Major Conferences in the BNA Act of 1867
January 17, 2014
In the two decades following the act of Union in 1841, the job of governing the Province of Canada became more unmanageable. Despite George Brown, John A. Macdonald, and George-Etienne Cartier’s rivalry, they all believed that there had to be a better way to arrange Canada. In 1864, the men set aside their personal feelings to form the Great Coalition. Their single goal was the creation of union of all the British North American colonies. The Charlottetown Conference was originally planned as a meeting of the leaders of the three Maritime provinces, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. They wanted to discuss the possibility of a union among themselves, much like the union between the two Canadas. The leaders of Canada West and Canada East asked to attend the conference because they wanted to convince the Maritimers to join a larger union of all the British North American colonies. The Quebec Conference, which continued the discussions at Charlottetown, began on October 10 and lasted two weeks. The London Conference was held in the United Kingdom and began on December 4, 1866 and it was the final in a series of conferences or debates that led to Canadian confederation in 1867.
The meeting for the Charlottetown Conference was set for September 1, 1864. The delegates from Canada arrived by ship from Quebec City with much fanfare. They all brought their wives and some champagne and for a week they worked on both the social interaction and political arguments that were required to bring the Maritimers around to the idea of Confederation. John A. Macdonald and George-Étienne Cartier presented the general terms of the Canadian proposal, Alexander Galt discussed financial matters and George Brown dealt with constitutional issues. The conference adjourned on September 7 with the Maritime delegates warm to the idea of a larger federal union. The delegates who...
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