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The

Federation
of

Canada

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The

Federation of

Canada

1867-1917
Four Lectures delivered

in the University of

Toronto in

March, 1917, to Commemorate the Fiftieth
Anniversary of the Federation

By

George M. Wro.ig
Sir

John Willison
Z. A. Lash

R. A. Falconer

Published for the University of Toronto

by the
Oxford University Press

Toronto
1917

IT

Copyright, Canada, 1917

BY THE
University of Toronto

UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO PRESS

The

Federation of

1867-1917

380843

Canada

PREFATORY NOTE
Even though the thought
wholly occupied with
desolating the world,

it

the

of

Canada is almost
war which is

great

would have involved the
fail in commemorating

neglect of a patriotic duty to

so notable an anniversary as that of the
of the federal union of the

These four

fiftieth

year

Canadian provinces.

lectures, delivered to large audiences in

the University of Toronto, are printed in the hope

that they
of a

may

momentous

Toronto,
May, 1 917*

help to emphasise the significance
political

movement.

CONTENTS
PAGE

The Creation of the Federal System in
Canada, by George M. Wrong, M.A.,

______

Professor of History in the University of

Toronto

Some

Leaders in the Canadian

Political

Federation,

by Sir John Willison, LL.D.

The Working

of

Federal

Institutions

of

Canadian

Life,

Falconer,

-

-

77

by R. A.

C.M.G., President
University of Toronto Index

39

in

Canada, by Z. A. Lash, K.C., LL.D.,
sometime Deputy-Minister of Justice

The Quality

i

of

-

the

-

109

-

139

I

THE CREATION OF THE FEDERAL SYSTEM
IN CANADA
By GEORGE M.

SPEAKING

WRONG

Toronto to celebrate the fiftieth
year of Confederation I am reminded of two
in

One was

past scenes in this city.

in

1849

when a riotous mob marched through the streets.
The occasion was trouble between the French and
the English in the Parliament then in session at

Montreal.

The Toronto mob was

bitterly

angry

because Parliament had decided to compensate
certain French Canadians for losses inflicted

upon

them during the

This,

the

mob

rebellions in 1837

considered,

Accordingly the rude

was to
effigies

Robert Baldwin and William

and 1838.

reward

rebellion.

two

ministers,

of

Hume

Blake, after

being carried about in derision, were finally burned

amidst jeers and shouts and after the

mob had

"To

Hell with

proclaimed

its

favourite doctrine of

the French/
different scene.

Eighteen years later there was a

At daybreak

of the

morning of

1st, 1867, a crowd collected at the foot of
Church Street to witness the roasting whole of a
great ox in celebration of the federation of Canada,

July

The Federation of Canada

2

which went into

effect

of roasting oxen whole

The practice
known in Canada

on that day.

was

little

and the operation lasted through the greater part
of the day.
When it was complete no hungry
crowd was waiting for food and so the ox was cut
up and distributed among the charitable instituthe

city.
Fireworks followed in the
evening and that night Toronto went to bed tired
and happy. This day, said the Globe newspaper,

tions

of

new nation. The history
Canada as a federal state had begun.
The two scenes illustrate two cardinal features
the political history of Canada. The one is the

sees the beginning of a
of

in

between the English and the French,
the succession of attempts at a working
arrangement, ending at last in the compromise of
differences

the other

is

Most

what has happened in the
Canada is linked
with these questions. It loomed up on the day
when the British flag was first raised over Canada.
It is still with us and threatens anew from time to
time to become alarming and menacing.
Conquered New France was a country aristofederation.

of

constitutional development of

cratic in organisation with

a class of great land-

owners who delighted to
The eighteenth century

themselves a noblesse.

laid sharp emphasis upon
and rank. The British military
despised traders and when a British officer

differences of birth
class

call

French Influence after 1763

3

Quebec there was certain to be sharp
cleavage between him and the traders, unless these
were properly docile and respectful. "The genteel
people of the Colony", wrote General James
Murray, the first British governor, " despise merchants and of course esteem the officers who shun them most." In nothing did the English of the
last half of the eighteenth century glory more than
in being genteel, and when at Quebec they looked
about them in search of this beautiful quality they
ruled at

not among their own British traders but
among the French seigneurs. A seigneur they could
found

it

when they would scorn to meet
a merchant, and the result was intercourse on terms
invite to their table,

between the English and the French
Both classes despised the pushing trader

of equality
leaders.

and the trader was not slow to strike back. The
British officer of that age was perhaps not a model
in conduct.
The traders watched Murray's little
court at Quebec with relentless suspicion. They

made

bitter complaints against his desecration of

by balls, gaming, and other "Idle
Divertions", and his neglect to go regularly to
church.
He retorted with "rage and rudeness
of language", as the traders complained, and more
and more courted the society of the French leaders.
However different had been the fortunes of war on
the Sabbath

the battlefield, in the society of Quebec, after the

The Federation of Canada

4

conquest, the English trader was depressed and

despised and the conquered French were in the

ascendant.

