Canada's Founding Debates is about Confederation – about the process that brought together six out of the seven territories of British North America in the years 1864–73 to form a country called Canada. It presents excerpts from the debates on Confederation in all of the colonial parliaments from Newfoundland to British Columbia and in the constituent assembly of the Red River Colony. The voices of the powerful and those of lesser note mingle in impassioned debate on the pros and cons of creating or joining the new country, and in defining its nature. In short explanatory essays and provocative annotations, the editors sketch the historical context of the debates and draw out the significance of what was said. By organizing the debates thematically, they bring out the depth of the founders concern for issues that are as vital today as they were then: the meaning of liberty, the merits of democracy, the best form of self-government, the tension between collective and individual rights, the rule of law, the requirements of political leadership, and, of course, the nature of Canadian nationality. Canada's Founding Debates offers a fresh and often surprising perspective on Canada's origins, history, and political character.
Previously published by Stoddart Publishing, 1999.
- Part One: What They Said About Liberty
- Constitutional Liberty
- Responsible Government
- Parliamentary Government and the Upper House
- Equality of Representation
- Part Two: What They Said About Opportunity
- Economic Prosperity and Individual Ambition
- Part Three: What They Said About Identity
- British or American?
- British or Canadian?
- What Is a Canadian?
- Part Four: What They About the New Nationality
- Federal Union
- Minorities and Minority Rights
- Part Five: How to Make a Constitution
- Consulting the People in Constitution Making
- Direct Democracy: Pro and Con
- The Quebec Resolutions
- The Legislators
- Afterword on Books
'[Canada's Founding Debates] should be in the library not just of every serious student of Canadian history, but of every serious citizen.'Christopher Moore, The Beaver