Province of Canada

Last updated

United Province of Canada

Province du Canada  (French)
Status British colony
Capital Kingston 1841–44
Montréal 1844–49
Toronto 1849–52, 56–58
Quebec City 1852–56, 59–66
Ottawa 1866–67
Common languages English, French
Government Responsible government under a constitutional monarchy (1848–67)
Charles Monck, 4th Viscount Monck
Adam Johnston Fergusson Blair
LegislatureLegislative Council and Assembly of the Province of Canada
Historical era Pre-Confederation era
10 February 1841
11 March 1848
1 July 1867
Currency Canadian pound 1841–58
Canadian dollar 1858–67 (fixed to US dollar)
ISO 3166 code CA
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Civil Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Upper Canada
Civil Ensign of the United Kingdom.svg Lower Canada
Canada Canadian Red Ensign 1868-1921.svg
Today part ofFlag of Canada (Pantone).svg  Canada

The Province of Canada (or the United Province of Canada or the United Canadas) was a British colony in North America from 1841 to 1867. Its formation reflected recommendations made by John Lambton, 1st Earl of Durham in the Report on the Affairs of British North America following the Rebellions of 1837–1838.

British North America Former British imperial territories

British North America refers to the former territories of the British Empire in North America, not including the Caribbean. The term was first used informally in 1783, but it was uncommon before the Report on the Affairs of British North America (1839), called the Durham Report. These territories today form modern-day Canada and the Pacific Northwest of the United States.

John Lambton, 1st Earl of Durham British politician

John George Lambton, 1st Earl of Durham, GCB, PC, also known as "Radical Jack" and commonly referred to in Canadian history texts simply as Lord Durham, was a British Whig statesman, colonial administrator, Governor General and high commissioner of British North America. He was a founding member and chairman of the New Zealand Company that played a key role in the colonisation of New Zealand.

The Report on the Affairs of British North America, commonly known as the Durham Report, or Lord Durham's Report is an important document in the history of Quebec, Ontario, Canada and the British Empire.


The Act of Union 1840, passed on 23 July 1840 by the British Parliament and proclaimed by the Crown on 10 February 1841, [1] merged the Colonies of Upper Canada and Lower Canada by abolishing their separate parliaments and replacing them with a single one with two houses, a Legislative Council as the upper chamber and the Legislative Assembly as the lower chamber. In the aftermath of the Rebellions of 1837–1838, unification of the two Canadas was driven by two factors. Firstly, Upper Canada was near bankruptcy because it lacked stable tax revenues, and needed the resources of the more populous Lower Canada to fund its internal transportation improvements. Secondly, unification was an attempt to swamp the French vote by giving each of the former provinces the same number of parliamentary seats, despite the larger population of Lower Canada.

The British North America Act, 1840, also known as the Act of Union 1840, was approved by Parliament in July 1840 and proclaimed February 10, 1841 in Montréal. It abolished the legislatures of Lower Canada and Upper Canada and established a new political entity, the Province of Canada to replace them. The Act was similar in nature and in goals to the other Acts of Union enacted by the British Parliament.

Upper Canada 19th century British colony in present-day Ontario

The Province of Upper Canada was a part of British Canada established in 1791 by the Kingdom of Great Britain, to govern the central third of the lands in British North America, formerly part of the Province of Quebec since 1763. Upper Canada included all of modern-day Southern Ontario and all those areas of Northern Ontario in the Pays d'en Haut which had formed part of New France, essentially the watersheds of the Ottawa River or Lakes Huron and Superior, excluding any lands within the watershed of Hudson Bay. The "upper" prefix in the name reflects its geographic position along the Great Lakes, mostly above the headwaters of the Saint Lawrence River, contrasted with Lower Canada to the northeast.

Lower Canada 19th century British colony in present-day Quebec

The Province of Lower Canada was a British colony on the lower Saint Lawrence River and the shores of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence (1791–1841). It covered the southern portion of the current Province of Quebec and the Labrador region of the current Province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Although Durham's report had called for the Union of the Canadas and for responsible government (a government accountable to an independent local legislature), only the first of the two recommendations was implemented in 1841. For the first seven years, the government was led by an appointed governor general accountable only to the British Crown and the Queen's Ministers. Responsible government was not to be achieved until the second LaFontaine–Baldwin ministry in 1849, when Governor General James Bruce, 8th Earl of Elgin agreed to request a cabinet be formed on the basis of party, effectively making the elected premier the head of the government and reducing the Governor General to a more symbolic role.