The

British found Canada, with its harsh
an unattractive country. Sir Guy Carleton, who succeeded Murray, made a careful survey of the outlook and he came to the conclusion that
Canada would never be the home of any considerclimate,

able

number

of

English-speaking

people.

Why

should the English settle in this northern region

when they had open

to

them under

their

own

flag

the warm and pleasant lands, which stretched
southward to Florida but were destined soon to
become the United States of America? Canada
will always be French, said Carleton, and, this

being the case, why should not the French in Canada
have anything which would help to make them
contented and comfortable? They had sworn
allegiance to the British crown.
They had no
desire to come back under the power of France,
who had been a hard and exacting mother, and, if
not disturbed in their usual mode of life, they would
remain docile and useful dependents of the British

crown.

Accordingly Carleton favoured the widest

liberality in

embodied

governing the French, and the system

in the

Quebec Act

concessions.

The French

in respect to

property and

of 1774 goes far in

retained their
all

own laws

other aspects of civil

The Loyalists
life;

in

Canada

5

their church received every privilege

which

it

had had under a Catholic king and to this day has
the legal right to collect the tithe and to levy upon
Catholics taxes for the erection of church buildings.

Carleton saw his ideal realised

—a French-speaking

society under French civil law, with the church

entrenched in such privileges as

it

had possessed

in France.

Unexpected change is one of the laws of human
and this system had no sooner been confirmed
than a new crisis came in the shape of the American
Revolution. For Canada it meant one supreme
fact, that people of English origin and speech,,

life

whether they liked it or not, left their homes
farther south, and sought new homes in the inclement north. The revolutionists took a malignant pleasure in describing the region to which these
exiles

were driven

"Of

all

the vile countries that ever were known,

In the frigid or torrid or temperate zone,

From accounts

I

have heard there

is

not such

another;
It neither

belongs to this world or the other/

Such was Nova Scotia, such was all Canada thought
Perhaps as many as sixty thousand exiles
to be.
way into what is now Canada. For
their
found
the time it was a vast migration and it carried seed
rich with future meaning, for it proved that Carle-

The Federation of Canada

6

was mistaken and that great numbers
English-speaking people would seek homes
ton

of
in

Canada.

The next step

in political evolution

was

to divide

the country between the English and the French,

and Carleton lived to have a share in this new plan.
In 1791 was passed the Constitutional Act by which
Canada was separated into two provinces, Lower
Canada to be French with the French civil law and
full rights to the Roman Catholic Church, Upper
Canada to be English with English laws and
Quebec remained the capital of the
traditions.
French province while, in time, Toronto became the
capital of Upper Canada and the centre of the
traditions and loyalties by which Canada was
Each province had its own
linked with Britain.
legislature and in 1792 each set out on its task of
learning the art of self-government through elected

representatives of the people.

To

the English in Upper Canada this was no

unfamiliar experience, but to the French in the

other province

it

was the beginning

of a

new

Neither in Old France nor in

in the state.

life

New

France had any Frenchman ever had a vote which
carried with

it political

under British
as,

long after,

South Africa.

rule,

.

authority.

Now, however,

suddenly the vote had come,

came to the conquered Boers in
The French in Canada had votes,

it

The Work of Papineau
elections,

7

debates in Parliament, the whole fascin-

ating vista of a real political

It

life.

was not long

before they found a fiery leader, the redoubtable

Louis Joseph Papineau. Easy-going theorists had
supposed that a new era had dawned, and that the
French, endowed with the franchise, would soon be
like their

English-speaking fellow-Canadians.

All

were subjects of the best of kings. The new
political divisions of Lower Canada were named
after counties in England, Devon, Kent, York,

Warwick, and so oh. Even some French-Canadian
leaders held that French-Canadians should, with
English liberties, adopt the English language.
At first even Papineau was conciliatory. But
he soon found that the government of the day was
not willing to concede to the elective chamber of
the legislature full political authority. There was
an appointed second chamber, prevailingly English
in character, and there was an English governor,

who

exercised

real

Papineau,

authority.

foiled

grew ever more angry
and remonstrant and Lower Canada was soon torn
of complete political power,

institutions

"Our
and our laws" was the

French and

it

by a

bitter

racial

war.

language,

cry then of the

has continued ever since.

became ever more

strident.

Papineau

He denounced

" reign of terror" of the English.

our

The

Canada were described as "subjects

the

British in
of

foreign

The Federation of Canada

8

origin"
called
1
f

who had no right in the country. Papineau
men who stood across his path "foul",

savage

'
'

,

and

'
'

brutal

'
' .

He accused one governor,

Lord Dalhousie, of being little short of a thief and
from another governor, Lord Gosport,
"an impertinence which I repel with contempt and
Behind him Papineau had the Frenchsilence."
called a letter

They

Canadian peasants.

him

followed

as the Irish peasants followed

and trusted
and trusted

Daniel O'Connell.

was not strange that all this bitterness should
sow the seed of rebellion and in 1837 and 1838 the
French-Canadians took up arms. In the fighting
It

there were bloody scenes.

Montreal, on the border-

land between the two peoples and

and half French, was,
of racial bitterness.
its

jails

in

English

an especial degree, the scene

After the rising of 1837 and 1838

were crowded with

Exile or execution

itself half

was the

political

fate of a

prisoners.

good many of

the rebel leaders, while the great mass of the French-

Canadians remained
sullen and alert.

The

crushed

and

helpless,

but

two elements under separate
legislatures had failed and now was to be tried a new
union, the third attempt to solve the problem.
In 1841 came into being a new Canada under a
single parliament with an equal number of representatives from each of the two provinces. There division of the

The Riots
was no

Kingston,

now

until, after

9

Parliament met

capital.

fixed

in 1849

now

at

at Montreal, or Quebec, or Toronto,

twenty years,

it

was

finally

decided to

make Ottawa the capital.
At the outset a mistake was made. Lord
Sydenham his full title, by the way, was Baron
Sydenham and Toronto the first governor under
the union, made the mistake of ignoring the French

and formed a government, really the first Canadian
cabinet, without any French representatives.
It
was a fatal error. When Bagot, Sydenham's
successor, tried to continue with Sydenham's
cabinet he found himself confronted by an opposition so powerful that he

was forced

to yield.

called to office a composite English

ministry headed by Baldwin and Lafontaine.
cry went up in

heard

it

since

The

England we have
that disloyal rebels were being

Canada and

He

and French

in

placed in charge of the affairs of the country.

The

and racial
was more acute than ever, for French and
English now sat together and could quarrel at close
quarters in the same chamber.
Parliament was sitting at Montreal in 1849
when a new violence broke out. During the
troubles of 1837-38 much property had been
destroyed. Some of the French demanded, like

anxieties of the situation killed Bagot,
strife

the English, compensation from the government.

The Federation of Canada

10
In

Upper Canada a

similar type of losses

had been

paid, but, in respect to the French claimants,

it

was urged with vehement passion that any payment
for losses

would be a reward

were bitter debates.
in the University of

It is

for rebellion.

There

not uninteresting, here,

Toronto, to remember that

its

one-time Professor and later Chancellor, William

Hume

Blake, a

member

of the

government

of the

time, received no less than three challenges to fight

duels as the result of his part in the debate.

When

the House learned that Mr. Blake and Mr. (after-

John A. Macdonald were to fight, it
ordered the arrest of both members. They appeared
in custody at the bar of the House, gave solemn
pledges to keep the peace, and in the end were
wards

Sir)

liberated.
If

such was the temper of the leaders we

imagine the passions of the mob.

The

may

cry went

up

that the French were resolved to master Canada.

The very people
urged,

to be paid were,

themselves rebels.

it

was repeatedly

The Montreal

Gazette

"a personal insult to every
man who bore arms and a possible robbery of
every man who was not a rebel against the Queen/
Rouse yourselves", said the Gazette, "meet,
resolve, and hurl your defiance against the French
Masters' of your country"; and it went on to
urge the need to arm for civil war. A Mr. Mack,
declared the proposal

11

1

The Riots of

1849

11

a passionate speech at a public banquet in

in

"Look to the distant shore of Lake
Huron the backwoodsmen are awake and grasp
the ready rifle, the men of Erie are on the move
Montreal, said:

Toronto hurls defiance at the rebel-paying traitors,
Kingston speaks in words of no doubtful omen,
Cornwall is ready for the march. The wild pibroch
thrills through the forests of Glengarry and the
Scottish steel starts from the scabbard
1

Their swords are a thousand

Their hearts are but one'
.

.

.

We are English yet.

The mob

of

English in body and soul."
Montreal could not be controlled.

After Lord Elgin, the governor, had given his assent
to the hated

bill,

he was assaulted on leaving the

House, and a bad egg struck him squarely in the
face.
Something more dangerous than eggs was
hurled, for then

and

later his carriage

was pelted and
was a marvel

almost wrecked by huge stones.

It

that he was not killed or injured.

