|Fathers of Confederation Essay
May 31/ 2015
Throughout history, many people have influenced Canada’s path to Confederation. These individuals are a large range of people including the original explorers who first discovered Canada, First Nations leaders such as Louis Riel and the members of The Great Coalition. Although all of these people had large impacts on Canada’s path to Confederation, the person who had the largest impact was Sir George-Étienne Cartier. Canada’s real father of Confederation is Sir George-Étienne Cartier because of his long time in power prior to Confederation, his involvement in the major events that caused Confederation to take place and the fact that Quebec most likely would not have been supportive of Confederation without him.
One reason why Cartier is Canada’s real father of Confederation is because of his long time in power prior to Confederation. Through bloc voting, Cartier was able to be in power for all but two years leading up to Confederation. He used the bloc voting that got him into power to his advantage by using his large amount of supporters to join with John A. Macdonald’s smaller group. As the current leader of Canada, Cartier put Confederation into motion. Without Cartier and his supporters, there is potential that Confederation would not have had enough support to occur. Providing a large number of supporters for Confederation, being in control of Canada for a long time prior to Confederation and being in control when Confederation occurred proves that Cartier is Canada’s real father of Confederation.
Another reason why Cartier is Canada’s real father of Confederation is because of his involvement in the major events that caused Confederation to take place. Cartier played a crucial role at the Charlottetown Conference when he convinced the maritimers that a railway was a necessity for the future of the British North American colonies. This led to the maritime colonies joining Confederation for a reason that was not solely John A. Macdonald’s money. In addition, Cartier was an essential part in growing Canada after Confederation by handling the purchases of Rupert’s Land and the North-Western Territory from the Hudson’s Bay Company and negotiating Manitoba’s entry as a province. Cartier’s large contributions at the Charlottetown Conference and his work to grow Canada after Confederation prove that he is Canada’s real father of Confederation.
A final reason why Cartier is Canada’s real father of Confederation is the fact that Quebec most likely would not have joined Confederation without him. Cartier provided a French-Canadian influence in what would have been a two-man Scottish alliance in John A. Macdonald and George Brown. On top of everything he did, Cartier always made sure to keep the interests of the French-Canadian people in mind. If it wasn’t for Cartier, Quebec may not have decided to be a part of Confederation because of the lack of French-Canadian influence in the leadership team, especially with one of the leaders being George Brown, who was openly against the Catholic religion, which caused him to push Quebec away. Cartier’s French-Canadian position allowed Quebec to be in support of Confederation, which gave Confederation enough support to happen. Without Cartier’s French-Canadian influence, Quebec may not have decided to join Confederation, which not only wouldn’t have given Confederation enough support, but it also would have made the entire concept geographically impossible.
Although making Confederation happen was a team effort between John A. Macdonald, George Brown and George-Étienne Cartier, almost everything that took place would not have been possible if Cartier was not a part of The Great Coalition. Without his supporters, The Great Coalition may not have had enough support for Confederation to occur. Without his role in major events, the maritimers may not have been convinced about the railway and Canada may never have acquired Rupert’s Land and the North Western Territory. Lastly, without his presence, Quebec may have decided not to join Confederation, which would have made the whole thing impossible from support and geographic standpoints. Simply put, without Cartier, almost all of the major parts of Confederation would not been possible, which is why George-Étienne Cartier is Canada’s real father of Confederation.