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A Country by Consent was produced by Bill Dunn and Linda West of West/Dunn Productions in Ottawa. Content has been vetted by specialists in Canadian history including the Public History Group at the University of Victoria, which includes pre-Confederation and post-Confederation specialists. This group was under the supervision of Dr. Peter Baskerville, then Chair of History, University of Victoria, BC.

Artistic Productions Limited, which trades as West/Dunn Productions, has been producing films and audiovisual materials for over 20 years. Other productions include television documentaries, Normandy Dream and Spitfire Pilot, which aired in prime time on CBC-TV, and the recent theatrical feature documentary, Hoodwinked: The Myth of Free Trade.

We began this Canadian history project at the dawn of the digital revolution as a response to seeing educational materials in the new media creeping into Canadian schools from foreign suppliers whose content reflected a different culture. A presentation on the history of communication, for example, included songs about “the pony express to Kansas City” instead of references to voyageurs and canoes.

At the same time, Canada was in the throes of another constitutional debate. We decided to approach Canadian history from the theme of the constitutional evolution of the country so we could put these recurring debates in their historical context.

Why a constitutional thread?
A constitution is the system of fundamental principles according to which a nation, state or group is governed. But it’s not just a legal document setting out the basic rules, rights and responsibilities by which a country is organized. It also expresses the philosophy of the country - how its people relate to each other and what values are important to them.

Canada’s federal structure is a much-needed model for the rest of the world. It is a form of government that can accommodate different interests and protect minorities within a democratic system.

Why “A Country by Consent”?
Canada is not a country based on ethnic uniformity like many countries. It is not a country forged by the fires of civil war or wars of unification. It is a country which has evolved and been held together by the agreement and will of the various groups who have helped build it over the years. It is a country by consent. We acknowledge that the consent is not universal and Canada continues to work at reconciliation with the original inhabitants of this land, the Indigenous nations.

The content is organized into 27 chapters, many with an audiovisual introduction. The text is enhanced with additional film clips, interviews, essays by guest historians, hundreds of archival images, satellite maps and definitions.

Credits and Resources


Writer: Linda West
Director: Bill Dunn
Producer: Artistic Productions Limited ta: West/Dunn Productions, Ottawa, ON

Software and Technical Director: Bob Monaghan
Programming and Production: Bill Dunn, Linda West and Bob Monaghan
Graphics / Movies: Bill Dunn / Bob Monaghan
Maps: Bob Monaghan
Digital Audio Mixing: Bill Dunn
Copy Editor: Bette Laderoute

Content Specialist: Dr. Peter Baskerville, Chair of History, University of Victoria and the Public History Group, University of Victoria, BC

Educational Consultant: Claire Cunningham, Lansdowne Jr. Secondary School, Victoria, BC

Guest historians: Gabrielle Nishiguchi, Dr. Carl Christie, Myron Momryk, Richard Bastien, Ross Gordon, André Magnan

Narrators: Dr. Roger Tallentire, Linda West, Louise Bastien, R. David Wilson

Website:  Mary Lacroix, Front Runner, Toronto

Project initiated with the support of Heritage Canada.


National Archives of Canada:
Roanne Mokhtar, Sheila Mendonca, Sylvia Gervais, Edna Rodriguez, Caroline Forcier

Additional Photography: Bill Dunn

Photo of Jean Chrétien and Cabinet: Jean-Marc Carisse, PMO

CBC-TV Archive: Roy Harris
René Lévesque from “This Hour Has Seven Days”
Bruce Hutchison from “The Days Before Yesterday”

“Normandy Dream” with Cpl. Jack Fleger courtesy Artistic Productions Ltd.

Narrator of “Normandy Dream”:  Bruce West

Music: Melodya, USSR
Archival Music: Greg Sumner
Music for Acadian soundtrack: The Celtifolk
Music for “B.C. Joins”: Massed ukuleles, University of Victoria; Highland Games Bagpipes, Maxville, Ontario

Additional thanks to:
Gilbert Parent, Speaker of the House for kindly allowing us to film him explaining the workings of Parliament and “How Laws are Made”
Bruce Hutchison
for generously submitting to our video interview and supporting us in the early days of this project.