The mob passed

and destroyed the
Parliament buildings at Montreal, and wrecked
private houses.
It was in sympathy with this
rioting that the scene occurred in Toronto of the
burning in effigy of Mr. Baldwin and Mr. Blake.
And at the root of it all was the quarrel between the
French and the English.
wholly out of control, set

fire

to

The Federation of Canada

12

Eighteen years afterwards came the second scene
in

Toronto, the celebration of the birth of the

which now, fifty years later, we are
During those eighteen years
commemorating.
Canada experienced to the full the bitterness, and
federation,

with

it

the futility, of racial

strife.

In the Parlia-

ment the two divisions of Upper and Lower
Canada had exactly the same number of members.
Thus either division, if it desired to do so, could
checkmate and baffle the plans of the other. Each
party had two political leaders, one French, the
other English, and for a time the principle was

even conceded that no party could hold power
it had a separate majority in each province.
on public works in one province money was
spent, an urgent demand was certain that an equal

unless
If

Though the
population of Upper Canada became much larger
than that of Lower Canada, the French province
sternly refused the demand that the English should
have a larger number of members in the House.
Party spirit steadily hardened and elections made

sum

little

should be spent in the other.

change.

In the end parties were so evenly

divided that a ministry was held in office by very

Sometimes the House would
be kept in session so that a member, arriving by a
delayed train, might be able to save the ministry
from defeat. The absence of a couple of members
narrow majorities.

The Need
from

illness

its life.

of Federation

13

would cause a ministry to tremble

In 1862

for

when the English-speaking mem-

bers were anxious to strengthen the defences of the

country, in consequence of the Trent

affair,

and

the consequent danger of war with the United

French vote drove the ministry from
of Montreal, at a public
banquet with the Governor, Lord Monck, present,
explained that he welcomed British soldiers to
Canada, the more the better, he liked the red-coats,
but only as long as they did not cost Canada a cent.
The worst of deadlock was that it paralysed all
active foresight on the part of government.
On the
States, the

power.

The mayor

endured for only about six
government
months. No
could do anything which
antagonised even one or two supporters. The
country stood still. Its credit declined, owing to
a succession of bad crops. There began at this
average,

ministries

time that exodus to the United States which,

in the

assumed alarming proportions. Only a few
of the emigrants who landed at Quebec were willing
to remain in Canada.
The civil war in the
United States, which began in the year 1861, was
end,

creating a great military nation at the door of

Canada and serious American leaders advised
Lincoln, when the conquest of the South seemed
doubtful, to find compensation by taking Canada,
which had no black population and was peopled

$o

The Federation of Canada

14

by a race likely to be quickly assimilated by the
North. Torn by petty strife, the Canadian people
seemed ill fitted to confront a great issue. Party
had become faction and there was a deadly apathy.
If one more bridge was built in Upper Canada than
happened to be built in the same year in Lower
Canada the public mind was more disturbed than
by any great question of national destiny.
By this time Canada had passed through the
three stages in the evolution of the race problem.

In the first the French influence was, on the whole,
dominant; in the second the two races were isolated
in separate provinces; in the third an attempt at

union had led to the paralysis of representative
institutions.

solution
in

was

The

true and,

we may

hope, the final

to be found neither in isolation nor

complete union, but rather in both union and

separation, union in the great affairs which touch
trade, tariffs, public services like the post office,

and the administration

of justice; separation in

respect to those things in which the two races had
differing ideals,

such as religion and education.

A federal union which should permit of such a
system had long been talked of in Canada. It was
inevitable that the example of the United States
in creating such a system should have been pondered from time to time in the British provinces. In

1861

federalism

had,

however,

received

a

Divergent Ideals

15

by the apparent breakdown of the
American union and the beginning of civil war.
This breakdown had so impressed the mind of Mr.
John A. Macdonald, the leader of the Conservative
party, that he had despaired of federalism and had
fixed his attention on a unitary system like that of
Men of views the most
the United Kingdom.
staggering blow

divergent were destined to unite in the federation

Canada. Macdonald wanted complete union
and the closest ties with Great Britain. Mr.
(afterwards Sir) A. T. Gait, wished to break with
of

Britain,

sooner or

completely

and to make Canada
George Brown, the
federal union, but he would
the example of the United

later,

independent.

Liberal leader,

was

for

have followed closely
States, in electing

men

to the chief administrative

making the executive independent of the
legislative body, and in electing Parliament for a
offices, in

term which could not be shortened even in
any emergency. Georges Etienne Cartier, the most
influential political leader in Lower Canada, was
prepared for federal union but only on condition
that nothing should be done to limit the rights
which the French-Canadian race and the Roman
Catholic Church already possessed by an Imperial
statute.
It was out of such diverse opinion that
came the unity which created the federation of
Canada.
fixed

-

The Federation of Canada

16

vain to ask

It is

who should be

chiefly credited

making the problem crucial. For five years
Gait had been preaching federal doctrine. Another
voice came from a quarter even more remote.
In Nova Scotia, Joseph Howe, the great Liberal
leader, had more than once painted glowing
pictures of what a federated British North America
would be. When the time came, Howe was to
for

fight against the realisation of his

s

own dream, but he

had seen the vision. So had Brown. For a long
time Macdonald was wary and aloof, as also was
Cartier.
But, by 1864, the necessity created by
deadlock had become urgent.
It is to Brown's
credit that he took the first decisive step. Between
him and Macdonald there was an antagonism,
deep-seated in natures of essentially different types.
Yet, in 1864,

was ready

Brown let Macdonald know that he
him in creating a federal state.

to join

We smile a little now at the excessive caution of the
two men

in

approaching each other.

then, perhaps they
sense.