Responsible government is a conception of a system of government that embodies the principle of parliamentary accountability, the foundation of the Westminster system of parliamentary democracy. Governments in Westminster democracies are responsible to parliament rather than to the monarch, or, in a colonial context, to the imperial government, and in a republican context, to the president, either in full or in part. If the parliament is bicameral, then the government is responsible first to the parliament's lower house, which is more representative than the upper house, as it usually has more members and they are always directly elected.

James Bruce, 8th Earl of Elgin British colonial administrator and diplomat

James Bruce, 8th Earl of Elgin and 12th Earl of Kincardine, was a British colonial administrator and diplomat. He served as Governor of Jamaica (1842–1846), Governor General of the Province of Canada (1847–1854), and Viceroy of India (1862–1863). In 1857, he was appointed High Commissioner and Plenipotentiary in China and the Far East to assist in the process of opening up China and Japan to Western trade. In 1860, during the Second Opium War in China, in retaliation for the torture and execution of almost twenty European and Indian prisoners, he ordered the destruction of the Old Summer Palace in Beijing, an architectural wonder with immeasurable collections of artworks and historic antiques, inflicting invaluable loss of cultural heritage. Subsequently, he submitted the Qing dynasty to the unequal treaty of the Convention of Peking, adding Kowloon Peninsula to the British crown colony of Hong Kong.

The Province of Canada ceased to exist at Canadian Confederation on 1 July 1867, when it was divided into the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec. Ontario included the area occupied by the pre-1841 British colony of Upper Canada, while Quebec included the area occupied by the pre-1841 British colony of Lower Canada (which had included Labrador until 1809, when Labrador was transferred to the British colony of Newfoundland). [2] Upper Canada was primarily English-speaking, whereas Lower Canada was primarily French-speaking.

Canadian Confederation process by which the British colonies of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick were united into one Dominion of Canada on July 1, 1867

Canadian Confederation was the process by which the British colonies of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick were united into one Dominion of Canada on July 1, 1867. Upon confederation, the old province of Canada was divided into Ontario and Quebec; along with Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, the new federation thus comprised four provinces. Over the years since Confederation, Canada has seen numerous territorial changes and expansions, resulting in the current union of ten provinces and three territories.

Provinces and territories of Canada Top-level subdivisions of Canada

The provinces and territories of Canada are sub-national governments within the geographical areas of Canada under the authority of the Canadian Constitution. In the 1867 Canadian Confederation, three provinces of British North America—New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and the Province of Canada —were united to form a federated colony, becoming a sovereign nation in the next century. Over its history, Canada's international borders have changed several times, and the country has grown from the original four provinces to the current ten provinces and three territories. Together, the provinces and territories make up the world's second-largest country by area.

Ontario Province of Canada

Ontario is one of the 13 provinces and territories of Canada. Located in Central Canada, it is Canada's most populous province accounting for 38.3 percent of the country's population, and is the second-largest province in total area. Ontario is fourth-largest jurisdiction in total area when the territories of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut are included. It is home to the nation's capital city, Ottawa, and the nation's most populous city, Toronto, which is also Ontario's provincial capital.


1855 Map of Northern America, by Joseph Colton, showing Canada East and Canada West 1855 Colton Map of British North America or Canada - Geographicus - Canada-colton-1855.jpg
1855 Map of Northern America, by Joseph Colton, showing Canada East and Canada West

The Province of Canada was divided into two parts: Canada East and Canada West.

Canada East eastern portion of the Province of Canada

Canada East was the northeastern portion of the United Province of Canada. Lord Durham's Report investigating the causes of the Upper and Lower Canada Rebellions recommended merging those two colonies. The new colony, known as the Province of Canada was created by the Act of Union 1840 passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom, having effect in 1841. For administrative purposes, the new Province was subdivided into Canada West and Canada East. The former name of "Lower Canada" came back into official use in 1849, and as of the Canadian Confederation of 1867, it formed the newly created province of Quebec.

