I set off on a journey last month to attend and report for Maritime Monthly, three conferences held in Prince Edward Island, Quebec, and London, England to propose a creation of a new country called Canada, and I believe by now that we the Maritime folk already know of this. By the looks of it after all three conferences, I believe there are going to be great changes for the Maritimes, as well as a good future for the newly created Canada.
It is the fall, in lovely Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, one of our own beautiful provinces, I sailed across waters to attend the Charlottetown Conference, one of three of the conferences. The Maritimes were excited for the soul purpose of a proposal of Maritime Union. Resolutions were passed by the legislative assembly from each of the Maritime provinces but as you may have known, not much happened after that, and members of combined legislatures had problems of their own. But they heard that this conference was being held and so they attended hoping to raise the awareness of the proposal of the British North American union. Even though these conferences themselves were mostly about business, not 100% of the 8 day long meetings were strictly business. I was lucky enough to attend a lunch on the Canadian ship, and also a ball at the legislative building. This conference was not only for creating a union between provinces, it was also a time to create union between people.
Representatives from the Province of Canada, as well as the Maritimes were appointed and the date of the conference was set for September 1st. I waited for the delegates to arrive in this crowded city, first to arrive on August 30th was Robert Dickey, a delegate from my home, Nova Scotia. I predicted a Maritime citizen would arrive early, a proposal for union was much anticipated. The next day, representative of Nova Scotia Charles Tupper and his accompaniment of four other delegates arrived by steamer. More and more representatives arrived, and on the morning of September 1st, the Canadians arrived. The meeting commenced on that afternoon, and for that one day it was only talk of the Maritime union and the the Canadians were there only to watch, by protocol. Though by the next day when the Canadians were authorized to present, all talk of the Maritime union vanished. I was astonished to notice how quickly our proposal had diminished from this conference, that was being held in the Maritimes! No one was even keeping record of what anyone was saying. On the 9th, the Charlottetown conference was adjourned, but apparently some meetings continued in different parts of the Maritimes.
The moment the Charlottetown conference was over, I had to quickly sail to Quebec to attend the second conference, the Quebec conference. This conference was created to further discuss on the British North American union, the British still completely agreeing, while the French were still not fully on board for union. Very good resolutions were made in this conference, and when the conference ended on the 27th of October, a draft was submitted into provincial legislatures called the “72 Resolutions” some examples of the proposed resolutions I heard include “Resolution 1: The best interests of British North America lie in a union that is fair to all provinces”, “Resolution 17: Sets the seats in the House of Commons for each province”, and “Resolution 46: Both English and French to be used in government”. This document turned the heads of the Maritime representatives, I believe they are how you say, “hooked onto the idea”. In the end, Prince Edward Island was the only one to reject these resolutions.
The last conference I attended that sealed the deal of union was the London Conference in England that began on December 1866, and ended on March 1867. This was the conference that led us into confederation, so I knew I couldn’t miss it. The delegates didn’t have time to socialize this time, because the two Canada’s, and the Maritimes (excluding PEI), were creating the draft of the British North American Act. During the time of the conference, John A. McDonald got married, chairmen of the conference, so that may have count as a social event. The London Conference was mostly focused on the problems in British North America, and by the time it ended, most of those problems were fixed and solved. One of the reasons British government were for Confederation was because this would make the United States less of a threat to Canada since they were joining forces and becoming an independent country. The draft for the bill was submitted in February and it was signed by the Queen (The Royal Assent) on March 29th, 1867. The end of the London Conference also consisted of naming Canada, the Dominion of Canada.
Readers of Maritime Monthly, I hope you are now formed by how our recently created Canada was created. As Maritime folk, I feel this greatly impacted us, I mean our union was completely ignored from the beginning. Though with the Nova Scotia and New Brunswick inclusion, this will mean taxes will lower.