The Québec Conference, October 10-27, 1864

The Québec Conference was the second conference leading to creation of the Dominion of Canada in 1867. After the enthusiastic reception given to the delegates from the Province of Canada at the Charlottetown Conference in September 1864, John A. Macdonald asked Governor Monck to invite representatives from the three Maritime colonies and Newfoundland to meet with the United Canada delegates in Québec in October 1864. The Confederation project proposed in Charlottetown was on the agenda and, if the talks went well, a constitutional proposal would be drafted. In Charlottetown, the Canadian delegation had proposed the foundations for a new country: preservation of ties with Great Britain; residual jurisdiction left to a central authority; a bicameral system including a Lower House with representation by population (rep by pop) and an Upper House with representation based on regional, rather than provincial, equality; responsible government at the federal and provincial levels; and the appointment of a governor general by the British Crown.

The Québec Conference took place from October 10 to 27, 1864, in a magnificent building that stood where the Château Frontenac is today. Participants were charmed by the site on Cape Diamant, overlooking the St. Lawrence, with a view of Île d'Orléans and the shore of Lévis. The Plains of Abraham were only a few minutes' stroll away. In contrast with the breathtaking location, the weather was miserably cold and windy, and the incessant rain dampened the spirits of the delegates.

The following delegates attended the Québec Conference as representatives of the colonies. For Canada East: George-Étienne Cartier, Jean-Charles Chapais, Thomas D'Arcy McGee, Alexander Tilloch Galt, Hector-Louis Langevin and Étienne-Paschal Taché. For Canada West: George Brown, Alexander Campbell, James Cockburn, John Alexander Macdonald, William McDougall and Oliver Mowat. For New Brunswick: Edward Barron Chandler, Charles Fisher, John Hamilton Gray, John Mercer Johnson, Peter Mitchell, William H. Steeves and Samuel Leonard Tilley. For Nova Scotia: Adams George Archibald, Robert Barry Dickey, William Alexander Henry, Jonathan McCully and Charles Tupper. For Prince Edward Island: George Coles, John Hamilton Gray, Thomas Heath Haviland, Andrew Archibald Macdonald, Edward Palmer, William Henry Pope and Edward Whelan. For Newfoundland, only as observers: Frederic Bowker Terrington Carter and Ambrose Shea.

Étienne-Paschal Taché was named chairman of the conference. It was John A. Macdonald, however, who dominated his Canadian colleagues, and even the rest of the delegates.

Following this conference, the delegates from the colonies drafted a text known as the 72 Resolutions, or the Québec Resolutions. These resolutions were the basis for the London Conference held at Westminster Palace Hotel in December 1866.


Sources

  • Buckner, P. A. -- "Quebec conference". -- The 1999 Canadian encyclopedia : world edition. -- Toronto : McClelland & Stewart, 1998.
  • Waite, P. B. -- "Fathers of Confederation". -- The 1999 Canadian encyclopedia : world edition. -- Toronto : McClelland & Stewart, 1998.
  • Whitelaw, W. Menzies. -- "Reconstructing the Quebec Conference". -- The Canadian Historical Review. -- Vol. XIX, no. 2 (June 1938). -- P. 123-137.
  • Whitelaw, W. Menzies. -- La conférence de Québec. -- Ottawa : Société historique du Canada, 1967. -- 28 p. -- (Brochure historique ; 20).
Date modified: