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History General

Reconsidering Confederation

Canada’s Founding Debates, 1864-1999

edited by Daniel Heidt

contributions by J.R. Miller, Marcel Martel, Colin Coates, Martin Paquet, Maxime Gohier, Phillip Buckner, Robert Wardhaugh, Barry Ferguson, Patricia Roy, P. Whitney Lackenbauer, Ken S. Coates, Bill Waiser, Raymond B. Blake & Andre Legare

University of Calgary Press
Initial publish date
Nov 2018
General, Study & Teaching, Pre-Confederation (to 1867), Post-Confederation (1867-)
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Nov 2018
    List Price

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July 1st 1867 is celebrated as Canada's Confederation—the date that Canada became a country. But 1867 was only the beginning. As the country grew from a small dominion to a vast federation encompassing ten provinces, three territories, and hundreds of First Nations, its leaders repeatedly debated Canada's purpose, and the benefits and drawbacks of the choice to be Canadian.

Reconsidering Confederation brings together Canada's leading historians to explore how the provinces, territories, and Treaty areas became the political frameworks we know today. In partnership with The Confederation Debates, an ongoing crowdsourced, non-partisan, and non-profit initiative to digitize all of Canada's founding colonial and federal records, this book breaks new ground by integrating the treaties between Indigenous peoples and the Crown into our understanding of Confederation.

Rigorously researched and eminently readable, this book traces the unique paths that each province and territory took on their journey to Confederation. It shows the roots of regional and cultural grievances, as vital and controversial in early debates as they are today. Reconsidering Confederation tells the sometimes rocky, complex, and ongoing story of how Canada has become Canada.

About the authors

Daniel Heidt is an independent scholar whose numerous publications focus on Ontario and Canadian political history, as well as the Arctic during the Cold War. He is the founder and manager of The Confederation Debates.

Daniel Heidt's profile page

J.R. Miller is a professor emeritus of history at the University of Saskatchewan. He is the author of numerous works on issues related to Indigenous peoples including Skyscrapers Hide the Heavens and Shingwauk’s Vision, both published by University of Toronto Press.

J.R. Miller's profile page

Marcel Martel is a professor in the Department of History at York University, where he holds the Avie Bennett Historica Dominion Institute Chair in Canadian History. He is the author of Not This Time: Canadians, Public Policy, and the Marijuana Question, 1961-1975 (2006), Le Deuil d’un pays imaginé. Rêves, luttes et déroute du Canada français (1997), and co-author of Speaking Up. A History of Language and Politics in Canada and Quebec (2012).

Marcel Martel's profile page

Colin Coates was the host of the 2002 conference on "Majesty in Canada." He is the author and editor of various books, including the award-winning Heroines and History: Representations of Madeleine de Vercheres and Laura Secord (with Cecilia Morgan). He is currently Canada Research Chair in Canadian Cultural Landscapes at Glendon College, York University, Toronto.

Colin Coates' profile page


Martin Pâquet is professor of history at Université Laval and holds the Chair for the Development of Research in French Culture in North America (CÉFAN).


Martin Paquet's profile page

Maxime Gohier's profile page

Phillip Buckner is a professor emeritus in the Department of History at the University of New Brunswick and a senior fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies and the Institute for the Study of the Americas at the University of London.

Phillip Buckner's profile page

Robert Wardhaugh is an associate professor in the Department of History at University of Western Ontario and is the author of Mackenzie King and the Prairie West.

Robert Wardhaugh's profile page

Barry Ferguson is a Professor of History and currently Duff Roblin Professor of Manitoba Government at the University of Manitoba. His work is in political ideas in Canada, particularly liberalism and federalism, as well as provincial politics and government.

Barry Ferguson's profile page

PATRICIA ROY is a professor of history at the University of Victoria. She is co-author of The Writing on the Wall.

Patricia Roy's profile page


P. Whitney Lackenbauer is associate professor and chair of the Department of History at St. Jerome's University in the University of Waterloo, and a faculty associate with the LCMSDS.

Peter Kikkert recently completed his M.A. at the University of Waterloo and is a Ph.D. student in history at the University of Western Ontario.


P. Whitney Lackenbauer's profile page

Ken S. Coates was raised in Whitehorse and has a long-standing interest in northern themes. Titles include Canada’s Colonies, The Sinking of the Princess Sophia, The Modern North, North to Alaska (on the building of the Alaska Highway) and many academic books. He has worked on north-centred television documentaries and served as a consultant to northern governments and organizations. He is currently Professor of History and Dean of Arts, University of Waterloo.

Ken S. Coates' profile page

Bill Waiser is one of Canada's foremost historians. For more than three decades, he was a history professor at the University of Saskatchewan. He is now a full-time writer and public speaker. Bill has published nineteen books, in addition to plying his trade in radio, television, and print media. He's known for an engaging, popular style that draws on the power of stories. His most recent book, In Search of Almighty Voice: Resistance and Reconciliation, was launched at the One Arrow First Nation's community powwow at the request of the Elders.

Bill Waiser's profile page

Raymond B. Blake is Professor of History at the University of Regina and formerly Director of the Saskatchewan Institute of Public Policy. His books include Trajectories of Rural Life: New Perspectives on Rural Canada, co-edited with Andrew Nurse (2003), and Canadians at Last: Canada Integrates Newfoundland as a Province (1994 and 2004).

Raymond B. Blake's profile page

Andre Legare's profile page

Editorial Reviews

An impressive reconceptualization of Canadian constitutional history, the work of both established and new scholars, here packaged in a particularly accessible way for anyone who teaches such things.

—E.A. Heaman, Historie sociale/Social History

Much more than a basic outline of regional differences during the process of Confederation . . . Reconsidering Confederation provides a very extensive selection of excellently written articles that effectively interrogate the foundational debates of Confederation.
- Alex Gagne, BC Studies

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