28 October

Blueprint for Confederation Drawn Up at Quebec

By October 28, 1864, the Quebec Conference (see October 19) 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 ladies, in true Victorian style, sat in the galleries and watched!

The most difficult problems solved by the seventy-two resolutions in 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 riot 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 at a later date.


28 October

-1790    The Nootka Convention concluded, ending Spain's claim to what is now the Pacific coast of Canada.

-1851    The Hincks-Morin government came into power.

-1891    The Supreme Court declared the Manitoba Separate School Acts unconstitutional.

-1926    The Queen of Roumania visited Ottawa.

-1950    Governor-General Alexander's term of office was extended for one year.

-1954    R.C.M.P. patrol boat St. Roch, which went through the Northwest Passage both ways, ended its career in Vancouver where it is now on display.

-1958    Prince Philip visited Ottawa until October 3.1 as President of the English-speaking Union.

              Prime Minister and Mrs. Diefenbaker began a tour of European and Commonwealth countries.

-1960    The Banting and Best Department of Medical Research, University of Toronto, received a gift of one million dollars for medical research from Garfield Weston, Canadian industrialist.