What is Confederation?
- In Canada, the term Confederation refers to the union of the three British North American colonies.
- The three colonies were made into the four provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Quebec.
- The other provinces and territories entered Confederation later.
What did Confederation do?
- The Constitution Act, 1867 created a federal dominion. The individual colonies organized into the Dominion of Canada, but were still under British rule.
- The Act was also responsible for defining
- The Government of Canada
- The Justice System
- The Taxation System
Why did the Colonies Confederate?
- The Threat of American Takeover
- The Colonies organized into a Dominion to grow stronger and be less susceptible to American invasion
- Changing British Attitudes
- Great Britain did not want to spend more time and money supporting the colonies. They united to pool their resources and develop more independent financing
- The Need for new Trade Links
- The Unites States were a much closer trading partner for the colonies than Great Britain. In order to trade effectively, the colonies had to merge and develop an economy between themselves.
- The Need for Railways
- Canada is too large to travel using waterways and dirt roads. A railway connection meant better defence and much more efficient trade.
- Section 91 of the Constitution Act, 1867 authorizes Parliament to:
- “make laws for the peace, order, and good government of Canada …”
- This concept was fundamentally opposed to the belief in the “Manifest Destiny” of the United States that guided American politics during the same period.
- The anniversary of the institution of the Constitution Act on July 1, 1867 is celebrated annually in Canada as Canada Day, Canada’s national holiday.