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Transcript of Political Deadlock
Hey guys! Today Amitesh, Ricky, Tegkaran, and Sukhveer will be talking to you about the Political Deadlock issue between Canada East and Canada West in the 1800's. You will learn about how this issue led to Confederation (the birth of Canada). Enjoy!
The Political Deadlock Issue
One of the factors that lead to the unification of Canada was the political deadlock issue. The government system of the Canadas (East and West) in the 1800’s had one very big problem- Canada East and West could never agree with each other upon major issues, because they kept ending up with political deadlock. The political deadlock issue was about situations that occurred because the parties involved could not agree with each other. One of the issues that had to be resolved was the transportation issue. Politicians from Canada West wanted to improve the transportation system so that they would benefit and increase trading between the Canadas. They wanted to expand canals and railways, and they were okay with spending lots of money to do this. But politicians from Canada East had refused to this because they felt that it wasn’t necessary, and that it was a waste of money. This was called political deadlock, where the two parties involved could not agree with each other, and no progress could be made.
The Representation Issue in the 1800's
One of the main causes of political deadlock was the representation issue. Canada East and Canada West had the same amount of seats in the Legislature (65 seats) (called
), even though Canada West was more populated. Both parties had different ideas in store, but since both parties had the same number of seats, there wasn’t a majority, and so no decision could have been made. Politicians in Canada West argued about this, and said that it wasn’t fair that Canada East had the same number of seats. Canada West wanted more seats in the legislature because they were more populated. They calculated that if Canada East had 65 seats, Canada West should have 81 seats. Canada East had refused to this idea because they did not want Canada West to have more seats in the legislature, since they thought that Canada West would pass laws that might harm the French citizens of Canada East (The Canadiens). Canada East was trying to ensure protection for the Canadiens. This issue was called the representation issue. There were three important key politicians in this representation issue: George Brown, John A. Macdonald , and George-Etienne Cartier.
How Political Deadlock led people to think about Confederation
The political issues in Canada lead people in BNA to start thinking about uniting the colonies in Canada because if Canada couldn’t make any progress in their government system, then they wouldn’t be able to solve any of the major issues surrounding them such as transportation. This was a significant issue that had to be dealt with in order for the Canadas to solve other major issues surrounding them (i.e.: transportation). This decision about the seats in the legislature had to be dealt with because there had to be a majority in the government in order to avoid political deadlock, and make progress in the government. Canada West thought that if Canada East had 65 seats, they should have 81 seats. During the Great Coalition, politicians made decisions that fixed this problem by adding a few more seats for Canada West.
Why Political Deadlock had to be Addressed before Unification
Alright fellow politicians! We are here today to discuss the political deadlock issue. This major issue has to be addressed and resolved before we can unite as Canada, because if out two parties in government, Canada East and West, could not agree with each other, we will not be able to unite as advance and make strong decisions to resolve the other major issues surrounding our colonies (such as transportation). Also, we have to be able to show the British monarch that we are able to agree with each other and make strong decisions that would allow us to develop as a nation. If we are always arguing in the Legislature and not making progress with the other major issues in our colonies, the Crown would never be convinced that our colonies can unite as our own nation. We have to convince the British Monarch that we can stand strong independently and we are able to establish a good government system. Therefore, this issue has to be addressed in order for our colonies to proceed with the unification of Canada.
Why Political Deadlock Occurred?
Political deadlock was always occurring in the legislature, mainly because Canada East and Canada West had the same amount of seats in the Legislature (65 seats), even though Canada West was more populated. Both parties had different ideas in store, but since both parties had the same number of seats, there wasn’t a majority, and so no decision could have been made. This issue was called the Representation Issue, and it will be discussed in the next slide.
John A. Macdonald
He was a lawyer from Kingston who he entered the legislature in 1844. He was known for his fairness and political skill. He recognized that the fiery speeches of Cartier and George weren't going to help make any progress with the representation by population issue. He understood that Cartier was fighting to ensure protection for the Canadiens, their language and customs. He also understood how George Brown was just fighting because he believed in representation by population. With both those thoughts, Macdonald thought of a better solution to give George and Cartier what they wanted. He accomplished this with the Great Coalition.