Brown

still

Politics

were

remain, war in a very real

feared that his reputation would be

became known that he was in treaty
When Macdonald announced
to the expectant members that the leaders had
come together, we are told, with solemn official

shattered

with

if it

Macdonald.

gravity, that he stood in the centre of the floor of the

House, neither on one side nor on the other, that

The Conference at Charlottetown

17

The truce was
was no longer necessary the

there might be no colour of party.

only partial.

When

it

two men met without ever again speaking.

"The

smaller the pit, the fiercer the rats", said Goldwin

Smith with a touch of contempt. Certainly party
had become faction. Perhaps it is faction still.
The Canadian leaders would have found it hard
to achieve anything, had it not been for a new
element

Nova

in the situation.

Scotia.

No

It

was a

far cry then to

railway connected Canada with

knew little
They were, however, united by the
magic of the British name and the British traditions.
On the Atlantic coast were the four colonies of Nova
Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and
the Atlantic colonies and the two groups

of each other.

Newfoundland, each quite separate from the other,
each in its parliament retaining the forms and
something of the state of the parent house at
Westminster. They, too, needed union to solve some
of their difficulties and, in the

summer of

1864, they

were to hold a conference at Charlottetown,

in

done.

Edward Island, to debate what might be
The Canadians saw their chance. They

asked

that

Prince

they

might

send

a

delegation

Macdonald,
journey.

Gait,

They

met Tupper,

and

others

made

the

delivered tactful speeches.

Tilley

and other leaders

to

Brown,

Charlottetown to discuss a wider union.

long

They

of the far

The Federation of Canada

18

The conference

east and they achieved their end.

at Charlottetown adjourned because a wider conference had been agreed

upon

Quebec
in the month of October, 1864.
There men from
every one of the colonies concerned were to meet,
to discuss and, as it proved, to solve the problem
to be held at

of their political future.

The Conference came
began

world there
of

together at Quebec and

sessions on October 10th.

its

Quebec

is

no richer scene

in the

of

autumn with

In

all

the

beauty than that
its

glorious views

Lawrence and the rare loveliLaurentian mountains
touched with the varied colouring of autumn.
Nature has her message for man. In such a scene

of the wonderful St.

ness

of

the

forest-clad

her majesty helps to dispel the clouds that

The Conference was

mar

his

had
only two or three weeks in which to do its work and
much there was to do. In fact its real business was
done in fourteen days and, since it passed seventytwo important resolutions, it must have rushed them through at an average rate of more than five
a day. Necessarily much was left undefined, much
unsettled.
It was only the skeleton of a political
system that the Fathers of Confederation created.
vision.

They hurried past
them and in doing
they knew.

in a hurry.

difficulties

without

It

debating

so worked more wisely than

The Conference at Quebec
When we

19

think of this Conference at Quebec,

preparing the second great federal system in the

English-speaking world, our minds turn naturally
to the other system, that of the United States,

created at the Convention at Philadelphia, in 1787.

At Philadelphia Washington was in the chair, at
Quebec Sir E. P. Tache, and the two men, though
one is of world-wide fame and the other little known,
were not unlike. Both were citizen soldiers, both
were high-minded and modest, both were sincere
and tactful and guided the deliberations wisely.
At Philadelphia were men of penetrating sagacity.
Benjamin Franklin, eighty-one years old, was there
with a shrewd wisdom which led the way through
many a crisis. There also was Alexander Hamilton,
the most brilliant intellect of his epoch, and Madison,
small and alert, with a ready gift of utterance
which made him a decisive factor in the creation
of the constitution.
With such leaders the
Canadians are quite worthy of comparison.
Franklin was not more tactful or sagacious than
Macdonald.

Gait,

if

he lacked Hamilton's

gift of

utterance, assisted, like Hamilton, in creating a

system for the new federation which has
worked well; and Brown was a no less trenchant
and effective writer than Madison. Canada, like
the United States, has the right to be proud of the
makers of her federal system.
financial

The Federation of Canada

20

The founders

of

the United

States

had the

problem of creating a constitution wholly
fine enthusiasm for liberty and
they believed that they were opening a brighter era
It was necessary for them to create
for mankind.
a system that would work, in order, as was said

difficult

new.

