- National Unity
- A Strong Central Government
- Minority Rights
- National Expansion
- Railways and Economic Development
- Cultural Nationalism
In 1860 Thomas D’Arcy McGEE, a member of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada, made this declaration: “I look to the future of my adopted country with hope, though not without anxiety; I see in the not remote distance, one great nationality, bound, like the shield of Achilles, by the blue rim of ocean.” (The speech was included in McGee’s Speeches and addresses chiefly on the subject of British-American union, published in London in 1865.) No one did more to realize McGee’s vision than George-Étienne CARTIER:
“Among Cartier’s achievements immediately following confederation, may be placed the negotiations that he conducted and the measures he had passed to extend Canada from the Atlantic to the Pacific. It was mainly Cartier who was the moving spirit behind the advance westwards.”
This section charts the growth of Canada from a collection of four provinces (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Quebec) in the eastern half of the continent in 1867 to a country of nine provinces and two territories that stretched from coast to coast in 1905.
For more information on the contributions made by individual Canadian politicians to the expansion of the Canadian confederation, please consult the biographies listed in the projects on three of the most important early leaders of Canada.