EXPLORE CANADA’S FOUNDING DEBATES

About

Canada began as 4 provinces hugging the St. Lawrence but grew to become 10 provinces and 3 territories. Indigenous Peoples and the Crown also negotiated a host of Treaties which continue to shape the country's political development. Each time Canada changed, its leaders debated the purposes, benefits, and drawbacks of Confederation.

With the assistance of Canadians from across the country and the globe, The Confederation Debates digitized and preserved all of these 9,000+ pages of records for Canada 150 and preserves them here in a variety of formats so that Canadians of all ages can learn more about their country's past.

Lessons

Mini Units

With the help of Canadians from across the country, The Confederation Debates produced lesson plans for Grade 7/8 and high school clasess to engage their province or territory's parliamentary and Indigenous debates. All mini units include multiple activities, primary documents and conform with provincial and territorial curriculum requirements.

All of the Indigenous lesson plans were produced under the oversight of Professor John Borrows, the Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Law Nexen Chair in Indigenous Leadership at the University of Victoria.

Mini Units

Daily Quotes

Do you prefer reading Canada's founding records in small doses?

Check out the year's worth of daily quotes that we posted to social media between 1 July 2016, and 1 July 2017.

Daily Quotes

FAQ

Where do I get started? How I cite The Confederation Debates in my reaserch project?

Find these and many more helpful answers.

FAQ

Browse the Records by Province or Territory

Click your province or territory on the map below to see a list of its records as well as background chapters commissioned by The Confederation Debates

Nova Scotia

After the fall of Leonard Tilley's pro-Confederation government in New Brunswick in March 1865, Charles Tupper and his government treaded carefully. Read these records to learn how Tupper and his supporters kept the anti-Confederates from gaining the upper hand.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Newfoundland was one of the provinces that rejected Confederation during the 1860s. Over the years, its legislature debated the controversial question several times. During the early 20th century, Newfoundland its own dominion, and it did not join Confederation until 1949.

Prince Edward Island

Most of Prince Edward Island's politicians were unsatisfied by the 1865 terms of union, so they initially rejected Confederation and held out for better terms. Read these debates to learn about the Island's demands, as well as whether its politicians ultimatey got what they wanted.

New Brunswick

The only province to reject Confederation in an election, New Brunswick's debates between 1865 and 1867 are among the most exciting!

Quebec

Canada East, as Quebec was known during the years immediately before Confederation, shared a legislature with Canada West (present-day Ontario). Politicians from two sections of the Province of Canada rarely got along and the ensuing deadlock was a key cause of Confederation. When debating the terms of union, French Canadians disagreed about whether joining the new country would protect or destroy their culture.

Ontario

Canada West, as Ontario was known during the years immediately before Confederation, shared a legislature with Canada East (present-day Quebec). Politicians from two sections of the Province of Canada rarely got along and the ensuing deadlock was a key cause of Confederation. As a whole, the voters of Canada West were the most enthusiastic supporters of Confederation—learn why by using the links below.

Nunavut

The Confederation Debates hopes to add the debates concerning the creation and evolution of the Nunavut in future years. For now, please consider the historical chapter we commissioned:

Yukon

The Confederation Debates hopes to add the debates concerning the creation of the Yukon in future years. For now, please consider the historical chapter we commissioned:

Northwest Territories

The Confederation Debates hopes to add the debates concerning the creation and evolution of the Northwest Territories in future years. For now, please consider the historical chapter we commissioned:

British Columbia

When British Columbia considered joining Confederation during the early 1870s, great distances separated it from the rest of the country. The promise of a transcontinental railway was critical to bridging the distance, but the sheer expense made it the terms of union unpopular with some Canadians.

Download the Dataset

Created with Sketch.

The Confederation Debates encoded all of its records according to the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) standard. Anyone can download, and even improve the dataset here.