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.
READ
Canada at the Turn of the Century

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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