Canada East

Canada East was what became of the former colony of Lower Canada after being united into the Province of Canada. It became the province of Quebec after Confederation.

Quebec Province of Canada

Quebec is one of the thirteen provinces and territories of Canada. It is bordered to the west by the province of Ontario and the bodies of water James Bay and Hudson Bay; to the north by Hudson Strait and Ungava Bay; to the east by the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and the province of Newfoundland and Labrador; and to the south by the province of New Brunswick and the US states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York. It also shares maritime borders with Nunavut, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia. Quebec is Canada's largest province by area and its second-largest administrative division; only the territory of Nunavut is larger. It is historically and politically considered to be part of Central Canada.

Canada West

Canada West was what became of the former colony of Upper Canada after being united into the Province of Canada. It became the province of Ontario after Confederation.

Parliamentary system


The location of the capital city of the Province of Canada changed six times in its 26-year history. The first capital was in Kingston (1841–1844). The capital moved to Montreal (1844–1849) until rioters, spurred by a series of incendiary articles published in The Gazette , protested against the Rebellion Losses Bill and burned down Montreal's parliament buildings. It then moved to Toronto (1849–1852). It moved to Quebec City from 1852 to 1856, then Toronto for one year (1858)[ citation needed ] before returning to Quebec City from 1859 to 1866. In 1857, Queen Victoria chose Ottawa as the permanent capital of the Province of Canada, initiating construction of Canada's first parliament buildings, on Parliament Hill. The first stage of this construction was completed in 1865, just in time to host the final session of the last parliament of the Province of Canada before Confederation.

Governors General

Political organisation under the Act of Union, 1840 United Canada 1840.png
Political organisation under the Act of Union, 1840

The Governor General remained the head of the civil administration of the colony, appointed by the British government, and responsible to it, not to the local legislature. He was aided by the Executive Council and the Legislative Council. The Executive Council aided in administration, and the Legislative Council reviewed legislation produced by the elected Legislative Assembly.

Charles Poulett Thomson, 1st Baron Sydenham (1839–1841)

Charles Poulett Thomson Lord Sydenham.jpg
Charles Poulett Thomson

Sydenham came from a wealthy family of timber merchants, and was an expert in finance, having served on the English Board of Trade which regulated banking (including the colony). He was promised a barony if he could successfully implement the union of the Canadas, and introduce a new form of municipal government, the District Council. The aim of both exercises in state-building was to strengthen the power of the Governor General, to minimise the impact of the numerically superior French vote, and to build a "middle party" that answered to him, rather than the Family Compact or the Reformers. Sydenham was a Whig who believed in rational government, not "responsible government". To implement his plan, he used widespread electoral violence through the Orange Order. His efforts to prevent the election of Louis LaFontaine, the leader of the French reformers, were foiled by David Willson, the leader of the Children of Peace, who convinced the electors of the 4th Riding of York to transcend linguistic prejudice and elect LaFontaine in an English-speaking riding in Canada West. [3]

Sir Charles Bagot (1841–1843)

Sir Charles Bagot (1825) Charles Bagot (1781-1843), by Francis William Wilkin (1791-1842).jpg
Sir Charles Bagot (1825)

Bagot was appointed after the unexpected death of Thomson, with the explicit instructions to resist calls for responsible government. He arrived in the capital, Kingston, to find that Thomson's "middle party" had become polarised and he therefore could not form an executive. Even the Tories informed Bagot he could not form a cabinet without including LaFontaine and the French Party. LaFontaine demanded four cabinet seats, including one for Robert Baldwin. Bagot became severely ill thereafter, and Baldwin and Lafontaine became the first real premiers of the Province of Canada. [4] However, to take office as ministers, the two had to run for re-election. While LaFontaine was easily re-elected in 4th York, Baldwin lost his seat in Hastings as a result of Orange Order violence. It was now that the pact between the two men was completely solidified, as LaFontaine arranged for Baldwin to run in Rimouski, Canada East. This was the union of the Canadas they sought, where LaFontaine overcame linguistic prejudice to gain a seat in English Canada, and Baldwin obtained his seat in French Canada. [5] [6]

