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POZER, GEORGE – Volume VII (1836-1850)

d. 16 June 1848 at Quebec


Responsible Government

Sir John A. Macdonald

From the Red River Settlement to Manitoba (1812–70)

Sir Wilfrid Laurier

Sir George-Étienne Cartier


The Fenians

Women in the DCB/DBC

The Charlottetown and Quebec Conferences of 1864

Introductory Essays of the DCB/DBC

The Acadians

For Educators

The War of 1812 

Canada’s Wartime Prime Ministers

The First World War

Opposition to Confederation
Original title:  ARCHIVED - Political Cartoons - Canadian Confederation - Library and Archives Canada.

Source: Link


Confederation was attacked from different quarters. Some feared that the central government would be given too much power; others believed it would have too little. There were also concrete objections, such as those of Joseph HOWE:

[His] opposition was based on practical grounds: railroads, and social and economic intercourse, were needed first to make union a success; the Quebec resolutions, born of Canadian necessity, would lead to the loss of independence and the economic ruination of Nova Scotia.”

Canada East

In Canada East (Lower Canada; present-day Quebec), young Rouges such as Médéric LANCTOT organized resistance against George-Étienne CARTIER and confederation:

“[In 1864 the] young nationalists set in motion a vigorous press campaign against the plan of confederation and against the old parties. They favoured setting up an independent state of Quebec. Side by side with this press campaign, Lanctot organized a campaign of political agitation, which, conducted at a brisk pace by the team of L’Union rationale, took on the appearance of a crusade. Two phases can be distinguished. From August to November, the young nationalists held public meetings which brought together some hundreds of people; there they denounced the principle of confederation, then got resolutions passed condemning the plans of the coalition. From November on, they demanded an appeal to the people, and got petitions signed to this effect.”

Canada West

In Canada West (Upper Canada; present-day Ontario), some observers concluded that the scheme emerging from Charlottetown and Quebec City was premature and expensive, and claimed that it offered few advantages to Canada West. Others, such as Matthew Crooks CAMERON (one of the few Conservatives to oppose union), warned that confederation would loosen ties with Great Britain:

He was not ‘dazzled’ by the prospect of a great nation: We can never be so great in any way as we can by remaining a dependency of the British Crown.’ The resolutions, he claimed, individualized’ the provinces, increasing the elements of contention as well as the possibility of dismemberment from the empire and drift ‘into the vortex of annexation’ to the United States which would be the greatest injury’ that could happen.”


Many Maritimers feared the potential dominance of the Province of Canada. There were also specific regional issues that remained to be settled. George COLES believed that Prince Edward Island would accept confederation if the Island’s vexing land question was resolved. And there was strong apprehension that the Atlantic provinces would be saddled with the Canadian debt.

Albert James SMITH, New Brunswick’s leading anti-confederate, took to the hustings:

[Smith] stumped the province with a devastating speech in which he said that confederation had been conjured up in the ‘oily brains of Canadian politicians’ as a solution to their own problems and as a scheme to exploit others. He warned his listeners to examine the two states, ‘one [Canada] suffering from anarchy and disquiet. . . [the other] New Brunswick. . . enjoying all the blessings of this life.’”


To find out more about the objections, doubts, and uncertainties expressed about confederation, please consult the following lists of biographies:

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