Friday 1 July 2016

Happy Canada Day!

Happy Canada Day! Today we celebrate the day in 1867 when the Province of Canada (Ontario and Quebec), New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia joined in confederation as The Dominion of Canada.

Getting to that point took a lot of careful negotiation over many years. Proponents of confederation wanted to gather as much support as they could. To that end, Sir John A. MacDonald wrote to Bishop Lynch detailing the benefits of confederation to Catholics:

L AF02.12
Archbishop Lynch Fonds

L AF02.12
Archbishop Lynch Fonds


Quebec Dec 19/64

My dear Lord

Many thanks for your kind note of the 13th inst. I am exceedingly glad to find that you lean towards Federation.

I have, as you may suppose given very considerable attention to the subject and I can assure you that I see no other means of escape from the deadlock which had arisen between Upper and Lower Canada.

By the proposed arrangement all vested rights and institutions will be protected and the Catholics will have what they never had before, the Security of an Imperial act for the preservation of their religious and educational institutions. The Upper Canadian Catholics will not be at the mercy of George Brown. Their rights as I have said are to be guaranteed in the Imperial act of union. Besides this in case the local legislation should at any time act unjustly to them, they can appeal to the general Government for protection.

That General Govt. will be to a large extent composed of men from Lower Canada, a Catholic Country, and from Newfoundland and Prince Edward - both almost Catholic countries - so that they are fully protected.

The more the subject is discussed the more it will grow in public favour. It will give us renewed confidence in our work when we know we have the support and countenance of The Catholic Hierarchy.

Believe me my dear Lord Yours sincerely and respectfully

J A Macdonald

Sir John A's side was successful, and he became the first Prime Minister of Canada. Manitoba and the Northwest Territories joined in 1870, British Columbia in 1871, Prince Edward Island in 1873, Yukon in 1898, Saskatchewan and Alberta in 1905, Newfoundland in 1949, and Nunavut in 1999. Certainly worth celebrating!

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