Video production by: Artistic Productions Ltd.

Archive Sources

C 57 Habitants playing cards
C 114 Habitant with snowshoe
C 124 Laura Secord
C 125 Founding of Halifax 1749
C 273 Battle of Queenston Heights Oct. 13,1813
C 276 Battle of Queenston Heights
C 681 Doukhobor women pulling plough
C 733 Confederation meetings at Charlottetown, Sept. 1864
C 747 Indian traders, 1671
C 788 View of landing place Quebec City, 1759
C 803 Micmac encampment at Point Levis
C 974 Boarding & taking the Chesapeake by the Shannon 1813
C 1277 Customs at summit of Chillkoot Pass 1898
C 1283 Pyramid of gold bars (Klondike)
C 1310 RNWMP at Fort McLeod (2 on horses)
C 1869 Cabinet meeting with Laurier
C 1876 Northwest Rebellion, cavalry enroute
C 1879 Riel addressing the jury
C 1969 Sir Wilfrid Laurier as a young man
C 2424 Capture of Batoche, 1885
C 2705 Annapolis Royal
C 3164 Iroquois
C 3165 Iroquois scouting
C 3305 Bishop Strachan 1837-40
C 3450 Riel as prisoner in Middleton’s camp
C 4164 Metis traders 1872-75
C 4345 Grand Opera House, Dawson
C 4490 Packing up the Chillkoot Pass 1898-99
C 4523 Man who shot Captain French
C 5306 Separatists with Quebec flag
C 5392 Interior miner's cabin, testing paydirt
C 5400 Louis XIV, standing
C 5434 Wm. Lyon Mackenzie
C 5456 Lord Durham
C 5825 Train at prairie depot 1885
C 5962 Baldwin, 1840s
C 6060 Meeting of 1st legislative Assembly, Lower Canada, 1792
C 6064 Attack on Quebec by Montgomery, 1775
C 6078 Bayonet charge at Batoche, 1885
C 6150 Guy Carleton
C 6166 George Etienne Cartier in 1867
C 6350 Fathers of Confederation at Quebec Conference
C 6513 Portrait of Sir John A. Macdonald
C 6507 Making a splice at Irish end for Atlantic cable 1866
C 6655 French Habitants 1600s
C 6688D Louis Riel 1865
C 6799 Fathers of Confederation in London 1866
C 6859 Anti-conscription parade, Victoria Square, Mtl.
C 6871 Political meeting at “the corners” 1837
C 7043 Susanna Moodie
C 7524 Street Scene Regina at time of Riel's trial 1885
C 7731 R.B.Bennett
C 7964 Egerton Ryerson
C 7987 Typical Canucks - Transvaal, May 1902
C 8670 Death of General Wolfe 1759
C 8684 Peace of Paris - Versailles
C 8991 Capitulation of Louisbourg 1758
C 9055 League of Nations - King & Dandurand
C 9480 Emily Stowe
C 9914 Chesapeake hit 1813
C 10231 Sydenham 1799-1841
C 10688 Louis XIV with girls sent to Canada
C 11070 Governor Cornwallis
C 11334 George Brown
C 11504 Laurier
C 11508 Opening of the 1st parliament of Canada 1867
C 11509 Fenians crossing from Buffalo to Fort Erie 1866
C 11044 Pioneer life
C 11711 Confederation conference
C 11925 Talon visiting settlers
C 13233 Old age pensions - conference
C 13263 King & Baldwin, Imperial Conference 1926
C 13485 Wilfrid Laurier
C 13543 Seigneurs at a “grand souper” 18th C
C 13942 Assembly of Upper Canada 1792
C 13943 Fathers of Confederation 1867
C 13945 Arrival of Sydenham (1840)
C 13946 Assembly, Lower Canada 1792
C 13951 Meeting of 1st elected council in Canada
C 13956 Acadians refusing to sign oath
C 15594 Expulsion of the Acadians
C 16436 Micmac fishing camp, Restigouche
