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Why Did New Brunswick Join Confederation History Essay

Info: 3031 words (12 pages) Essay
Published: 1st Jan 2015 in History

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New Brunswick is Canada’s one of three maritime provinces which is a constitutionally bilingual province among the three. Speakers in New Brunswick province speak either English or French or both. It has a capital named Fredericton and a populous city called Saint John. It has the largest census metropolitan area referred to as Moncton. The body responsible for carrying out the population census in Canada called statistics Canada, estimated New Brunswick province to have a population count of 750,457 in 2009.

The majority of people in the estimated population speak the English language while there is a large minority group that is francophone estimated at thirty three percent. The francophone are mainly comprised of Acadian origin.

Thesis statement

New Brunswick joined the Canadian confederation on the first of July, 1867. This was not for belonging’s sake, but it was because of certain important reasons. This paper explores the reasons that made New Brunswick join the Canadian confederation and what has been its progress so far.


The province named New Brunswick comes from the partial transcription of English and French of Brunswick city. It is located in northern Germany, which is, the ancestral home of King George III from the Great Britain. The province was named after a German duchy from Brunswick in Luneburg. Brunswick became a colony in 1784.

New Brunswick is located at the eastern sea board of northern America. It is found south to Quebec. It is an area estimated to be 73,440 square kilometers. It is estimated to rank eighth largest among Canada’s provinces.

New Brunswick had many challenges and needs that could not be solved unless it looked for help. New Brunswick was in need of economic stability, political stability and protection from attack and capture by the United States.

The confederation was introduced in 1864 in the Charlottetown conference that had been intended to talk about a maritime union only. This was, however, not the case because the civil war in America and the Fenian disturbance along the border made it encouraged an interest in expanding the union in scope. The interest originated from the province of Canada that was formerly comprised of upper and lower parts of Canada that were later named Ontario and Quebec.

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Right now Canada is approaching its one hundred and fiftieth birthday in the confederation. New Brunswick signed in to the confederation because of various reasons. During the 1860s, the United States of America threatened that it could match the whole of north in to the territory that joined to become Canada. New Brunswick together with Nova Scotia and PEI were afraid that they would be integrated into the New England states. Canada was at that time as is now a country that was flourishing with much wealth in resources. It had better water resources together with treed lands that would tempt any other country to divert their weapons towards the United States of America.

Canada provinces are getting to their 150th year as a confederation. The carousing began in 1864 when the inventive fathers of confederation started laying the foundation for four provinces to form a new amalgamation. These regions were the British Provinces of Canada referred to as Ontario and Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia.

What are the reasons as to why New Brunswick joined the confederation?

Panic and power

New Brunswick was on the edge of entering some sort of union in the 1860s out of panic: panic of attack and fear of not flourishing.

New Brunswick and Nova Scotia together with Prince Edward Island were talking about a possible maritime merger as the scheme of a federal union became more important. The three Maritime Provinces were talking about a union to augment their trade. This would make them more powerful in case of assault, and let them divide resources. They thought that the three regions together would be well-organized than for them to operate like separate units.

Although the maritime union did not happen, there are grounds why New Brunswick signed onto the merger on July 1, 1867.

In the 1860s, there was the risk that the United States would rally north into the region that became recognized like Canada. New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and PEI were worried they would be taken over by the New England regions. Canada is a nation vast in resources and will continue to this day, an alluring takeover for the United States. The water sources and treed lands in New Brunswick made it an easy target for any other country, to turn their weapons on them.

From 1850, the then American secretary of state when the civil war took place felt that British North America was supposed to be a part of the United States of America. He was believed to be an annexationist who was able to annex British North America to the United States of America. The possibility of this happening made leaders from northwest of the now Canada afraid. In 1866, a bill was passed in the house of representatives of the United States of America to acquire the whole of what is currently known as Canada.

These fears of being annexed into America made leaders rethink of how they could avoid the annexing from happening. This made the leaders in all parts of Canada explore ways that they could become united and avoid being annexed. New Brunswick was part of this. Canadian leaders having seen the result of the war that came from American federalism divisiveness, they decided to form a strong federal government that would protect them from such danger.

