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New insight into Canadian Confederation

March 29, 2017

A recent survey of Canadian historians and political scientists, conducted by the University of Toronto and York University, has found that there are important gaps in how Canada’s 1867 Confederation is studied in this country.

Canadians’ views of the landmark British North America Act, passed 150 years ago, seem to be evolving in part because of increased awareness of the impact of the colonists on Indigenous communities. “The survey revealed an interesting tension,” said Professor Rob Vipond of the Department of Political Science who conducted the survey with U of T political scientist David Cameron, dean of the Faculty of Arts & Science, and colleagues at York. “On the one hand, most respondents said they were most deeply influenced by scholars who had written in the 1960s and 1970s when the rise of Quebec nationalism led to a passionate debate about the origins of Confederation. On the other, a striking number said in effect that it was time to reframe the history of Confederation away from the national unity narrative, especially to take into account indigenous perspectives that were largely missing from the earlier accounts.”

To read more about the key findings of the survey visit the University of Toronto, Faculty of Arts & Science website.