C 16459 Panning gold, Yukon gold rush
C 16460 Pilgrim's rest 1897 - Klondike
C 16656 LaFontaine
C 16715 Chinese camp, CPR Kamloops
C 16770 LaPointe & King
C 16775 Dandurand & King - street - Geneva 1936
C 16931 Construction CPR mainline
C 17399 Tom Thomson
C 17779 Imperial War Conference 1917
C 17831 McGill hockey 1904
C 18536 Expo ‘67
C 18650 Interior saloon, Dawson
C 18737 Battle of Ridgeway - Fenians
C 18942 Capt. French & his men
C 19355 Paris Exhibition - Nova Scotia exhibit
C 19581 Hepburn and Duplessis
C 19584 Expulsion of the Acadians 1755
C 20587 Loyalists on way to Canada 1784
C 20616 The bake oven - l’Ile d’Orleans
C 21396 P.E.I. Legislature
C 21421 Room in which Charlottetown Conference was held 1864
C 22074 Dawson town station, NWMP
C 23555 K. Okada's store after 1907 Vancouver riots
C 24103 Laura Secord warns Fitzgibbon
C 24549 Acadians being exiled from Grand Pré
C 24550 Winslow reading expulsion order to Acadians
C 24563 Expatriation of the Acadians
C 24699 League of Nations Hall - Geneva
C 24735 Habitants in front of house
C 24832 Sir John & Lady Macdonald’s first trip to Pacific by train
C 25003 Marchand, Trudeau, Pelletier
C 25671 Nurses at Calgary general hospital 1920s
C 26112 Dom./Prov. Conference - King giving address
C 27674 Nellie McClung 1908
C 28641 Towing provisions up Dyea River
C 29448 Rowell-Sirois Commission Jan.1941
C 29451 King & Shirley Temple 1944
C 29461 Boarding train, march on Ottawa 1935
C 29485 Hurons defending vs. Iroquois 1649
C 29486 Landing of girls sent by Louis XIV 1667
C 29532 (L to R) Tom Johnson, Maurice Richard, Tim Horton, Jacques Plante
C 29624 Cartoon of Mackenzie King as a caterpillar
C 30085 Expo ‘67
C 30621 Poster “The Last Best West”
C 30935 Girls field hockey, Winnipeg, 1912
C 31716 French Canadian farmers
C 34199 Bishop Laval
C 35735 Village of Bond Head
C 40588 Defeat of U.S. fleet 1776
C 40703 Jean-Baptiste Colbert
C 40712 Prairie fires of the great west with train
C 40741 Death of Montcalm 1759
C 40745 Siege of Quebec
C 40802 James Wolfe portrait
C 40821 Ned Hanlan
C 40894 Death of Tecumseh 1813
C 41039 Louis XIV full length
C 41144 Special court - frocked advocates 1853
C 41155 Natives in tent
C 41221 Montcalm
C 41227 Iroquois
C 41462 John Dwyer, champion boxer of America
C 41466 Jacques Cartier
C 41473 Vue de Quebec
C 41620 Cardinal Richelieu
C 41723 Maple sugary, details
C 42249 English wars
C 42278 Louis XIV
C 42771 Mounties bringing in body of a miner
C 44324 Mackenzie King poster 1948
C 45315 Family allowance office in Charlottetown
C 46282 Martyrdom of Brebeuf 1649
C 46958 Brock entering Queenston
C 47395 Evacuees awaiting transport'n to B.C. interior
C 48728 Opening of Parliament 1870
C 48815 Tilley
C 54523 Mackenzie King with five women
C 57365 J.S. Woodsworth
C 63257 Canadian immigrants
C 66507 Landing the transatlantic cable in Nfld, 1866
C 66559 Sanford Fleming & survey party 1872
C 67346 Catharine Parr Traill 1867
C 67353 Traill’s cottage near Lakefield
C 67388 Catharine Parr Traill, home
C 67460 Members of Mac-Paps returning from Spanish Civil War
