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d. 28 Nov. 1867 at Fredericton


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Sir John A. Macdonald

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Prince Edward Island (1873)
Original title:  ARCHIVED - Prince Edward Island - Provinces and Territories - Canadian Confederation - Library and Archives Canada

Source: Link


Although Prince Edward Island had hosted the first confederation conference in September 1864, it did not join Canada until 1 July 1873 [see The Charlottetown Conference]. Fearing that their voices would not be heard in a united parliament, their tax burden would increase, and absentee proprietors would continue to control most of the land, Islanders had voted overwhelmingly against confederation in 1867. Within six years, however, the colony’s increasing debt (a result of railway expansion on the Island) and Ottawa’s promises to buy out large proprietors proved to be the stick and the carrot that brought Prince Edward Island into confederation. The biography of the Liberal leader Robert Poore HAYTHORNE describes what happened:

“Haythorne and his cabinet colleague David Laird* began discussions in February 1873, in Ottawa. By early March terms had been reached, largely through the good offices of Samuel Leonard Tilley. The Canadian government’s offer was generous, and included the taking over of the railway, the assumption of the colonial debt, an $800,000 payment for the acquisition of proprietorial lands, and a promise of continuous steam communication with the mainland.”

To learn more about Prince Edward Island and the perceived threat and tantalizing lure of confederation, please consult the biographies in the following lists.

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