They had a

at the time, "to vindicate the honour of the

human
They

Europe, they thought, had failed.
would break away from "the pernicious labyrinth
of European polities' and rear in the new world a
state that should reveal the noble things of which
man is capable. It is all very fine, if a little naive
and idealistic. Should there be one man, they
asked, at the head of the state or a directorate of
If one he might turn into a tyrant;
three or five?
if three or five they would be certain to be divided
and inefficient. To what extent could an elected
legislature be trusted?
These men answered the
question in no sense that would support the
British doctrine of the omnipotence of Parliament.
They would see that one authority was able to
check another. The President might carry on the
government.
Congress might not control him but
he too might not control the legislative and financial
power of Congress, and the Supreme Court would
hold the balance if one tried to encroach on
the rights of the other and in this manner
equalize the rival forces. Moreover certain definite
race."

'

"The Kingdom of Canada"
restrictions should be laid

down

as to

21

what Congress

could not do.

Of

all this

there

is

in the

Conference not a trace.
convinced monarchists.

debates of the Quebec

All

its

members were

Even a famous contem-

porary of Washington had hinted that a democracy

A monarchy is like a merchantman
Ames. " You get on board and ride the
wind and tide in safety and elation but, by and by,
you strike a reef and go down. But democracy is
like a raft.
You never sink, but, damn it, your feet
is

not ideal

.

"

I

,

said Fisher

autumn
days of 1864 when the Conference met at Quebec
it looked as if it was democracy which was destined
to sink.
The South was not yet beaten and to
bring it to its knees Sherman was making his
desolating march through the Slave States, carrying
with him destruction and ruin. Those terrible
are always in the water!"

In those glowing

scenes helped to convince the Conference at Quebec

wisdom of monarchy. They wished to set
up no new system but to create as close a copy as

of the

they could of that of Britain.
In seeking

this

they were consistent.

was a kingdom, Canada
should be a kingdom, and so they
Britain

creation

"The Kingdom

outset

would

it

of

too,

Since

they said,

called their

new

From

the

Canada."

be, in title at least, equal to the

United Kingdom and would be an auxiliary king-

The Federation of Canada

22

dom

which, as years went on, would grow into the

name. The colonies forming
Canada shall be "one kingdom under the Crown*
read the draft of the Act of Federation as it was

fuller

measure

of its

carried to the Imperial Parliament.

An

over-wise

and over-sensitive minister in London objected,
however, that the word kingdom might offend the
American republic and so "kingdom" was struck
out and instead we have the " Dominion' of
Canada, a nondescript word, apparently derived
from Virginia, which used to be spoken of as the
"old Dominion".
It was a far-reaching mistake
not to make Canada a kingdom. The word would
express its exact relation to the British Crown and
also the equality of status with the mother country
which it is now so desirable to foster. Moreover,
"kingdom" has an historical fitness relative to the
word Empire. The tradition of Europe is that
many kingdoms may be included in one Empire.
Within the British Empire there is a dependency
like India, so vast that it takes the name of an
Empire by itself; at the other end of the scale there
are real colonies which remain under the control
of the colonial office and should be described as
colonies.
There are, also, however, great selfgoverning states like Australia and Canada and the '

name for these is kingdoms, sisters of the
ii
United Kingdom. The use of the word "Dominion
fitting

The Senate and the House of Commons
for

Canada

led to the creation of the terrible phrase

"the overseas Dominions' \
overseas from where?

How much

23

simpler

it

One may

well

ask

Dominions of Great Britain?
would be to speak of the

kingdoms and other states within the Empire.
Perhaps it is not too late and we shall yet see the
Kingdom of Canada, one of various kingdoms under
our common sovereign. More than any other,
this title would negative the impression that
Canada is a dependent state.
In setting up a kingdom the builders at Quebec
framed the mechanism of a kingdom. They created
Since there was no
a Parliament of two chambers.
landed aristocracy in Canada they could not create

a House of Lords, though Simcoe, the

first

governor

Upper Canada, had dreamed of this and the
Constitutional Act of 1791 provided for it. They
In all
called the second chamber the Senate.
consistency since they could not have a House of
Lords, they could hardly have a House of Commons
where should sit Commoners, a separate estate
from peers. But here they were not consistent.
The term House of Commons had already been in
use in Canada and the name was continued. The
members of the House of Commons were to be
elected.
For a short period the second chamber
But these
in Canada had also been elective.
leaders at Quebec were good House of Commons
of

3—

The Federation of Canada

24

men and they

feared, with

a second

justice, that

chamber would weaken the more popular
It had done so in the United States and they
one.
wished the House of Commons to be supreme.
So the members of the Senate were to be appointed
by the crown and not elected.
The Conference was in a hurry. It had no time
elective

to frame a nice separation of the powers of the

central

One

government from those

thing was, however, clear in

trasted with the United States.

of the provinces.

