Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Live-blogging the Quebec conference #3

Wednesday, October 12, 1864: The "agenda" motion of yesterday is passed, after a long speech by Macdonald on general principles and not much debate.

George Brown moves a resolution:
"The system of government best adapted under existing circumstances... would be a general government charged with matters of common interest to the whole country and local governments for each of the Canadas an for the Maritime provinces charged with control of local matters in thier respective sections; provision being made for the admission into the Union on equitable terms of the North-West Territory, British Columbia and Vancouver."
Federalism. What is local, what is national? That one will keep them busy a while. Indeed this debate runs out the clock today.

But the assembled press begs consideration of its plea. “A kind of compromise between absolute secrecy and unlimited publicity is usually, we believe, observed in cases where a European Congress holds the peace of the world and the fate of nations in its hands.” They don't demand access, not even transcripts, just the release of statements of what is going on.

Seemingly without debate, the delegates instruct Secretary Bernard to draft a refusal.
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