The Confederation Debates 1865-1949

Before each province and territory became a part of Canada, their local legislatures (and the House of Commons after 1867) debated the extent, purposes, and principles of political union between 1865 and 1949. Indigenous Peoples and Crown officials also negotiated a series of Numbered Treaties between 1871 and 1921 that committed both parties to lasting relationships. The Confederation Debates brings all of these debates together for the first time, and democratizes access for present and future generations of specialists (ex. academics, lawyers, journalists etc…), students, and the general public.

Canadians do not currently have access to these critical historical records. While large digitization initiatives provide Americans, Australians, New Zealanders, Germans and European Union citizens with access to similar records, most Canadian materials are still in archives and interested individuals are limited to consulting a few heavily edited books and a few scattered online resources.

The Confederation Debates will encourage Canadians of all ages and walks of life to learn about past challenges and engage present-day debates.

These opportunities and deliverables include:

  • a legacy website where all deliverables can downloaded for free
  • a map interface that will allow all users to browse to their local leaders and learn their views on Canada
  • mini-units for grade 7/8 and high school students that cater to each province’s history and curriculum
  • quotes of the day posted to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram in both official languages
  • e-books on each province or region with short introductions by established scholars

Contact person:
Daniel Heidt
dheidt@uwaterloo.ca