A fictitious Diary Entry from a Canadian High School Student
- Part 5 -
Thursday, May 20, 1867
Last time I wrote, it was a few years back, but not much things have happened. It was around midnight when we finally made it back home from the Charlottetown Conference. While getting inside the house, apparently my father and I were really loud getting our keys out and opening the door, so we accidently woke my mother and brother up.
Oops. So now that it is the morning, my mother and brother are very grouchy because they didn't get enough sleep. It is funny because I only probably wasted 10 minutes of their beauty sleep. That was about all I could remember from the night when my father and I returned from Charlottetown, P.E.I. I am just about to eat breakfast, so I will be right back.
A lot of things have happened, and are to happen. A long time ago, he had been talking to a few of his colleagues who were from other colonies in British North America. The colonies that are involved in negotiating in Confederation wanted to protect regional right. They believed that a central government would take away the power to make important decisions on its own that would only affect their own region.
Also, a few years ago in 1865, my father attended a debate on Confederation, where the idea was further questioned and discussed. He made a huge speech, which I cannot currently remember. I will get the original document on which he wrote the speech. It is important because it summed up the problem perfectly, with all the aspects and concerns of Confederation.
I found my father's briefcase, and I am looking through it. There are many documents and sheets there that are half finished, and the ones that are finished are messy, seemed very rushed, but are generally really long with extra notes on the sides of the pages. I find the right sheets, mixed in with a bunch of papers from his other recent cases.
It writes," The people of Canada East felt that — as a minority, with a different language, nationality and religion from the majority — their institutions and their laws might be threatened by Confederation, and the ancestral associations, on which they prided themselves, attacked. It was found that any proposal that jeopardized the individuality of Canada East would not be received with favour by her people.
We found, too, that the Maritime Provinces — though English-speaking and with British laws — were as disinclined as Canada East to lose their individuality. Therefore, we were forced to conclude that we must either abandon the idea of Confederation altogether, or devise a way to preserve the provinces as separate political organizations." That is one of the most important parts of the speech.
Good thing I got to finish writing that little bit, because my father just came in looking for his briefcase. He took it back from me, and left to go finish his recent works; he let me follow him into his study where there was a large desk with scattered papers. Recently, he has been, along with George-Étienne Cartier, writing and finishing the act that would establish Confederation.
My father explained to me what these documents that were on the table were meant for. The act would be called the British North America Act (BNA). He had the entire key points sorted out so far, but has not written the actual document. There were multiple key points. Firstly, the act established divisions in power between what the provincial and federal government.
Another one of these key points was that the act gave the federal government the ability to create new laws based on the 'peace, order and good government' of Canada. The federal government now would also have the power to protect the rights of Protestant and Catholic minorities for the present and future. Along with the idea of minorities, the act guaranteed public schools for these Protestant minorities, though they were only accessible in Canada East, which will soon be changed to Quebec.
For the Catholic minorities, their public schools were accessible throughout the rest of British North America. These rights were apparently based off of religion, because it seemed that most Catholics were French speakers, while most Protestants were English speakers. The two languages, French and English, were the two most commonly spoken languages throughout this great land, so the federal and provincial government had to learn to speak both languages, French being a language my father has been studying for years.
George Brown's wish of representation by population for the House of Commons was granted due to the act. The last point was that the new government would pay for a railway that connected the Maritimes Provinces and central parts of Canada. As said earlier, the federal and provincial government had control over different powers that affected the people of this country.
The powers that the federal government has includes public property, defence, regulation of trade, post office, Aboriginal peoples, criminal law, fisheries, navigation, banks and peace, order and good government. Powers that the provincial government has includes local affairs, civil law, health and welfare, education and natural resources. There are a few powers that both governments share is agriculture, immigration and taxation.
To be continued..
PS: Per the parents: "The article is the diary entry for the class work which is marked as the best in the class and obtained 100% which would be beneficial to young school kids in helping them organizing the articles and how to organized the flow of thoughts.
This is the work of grade 7 in a school in Canada."
* The parents of the student sent this article for e-pao.net
This article was posted on June 11 , 2015.
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