Unity, in different shapes and forms, whether it be promoting for, waging a war on, or being brought to light, transcends the tests of time and is something ubiquitous throughout Confederation. I mean, you’ve got John A. Macdonald, the father of Confederation, pushing for provincial rights, and the Maritime provinces creating unions to be heard. My character, Harriet Tubman, wanted freedom, equality, and equity for her people. Confederation, patriotic in connotation, had many different groups of people pushing for different things: central governments, federal-based decision making, a voice, — but overall, unity was one of the key themes that I picked up from our study of Confederation. After all, what says unity more than individual provinces coming together to form a country? So a question I have is, how was unity achieved and ignored in Confederation? What is unity in diversity? And how did unity in diversity tie into Confederation and the creation of a nation?
“While everyone conceded in the 1860’s that the object of the Fathers of Confederation was to produce the bases of one political entity, no one anticipated that this task would be performed by imposing uniformity on the diverse peoples and regions of British North America.” (source)
We all know, having read numerous papers highlighting both the good and bad of Confederation, about the exclusion that occurred. The First Nations, and even the Maritimes were ignored, and truthfully speaking, it seems regressive to create a country for the people without even including the people. We know about the attempts to assimilate Aboriginal people and the erasure of their culture, through residential schools, immersion, and abuse. When seeing these on paper, it becomes difficult to think that Canada is something built on the basis of unity.
However, we also need to realize that things were very different back then. This may sound really privileged and condescending, but from an outsider’s POV, I think that the divides that were put up increased the chances of stronger, permanent unity between different groups, because the drive to overcome them was so much stronger.
In conclusion, this document of learning was a way of creating a summary of the concepts we learned about during Confederation, using history and facts while also forming our own viewpoints on this interesting and pivotal act in Canada’s history. Do I believe that Confederation was an all-inclusive concept? Superficially yes, but digging deeper we can see that that is not always the case. However, the struggles that minorities and other groups went through and the beginning steps of compensation for such actions are what I believe has made the country stronger, because its attempts at at inclusiveness remind us what Confederation was meant to achieve.