Canada History

Canada History   timelines 
AskAHistorian    blog 




Prehistory | 2 Worlds Meet | New France | England Arrives | Clash of Empires | Revolution | British America | Reform/Revolt | Responsible Government | Confederation | Nation Building | Laurier | The Great War | Roaring 20's | Great Depression | WWII | The Peace | Cold War | Trudeau | PC's in Power | Modern Canada

Responsible Government | Lord Elgin | Responsible Government Maritimes | Union of the Canada's | Newfoundland | Barkerville | Stalemate

From the formation of the Union of the Union of the Canada's can a realignment of political forces in both Upper and Lower Canada. Rather then a majority English party vs. a minority French party, the philosophies of radicalism and these of conservatives coalesced in both Canada East and Canada West. George Brown led a the new agrarian party in Canada West, known as the Clear Grits with a platform of anti-big, business, more democracy for the voters and an opposition to French Canadian domination. In Canada East the Party Rouge was led by A.A. Dorian and also opposed English business interest such as the Bank of Montréal, the Grand Trunk Railway and various shipping and land companies but differed form the Clear Grits in their policy of protecting French culture.

The establishment interests were led by John A. Macdonald in Western Canada and G.E Cartier in Canada East who led the conservative Bleus. Together they formed the Liberal Conservative party who that only by submerging racial prejudice could they promote the commercial interests of both the English along the St Lawrence valley and their French Canadian partners. The Clear Grits and the Rouge party could not find the common ground to work together in the resistance to the Liberal Conservatives.

The Governments which the Liberal Conservatives formed where assembled only with difficult negotiation and due to slender majorities or even numbers which were a few short of a majority, the clung to power with the support of loose fish. These loose fish were elected as independents and might or might not support the Liberal Conservatives. The working majority was usually just enough o keep the Liberal Conservatives in power. This fractured political makeup led to instability and deadlock.

We had election after election, we had ministry after ministry, with the same result. Parties were so equally balanced, that the vote of one member might decide the fate of the Administration, and the course of legislation for a year or a series of years. This course of things was well calculated to arouse the earnest consideration of every lover of this country, and I am happy to say it had that effect. None were more impressed by this momentous state of affairs, and the grave apprehensions that existed of a state of anarchy destroyed our credit, destroying our prosperity, destroying our progress, than were the members of this present House; and the leading statesmen on both sides seemed to have come to the common conclusion, that some step must be taken to relieve the country from the deadlock and impending anarchy that hung over us.

John A. Macdonald - February 6, 1865

A new solution had to be found which would break the balance of impasse which had developed in the Union of the Canada's. The unlikely accelerant of this process would be the main critic of the government and the biggest road bloc to a stable system, George Brown.