Canada

as con-

While

Canada

in

union had been too close, in the United States
separation had been too complete,

for,

after the

Declaration of Independence, each colony had been

an independent state. Thus, in Canada, the
problem was for the Union to get rid of some of its
powers in favour of the provinces, while, in the
United States, there was the opposite problem of
getting the separate units to give up something, in
order to create a central government.
In Canada
the central power retained all that it did not give
up, while, in the United States, it was the separate
Thus we have the farunits which did this.
reaching difference in the basis of the two
Canada is a single state, in which the
federations.
various units have prescribed powers; the United
States is a union of many states, which have agreed
to delegate certain powers to a central authority.

Federal and Provincial Powers

25

The men at Quebec had no desire to say to the
new Parliament that there were certain definite
might not do. This the framers of
the constitution of the United States had done.
They provided that Congress might not restrict
freedom of speech or of the press, or establish or
things which

it

prohibit the exercise of

any

religion, or confiscate

private property without just compensation,

quarter soldiers in private houses, or
excessive bail.

The Parliament

of

or

even require

Canada was

to

restrictions, but was to be free to do
what it liked within its general powers. It might
do what the British Parliament has done, sentence

have no such

man

were given very wide powers.

The provinces, too,
They can establish

and endow any

like

a

to death without

trial.

religion

they

and they can

Above
by a
simple bill without calling a convention.
The
" omnipotence of Parliament" has some real part

confiscate property without compensation.
all

they can alter their

own

constitutions

Canadian system.
is, however, not the place or time for
describing the details of the work done at Quebec.
The members of the Conference were content to
work hastily and to leave vague a good many things.
This was for the valid reason that they were not
creating a new system but merely extending an old
one.
They were all British citizens with ancient
in the

This

v

The Federation of Canada

26
traditions

and

They remained under

rights.

the

authority of the same courts to which, in the past,

To one

they had appealed.

great tribunal, the

Privy Council, they had long been accustomed to
look for the settlement of constitutional
It

difficulties.

was thus with an easy mind that they

The

things vague.

creators of a

left

some

new system, such

as that of the United States, had had no traditions

Thus they must themBut with
light hearts the Canadian statesmen left much
unsettled.
Their faith in the perfect wisdom of the
upon which they could

selves

great tribunal
if it

rest.

provide for every emergency.

is

also reveals

a tribute to

what we may

its

wonderful record

call

a colonial temper.

Some twenty years

ago, Australia was not so simpleand perhaps we should not be, if we were now framing a new system. None the less was this

hearted,

pious faith justified.

has saved

us

Often since, the Privy Council

from bitter agitation

constitution because

we have

about the

believed that calm,

trained jurists would pronounce on the questions
raised with finer insight than that which
telling

would prove

on the hustings.

Federal government involves two things at least

—division

between a central and a
and compromise as to the character
of this division.
Disputes between English and
French in the two Canadian divisions had been the
of authority

local legislature,

Nova Scotia

Opposition in

most pregnant
sary.

movement proceeded,
Edward

In the end Prince

Newfoundland stayed
years.

making federation neces-

factors in

But, as the

widened.

Nova

the horizon
Island and

out, the first for only a few

came

Scotia

27

and so did

in

New

Brunswick. It was in Nova Scotia that the plan
met with the most bitter opposition. Joseph Howe
will always remain one of the great names in
Canadian political history. Had he been born in
and educated for a wider sphere, he would have been
world-famous.
If he had been prime minister of
Nova Scotia when federation came up, there is
little doubt that he would have been the man to
carry it through. But it happened that his rival,
Dr. Tupper, was in office and took the lead and, as
Howe himself said, he would not " play second fiddle
to that damned Tupper".
He called the plan
"the botheration scheme' and ridiculed it in quite
'

too effective a way.

Since the plan provided that

the federal government should pay to the provinces
an annual subsidy of eighty cents for each inhabitant, Howe made great sport of what he called the proposal to

sell

Nova

Scotians at eighty cents a

head, the price of a sheep-skin.
federated provinces except

New

Brunswick did the

people vote on the question and in
at

first,

did

In none of the

New

Brunswick,

they voted overwhelmingly against

Nova

Scotia

when

it

it.

secured the chance.

So
But

;

The Federation of Canada

28

came too

the chance

late for,

several legislatures, the plan

by approval of the
was carried through

without reference to the people.

A

high-handed

proceeding, no doubt, but the few are sometimes

wiser than the many.
Farther,

much farther, than Nova Scotia reached

the federation cry.
created

by

It

federation,

was the ...

