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CHALLENGES TO CONFEDERATION

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Janine Stanlick

on 22 November 2016

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Transcript of CHALLENGES TO CONFEDERATION

CHALLENGES TO CONFEDERATION
Conflicts in the Province of Canada
Canada East and Canada West

The two diverse groups of the
French-Catholics
in Canada East
, and the
English-Protestants

in Canada West
, meant that having only one government ruling them both was a
challenge
.
Brown
: wanted to reduce the
political power of the French and
have them
conform
to the English
policies.
Macdonald
: wanted to uphold the French rights and protect their
equal representation
in the government.
In the end, the two agreed that Confederation offered a better chance at resolving their conflicts because Canada East and Canada West would both have their own
local government
, but also work together under one federal, centralized government.
This was a
significant
moment
on the path to Confederation.

In Canada East:
Many people
opposed
Confederation; however, George-Étienne Cartier believed that uniting together would offer them better protection, more independence and a better future for the French.
It’s possible that Macdonald’s stance on protecting the French-Catholics rights may have swayed Cartier’s decision.

The Great
Coalition
Macdonald, Brown and Cartier formed an
alliance
in June of 1864 which was called the Great Coalition. These three men worked to develop the
Federal system
for Canada East and Canada West (the Canadas) with the goal of including the other British North American colonies, Rupert’s Land and the North-
Western Territory.


Concerns in Canada East –
(fairly anti-Confederation)
They were concerned that the central
government’s decisions wouldn’t take into
account the valid concerns of the
individual provinces.

Concerns in the Atlantic Colonies
The worry was that with their smaller
populations
it would mean that their
opinions would not be reflected as
strongly or be considered as
influential as those of the
Canadas.


In Canada West
: The Conservative Party leader
John A. Macdonald
and the Liberal Party leader
George Brown
were hostile opponents. They didn’t agree on
much, especially the rights of
the
French
.
The Federal Union
they hoped to create would
give power to a central government, but also to the provinces themselves to run their own affairs.

Britain
supported this idea (
and this was very important to the success of Confederation
), but many groups across British North America
did not
. They worried that one central government would cause
more harm than good.

Newfoundland –
fairly anti-Confederation
Economically, Newfoundland wasn’t
doing well at the time; however, opposers to Confederation believed that their fisheries were
their most important resource. They worried that agreeing to Confederation would
take away their independence
for making their own laws, and take away their control of their own natural resources, while not really offering anything amazing in return.

Prince Edward Island - fairly anti-Confederation
They were concerned that they would offer up the control of their own
rights
, and share their
plentiful
resources
with a government in
which their small population would
have very little say about
anything.

Nova Scotia –
actively opposed to Confederation
They felt that with their successful agricultural,
fishing, shipping and mining industries, along with
the development of their railroads, they were already
flourishing
. They felt like their government was already
secure. They didn’t see the point of unifying, because they were already self-sufficient and successful.


New Brunswick – split decision over Confederation
In 1865 the anti-Confederation politician
Albert J Smith
was elected. He was concerned that because of how small a colony they were; the larger Upper Canada would hold total control over them. But in 1866, Smith quit his position due to too
much
pressure from Britain
to conform to
Confederation. So, another election was held and
this time the winner, Samuel Leonard Tilley,
was
pro-Confederation
.

A Possible Maritime Union

The Maritime colonies were dealing with
many challenges. Many of the leaders from these
colonies were concerned that aligning themselves
with
the Province of Canada
would mean that they would
no longer have any power or independence over what happened in their own colonies.

Arthur Hamilton Gordon
, the lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick, believed that a union between only the
Maritime
colonies of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, offered a better solution to their challenges. They would be able to pool their tax dollars to pay for important
and necessary
infrastructure
(like roads and railways),
but maintain independence and power over their own colonies.
The Charlottetown Conference
in
September 1864 had leaders from each of
these colonies meeting to discuss
this union.

What about the
Northwest Region?
Supporters of Confederation believed that they
needed to
convince
people in Canada East and the Atlantic colonies to join the union, but they were also very interested in
taking over
the North-West Territory and Rupert’s Land. Not to convince them to unify, but simply to stake claim over the area.

While the Hudson’s Bay company didn’t own these lands, it
owned the rights
to the fur trade in these areas. By the mid-1860s however, the fur-trade was in serious decline. Because of the concern that the
Americans
would also lay claim to the lands, the supporters of Confederation realized the great importance of
gaining the rights over the land for further
settlement purposes.

Inclusion of the Pacific Coast

The end of the gold rush was not good for the
economy
on the Pacific Coast. In 1866, Vancouver
Island and British Colombia were forced to unite by the British government to try to help improve their economies. Unfortunately, this union didn’t create a government that felt responsible for the people because the officials had not been elected by the people. Rather, they were
appointed
by Britain. Because of this, and their increasing debts, British Colombia considered joining Confederation. The obvious issue of course was
how far away
they were from the rest of the colonies. Another strike against Confederation was that some people thought that it would be better to be taken over by
the Americans
than it would be to join the rest
of the colonies.
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