help ship the goods over to other colonies can be split among with the Maritime colonies
-They will not charge us to ship our goods over and we can get goods from other colonies Disadvantages: -Newfoundland will not support of the railway because they have the Atlantic Ocean, and the Gulf of the St. Lawrence for their transportation use
-We cannot receive goods from other colonies other than the Maritime colonies which means we’ll be overstocked on sea food
-Most Maritime colonies use water transportation as their main source of transportation, hence they may be unwilling to pitch in for the railway tracks
-Therefore the top jot note applies the knowledge that we may be stuck in economic turmoil either way unless we join union with all the British North American colonies Our Decision Part II
After the Fenians raided us, we are fearing of Manifest Destiny. Similar to the Threat Of An American Takeover, the Maritime colonies can rush troops over here. This way we won't always be such a burden and nuisance to Great Britain to rely on them so much, and our relationship with the British shall remain stable.
The Need for Rail Links:
If all the colonies united, the cost for the Grand Trunk (railway) could be split, and therefore, they troops could be shipped to wherever needed in case of a raid, without trespassing through the United States border. Canada West is on the verge of going bankrupt. Should the colonies unite, the cost of the railway links can be split. The railway links are to be used for the shipping of militia and goods to other colonies.
Changing British Attitudes:
A group of gathering British alias “Little Englanders” started to believe the colonies are a nuisance to Great Britain. And, we just started charging them high tariffs for their goods to enter our markets. They are starting to grow hostile towards us. They might stop sending troops to help us in war. They might stop supporting us, and stop shipping goods over! Our relationship is us depending on them too much. We need to form our own union to support ourselves. Therefore, ultimately, the logical solution is to unite all the British North American colonies so support for ourselves and remain an independent country.Therefore, it's only logical that Canada West should join Confederation, because all the factors benefit Canada West. Our Decision! We chose to join the colonies in confederation:
Because of the 5 main factors that lead to Confederation:The Threat of An American Takeover,The Trouble With Trade,Fenian Raids,The Need For Rail Links, and Changing British Attitudes
The Threat of an American Takeover:
Should we decide to unite with the other British North American colonies, if the Americans ever threaten to take over again, other colonies can rush their troops here to defend for our country. This will guarantee our safety here and will do all the colonies good. Our troops are too inexperience and weak, but if we join confederation, when we are attacked, the Maritime colonies’ troops can send help to us!
The Trouble With Trade:
After our Reciprocity Agreement with the United States has been cancelled, and Great Britain has called off the trade preference, we are left with no other choice, but to join confederation. This way, it could transport it’s goods to the other colonies without having to pay such a high tariff. Hence, we will not be in economic turmoil from investing all that money into the Corn Laws.