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reli reliabl reliev religi religion reluct remain remark remedi rememb remind reminisc remonstr remot remov rend render renew reorganis repeal repeat repel repent replenish report repos repositori repres represent repress repriev republ repugn reput requir resembl reserv resid residu resign resist resolut resolv resort resourc respect respond respons rest restitut restless restrain restraint restrict result retain retent retic retort retreat retrospect return reveal revel rever reverenc review revolt revolut revolutionist revoluwar reward rich richer rid ridden ride ridicul riel rifl right right-think righteous rigid riot riotous ripe rise risk rival river roast robberi robert robinson rocki roman romant room root roseberi rous rout royal rude ruder ruin rule ruler run rupert rush rymal sabbath sacr sacred sacrific safe safeguard safeti sagac sagaci said sail sailing-ship salut samuel san sanction sap sari saskatchewan saskatoon sat sati satisfact satisfactorili satisfi savag save saw saxon say sb scabbard scale scandal scatter scene scheme scholar school scienc scientist scope score scorn scotia scotian scotland scottish scrupul sea seal search season seat second secret secretari sectarian section secur see seed seedl seek seem seen seigneur seiz seldom self self-govern selfconfid selfgovern selkirk sell selv senat senatorship send sens sensat sensit sent sentenc sentiment separ seren seri serious serv servic session set settl settlement settler seven seventytwo sever sewel shabbi shadow shall shame shape share sharp shatter shed sheep sheep-skin sheer sheriff sherman sherri ship shirt shop shore short shorten shoulder shout show shown shrank shrewd shun shut shyness side sidewis sign signal signatur signif signifi signific silent silver simco similar simpl simpleand simpler simpli sin sinc sincer sincerest singl singular sink sinner sion sir sister sit situat six sixti size skeleton skill skin slave slavish sleev slight slope slow slowli slum small smaller smell smile smith smooth smoulder sober sobrieti social societi soften soldier sole solemn solicitud solid solut solv someth sometim son soon sooner sorrow sought soul sound sourc south southern southward sovereign sovereignti sow space span spars speak speci special specif specifi specimen spect speech spend spent sphere spider spirit spiritu splendid spoke spoken spokesman spontan sport sprang spread springi squall squar squir ssd st stabil stabl stage stagger stamp stand standard standardis start startl state statement statesman statesmanship statesmen statur status statut statutori stay stead steadfast steadi steadili steam steamship steel steep step stereotyp stern still stimul stimulus stir stitut stock stolen stone stood store stori storm stormi strachan strain strang strata strategi street strength strengthen stretch strict strident strife strike strive strong stronger struck structur struggl student studi style subdu subject submiss submit subsequ subsidi substanti substitut succeed success successor sudden suffer suffic suffici suffrag suggest suit suitabl sullen sum summer summon sunder superfici superintend superior suppli support suppos suprem supremaci sure surer surfac surg surpass surpris survey surviv suspect suspend suspicion sustain sway sweet swept swing sword sworn sydenham sydenhan sympathet sympathi system tabl tach tach6 tact taft tain take taken talk tardi tariff task tast taught taunt tax teach teacher ted tedious telegraph telephon tell temper temperament tempestu templat temptat ten tenaci tenanc tendenc tender terist term terribl terrisepar territori terror test testifi text thackeray thank thee theiji thembut theolog theori theorist therebi therefor therein thereto thereupon thi thief thin thing think thinker third thirteen thirti thoma thompson thou though thought thousand threat threaten three threw thrice thrill throughout throw thrown thrust thunder thus tide tie tiger till tilley time timid timothi tion tire tith titl to-day togeth told tom tomb ton tongu took tooth tor tori torm torn toronto torpid torrid total touch toward tower town township trace trade trader tradit traffic tragedi train traitor transcend transfer transform transient transit transmit transplant transport trast trate tration travail travel travers treat treati treatment tree trembl tremend tremor trench trenchant trent tri trial tribe tribun tribut triumph troll troubl troy truce true truli trust truth tupper turn tution twelv twenti twentieth two twofold ty type tyrant u u.s u.s.a ubrari uc uc-nrlf ultim ultra un unanim unarm unattract unbroken uncertain unchalleng uncomfort unconquer undefin under underneath underpow undersign understand understood undertak undertook undisciplin undoubt undu uneasi unequ unequivoc unexpect unfail unfamiliar unfortun unhappi unhors unifi uniform uninspir unintellig uninterest union uniqu unit unitari uniti univers unjust unknown unless unlik unnatur unnecessari unprotect unpunish unquesleast unrest unsettl unsuit 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world-fam world-spirit world-wid worst worth worthi would wound wreck write writer written wro.ig wrong wrote www.archive.org www.archive.org/details/federationofcanaoounivrich x y yas yea year yesterday yet yield yoke york young youth yukon z zeal zone