C 69245 The first locomotives
C 69461 Rich couple in costume
C 69492 Women’s dresses 1866-80
C 69493 Women’s hats 1866-80
C 69522 Drawing, Sparks & Elgin St., Ottawa
C 69553 Jean Jacques Olier (clergy)
C 69560 Provinces of Old France from whence came French-Canadians
C 69697 Jeffrey's map of British Commonwealth
C 69747 Old map of Western Canada drawn for La Verendrye
C 69749 Old map of Eastern Canada
C 69922 Louis Riel & his council
C 70050 The first press in Upper Canada
C 70353 Galt
C 70354 George Brown
C 70468 Archibald Lampman
C 73419 A country dance, Upper Canada 1840
C 73437 Typical early Quebec houses
C 73515 Louis-Joseph Papineau
C 73557 Early building construction
C 73643 Typical women of the time early 1800s
C 73662 Indians playing lacrosse
C 73666 Joseph Howe speaking
C 73703 Building the Rideau Canal - Col. By
C 73707 Election - responsible government
C 73709 Reading the order of expulsion to the Acadians at Grand Pré, 1755
C 73711 Wolfe wading ashore at Louisbourg
C 73716 Champlain
C 73719 Meeting between Brock & Tecumseh 1812
C 73720 Montcalm leading the troops
C 73722 Wolfe leading the troops
C 73723 George Brown
C 73725 Papineau
C 74693 Potlatch gathering, interior of a community house
C 74700 In potlatch regalia with talking stick
C 74704 Kwakiutl dancers in open air
C 78568 Britannia, Canada & USA cartoon - annexation
C 79009 Rene Levesque in Korea 1950
C 79022 Relief demonstration Vancouver 1937
C 79643 Métis guide
C 81418 Women in propeller factory WWII
C 81448 Bennett at Imperial Conference 1932
C 83040 The fruit harvest, Annapolis Valley
C 83223 Street scenes, St. John's, Nfld. 1940s
C 84799 Cartier in unidentified group with John A. Macdonald 1860
C 85525 Grand Pré and Basin of Minas from Wolfville
C 85533 Halifax from York redoubt
C 85540 In the Annapolis Valley
C 85542 Dike lands
C 85544 Mouth of the Gaspereau & Grand Pré
C 85570 Acadian girl
C 86343 Louis Cyr
C 87125 “Ce qu’il faut pour vaincre” poster
C 87863 King & Hepburn 1934
C 91433 WWII victory poster
C 95254 Queen Victoria
C 95468 Cartoon: “How direct taxation works”
C 95815 Mrs. Elizabeth Simcoe
C 97662 Rebels firing on government relief boat - Riel - 1885
C 97664 Montage of 1885 battles
C 103059 Champlain trading with Indians
C 103532 Squaws of the Micmac tribe
C 105254 A Misty Morning, the ramparts of Ypres, 1921 by Mary Riter Hamilton
C 108065 Fashion, hat 1882
C 110872 The Metis Assembly 1870
C 111234 “Get your teeth into the job” poster
C 113985 Interior of a pioneer cabin
C 114481 Micmac Indian encampment by a river c. 1795
C 115933 The pivot corset 1885
C 116813 Sir Charles Tupper 1896
C 118610 Execution of Scott 1870
C 127105 View of Halifax from York Redoubt
PA 1654 Billy Bishop
PA 10235 Immigrants waiting to go ashore at Quebec City 1911
PA 10460 Loading oats 1912, Quebec
PA 10905 Kids with wagon loaded
PA 11027 John Wood and family outside log cabin, Erwood, Sask.
PA 12159 Can-Alaska boundary, Ogilvie's party 1887
PA 12854 Riel & his council 1869-70
PA 16172 Klondike steamers
PA 17108 Tipping hat to two mounties, Dawson