Trade boost

Other grounds for a union were to boost global trade. Long before, the world was universal as we know it at present. People saw the call for trade with other countries. Certain products give areas of the globe a competitive edge over others, and this directs us to trade. In New Brunswick, for example, it was not easy to cultivate the quality of grapes that some areas in France could cultivate. Therefore, New Brunswick decided to join the federation so that it would use the opportunity as a member to benefit by getting products that it would not produce herself. It could not just be easy for New Brunswick to get the products, but it would also be cheaper.

Joining the confederation meant that trade barriers against New Brunswick and other regions that were not members of the confederation would limit them from doing some business transactions. Thus, it was best for New Brunswick to join so that those trade barriers would be lifted and allow New Brunswick to undertake business and trade matters with member countries without barriers or other unnecessary problems.

Mineral security

New Brunswick had important resources, for example, gold in its vicinity. If it had not joined the Canadian confederation, it would have lacked the potential of using this mineral in the best way possible. Besides, the United States of America had threatened to capture its resources. Thus, it was important for New Brunswick to look for ways of safeguarding its resource base without fear of loosing it. In order to do this, joining the Canadian confederation was the best way it could solve its problem. New Brunswick decided to enter the Canadian confederation and was actually able to solve its problem.

After gold was discovered in New Brunswick, Canada sent many of its troops to guard the region that had the mineral. Population started growing rapidly in the area because many Americans were attracted by the Klondike gold rush. The residents got worried that if they did not join the confederation, the United States of America would take control of the whole area and they would loose everything. This made New Brunswick join the confederation.

Tax issues

New Brunswick was acknowledged for its maritime exports. New Brunswick was manufacturing ship masts for the British fleet and boat building was familiar work all over the area at one time. Entering merger meant taxes would be compulsory and higher taxes on goods exported would have helped lessen the looming over taxation on the ship building industry in the Maritime Provinces. Thus, New Brunswick decided to enter into the confederation to cut down a lot of taxes that it would pay if it did not operate under the confederation. So the move was advantageous on its business so that the extra money that could be paid in the form of that tax could be used to undertake other business deals and developments.

Regardless of the outcome, New Brunswick entered merger with the hopes of augmenting their trade with other areas, and as time has confirmed, it managed to increase trade with global partners. It managed to get raw materials from member countries easily. It also obtained a free market for its products enabling it to prosper in business terms.

Economic and energy forces

There was still a need then, possibly more than ever, for a nautical union to be born. With energy forces mounting worldwide and the size of authorities pulling economies down, New Brunswick desired to cut costs. This is to become more viable and one method that would get New Brunswick there was an amalgamation of the Maritime Provinces.

If it were to link with a three province merger, inside Canada, it would be for the equivalent motives they signed on to the merger back on July 1, 1867.

Political reasons

The west and east Canada had a political problem that led to the unification of the Canadian provinces. The west and the east had an equal number of seats in parliament. However, different regions had their own troubles and problems. This problems and troubles led to disagreements between the west and east. For the two regions to solve these problems, they had to unite and become one. Their unity could help them come together, agree, set out the strategies and ways that they could use to solve individual problems and sole the wider dispute between them.

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The legislative assembly was made up of four parties. There were two parties from west Canada and the other two parties came from east Canada. The government in power then was a coalition government that had a big trouble in obtaining a majority of votes that would help in passing legislation. This situation that existed resulted in political deadlocks that severally forced a change in governance. The only way to solve this political dispute was to come together as a union.

West and east Canada comprised of almost an equal number of voters. This made issues at the assembly very complicated. Whenever something had to be voted for in the assembly votes almost coincided, and this made it difficult to pass legislations, bills and laws.

Politicians that came from the province of Canada managed to convince others from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island into considering a larger union between themselves. This was done at the Charlottetown conference in September 1864, and they agreed to meet at another conference in Quebec. In the Quebec conference, they discussed how they would run the new union that they had agreed upon. They formed the Quebec resolutions. Price Edward Island and Newfoundland later refused to join the confederation.

Another conference was held in London, and it resulted in the Canadian confederation which New Brunswick was part of it. Leaders from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and province of Canada took a draft from Quebec resolutions and came up with an ending agreement. It was referred to as the British North American act that was to be approved by the British government. In July first, 1867, the Canadian confederation was formed and adopted. It became a reality that emerged from a political deadlock.

