Confederation Speech

Hello. My name is Mercy Anne Coles, and I am here on behalf of Prince Edward Island to discuss federalism in Confederation. 

First off, I would like to address the political deadlock that we are currently stuck in. We believe that not every colony should have to confederate, and can decide whether or not it would benefit them. Every colony has its own needs, wants and fears. Those should not be overlooked just because the majority wants to confederate. Prince Edward Island, for example, is an economically stable colony. We have good trade relations with other colonies, and if we were to confederate, Rep by pop would not be a good thing for us as we are a small colony of only 80,857 people as of 1861. 

On the topic of majority, we believe that double majority is not the way to pass bills. Canada east and Canada west get fair representation, however the maritimes do not get any. Also, double majority is one of the biggest causes of political deadlock. We believe that a better solution would be to count all of the votes from each colony and combine them, giving one single result. 

Next, I would like to talk about loose fish in our parliament. These people, who don’t have their own opinions, are one of the main causes of political deadlock. While we do believe that confederation would be a solution to this, we also feel that there are other ways to handle the situation. For example, a voting system could be put in place where all of the colonies are represented, and a majority vote would result in a passing of a bill instead of a double majority.

As for the great coalition, we believe that it would be in everyone’s best interest to not form a coalition. The French and the English in Canada east and west, respectively, do not get along. Although it would solve political deadlock due to double majority, we believe that the pros would not outweigh the cons.

I have mentioned some solutions to political deadlock above, but by far the most affective in our opinion would be to become independent colonies. It would solve political deadlock, and would mean Rep by pop would no longer be an issue. 

War of 1812 Inquiry

How did the war of 1812 affect the native Americans in what we now call Canada and the United States?

I chose this question because, like with my previous inquiry assignment, I was interested to see this war from the perspective of the native Americans. This war may have seemed pointless (it wasn’t, but it might come off that way at first), as the border between Canada (British at the time) and the United States stayed the same. However, the native Americans fought on both sides of the war, which makes their story much more interesting. More than 10,000 First Nations warriors fought at some point and most participated in nearly every battle. This is extremely important, because it shows how loyal the native Americans were to either the Canadians (British) or the Americans. For simplicity, I will be referring to what we now call Canada as Britain, since they were a British colony.

In 1814, Britain and the US started talking about a possible peace treaty. The British were pushing for indigenous land, and the Americans, fearing another war, decided that giving the land to the British was not a good idea. Instead, the decided to give the indigenous people the same amount of land as they had before the war. This basically meant that all 10,000 First Nation people who fought in the war did not gain anything, which goes to show that even though they were extremely loyal to the Americans and the British, they were not treated with the same respect.

Let’s go back to the beginning. One of the main reasons that the native Americans decided to fight in the war of 1812 was to secure British support. They wanted to go to war against the United States, as they were being treated unfairly. The Americans were spreading into indigenous territory, and the indigenous people wanted to put a stop to it. The indigenous people wanted weapons, artillery, troops and munition from the British to stop the colonizing of Americans into First Nations territory. Tecumseh was the indigenous military leader that made the decision of siding with the British in the first place. However, once he was killed in battle by the Americans, the Native American coalition was broken up. Some indigenous people made peace with the Americans, while some continued to fight for the British. This caused a lot of tension, as the indigenous people were fighting each other on opposite sides of the war.

After the war, settlers came into upper and lower Canada. These settlers wanted to cut down forests for land so they could farm. More land was needed, and fast. Britain did the easiest thing they could think of; take First Nations land. The First Nations people agreed, because they believed that since they helped in the war, they were still entitled to help if and when they needed it. They trusted the government to protect them from the Americans who they still believed were the sole people trying to steal their land. 

Eventually, the native Americans realized what was happening and distanced themselves from the British. The war of 1812 led to many other important events, such as the Creek war, where the US won against the Creek Native Americans. The US negotiated over two hundred treaties that took indigenous land away from the rightful owners.

This is extremely historically significant because the war was extremely devastating for the First Nations people at the time, and is still one of the predominant reasons why First Nation land is scarce today. Without this war, there may have been a much more violent war between the First Nations and the Americans.