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Abin's Confederation Page

Government of Canada Web Page

This Page is designed to help you understand the key facts of Canadian Confederation!

Confederation The three British North American colonies of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Canada (the union of upper and lower Canada) officially joined together as the Dominion of Canada on July 1, 1867. Other colonies gradually joined. The last to join was Newfoundland, which became a province in 1949. During the years before Confederation, there were many things occurring in the colonies that would eventually unite them all to become the Dominion of Canada. There were three conferences between politicians in Charlottetown, Québec and London that led to Canadian Confederation.

The Charlottetown Conference was on, September 1864. The Québec Conference was on, October 1864. The London Conference was on, December 1866 - March 18671867.

The people behind confederation, also known as the fathers of confederation are: John A. Macdonald, George-Étienne Cartier, Thomas D'Arcy McGee, Charles Tupper and George Brown. These people were the prominent figures, there were lots of others too who played small parts.

The Role of the American Civil War Since America had fought Britain to gain its independence the relationship between British North America and the United States was not very stable. The relationship became even worse when the British supported the South in the American Civil War. The North had won the war and was mad at Britain for helping the South. Many Americans wanted to take over all of what is now Canada.

Britain didn't want to have to pay for the cost of defending its colonies. The British decided to encourage the colonies to join together, because the United States would be less likely to attack Canada if it were a self-governing country rather than separate colonies of Britain. Britain’s fear of the United States helped to strengthen the call for Confederation. After I read up on this part, I felt that Britain was very selfish in it’s acts, but their selfishness made Canada an independent country.

When Canada had entered Confederation over a century ago some groups of people were not given the chance to participate in the talks or to have their opinions heard. Two important groups were among them.

The Native people The First Nations and Inuit peoples have lived in North America for thousands of years. By the time of Confederation the European settlers had taken control of much of the land. Treaties were made with many First Nations to move them onto smaller areas of land called reserves. The government tried to make these people live like Europeans. They tried to assimilate them. The government supported missionaries who took Native children away to teach them the religion and lifestyle of Europeans. The idea was to make Native people fit in with the Europeans that surrounded them. Now a days people do not agree with that theory of changing the way of life of another culture. Unfortunately for the natives, in the 1860s this was not seen to be a bad thing. The native people had no say over the future of the land that they had lived on for thousands of years.

Women At the time of Confederation in 1867 women were not allowed to be politicians. They were not even allowed to vote in federal elections. It was not until 1918 that women could vote in federal elections, and not until 1919 that women gained the right to be elected to the House of Commons. At the time of Confederation women did not have the power to express themselves in politics. In the present, women are taking over many government posts and are treated almost as equally as men.