This year marks the 150th anniversary of two crucial meetings that led to Confederation in 1867. I’m referring to the Charlottetown and Quebec conferences. In a recent article in the Globe and Mail, political scientist Antonia Maioni notes that the while Charlottetown is going into overdrive to commemorate the sesquicentennial of the Charlottetown conference, much less has been done to commemorate the equally important meetings in Quebec City. She writes:
Indeed, this year is historically important because it marks the 150th anniversary of the two conferences that would shape the form and content of what we know as Canada. In PEI, the Charlottetown Conference of 1864 has become a cottage industry: The scene of Sir John A. Macdonald and his Canadian colleagues crashing the Maritime union party with a boatload of champagne is the stuff of legend. And Charlottetown has made sure that those iconic whiskered gentlemen live on and on, with the federal government’s help.
Still, if the devil is in the details, it’s the Quebec Conference of 1864 that should be riveting our attention. Quebec, the capital of the then United Canada, is where the resolutions about the actual constitutional framework were hammered out..,
Which may be why, at least compared to Charlottetown, there is relatively little in the way of celebration in Quebec City to mark this historic date.
Professor Maioni’s point is basically correct, but I think that she is overlooking the conference on the Quebec Conference that will be taking place at Quebec City’s Museum of Civilization, October 16-18.
I’m going to be presenting on business, capitalism, and resistance to Confederation in the third session.
I’ve pasted the programme below.
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 16
17 H OPENING REMARKS
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 17
First Session: The Legal and Political Context
Writing Constitutional Law
The Founders of Confederation and the B.N.A. Act : their Visions and Models of Constitutionalism
Making a Dominion, or the Completion of a Conquest
Canadian Constitution-Making in the British World
Second Session: The Key Actors
The Anguishes of Joseph Édouard Cauchon
Georges-Étienne Cartier and the Renaissance of Quebec’s Autonomy
A Large Group in a Small Room: Multi-Party Dynamics at the Quebec Conference
The Quebec Resolutions and the Birth of a Quasi-Federal State
George Brown and Oliver Mowat on the Quebec Resolutions and Confederation : What They Said and What They Meant
Third Session: The Opponents
Confederation and Corruption : The Republican Critique of Canadian Confederation in Quebec
The Opposition to Federal Union in Lower Canada: Economic Arguments
Speaker to be confirmed
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 18
Fourth Session: The Moral Foundations
The Quebec Resolutions and the Ideas Left Behind
Perspectives of a Personalist-Communitarian Philosopher on the 1864 Quebec Conference
Opposing the 1864 Confederation Project : some Critiques of the Goals of the Regime
Fifth Session: Assessing the Historiography
« Déjà vu all over again » : Revising the English-Language Historiography of Canada’s Confederation Movement, 1865-1867 and beyond
French-Language Historiography and the Quebec Conference
Imaginations of a Canada in Becoming