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Canadian Confederation

Canadian Confederation, or the Confederation of Canada, was the process of union between the provinces of Canada. It was finalized with the signing, by Queen Victoria of the British North America Act on March 29, 1867.

Previous to 1867 British North America was a collection of seven seperate colonies, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, the Province of Canada (now Quebec and Ontario), Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, Manitoba, and British Columbia. Only four of these joined Confederation at first, but all did eventually, the last being Newfoundland in 1949.

The act united the Province of Canada (which was also re-separated into Ontario and Quebec), New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia came into effect on July 1 that year. July 1 is now celebrated every year as Canada Day.

While the BNA Act gave Canada more independence than it had before it was far from full indepedence from Britain. Foreign policy remained in British hands, the Privy council remained Canada's highest court of appeal, and the constitution could only be ammended in Britain. Gradually Canada gained more independece, culminating in the Constitution of 1982[?] where the final ties were broken.

The Fathers of Confederation elected to name the new country the Dominion of Canada, after rejecting Kingdom and Confederation, among other options. The term conferderation was mostly a ruse by John A. Macdonald, and others, to encourage the vacillating colonies to come to the talks. Most of the colonial leaders worried about being dominated by the population centres of central Canada and did not want a strong central governmnet. Macdonald had no intention, however, of actually making Canada a confederation and was willing to have many of the colonies remain outside a political union rather than weaken his proposed central government. Canada thus became a federation, but certainly not a confederation, such as Switzerland. The term Confederation is now often used to describe Canada in an abstract way - "The Fathers of Confederation" itself is one such usage. Provinces and territories who became part of Canada after 1867 are also said to have joined Confederation (but not the Confederation). However, the term usually refers more concretely to the political process that united the colonies in the 1860s; it is also used to divide Canadian history into pre-Confederation and post-Confederation (post-Confederation being a living term that includes the present day).

Fathers of Confederation

Confederation was first agreed to at a conference in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, making Canada one of the only countries to have its founding meeting held in a city that did not decide to join the union until a decade afterwards. The specifics were then mostly detemined Quebec City and at a final meeting in London. The following are the participants in the three conferences about the act. They are known as the Fathers of Confederation.

The latter "fathers" for bringing in additional provinces to the original four are not usually called the "fathers", but are sometimes called the "founders"..

Members

Here is a list of the order in which the provinces and territories entered Canada. (Territories are italicized.)

OrderDateName
11867Ontario
Quebec
New Brunswick
Nova Scotia
51870Northwest Territories
Manitoba
71871British Columbia
81873Prince Edward Island
91898Yukon
101905Alberta
Saskatchewan
121949Newfoundland and Labrador
131999Nunavut

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