Charles Metcalfe, 1st Baron Metcalfe (1843–1845)

Charles Metcalfe Charles Theophilus Metcalfe, 1st Baron Metcalfe by George Chinnery.jpg
Charles Metcalfe

The Baldwin–LaFontaine ministry barely lasted six months before Governor Bagot also died in March 1843. He was replaced by Sir Charles Metcalfe, whose instructions were to check the "radical" reform government. Metcalfe reverted to the Thomson system of strong central autocratic rule. Metcalfe began appointing his own supporters to patronage positions without Baldwin and LaFontaine's approval, as joint premiers. They resigned in November 1843, beginning a constitutional crisis that would last a year. Metcalfe refused to recall the legislature to demonstrate its irrelevance; he could rule without it. This year-long crisis, in which the legislature was prorogued, "was the final signpost on Upper Canada's conceptual road to democracy. Lacking the scale of the American Revolution, it nonetheless forced a comparable articulation and rethinking of the basics of political dialogue in the province." [7] In the ensuing election, however, the Reformers did not win a majority and thus were not called to form another ministry. Responsible government would be delayed until after 1848. [8]

Charles Cathcart, 2nd Earl Cathcart and Baron Greenock (1845–1847)

Cathcart had been a staff officer with Wellington in the Napoleonic Wars, and rose in rank to become commander of British forces in North America from June 1845 to May 1847. He was also appointed as Administrator then Governor General for the same period, uniting for the first time the highest Civil and military offices. The appointment of this military officer as Governor General was due to heightened tensions with the United States over the Oregon boundary dispute. Cathcart was deeply interested in the natural sciences, but ignorant of constitutional practice, and hence an unusual choice for Governor General. He refused to become involved in the day-to-day government of the conservative ministry of William Draper, thereby indirectly emphasising the need for responsible government. His primary focus was on redrafting the Militia Act of 1846. The signing of the Oregon Boundary Treaty in 1846 made him dispensable. [9]

James Bruce, 8th Earl of Elgin (1847–1854)

James Bruce, Lord Elgin LordJamesBruceElgin.jpg
James Bruce, Lord Elgin

Elgin's second wife, Lady Mary Louisa Lambton, was the daughter of Lord Durham and niece of Lord Grey, making him an ideal compromise figure to introduce responsible government. On his arrival, the Reform Party won a decisive victory at the polls. Elgin invited LaFontaine to form the new government, the first time a Governor General requested cabinet formation on the basis of party. The party character of the ministry meant that the elected premier – and no longer the governor – would be the head of the government. The Governor General would become a more symbolic figure. The elected Premier in the Legislative Assembly would now become responsible for local administration and legislation. It also deprived the Governor of patronage appointments to the civil service, which had been the basis of Metcalfe's policy. [10] The test of responsible government came in 1849, when the Baldwin–Lafontaine government passed the Rebellion Losses Bill, compensating French Canadians for losses suffered during the Rebellions of 1837. Lord Elgin granted royal assent to the bill despite heated Tory opposition and his own personal misgivings, sparking riots in Montreal, during which Elgin himself was assaulted by an English-speaking Orange Order mob and the Parliament buildings were burned down. [10]

Edmund Walker Head, 8th Baronet (1854–1861)

Sir Edmund Walker Head Edmund Walker Head.jpg
Sir Edmund Walker Head

The appointment of Walker Head (a cousin of Sir Francis Bond Head, whose inept governance of Upper Canada led to the Rebellion of 1837) is ironic. Some have argued that the Colonial Office meant to appoint Walker Head to be Lt. Governor of Upper Canada in 1836. The difference would have meant little. Both men were Assistant Poor Law Commissioners at the time. Walker Head's appointment in Wales led to the Chartist Newport Rising there in 1839. It was under Head, that true political party government was introduced with the Liberal-Conservative Party of John A. Macdonald and George-Étienne Cartier in 1856. It was during their ministry that the first organised moves toward Canadian Confederation took place. [11]

Charles Monck, 4th Viscount Monck (1861–1868)

