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Factors Leading to confederation

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Anne Winch

on 27 September 2014

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Transcript of Factors Leading to confederation

Why did some of the colonies put aside their differences to create a new country?
What external factors threatened the future of British North America?
What internal factors caused the colonies to work together?
What were some conflicting points of view about issues facing the colonies?
External Trade
Until now the colonies depended on trading outside the settlements, mainly with Britain and the U.S.
Free Trade
Britain began to move away from colonial preference in 1846. It repealed the Corn Laws which governed the import and export of grains and kept the cost of wheat high. This was important for BNA as this was a major export for them.
Free Trade was a devastating development for BNA as now they had lost their trading advantage over the US. The US now took over a larger portion of the British market.
Reciprocity Treaty
BNA colonies had a good export trade to the US. Popular products were lumber from New Brunswick, fish from Nova Scotia, and wheat from the Canadas.
Intercolonial Trade
Around 1860, BNA's economy was weak. Economies need large populations in order to develop and businesses need people to work for them and to buy their products.
Factors Leading to confederation
The population of the colonies was still small and trade between the colonies was limited. Trade was hindered by the lack of an efficient transportation system to move goods between the colonies.
Also, some colonies used duties or tariffs to keep out goods from other colonies to protect their own goods. Some politicians realized that the colonies were missing out on some opportunities and should try to increase the trading between colonies.
Britain had the largest economy in the world and had a great demand for imported, raw materials. BNA shipped wood, agricultural goods and other raw materials to Britain. British law allowed this without tariffs.
The US was developing rapidly and exported to Britain but was subject tariffs on their goods because they were no longer tied to Britain. Because of this, it was more expensive for the US to export their goods, and it gave an advantage to BNA. This was called
colonial preference
because it gave better treatment to the colonies of Britian.

Montreal became a thriving and important port in the shipping trade.
During the 1850's Britain moved towards a system of Free Trade
This meant all imported goods, no matter where they came from, were allowed to be brought into Britain duty free, or without taxes or tariffs.
Britain was the largest producer of manufactured goods in the world. Britain believed that free trade in all products would give it a larger share of the world trade market.
In 1854, BNA signed the Reciprocity Treaty with the US. This meant that both countries would reduce the tariffs on imported goods, basically allowing free trade on natural products between BNA and the US.
Exports for BNA grew, and it looked like the colonies had found another market for their goods.
Bad News!
In 1865, the US decided to cancel the Reciprocity Treaty because it thought that BNA was getting the better deal. There were still tariffs on manufactured goods going into the US, which they didn't like; plus Britain had taken the side of the Southern States in the Civil War and wanted to punish them.
This meant no more free trade of natural or raw materials to the US.

This was a terrible development for the colonies. First they lose their trade to Britain, and now they have lost trade to the US.
The Solution
Business leaders and government officials in BNA wondered how they were going to replace the lost trade revenue.
Could they establish an East-West internal trading link?
This was a difficult proposition. All the colonies had different governments. There was too much geography and not a good transportation system to move goods between the colonies.
Join the Colonies
For the first time people began to think that it might be best to join the colonies under one government.
For the Maritime colonies, the idea had a lot of benefits. It would allow their producers to sell their goods to a much wider market.
What benefits would there be for Canada East and Canada West?
Political Issues
Canada West and Canada East united in 1841.
In 1857, Ottawa was declared the capital city of the union and new parliament buildings were established.

Four major political parties were developed in the New Parliament.
Which of these parties do you think were most likely to work together?
There was a problem in the legislature when the two Canada's united. Each colony had the same number of seats, meaning they had the same number of votes. This is called
equal representation.

This often lead to
Political Deadlock.
This is when two sides have the same number of votes, making it impossible to come to a decision.
Representation by Population
Some politicians thought that equal representation was unfair. Canada West had more people than Canada East, therefore they should have more people in the legislature.
Representation by population meant that for every certain number of people there should be one seat in the legislature. Canada West calculated that according to population numbers, they should have 16 more seats in the government.
The debate raged on in the legislature, and three politicians became important players in the rep by pop game.

They were: George Brown and John A. Macdonald from Canada West. and Georges Etienne Cartier from Canada East.

These three men become very important in the issue of joining the colonies into a single country and are often known as some of the Father's of Confederation.
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