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The Durham Report
Transcript of The Durham Report
-Lord Durham "Nor do I exaggerate the inevitable constancy
any more than the intensity of this animosity. Never again
will the present generation of French Canadians yield a loyal submission to a British Government; never again will the
English population tolerate the authority of a House of Assembly in which the French shall possess, or even approximate to, a majority".
-Lord Durham Upper and Lower Canada each had an elected legislative assembly, but it had virtually no power in the government. The government was controlled by the Governor and his appointed elective and legislative council's, which were made up of members of the Family Compact. Lord Durham believed it would be beneficial if responsible government was implemented, though it would leave less power in the hands of the British. The Earl of Durham was an independent British noble who was famous for his radical decisions, earning him his nickname "Radical Jack". After gaining a reputation for being a bit of an embarrasment at court
(he would ask all those akward questions no one wanted to answer) he was sent in 1838 to investigate and report on the problems plaguing both Upper and Lower Canada following the rebellions of 1837. The idea of responsible government for Canada was first officially documented in the Report, though it didn’t come into play in Canada until 1847. The Act of Union was passed in the British government in 1840 and proclaimed in 1841, united Canada into one colony with two sections, Canada East and Canada West. In this system there was a governor, an appointed executive council, a legislative council who’s members were appointed for life, and an elective assembly. There were an equal number of elective representatives from both Canada West and Canada East. Conclusion
Lord Durham’s solutions to the problem’s he witnessed during his time in Upper and Lower Canada were controversial; not everyone liked the idea or responsible government or the uniting of Upper and Lower Canada, especially since they would place more power into the hands of the people, the English specifically. Many of his ideas were implemented though, and as all historic events, shaped the world to be what it is today. (How about this?) From then on, all the historic events, that shaped this world, and broke a new Dawn for Britain, derived from his ideas, is all History. Lord Durham’s solutions to the problem’s he witnessed during his time in Upper and Lower Canada were controversial; not everyone liked the idea or responsible government or the uniting of Upper and Lower Canada, especially since they would place more power into the hands of the people, the English specifically. Many of his ideas were implemented though, and shaped the world to be what it is today. What was really his downfall, though, was Bermuda. Not nasty Austrailia. While this improved relations between lower and upper canada considerably, he forgot to take the extra step of, you know, actually asking the governor of Bermuda if sending him a bunch of prisoners would be okay. The governor did not appreciate being treated like Austrailia. At all. Bermuda refused to take the prisoners in, the Earl had to come take them back, and it was all just very embarrasing. The British were not pleased. The Earl went back to Britian to try and defend himself, but ended up being unable to redeem himself in the eyes of the court and resigned. *coughcough* Gordon Campbell *cough*
The Earl wanted to unite Upper and Lower Canada, creating an environment for the French, who he saw as inferior, to be assimilated into the English. He was seen as being racist by many Canadians and didn't get
much support. The Durham Report is regarded by many as an important document in Canada’s history, but many scholars also think it didn’t have a very large direct impact on the coming changes in Canada. One of the things he did was give pardons to many members of the rebellion. Those who he could not pardon, he sent to sunny Bermuda. “a people with no literature and no history...an utterly uneducated and singularly inert population .. destitute of all that can invigorate and elevate a population.” For what was such a revolutionary document-someone officailly suggesting the idea of a responsible government was a first, and a main driving force for Canada's eventual independance-it's not all that celebrated. Perhaps if he had promoted equality between French and English instead of oppressio or asnot ended up resigning in disgrace, there would be less controversy over wheter or not it was a good hing. The rest is history.