In 1864, the colonies of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland planned to meet in Charlottetown to investigate a union among the British Maritime colonies. John A Macdonald and other representatives from Upper and Lower Canada invited themselves to the meeting and arrived by steamship. They proposed a wider union which would include Upper and Lower Canada. The group met again in Quebec City in October 1864 and agreed to proceed. Then in February 1865, the legislature of Upper and Lower Canada met to decide whether to ratify the proposal. Macdonald’s was the first of many speeches in the long debate in Quebec City.
It was 150 years ago, on November 6, 1867 that the Parliament of Canada convened for the first time in a made over lumber town called Ottawa. Recently, on the anniversary of that historic day MPs celebrated with former prime ministers Joe Clark, John Turner, Brian Mulroney and Paul Martin looking down from the visitors’ gallery. Geoff Regan, the House speaker, talked about how far the country has come.
“On this day 150 years ago, our predecessors embarked on an ambitious journey that continues to this day, the journey towards a fair, prosperous country for all citizens,” Regan said. “It is difficult to imagine the enormity of the task before those first parliamentarians gathered in the chamber that used to stand here, facing the monumental challenge of governing a vast and sprawling country still in its infancy.” Continue reading Searching Canada’s parliamentary debates back to 1867