PEI

Bill declaring Charlottetown as birthplace of Confederation proceeds through Senate

A P.E.I. senator appeared before a Senate committee this week to argue in support of a bill that would formally recognize Charlottetown as the birthplace of Confederation.

Senator Diane Griffin hopes the bill will be through the Senate by the end of June

Charlottetown was the first of three conferences held to establish the terms of Confederation. (George P. Roberts/Library and Archives Canada)

A bill is making its way through the Senate which would officially recognize Charlottetown as the birthplace of Confederation.

Senator Diane Griffin appeared before the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee on Thursday to argue that that first meeting in the process of Confederation happened in Charlottetown.

She said that the main goal of the bill is to educate Canadians about their history.

"Just the fact that we Islanders know it isn't good enough, and the fact that most other people across the country also know it, we thought well this is a great educational opportunity to make this fact even more widely known."

'Wasn't a one-shot thing'

Griffin said that the committee heard expert testimony from a UPEI history professor about the circumstances surrounding Confederation.

"I think as Dr. Ed MacDonald explained it to the legal and constitutional affairs committee … this is a process, this wasn't a one-shot thing," she said.

Senator Diane Griffin argued that Charlottetown was the birthplace of Confederation before the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee on Thursday. (CBC)

"But Charlottetown hosted the first meeting."

Some changes were made to the bill by Senator Paul McIntrye of New Brunswick before it was approved.

The preamble to the bill will now mention the London and Quebec conferences that followed the Charlottetown meeting as important points on the road to Confederation. 

'A declaration'

Griffin said that the importance of the bill was highlighted when New Brunswick decided to make its tourism slogan "Where it all began" this year.

This made the need for the bill apparent to her. 

"The educational value was extremely positive," she said.

Senator Diane Griffin hopes the bill will make it through the Senate by the end of June and onto the House of Commons in the fall. (Patrick Doyle/Canadian Press)

Griffin said that the bill will now make its way through the Senate and onto to the House of Commons where Wayne Easter will "take charge of it" in the fall.

"This is simply a recognition, a declaration that Charlottetown is the birthplace of Confederation," said Griffin.

With files from CBC News: Compass