… There Was a Great Deal of Eating and Drinking

Timbre-poste du Canada 3 cents 1917
Timbre-poste du Canada 3 cents 1917 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By October 28, 1864, the Quebec Conference had drawn up a blueprint for Confederation.  Seventy-two resolutions had been discussed.  When the delegates and their wives left for Montreal by special train, all but three resolutions had been approved, and these were dealt with at Montreal.

There was great jubilation because the delegates did not realize how difficult the days ahead would be – Confederation still had to be approved by the five provinces, then submitted to the British Parliament, and this was to take another two and a half years.

After their meeting at Montreal the delegates toured the chief cities of Upper and Lower Canada.  They went first to Ottawa, the new capital chosen by Queen Victoria, and had lunch in the new Parliament Buildings, although they were only half-finished.  Then they went on to Toronto, making stops at Kingston, Belleville, and Cobourg, where they were greeted by cheering crowds and brass bands.  There was a torchlight procession in Toronto as they went from the station to the Queen’s Hotel and four brass bands played along the route.  Then the tour went on to Hamilton and St. Catharines.  Everywhere, there was sight-seeing, speech-making, and a great deal of eating and drinking.  The men did the eating and drinking, while their women, in true Victorian style, sat in the galleries and watched!

The most difficult problems solved by the seventy-two resolutions included that of striking a balance between federal and provincial powers — the American Civil War had shown how important it was to have a strong federal government.  It was agreed that all powers not expressly assigned to the provinces should be reserved for the Federal Government, which could also disallow provincial legislation.

The provinces would lose a great deal of revenue by not being able to impose customs duties; so it was decided that the Federal Government would pay each province 80 cents for every member of its population.  It was agreed to build the Inter-colonial Railway between Canada and the Maritimes.  The seventy-two resolutions also made provision for the Northwest, British Columbia, and Vancouver Island, should they decide to join the Confederation later.

10 comments

  1. I suppose they made all these decision between meals, huh? BC received 80 cents per person, does that include native and non-white? Okay, that is touchy subject. Let’s drink to this post.

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  2. “It was agreed that all powers not expressly assigned to the provinces should be reserved for the Federal Government.”

    That’s interesting in that it’s pretty much the opposite of the 10th Amendment to the US Constitution, which states that the powers not delegated to the federal government by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

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