It was under Monck's governorship that the Great Coalition of all of the political parties of the two Canadas occurred in 1864. The Great Coalition was formed to end the political deadlock between predominantly French-speaking Canada East and predominantly English-speaking Canada West. The deadlock resulted from the requirement of a "double majority" to pass laws in the Legislative Assembly (i.e., a majority in both the Canada East and Canada West sections of the assembly). The removal of the deadlock resulted in three conferences that led to confederation. [12]

Executive Council of the Province of Canada

Thomson reformed the Executive Councils of Upper and Lower Canada by introducing a "President of the Committees of Council" to act as a chief executive officer for the Council and chair of the various committees. The first was Robert Baldwin Sullivan. Thomson also systematically organised the civil service into departments, the heads of which sat on the Executive Council. A further innovation was to demand that every Head of Department seek election in the Legislative Assembly.

Legislative Council

The Legislative Council of the Province of Canada was the upper house. The 24 legislative councillors were originally appointed. In 1856, a bill was passed to replace the appointed members by election. Members were to be elected from 24 divisions in each of Canada East and Canada West. Twelve members were elected every two years from 1856 to 1862.

Legislative Assembly

Elections to the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada (1841–1863) – seats won by party
   Reform 29291212232320201919
   Clear Grits 1414
   Radical Reform 66
   Moderate Reform 556622
   Patriote 212123232323
   Rouges 4419191010
   Liberal 55999934539292958392564
   Family Compact 1010
   Tory 17172813411862420323
   Ministerialist 23233535
   Bleus 333327272525
   Liberal-Conservative 2593424153929837241135
Robert Baldwin, Father of responsible government

Canada West, with its 450,000 inhabitants, was represented by 42 seats in the Legislative Assembly, the same number as the more-populated Canada East, with 650,000 inhabitants.

The Legislature's effectiveness was further hampered by the requirement of a "double majority" where a majority of votes for the passage of a bill had to be obtained from the members of both Canada East and West.

Each administration was led by two men, one from each half of the province. Officially, one of them at any given time had the title of Premier, while the other had the title of Deputy.

District councils

Municipal government in Upper Canada was under the control of appointed magistrates who sat in Courts of Quarter Sessions to administer the law within a District. A few cities, such as Toronto, were incorporated by special acts of the legislature. Governor Thomson, 1st Baron Sydenham, spearheaded the passage of the District Councils Act which transferred municipal government to District Councils. His bill allowed for two elected councillors from each township, but the warden, clerk and treasurer were to be appointed by the government. This thus allowed for strong administrative control and continued government patronage appointments. Sydenham's bill reflected his larger concerns to limit popular participation under the tutelage of a strong executive. [13] The Councils were reformed by the Baldwin Act in 1849 which made municipal government truly democratic rather than an extension of central control of the Crown. It delegated authority to municipal governments so they could raise taxes and enact by-laws. It also established a hierarchy of types of municipal governments, starting at the top with cities and continued down past towns, villages and finally townships. This system was to prevail for the next 150 years. [14]

Political parties

Reform Association of Canada

The Second Meeting House, Sharon, where the Reform Association met June 1844 Second Meeting House.jpg
The Second Meeting House, Sharon, where the Reform Association met June 1844

During the year-long constitutional crisis in 1843–44, when Metcalfe prorogued Parliament to demonstrate its irrelevance, Baldwin established a "Reform Association" in February 1844, to unite the Reform movement in Canada West and to explain their understanding of responsible government. Twenty-two branches were established. A grand meeting of all branches of the Reform Association was held in the Second Meeting House of the Children of Peace in Sharon. Over three thousand people attended this rally for Baldwin. [15] the Association was not, however, a true political party and individual members voted independently.

Parti rouge

The Parti rouge (alternatively known as the Parti démocratique) was formed in Canada East around 1848 by radical French Canadians inspired by the ideas of Louis-Joseph Papineau, the Institut canadien de Montréal, and the reformist movement led by the Parti patriote of the 1830s. The reformist rouges did not believe that the 1840 Act of Union had truly granted a responsible government to former Upper and Lower Canada. They advocated important democratic reforms, republicanism, separation of the state and the church. In 1858, the elected rouges allied with the Clear Grits. This resulted in the shortest-lived government in Canadian history, falling in less than a day.

