MLIConfederationSerieslogo-774x427-01-17MLI Munk Senior Fellow Alastair Gillespie and MLI Managing Director Brian Lee Crowley introduce the Confederation Series.

OTTAWA, Feb. 8, 2017 – To celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday, the Macdonald-Laurier Institute has launched a major project aimed at helping Canadians gain a new understanding of their country’s founding.

The Confederation Series is a history of Canada’s founding told mainly through the speeches of five of our first-generation political leaders – George Brown, George-Étienne Cartier, Alexander Galt, Thomas D’Arcy McGee, and John A. Macdonald.

In the Series Introduction, MLI Munk Senior Fellow Alastair Gillespie - author of the Confederation Series - and MLI Managing Director Brian Lee Crowley offer an overview of key findings to emerge from this project.

Among the most important was how the Founding Fathers dealt with the issue of diversity, seen as a source of strength in the construction of what Cartier called a “political nationality.” They also understood the need to accept federalism to both tame the “clashing popular wills of modern Ontario and Quebec” and provide the foundation for “a central government powerful enough to govern effectively.”

Confederation was a uniquely “made-in-Canada” achievement – one that in its emphasis on free institutions and the rule of law should remind Canadians of the “shared Enlightenment ideals of the American, British, and Canadian constitutions.”

As Gillespie and Crowley note, “the speeches reveal timeless, transferable and recognizably Canadian principles that will capture Canadians’ interest today.”

To read the paper introducing the Confederation Series, click here.


Alastair Gillespie is an MLI Munk Senior Fellow and a capital markets lawyer in the London office of a large New York-based international law firm. Prior to his legal career, Alastair was Special Assistant to the Hon. A. Anne McLellan, Deputy Prime Minister of Canada and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.

Brian Lee Crowley is the Managing Director of the Macdonald-Laurier Institute.

The Macdonald-Laurier Institute is the only non-partisan, independent national public policy think tank in Ottawa focusing on the full range of issues that fall under the jurisdiction of the federal government.

For more information, please contact Mark Brownlee, communications manager, at 613-482-8327 x105 or email at

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