Book Reviews

Book Review: The Charlottetown conference and the birth of confederation

The Charlottetown conference and the birth of confederation
Deirdre Kessler and Douglas Baldwin
Nimbus Publishing Limited, Halifax, Nova Scotia
123 pages, $ 15.95

Most colonies separate after tumultuous events, and many such independence movements turn violent.

The English monarchy and politicians generally manage to give full or partial independence to colonies in bloodless revolutions, and maintain at least some control or financial interests in their dependency.

In the case of Canada, the independence movement started with a mid-June 1864 conferences of Ontario and Quebec in a political “deadlock”, when no political party could hold majority in the assembly of the Province of Canada. There had been 12 different governments in 15 years.

Prominent politicians in the government were convinced that conflicts between French ad English Catholics and Protestants, and urban rural interests could be permanently solved if and when a large union were created.

That September, representatives of the three Maritime provinces prepared to meet in Charlottetown to discuss a potential union.

When delegates from Upper and Lower Canada (Quebec and Ontario today) showed interest in joining the conference, the gathering became a catalyst for the creation of the Dominion of Canada, and all participants came to be known as the Fathers of Confederation.

In this well illustrated book, both authors tell the story of the “birth of a nation” in 1867, starting with the Charlottetown Conference.

A very informative and interesting book recommended to all interested in Canada’s history and evolution.

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