Quebec Conference Resolutions, 1864

"Report of Resolutions Adopted at a Conference of Delegates From The Provinces of Canada, Nova Scotia And New Brunswick, And The Colonies of Newfoundland And Prince Edward Island, Held at The City of Quebec, 10th October, 1864, as The Basis of a Proposed Confederation of Those Provinces And Colonies." Journal of the House of Assembly, 1865, Appendix, pp 854-73.

1.The best interests and present and future prosperity of British North America will be promoted by a Federal Union under the Crown of Great Britain, provided such Union can be effected on principles just to the several Provinces.

2. In the Federation of the British North American Provinces, the system of Government best adapted, under existing circumstances, to protect the diversified interests of the several Provinces, and secure efficiency, harmony and permanency in the working of the Union - would be a General Government charged with matters of common interests to the whole country, and Local Governments for each of the Canadas, and for the Provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, charged with the control of local matters in their respective sections - Provision being made for the admission into the Union, on equitable terms, of Newfoundland, the North-West Territory, British Columbia and Vancouver.

3. In framing a Constitution for the General Government; the Conference, with a view to the perpetuation of our connection with the Mother Country, and to the promotion of the best interests of the people of these Provinces, desire to follow the model of the British Constitution so far as our circumstances will permit.

[Section 4 vests "the Executive Authority or Government in the Sovereign of the United Kingdom"; Section 5 makes the Sovereign Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces.]

6. There shall be a General Legislature or Parliament for the Federated Provinces, composed of a Legislative Council [Senate] and a House of Commons.

7. For the purpose of forming the Legislative Council, the Federated Provinces shall be considered as consisting of three. divisions - 1st. Upper Canada, 2nd. Lower Canada, 3rd. Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, each division with an equal representation in the Legislative Council.

8. Upper Canada shall be represented in the Legislative Council by 24 Members, Lower Canada by 24 Members, and the three Maritime Provinces by 24 Members, of which Nova Scotia shall have Ten, New Brunswick Ten, and Prince Edward Island Four Members.

9. The Colony of Newfoundland shall be entitled to enter the proposed union with a representation in the Legislative Council of Four Members.

[Section 10 provides for the future entry of "The North-West Territory, British Columbia and Vancouver" Sections 11-16 deal with the membership of the Legislative Council or Senate.]

17. The basis of Representation in the House of Commons, shall be population, as determined by the Official Census every ten years, and the number of Members at first shall be 194, distributed as follows:

Upper Canada  ..........  82
Lower Canada  ..........  65
Nova Scotia  ..........  19
New Brunswick  ..........  15
Newfoundland  ..........    8
Prince Edward Island  ..........    5

[Sections 18-28 deal further with the House of Commons.]

29. The General Parliament shall have power to make laws for the peace, welfare and good Government of the Federated Provinces, (saving the Sovereignty of England,) and especially Laws respecting the following subjects:

  1. The Public Debt and Property.
  2. The Regulation of Trade and Commerce.
  3. The imposition or regulation of Duties of Customs on Imports and Exports ....
  4. The imposition or regulation of Excise Duties.
  5. The raising of money by all or any other modes or systems of Taxation.
  6. The Borrowing.,of .Money on the .Public Credit.
  7. Postal Service.

[Subsections 8 - 37 list the other powers of the federal government. Sections 30 - 37 address external affairs and the justice system.]


38. For each of the Provinces there shall be an Executive Officer, styled the Lieutenant Governor, who shall be appointed by the Governor General in Council .....

[Sections 39-40 deal with the office of Lieutenant-Governor]

41. The Local Government and Legislature of each Province shall be constructed in such manner as the existing Legislature of each Province shall provide.

42. The Local Legislatures shall have power to alter or amend their Constitution from time to time.

43. The Local Legislature shall have power to make Laws respecting the following subjects

  1. Direct Taxation ....
  2. Borrowing Money on the credit of the Province.
  3. The 'establishment and tenure of local Offices, and the appointment and payment of local Officers.
  4. Agriculture.
  5. Immigration.
  6. Education, saving the rights and privileges which the Protestant or Catholic minority in both Canadas may possess as to their Denominational Schools, at the time when the Union goes into operation.
  7. The sale and management of Public Lands, excepting Lands belonging to the General Government.
  8. Sea Coast and Inland Fisheries.
  9. The establishment , maintenance and management of Penitentiaries ....
  10. The establishment maintenance and management of Hospitals ....
  11. Municipal Institutions.
  12. Shop, Saloon, Tavern, Auctioneer and other licences.
  13. Local. Works.
  14. The incorporation of private or local companies ....
  15. Property and civil rights, excepting those portions thereof assigned to the General Parliament
  16. Inflicting punishment by fine, penalties, imprisonment, or otherwise for the breach of laws passed in relation to any subject within their jurisdiction.
  17. The Administration of Justice, including the constitution, maintenance and organization of the Courts both of Civil and Criminal Jurisdiction, and including also the procedure in Civil Matters
  18. And generally all matters of a private or local nature, not assigned to the General Parliament.

[Section 44 deals with pardons for prisoners, Sections 45 - 53 with miscellaneous matters.]


54. All Stocks, Cash, Bankers' Balances, and Securities for money belonging to each Province, at the time of the Union, except as hereinafter mentioned, shall belong to the General Government.

55 The following Public Works; and Property of each Province, shall belong to the General Government, to wit :

  1. Canals.
  2. Public Harbours.
  3. Light Houses and Piers.
  4. Steamboats, Dredges and Public Vessels.
  5. River and Lake Improvements.
  6. Railways and Railway Stocks, Mortgages, and other Debts due by Railway Companies.
  7. Military Roads.
  8. Custom Houses, Post Offices, and other Public Buildings, except such as may be set aside by the General Government for the use of the Local Legislatures and Governments.
  9. Property transferred to the Imperial Government, and known as Ordnance Property.
  10. Armouries, Drill Sheds, Military Clothing .and Munitions of War, and
  11. Lands set apart for public purposes.

56. All 1ands, mines, minerals and royalties vested in Her Majesty in the Provinces of Upper Canada, Lower Canada, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, for the use of such Provinces shall belong to the Local Government of the territory in which the same are so situate: subject to any trusts that may exist in respect to any of-such lands, or to any interest of other persons in respect of the same.

57. All sums due from purchasers or lessees of such lands, mines or minerals, at the time of the Union, shall also belong to the Local Governments.

58. All assets connected with such portions of the public debt of any Province as are assumed by the Local Governments, shall also belong to those Governments respectively.

59. The several Provinces shall retain all other public property therein, subject to the right of the General Government to assume any lands or public property required for fortifications or the defence of the country.

60. The General Government shall assume all the Debts and Liabilities of each Province.

61. The debt of Canada, not specially assumed by Upper or Lower Canada respectively,

Shall not exceed at the time of Union  ..........  $62,500,000
Nova Scotia shall enter the Union with a debt not exceeding  ..........    $8,000,000
And New Brunswick with a debt not exceeding  ..........    $7,000,000

62. In case Nova Scotia or New Brunswick do not incur liabilities beyond those for which their Governments are now bound, and which shall make their debts at the date of the Union less than $8,000,000 and $7,000,000 respectively, they shall be entitled to interest at 5 per cent on the amount not so incurred , in like manner as is hereinafter provided for Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island ....

63. Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island, not having incurred Debts equal to those of the other Provinces, shall be entitled to receive by half - yearly payments, in advance, from the General Government, the interest at five per cent on the difference between the actual amount of the respective Debts at the time of the Union, and the average amount of indebtedness per head of the population of Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

64. In consideration of the transfer to the General Parliament of the powers of Taxation; an annual grant in aid of each Province shall be made; equal to 80 cents per head of the population, as established by the Census of 1861, the population of Newfoundland being estimated at 130,000. Such aid shall be in full settlement of all future demands upon the General Government for local purposes, and shall be paid half-yearly in advance to each Province.

65. The position of New Brunswick being such as to entail large immediate charges upon her local revenues, it is agreed for the period of ten years from the time when the Union takes effect, an additional allowance of $63,000 per annum shall be made to that Province. But that so long as the liability of that Province remains under $7,000,000 a deduction equal to the interest on such deficiency shall be made from the $63,000.

66. In consideration of the surrender to the General Government by Newfoundland of all its rights in Mines and Minerals, and of all ungranted and. unoccupied Lands of the Crown, it is agreed that the sum of $150,000 shall each year be paid to that Province, by semi-annual payments. Provided that that Colony shall retain the right of opening, constructing and controlling Roads and Bridges through any of the said Lands, subject to any Laws which the General Parliament may pass in respect to the same.

67. All engagements that may,'before the Union, be entered into with the Imperial Government for the Defence of the Country, shall be assumed by the General Government.

68. The General Government shall secure, without delay, the completion of the Inter-colonial Railway from Riviere-du-Loup, through New Brunswick; to Truro in Nova Scotia.

69. The communications with the North-Western Territory, and the improvements required for the development of the Trade of the Great West with the seaboard, are regarded by this Conference as subjects of the highest importance to the Federated Provinces ....

70. The sanction of the Imperial and Local Governments shall be sought for the Union of the Provinces on the principles adopted by the Conference.

71.That Her Majesty the Queen be solicited to determine the rank and name of the Federated Provinces.

72. The proceedings of the Conference shall be authenticated by the signatures of the Delegates, and submitted by each Delegation to its own Government, and the Chairman is authorised to submit a copy to the Governor General, for transmission to the Secretary of State for the Colonies.