The Representation Issue Today
In today's Canadian voting system, the candidate who gets the most votes wins. But there is problem with that- sometimes more than half of the people who voted didn't vote for the candidate, but just because the candidate has the majority of votes, he/she wins. Because of this issue, people wanted to introduce the
proportional representation system
. According to the textbook, "This system was a voting system in which a political party gets the same proportion of seats in the government as the proportion of votes it received." But, in 2007, a
, which, according to the textbook, is "a vote by the citizens for a proposed government action", was held, but most of the Ontario voters rejected this type of voting system.
George Brown was the political party leader of the Liberals (“Grits”) in Canada West. He was a large supporter of representation by population.
Representation by population
is "the number of elected representative is determined by the size of the population in the region represented", according to the textbook. George Brown was the owner of the newspaper "The Globe", and he used it to write fiery speeches in favour of representation by population. In 1851, he entered politics and became a representative for Toronto in the legislature, and there he tried to convince people in favour of representation by population.
George-Etienne Cartier was the political party leader of the Bleus in Canada East. He was a strong enemy of
representation by population
. The number of
was already very low, and not all of the citizens in Canada East were French. So he thought that giving Canada West more seats would give them too much power, and that it may cause Canada West to pass laws that would harm the French society in Canada East. He was trying to ensure protection for the
Rights of Voters
Another political issue that wasn’t well resolved between the Canadas was the rights each person/religion had in the government system. Only men who owned property were allowed to vote and hold government offices. Women were mainly left out of political life at these times. They had no rights to vote or hold government office and were not eligible to be a part of the debates going on between the Canadas. Aboriginal people were also left out of these important discussions. They did not believe in having “individual property ownership”, and so they did not own any land. Because of this, most aboriginal people were excluded from political discussions, but this mainly changed after a new constitution had been made in the 1980’s. The new constitution includes protection and consideration for everyone living in Canada.
The Great Coalition
The Great Coalition was an important union created by politicians in Canada East and West. This union was included party leaders George Brown, John A. Macdonald, and George Etienne Cartier. This union was held to solve the political deadlock issue. The politicians were trying to make a deal where there was only one majority government, so that there wasn't going to be any political deadlock. But they also had to ensure that Canada East didn't feel too overpowered by Canada West. One way of accomplishing this was to include other colonies in the government system, so that all colonies were more balanced with power. This meeting was one big factor that led to Confederation.
What is Political Deadlock?
Political deadlock is a situation where progress cannot be made because the parties involved do not agree with each other, and no decisions can be made.
Political Deadlock- "A situation where progress cannot be made because the parties involved do not agree."
Equal Representation- "Each region has the same number of elected representatives."
Representation by Population- "The number of elected representatives is determined by the size of the population in the region represented."
Canadians- "Canadians of French Descent."
Proportional representation- "A voting system in which a political party gets the same proportion of seats in government as the proportion of votes it received."
Referendum- "A vote by the citizens on a proposed government action."
In the near future, colonies such as the Canadas united. Discussions between these colonies about made them doubt their decision. After a while, it became clear that it was only to their advantage. When the Canadas united in 1884, both colonies (Canada East and West) voted in one legislature to pass laws for both colonies. In 1857, Queen Victoria chose Ottawa as the permanent capital to keep the parliament building, as it still stands in its place to this date. The parliament building had opened around 1866 and contained four major political parties. The Conservatives, the Liberals, the Bleus, and the Rouges. All of these parties had different leaders, John A. Macdonald being the leader of the Conservatives, George Brown being the leader of the Liberals, Etienne Cartier being the leader of the Bleus, and Aime Dorion being the leader of the Rouges. They all had very different arguments to support their discussion. The Conservatives were willing to join BNA into a union based on representation. The Liberals were willing to reform the union of the Canadas by adopting representation by population. The Blues were going to work with the Conservatives to join BNA if Canada East gets power over religion and family law. And finally, the Rouges were join to join Canada East into the U.S. and reduce the power of the church in political life. Everything had gone well, until Canada West’s population began to rise dramatically. They both had in equal amount of seats in their legislature so it shouldn’t have been an issue. Some of the politicians from Canada West began to think that this was unfair. They thought that since they have a higher population then Canada East, they should have more seats in their legislature. These two politicians were George Brown and John A. Macdonald from Canada West and George-Etienne Cartier from Canada East.
1. History Textbook
(Used for all major information about political deadlock)
(Used for information about Great Coalition)
(A website about the important people in the political deadlock issue, and has information about Great Coalition)
What is Political Deadlock?
Who are the three most important people involved in this issue?
Who was not included in the discussions of developing Canada East and Canada West?
Why did Political Deadlock occur?