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Transcript of Canadian Confederation
Political deadlock led to the Great Coalition in the United Province of Canada.
In 1841, Canada West and Canada East were part of the United Province of Canada. The United Province of Canada was a British colony in North America. Each region had equal number of seats in their joint Legislative Assembly, so it was possible for one group to stop legislation that the other group wanted to pass. A Legislative Assembly was a group of elected people in each region to pass laws. Legislation is a decision, but in this case it is a law. In order to form a government with a majority, at least one party from each section had co-operate in a coalition. A coalition was two or more parties joining together temporary. In the 1860’s, the Liberal Conservative Party from Canada West and le Parti bleu from Canada East came together in a coalition and were closely balanced by the coalition of the Reform Party from Canada West and le Parti rouge from Canada East. Passing legislation for the government in power became difficult because it was hard to get a strong enough majority. This led to political deadlock and changes in government. The politicians involved in the Great Coalition wanted to form a federal union. This would allow both Canada East and West to have their own provincial government. There would also be a central government to deal with matters that concerned both East and West Canada.
A railway linking the colonies was needed to increase trade and to move troops.
By 1860, Canada West, Canada East, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia had its own railway. The Intercolonial Railway was an historic railway that operated from 1872 to 1918. The purpose of this railway was to improve land-based transportation with the Atlantic colonies .The intercolonial railway would overcome obstacles such as when the St. Lawrence River would freeze each winter, stopping water transportation between the colonies. This also made the distance between the colonies much shorter. The railway also helped to increase trade among the colonies, speeding up mail delivery, and to move troops from one colony to another in case of war, especially from the United States. Unfortunately, by 1860 the Grand Trunk Railway and the Great Western Railway faced financial trouble and became bankrupt. The railway building in the North American Colonies came to a stop. However, some politicians began to dream of a new country, united by a railway. Reason 3
Cancellation of the Reciprocity Treaty by United States in 1865 ended free trade between British North America and the United States.
From 1854 to 1865, the Reciprocity Treaty allowed British North America and the United States to trade without cost. Due to this treaty, agriculture products and raw materials could be sold across the border without high tariffs to be paid. The Reciprocity Treaty was ended by the United States in 1865. The Reciprocity Treaty ended because the United States thought that British North America was the only nation benefiting from this. People in the colonies of British North America began to think to join together in order to trade without any tariffs. Reason 4
There was a threat of American expansion into British North America.
During 1860, a civil war took place in which Northern and Southern states fought each other. The Southern raiders used Canadian territory as a base. When the war ended in 1865, the British colonies were accused of helping the Southern raiders who were fleeing from the Northern troops. The British government had supported the South in the conflict which made the relationship between the United States worse with the British. From that act forward, the British colonies became afraid of Americans expanding in their territory. Their nightmares came true when the Fenian s launched armed raids across the border to the British Colonies. Fenians were Irish Catholics in the United States who wanted end to British rule in Ireland. Since they could not attack Britain directly, they attacked the British colonies. Another threat was the American belief in the Manifest Destiny. The Manifest Destiny was taking over and expanding to westward lands. British North America was concerned about the Americans taking over their western lands .The people in British North America thought of uniting the colonies for a better chance of protection. Reason 5
Great Britain wanted her colonies to be more self-sufficient.
In the mid-1860s, Great Britain’s attitude toward her colonies began to change in North America. Opinion was divided about the colonies being a benefit to Great Britain. Some of the British politicians wanted to keep the colonies. In 1864, gold, wealth, silver, and materials were no longer in effect. Some people in Great Britain wanted the raw materials, big profits from the markets, and goods from the colonies. The colonies provided an opportunity for British people to immigrate to North America. If they moved to the British colony they could still be British citizens. The reason these politicians wanted the colonies was so they could pay the government and the A Federal Union for the British North American colonies was seen to be the best way to become more self – sufficient. The Federal Union had to co – operate and share costs for things like railway building and defense. Great Britain’s decision was to encoudefenses.rage the Federal Union because many North Americans were becoming loyal to Britain. In British North America governs were told to encourage confederation Reason 6
Some people (especially in Canada West) wanted to expand settlement into Rupert’s Land and the North-West Territories.
The supplies of goods and farmland in Canada West was dwindling which means it was decreasing. People were looking to the west like Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta for settlement. The Americans also were thinking of moving towards the west. If the colonies in British North America joined and annex the western lands they could take over the western lands before the Americans. Antoine-Aimé DORION Before the confederation Dorion led le parti rouge in the legislative Assembly of the United Province of Canada. He and his party oppose the confederation. Dorion and his party were concerned about the strong powers Canada given to the proposed federal government. The French speaking people of east have threat of proposed federal government in seventy-two Resolution. In 1873 Alexander Mackenzie came to power of the government, and now Dorion was appointed to be minister of justice. JOSEPH HOWE Joseph Howe wanted to build a railway from Halifax to Quebec. In order for his idea to work he needed the governments of Nova Scotia, United province of Canada, and Great Britain to co-operate. His idea had failed. In the 1860s Joseph Howe led the fight against Confederation in Nova Scotia. Howe tried to get Nova Scotia to withdraw but it did not work. In 1869 he accepted confederation and became the cabinet minister in federal government. George Brown George Brown was a leader of the Reform (Clear Grit) party. Clear Grit was against confederation. George Brown decided to work with Macdonald and Cartier (were for confederation and on the opposite team). All three together formed the Great Coalition. It was Brown’s idea to form the Great Coalition to break the political dead lock. John A. Macdonald John A. Macdonald helped create the Liberal conservatives party (Tory) in Canada West in 1854, and soon became the Leader of Tory. Macdonald worked hard to bring the first four provinces together into confederation. Also he was one of the fathers of confederation. As a leader of Tory he was a strong supporter of the Railroad. George – Étienne Cartier George – Étienne Cartier was a leader of Le Parti bleu. Cartier, Macdonald and Brown formed the Great Coalition (first step toward confederation). Alexander Galt Alexander Galt was a supporter of the confederation. Galt helped to create the great coalition and after that he became a conservative in the Great coalition Cabinet. Samuel Leonard Tilley Samuel Leonard Tilley represented New Brunswick at both the Charlottetown and Quebec conferences. Finally in the end he led this argument to convincing people of New Brunswick to join confederation. Charles Tupper Charles Tupper became the premier of Nova Scotia. Although he didn’t really lead his colony into confederation, he is given credit for his entry into confederation. He was also the minister of Railway and Canals, so he planned everything about the railway. James Colledge Pope James Colledge Pope was a successful businessman. He joined Confederation in 1873. Following confederation Pope became the first federal member in Prince Edward Island. Pope also spent money from the government funding to build the railroad, which was one of the main steps to confederation. Pictures