Library and Archives Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Institutional links

ARCHIVED - Canadian Confederation

Archived Content

This archived Web page remains online for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. This page will not be altered or updated. Web pages that are archived on the Internet are not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards. As per the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada, you can request alternate formats of this page on the Contact Us page.

Provinces and Territories

Key Terms

The Great Coalition

Soon after the Sandfield Macdonald-Dorion government resigned, Governor Monck again called on Sandfield Macdonald to form the next government. He refused, and the Governor turned to Étienne-Paschal Taché. Étienne-Paschal Taché had left politics and George-Étienne Cartier's intervention was necessary before he accepted the Governor's offer. Étienne-Paschal Taché joined forces with John A. Macdonald to form a government that would remain in power for only a few months. This new setback demonstrated to the political authorities that it was impossible to govern the Canadas under Union.

A consensus was therefore reached on the need to create a coalition of all Canadian political parties to reform the political system. The coming together of George Brown, the Clear Grits in Canada West, the Parti Bleu in Canada East, and the Conservatives finally occurred in June 1864. On June 30, the ministers of the Great Coalition were sworn in. Only the members of the Parti Rouge under Jean-Baptiste-Éric Dorion were left out.

Representatives of the Coalition would attend the Charlottetown Conference. As the delegates for United Canada were eloquent, they convinced the Maritime colonies' representatives of the merits of uniting the British North American colonies. With this, the process of negotiation leading up to Confederation in 1867 had begun.

Source

Cornell, Paul G. -- La grande coalition. -- Ottawa : Commission du Centenaire, 1967. -- 26 p.