York scholars reflect on Confederation debates of 1865

CW Spring2016 14 Martin Woods paintingA group of scholars from York University have offered their reflections on the published Confederation debates of 1865 in the latest issue of Canada Watch, a publication produced by York’s Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies.

In 1865, members of the legislature of the United Canadas (Ontario and Quebec) debated the Confederation project, some of them profoundly critical of the proposal.

In light of Canada’s upcoming 150th (July 1, 2017), the Robarts Centre wanted to reflect on the terms under which the country was founded, and sought a variety of contemporary perspectives from York and other scholars.

The result is 13 short essays on topics ranging from the role of gender and indigenous peoples in the debates to the nature of the “rights” and “democracy” that the debaters had in mind.

York contributors to this issue of Canada Watch include Colin Coates (Glendon), Philip Girard (Osgoode), Marcel Martel (LAPS), David Koffman (LAPS, ORU-Israel & Golda Koschitzky Centre for Jewis Studies), Jacqueline Krikorian (LAPS), Dennis Pilon (LAPS), Sean Kheraj (LAPS), Craig Heron (LAPS), Kathryn McPherson (LAPS), Gabrielle Slowey (LAPS, Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies) and Marlene Shore (LAPS).

In an afterword, historian Ged Martin explores the iconic image of the Fathers of Confederation at Quebec.

The essays are available here.

The essays were also posted over a two-week period starting June 27 on activehistory.ca. Two responses, by independent historian Christopher Moore and Daniel Heidt, a Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) postdoctoral fellow at the Frost Centre in Peterborough, Ont., have also appeared on the site.

York is planning various events in connection with the celebration of Canada’s sesquicentennial on July 1, 2017.