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

  • 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.

Canada Day

  • 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.

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