The Dominion of Canada
April 12, 2019
The Dominion of Canada

Canada became a nation, the Dominion of Canada, in 1867. Before that, British North America was made up of a few provinces, the vast area privately owned by the Hudson’s Bay Company, and the North-Western Territory. By 1864, many leaders felt that it would be good to join into one country. Known as the Fathers of Confederation, these leaders met and wrote a constitution for the new country. This constitution had to be passed by the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Once passed, it became known as the British North America Act, or the BNA Act. The Act drafted by John A. Macdonald, who became the first prime minister,  was signed on May 8, and became effective on July 1, 1867. The existing United Province of Canada was divided into the new provinces of Ontario and Quebec, and two other colonies, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, also became provinces of the new Dominion of Canada. The BNA Act described the structure and main laws of the new country, as well as the division of powers between the new provinces and the federal government. There were 36 original Fathers of Confederation. Hewitt Bernard, is considered by some to be a Father of Confederation. The later "Fathers" who brought the other provinces into Confederation after 1867 are also referred to as "Fathers of Confederation." In this way, Amor De Cosmos who was instrumental both in bringing democracy to British Columbia and in bringing his province into Confederation, is considered by many to be a Father of Confederation. As well, Joey Smallwood referred to himself as "the Last Father of Confederation", because he helped lead Newfoundland into Confederation in 1949.

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