Clear Grits

The Clear Grits were the inheritors of William Lyon Mackenzie's Reform movement of the 1830s. Their support was concentrated among southwestern Canada West farmers, who were frustrated and disillusioned by the 1849 Reform government of Robert Baldwin and Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine's lack of democratic enthusiasm. The Clear Grits advocated universal male suffrage, representation by population, democratic institutions, reductions in government expenditure, abolition of the Clergy reserves, voluntarism, and free trade with the United States. Their platform was similar to that of the British Chartists. The Clear Grits and the Parti rouge evolved into the Liberal Party of Canada. [16]

Parti bleu

The Parti bleu was a moderate political group in Canada East that emerged in 1854. It was based on the moderate reformist views of Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine.

Liberal-Conservative Party

The Liberal-Conservative Party emerged from a coalition government in 1854 in which moderate Reformers and Conservatives from Canada West joined with bleus from Canada East under the dual prime-ministership of Sir Allan MacNab and A.-N. Morin. The new ministry were committed to secularise the Clergy reserves in Canada West and to abolish seigneurial tenure in Canada East. [17] Over time, the Liberal-Conservatives evolved into the Conservative party. [16]

Impact of responsible government

No provision for responsible government was included in the Act of Union 1840. Early Governors of the province were closely involved in political affairs, maintaining a right to make Executive Council and other appointments without the input of the legislative assembly.[ citation needed ]

Political organisation under the Union Act (1848) United Canada 1848.png
Political organisation under the Union Act (1848)

However, in 1848 the Earl of Elgin, the then Governor General, appointed a Cabinet nominated by the majority party of the Legislative Assembly, the Baldwin–Lafontaine coalition that had won elections in January. Lord Elgin upheld the principles of responsible government by not repealing the Rebellion Losses Bill, which was highly unpopular with some English-speaking Loyalists who favoured imperial over majority rule.

As Canada East and Canada West each held 42 seats in the Legislative Assembly, there was a legislative deadlock between English (mainly from Canada West) and French (mainly from Canada East). The majority of the province was French, which demanded "rep-by-pop" (representation by population), which the Anglophones opposed.

The granting of responsible government to the colony is typically attributed to reforms in 1848 (principally the effective transfer of control over patronage from the Governor to the elected ministry). These reforms resulted in the appointment of the second Baldwin–Lafontaine government that quickly removed many of the disabilities on French-Canadian political participation in the colony.

Once the English population, rapidly growing through immigration, exceeded the French, the English demanded representation-by-population. In the end, the legislative deadlock between English and French led to a movement for a federal union which resulted in the broader Canadian Confederation in 1867.

Liberal order

In "The Liberal Order Framework: A Prospectus for a Reconnaissance of Canadian History" McKay argues that "the category 'Canada' should henceforth denote a historically specific project of rule, rather than either an essence we must defend or an empty homogeneous space we must possess. Canada-as-project can be analyzed as the implantation and expansion over a heterogeneous terrain of a certain politico-economic logic—to wit, liberalism." [18] The liberalism of which McKay writes is not that of a specific political party, but of certain practices of state building which prioritise property, first of all, and the individual.

Legislative accomplishments

Burning of the Parliament Buildings, Montreal, 1849 Incendie Parlement Montreal.jpg
Burning of the Parliament Buildings, Montreal, 1849

Baldwin Act 1849 (municipal government reform)

The Baldwin Act, also known as the Municipal Corporations Act, replaced the local government system based on district councils in Canada West by government at the county level. It also granted more autonomy to townships, villages, towns and cities.

Rebellion Losses Bill 1849

Secularizing King's College 1849

In 1849, King's College was renamed the University of Toronto and the school's ties with the Church of England were severed. [19]

Reciprocity Treaty of 1854

The Canadian–American Reciprocity Treaty of 1854, also known as the Elgin–Marcy Treaty, was a trade treaty between the United Province of Canada and the United States. It covered raw materials and was in effect from 1854 to 1865. It represented a move toward free trade.