Debt settling

New Brunswick entered the Canadian confederation because it had huge debts that it was supposed to pay. Canada had offered to help pay the debts. New Brunswick saw harm in this because it was unable to do this. It considered this as a one time offer that could not be left unused. Thus, New Brunswick entered the Canadian confederation, and it was helped settle it debts.

George brown was the leader who accepted to work with other leaders that had different ideologies and beliefs with his own. They formed a great coalition. Three out of the four political parties that existed then agreed to work with him in the legislative assembly of the united provinces of Canada.

Railway construction

There was a need for a railway to be constructed. The railway would link the colonies together in increasing trade and for other transportation activities. By 1860s east and west Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick had developed one common railway but none of them had entered into the confederation. Thus, operating the railway line was very hectic calling for other ways of doing it. The best way for that was for them to enter in to a common federation. This is one of the reasons that New Brunswick joined the federation. This is because the railway line would help it grossly in its business development. Thus, it got into the confederation to secure this.

Infrastructure development

The Acadian group of people in New Brunswick had for a long time been isolated in terms of geography and linguistically from the major English speaking group who lived I the southern part of New Brunswick province. At that time, services offered by the government was largely done in English and not in French. The Acadians spoke French, and as a result of this, they lacked many of the government services.

The infrastructure in most parts that used the French language were underdeveloped than in the other Ares of the province that used the English language as their medium of communication. This was, however, changed when New Brunswick joined the confederation. When Premier Louis Robichaud was elected, he came up with a plan that was referred to as the equal plan that provided education, health care, rural maintenance and roads maintenance that was under the governance of a provincial government which gave importance to equal development of the entire province. Under this rule, county councils were taken off making the rural areas be managed under provincial jurisdiction. In 1969, the French language was made official under the official languages act in Canada. People started using the French language officially in New Brunswick. .

By joining the Canadian confederation, New Brunswick could be helped to form its own governance body and structure. It could also benefit from the confederation by being provided with funds to develop its infrastructure.

The Fraser river gold rush in 1858 brought about many new settlers in New Brunswick. These new settlers wanted a government for their own in the province instead of being governed by a government that was imposed on the by the British government. These people were also afraid that the United States of America would want to take away their land at some point in time. Because of these reasons, they decided to join a confederation that would provide them with their own governance and shield them from the impending attack by the United States of America. Canada promised that it would provide them with financial assistance to construct roads and deal with other issues of interest. Canada also promised that it would help them construct a railway that would help them in transporting goods and also people from the east and back. Because of this, they decided to join the confederation.

People had decided not to join the Canadian federation because they had developed strong trade links with the United States. They were afraid that they would lose their power as a small province in Canada if they cut their ties with the United States of America. Canada was, on the other hand, afraid that if it did not do anything to win New Brunswick trust, it would join the United States of America. Because of this Canada invited New Brunswick to join and be part of its confederation. The people of New Brunswick accepted because Canada had offered to give them money to purchase land from British land owners. Canada also offered to fund them so that they could be able to pay their debt for constructing a railway line.

Due to population growth, New Brunswick was not just an area for the fur trade. Farming, logging, mining and railway business started. Leaders from the area felt that it had reached a time when they should have their own government like other provinces did. This was to enable them collect taxes foe the purpose of establishing schools, hospitals, recreational facilities and other services that people required. Thus, they decided to join the confederation to so as to form their own government.


People in New Brunswick were divided on choice. Some people wanted New Brunswick to remain a British colony while others did not want that. Britain, on the other hand, was not interested in providing help and support to new bus wick anymore. Canada came in and tried to convince them promising to provide them with the help they would need. Through Joey Smallwood Canada was helped to convince people to vote for them to become part of Canada’s confederation. The voting won in favor of the Canadian confederation and New Brunswick joined and became part of it.

The inut people desired a complete control over their own land and resources in the arctic. Without consultation with these people, the leaders made decisions on matters pertaining to the confederation and land use in the area. In order to get control of their land back, people decided to negotiate control over land with joining the confederation. This made New Brunswick join the confederation and became a member.

Basically New Brunswick joined the Canadian confederation for economic, safety and political reasons as brought out in this paper.



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