The City of Charlottetown and the Ville de Québec have shared a lot over the years, as both hold a very unique place in Canadian history with the hosting of the Charlottetown and Québec Conferences in 1864. 2014 marks the 150th anniversary of both conferences and an important milestone in Canadian history, especially as we approach 2017 and the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation and establishment of our country.
Recognizing the momentous occasion 2014 marks, Mayor Clifford Lee of Charlottetown and Maire Régis Labeaume of the Ville de Québec have fostered a friendly, modern-day partnership between both municipalities as a result. Both Mayors appreciated the valuable and kindred place in history their cities share. Through a series of culture, beautification and promotional initiatives in 2014, both cities will be honoured for their role and place of significance in Canadian history. A pinnacle activity to be shared by both cities includes a “Québec Day” to be celebrated in Charlottetown with a “Charlottetown Day” to be celebrated in the Ville de Québec.
The history of these two cities can speak for itself…
In the mid-1800s, British North America contained five provinces: Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the Province of Canada (Canada East and Canada West). Each had a separate legislature and governor and reported to the British Government with little interaction between the provinces. The Charlottetown Conference (September 1-9, 1864) was originally intended as a regional meeting for Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick representatives to discuss a Maritime union. However, Canada’s representatives requested to be included and on the first day in Charlottetown convinced the others to consider a confederation of all British North America. The 23 delegates spent the next days focused on such weighty matters as government structure, division of power, and financial relations. The evenings were filled with banquets and balls, which provided the opportunity to discuss business in a more relaxed and friendly setting. At the end of the Charlottetown Conference, representatives had agreed that union should be pursued and decided to reconvene in a few weeks.
This second meeting, the Québec Conference (October 10-27), was attended by 33 delegates representing the original participating provinces plus two delegates from Newfoundland. As in Charlottetown, serious political debate was balanced by glamorous social events. The representatives expanded on the Charlottetown discussions, forming their conclusions into a series of resolutions known as The Québec Resolutions or the 72 Resolutions. These principles continue to define Canada today: a federal government system, an appointed upper chamber (Senate), an elected lower chamber, elected by proportional representation (House of Commons), and continuing ties to the British monarchy.
The last resolution stated that delegates must receive support from their own governments before the unification process could continue. Politicians and citizens debated the resolutions, which were not welcomed equally across the colonies. Ultimately, only the legislatures of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the Province of Canada approved of union. Their representatives travelled to England in December 1866 for the final stage, the London Conference, where they finalized the details of confederation which included picking the country’s new name: the “Dominion of Canada”. All the work the delegates had done in Charlottetown and Québec was rewarded when, on 29 March 1867, Queen Victoria signed the British North America Act. The 36 men who attended any one of the three conferences are known today as the “Fathers of Confederation”. Perhaps two of the most famous were the co-premiers of the Province of Canada, Sir John A. Macdonald and Sir George-Étienne Cartier; Macdonald became Canada’s first Prime Minister.
– Source: Parks Canada