Quebec Conference, 1864

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QuebecConvention1864.jpg
Delegates of the convention

The Quebec Conference was the second meeting held in 1864 to discuss Canadian Confederation.

The delegates from the Province of Canada, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island had agreed at the close of the Charlottetown Conference to meet again at Quebec City in October of 1864. Newfoundland also sent two observers, but did not participate directly in the proceedings. In the month between the conferences, the ideas presented at Charlottetown were drafted in the Seventy-Two Resolutions, specific goals to be achieved in the creation of a new country.

Contents

The Conference

The conference began on October 10. The major source of conflict at the conference was between those who favoured a strong central government, such as John A. Macdonald, and those who favoured stronger provincial rights. Representatives from the Maritimes and Canada East (now Quebec) tended to argue for provincial rights, fearing they would lose their cultural identity under a centralized government. Macdonald thought the failure of smaller, localized governments was evident in the American Civil War, which was still being fought in the United States as the delegates met in Charlottetown and Quebec. The delegates eventually compromised, dividing powers between federal and provincial governments. They also decided to have an elected lower house, the House of Commons, and an appointed upper house, the Senate, although there was considerable debate about how many Senators each province would have.

Aftermath

The conference ended on October 27, and the delegates returned to their provinces to submit the Seventy-Two Resolutions to the provincial legislatures. George-Étienne Cartier was largely responsible for convincing the French-Canadian members of the Legislature in Canada East to accept the resolutions, even though he himself did not support such a strong federal government. A.J. Smith led the opposition to Confederation in New Brunswick, while Joseph Howe led the opposition in Nova Scotia, but both of these provinces eventually agreed to join the union. Only Prince Edward Island rejected the resolutions. The Province of Canada, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia then set about securing autonomy from the British government, which culminated in a third London Conference in 1866, and the British North America Act on July 1, 1867.

Delegates

Province of Canada

New Brunswick

Nova Scotia

Prince Edward Island

Newfoundland (observers)

See also: History of Canada

External link

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