Québec Conference

The Québec Conference took place from October 10-27, 1864. At the earlier CHARLOTTETOWN CONFERENCE, representatives from the 3 Maritime colonies and the PROVINCE OF CANADA had agreed on a scheme for the federation of BRITISH NORTH AMERICA. On October 10, 33 delegates, including 2 from Newfoundland, met in Québec City to formulate a detailed plan for union. The Maritime delegates were drawn from government; Canada was represented by its Cabinet, which set the agenda, proposed the resolutions and dominated the conference. Canadian PM Sir E.P. TACHÉ acted as chairman. Voting was by colony; Canada was given 2 votes.

The greatest controversy was over the composition of PARLIAMENT : only Prince Edward Island disagreed that members of the HOUSE OF COMMONS should be elected on the basis of representation by population, but the distribution of seats in the SENATE led to a prolonged dispute. The financial arrangements proposed by Alexander T. GALT also precipitated considerable discussion. The distribution of powers between federal and provincial governments was settled with comparative ease and followed the outline suggested by John A. MACDONALD and Oliver MOWAT.

The delegates completed their work and adjourned October 27. Their conclusions were embodied in 72 resolutions, which became the focus of the CONFEDERATION debates. Although the Québec Resolutions were formally adopted only by the Province of Canada, they formed the basis of the BRITISH NORTH AMERICA ACT, which created Canada.