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Fathers of Confederation | Maritime Union | George Brown | Pan Federalism | US Civil War | Canada's Proposals | St Lawrence Cruise | Charlottetown | The Quebec Conference | The London Conference | July 1st 1867

On October 10th, 1864, representatives of the Canada's, the Maritime colonies and Newfoundland assembled in Quebec City to discuss and create a document which could be presented to Parliament in London, for their approval. This document would in essence be the working paper which would be used to write legislation to form the new nation of  Canada. The workings and discussions of the conference were conducted under the principle of cabinet secrecy which would insure frank open debate among the delegates.

The debate revolved around the nature of the legislative government. Macdonald was well aware of the issues that might arise with a federated government united by a weak central government. The great Civil War going on at that time in the United States fortified his view that a central government which held all of the powers which the British Government was willing to give up was the route to follow. Others rejected this view due to regional sensitivities such as the protection of French Canadian culture, or the regulation of lands by Foreign landowners. They concluded that a Federal system with a centralized federal government, and a provincial governments in each colony would be the proposal that would stand the best chance of gaining the majority support of the delegates.

This system and political philosophy were embodied in the 72 resolutions which proposed a Parliamentary system for the central and provincial governments which would both be overseen by the British Parliament. All legislatures would have a Prime Minister which would weald the executive power with the support of the elected house and a Senate or upper chamber was included to act as a body of sober second thought.