Three Weeks in Quebec City: The Meeting that Made Canada, by Christopher Moore

Nine stars

Already a well-established historian in the field of Canadian Confederation, Christopher Moore has penned yet another book on the topic. Exploring the three weeks of the Quebec Conference in the autumn of 1864, Moore gives the reader a day-by-day summary of events and topics being discussed. Providing a few chapters on the big players and how the various regions chose their representatives, Moore explores how thirty-three Caucasian men discussed and argued how to make the second largest country in the world. Tackling the rights of the national and provincial governments, how to “deal with the Indians”, the means by which representatives would be chosen to sit in Parliament, and how to create an effective Legislative Council (read: Senate) to serve the needed purpose were but a few of the topics that found their way onto the agenda. Moore offers explanations of some of the key actors handling these topics, as well as some direct quotes found in the journals of these men (and their families). The end result of these discussions, drawn into The Quebec Resolutions, made their way to London for formal drafting into the British North America Act, 1867. With poignant discussions embedded into the narrative and some interesting editorialising about aspects left out of the discussions—‘how would this constitutional document be amended within Canada?’—Moore has shown why he is a wonderful resource for those readers looking to learn key aspects of the topic and not drown in minutiae. Recommended for those who love Canadian political history and talk of the original constitution document. Not for everyone, but readers such as myself will devour this quick read.

While I cannot deny this is one of the topics about which I love to learn, I know I am perhaps in the minority within those I call friends or reading acquaintances. Christopher Moore brings the topic to life as he has done in past tomes, highlighting some of the key aspects of the discussion and glossing over some of the tedious discussions that may have transpired. A primer of sorts, Moore leaves the reader to enjoy all the book has to offer, including a thorough bibliography, index, and explanatory footnotes/endnotes. The short chapters offer the overview needed for the reader who seeks a little more and entices those who may know little about the topic. Moore offers lighthearted discussions and proves that his writing belongs within the History of Canada series, which seeks to explore important moments in the country’s development. I can only hope to get my hands on more in this series, as well as other books and articles that Moore has written, if only to feed my obsession with Canadian constitutional analysis.

Kudos, Mr. Moore, for yet another piece that kept me reading and permitted a comprehensive understanding of most topics on offer.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: