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Thursday, September 1, 1864

The Maritime delegates, despite being ready to begin, had waited for their Canadian counterparts to arrive before officially starting the conference on the proposed Maritime union. They invited the still unofficial Canadians to watch the proceedings from the reporters' gallery above. The Maritimers then proceeded to start the formalities of beginning the conference, electing John Hamilton Gray as their chairman. Their next act was to invite their Canadian guests to officially join the conference. The rest of the afternoon was spent putting names to faces, for many had never met before this day. The conference was then ended for the day, to be continued at ten on Friday.

Friday, September 2, 1864

John A. Macdonald and George E. Cartier started off the Canadian case for a union of British North America. It was their job to outline the Canadian plans for the formation of this new nation, and get the Maritime delegates excited about the idea. They were to show how possible it was for a Confederation sooner rather than later. The Maritime delegates saw union as an eventuality, albeit not in the near future. The Canadians wanted it to happen soon, and Macdonald and Cartier did a fine job convincing the Maritimers of its positive aspects.

Saturday, September 3, 1864

After spending a day explaining why Confederation was a good and possible idea, and that it needed fast action, the Canadians went into specifics. Alexander Galt, the Minister of Finance for the province of Canada was in charge of explaining the financial arrangements that would be necessary for the new nation, one of the touchiest subjects of the whole Conference. Galt gave a great performance explaining all the well thought out Canadian plans. Total absorption of provincial debt by the new government, payment of subsidies for public services based on population, as well as the division of sources of revenue between the federal and provincial governments were all covered. Galt finished around three, and the conference wound up for the day.

Monday, September 5, 1864

Day three of the Canadians revealing their plans was George Brown's job. He had to explain both the constitution of the federal legislature as well as the division of jurisdictions of power between the federal and provincial governments. This was definitely the most complex part of the Canadians plans, and the hardest to convince the Maritimers of. The Canadians were firm supporters of representation by population, which meant that the Maritime provinces would get little say in the government. To appease the Maritime delegates, the Canadians suggested that the Lower House, or the Federal Assembly, be Rep. by Pop., while the Upper House, the Legislative Council would have regional equality.

Next, Brown explained the division of powers. The Canadians had watched what was happening south of the border, the American Civil War, and decided it was caused by a flaw in their constitution. In the States anything that was not specifically assigned under the federal government's jurisdiction was up to the individual state to decide. The Canadians felt that this is what caused the southern states to succeed. So the Canadians proposed the exact opposite: anything that was not specifically the provinces' duty then became a federal one. Brown spent the afternoon going over examples of how it would work in certain situations. The plan that he laid out that day is almost identical to what actually was done.

Tuesday, September 6, 1864

This day of the meetings was the last for the Canadian delegates and it became a question period for the Maritime delegates who wanted to go over obscure points and things they were unsure of. The Canadians also used this time to go over the finer details that they thought were important, but had neglected to do earlier. This could have been the day when the Maritimers raised objections to the plan, crippling or even killing it. But, surprisingly, there were almost no bad feelings towards the plan, just a few small suggestions. All in all, the Maritime delegates were pleased by the plan.

Wednesday, September 7, 1864

On this day, the delegates assembled alone to discuss the original reason for the Conference in Charlottetown, a Maritime union. The idea had not been very popular in the first place; the Nova Scotia delegates were the only ones who really wanted it. As well the Canadians saw the confederation of British North America as an immediate action, and it would not be practical for the Maritimers to have to go through both changes at the same time. So the Maritime union was put off, at least until after Confederation. They informed the Canadians at the end of their meetings that they saw Confederation as a desirable thing, and would go along, if the terms were found suitable.


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