Education in Canada West was regulated by the province through the General Board of Education, in 1846, until 1850, when it was replaced by the Department of Public Instruction, until 1876. [20]

Among its accomplishments, the United Province of Canada built the Grand Trunk Railway, improved the educational system in Canada West under Egerton Ryerson, reinstated French as an official language of the legislature and the courts, codified the Civil Code of Lower Canada in 1866, and abolished the seigneurial system in Canada East.

Exploration of Western Canada and Rupert's Land with a view to annexation and settlement was a priority of Canada West politicians in the 1850s leading to the Palliser Expedition and the Red River Expedition of Henry Youle Hind, George Gladman and Simon James Dawson.


YearPopulation (Upper) Canada West [21] Population (Lower) Canada East [21]
1848725,879765,797–786,693 estimates

See also

Political history
Political structure

Related Research Articles

Robert Baldwin Canadian politician

Robert Baldwin was a Canadian lawyer and politician who, with his political partner Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine, led the first responsible ministry in Canada. "Responsible Government" marked the country's democratic independence, without a revolution, although not without violence. This achievement also included the introduction of municipal government, the introduction of a modern legal system and the Canadian Jury system, and the abolishing of imprisonment for debt. Baldwin is also noted for resisting a decades-long tradition of Orange Order terrorism of political reform in the colony, that went so far as to burn the Parliament buildings in Montreal in 1849.

Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine Canadian politician

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Lower Canada Rebellion armed conflict in 1837–38 between the rebels of Lower Canada (now Quebec) and the British colonial power of that province

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Château Clique

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Charles Bagot British politician

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Reform movement, sometimes erroneously referred to as the Reform Party, began in the 1830s as the movement in the English speaking parts of British North America (Canada). It agitated initially for republicanism, and later for responsible government. The movement dissolved after responsible government was granted to the Province of Canada in 1848, with members forming the Parti bleu and Parti rouge in Canada East and the Liberal Party in Canada West, among other smaller parties.

Parti bleu

The Blue Party was a political group that contested elections in the Eastern section of the Province of Canada. The Blue Party was ideologically located on the political right, and was defined by its support for the Catholic Church, and later for supporting confederation.

The Rebellion Losses Bill was a controversial law enacted by the legislature of the Province of Canada in 1849. Its passage and subsequent assent by the Governor General, James Bruce, 8th Earl of Elgin makes the bill a landmark piece of legislation in Canadian political history.

Dominick Daly Governor of Prince Edward Island (1854-1859), and South Australia (1862-1868)

Sir Dominick Daly was the Governor of Prince Edward Island from 11 July 1854 to 25 May 1859 and later Governor of South Australia from 4 March 1862 until his death on 19 February 1868.

Samuel Harrison Canadian politician

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Caleb Hopkins was a farmer and politician in Upper Canada.

Canada under British rule Colonial Canada

Canada was under British rule beginning with the 1763 Treaty of Paris, when New France, of which the colony of Canada was a part, formally became a part of the British Empire. Gradually, other territories, colonies and provinces that were part of British North America would be added to Canada, along with land through the use of treaties with First Peoples.

David Willson (Quaker) Canadian quaker minister

David Willson (1778–1866) was a religious and political leader who founded the Quaker sect known as, 'The Children of Peace' or 'Davidites,' based at Sharon in York County, Upper Canada in 1812. As the primary minister to this group, he led them in constructing a series of remarkable buildings, the best known of which is the Sharon Temple, now a National Historic Site of Canada. A prolific writer, sympathizer and leader of the movement for political reform in Upper Canada, Willson and his followers ensured the election of William Lyon Mackenzie, and both "fathers of Responsible Government", Robert Baldwin and Louis LaFontaine, in their riding.

Burning of the Parliament Buildings in Montreal

The burning of the Parliament Buildings in Montreal was an important event in pre-Confederation Canadian history and occurred on the night of April 25, 1849, in Montreal in the Province of Canada. It is considered a crucial moment in the development of the Canadian democratic tradition, largely as a consequence of how the matter was dealt with by then co-prime ministers of the united Province of Canada, Sir Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine and Robert Baldwin.


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Further reading

Coordinates: 45°30′N75°30′W / 45.5°N 75.5°W / 45.5; -75.5