PA 17369 A settler’s house in Grande Prairie, Alberta, July 1912
PA 27195 Interior Supreme Court, 1890
PA 27942 Clifford Sifton
PA 30212 Nellie McClung, 1915
PA 30563 “Cheerful sufferers” c.1920, in hospital beds
PA 30820 Interior of immigrant’s home c.1900
PA 33761 Sam Steele in uniform
PA 36591 Relief project 1934 Manitoba
PA 37060 Mess room, relief project 1933
PA 45808 North Central School, Winnipeg 1890s
PA 56391 French Canadian harvest girl 1930
PA 56559 Smokey roofs of Quebec ville 1932
PA 56741 Horse & church street scene
PA 61237 GTR ferry 1914
PA 62132 Quebec lower town, gigs & balconied bldg.
PA 66998 U. Kawasaki Bro. Biscuits damaged after 1907 Vancouver riots
PA 70953 School interior
PA 71304 WWI tank 1917, Bond parade
PA 74645 Ox Train, Red River area 1872-75
PA 84811 Toronto Jewish market 1922
PA 86070 School children leaving for recess 1923
PA 86251 Children of Forest School in a pageant 1923
PA 93671 Poliomyelitis quarantine Aug. 1947
PA 98960 Market day Quebec 1920s
PA 100306 Montreal Maroons
PA 103544 Japanese family in front of their store Vancouver 1933
PA 107910 Anti-conscription rally, 1944
PA 108248 Henri Bourassa
PA 108300 Rationing WWII
PA 112712 Two French Canadian girls ploughing 1941
PA 113500 Jean Lesage with Pearson
PA 114759 Tarmac, Dorval 1942 (Ferry Command)
PA 117472 Fed-prov conference, Feb. 1968, Marc Lalonde (L), Trudeau, Gordon Robertson (R)
PA 117502 Trudeau (with Jean Marchand & Maurice Sauve) 1965
PA 118756 NWMP barracks Regina 1885
PA 118768 Big Bear trading at Fort Pitt
PA 119399 Mar.1941 Churchill & McNaughton study a military map
PA 122876 Lecturer writing on blackboard, McGill 1900s
PA 127292 Therese Casgrain
PA 128007 Citizens of Cornerbrook read Confederation headlines
PA 128080 Joey Smallwood signing “Confederation”
PA 128887 Adelaide Hoodless
PA 129833 Helicopter, October Crisis, Montreal
PA 130735 Diefenbaker in House of Commons, 1947 (speaking on pensions)
PA 132397 Maurice Richard and Stanley Cup
PA 132796 Normandy Landing at Juno Beach
PA 134512 Trudeau 1979
PA 136153 Pearson with new flag
PA 136824 Ralston visits troops
PA 136871 Imperial Conference 1923 with King
PA 139016 Water St., St. John's Nfld. c.1886
PA 139073 Louis Riel 1880
PA 140705 Trudeau & Queen signing 1982 Patriation
PA 141893 Senate Chamber, empty
PA 142625 Constitutional conference Nov. 1981
PA 144172 Vincent Massey
PA 144838 House of Commons in session 1960
PA 147732 Skulls of members of the Franklin expedition 1845
PA 147986 Painting of Franklin expedition 1845
PA 148539 Lord & Lady Tweedsmuir (John Buchan)
PA 151688 Montreal slum 1949
PA 168973 Sluicing for gold
PA 187589 American converted troop ship sailing out of Vancouver Harbour with Japanese Canadian deportees
PA 187818 One of the interior relocation camps in winter
PA 187821 The Tashme Relocation Camp in the B.C. interior
PA 187831 Evacuees awaiting transport to B.C. interior
PA 187855 High school Christmas play in one of the B.C. interior camps
PA 1367738 Judge Emily Murphy
RD 689 Maple Leaf Gardens
RD 902 Children being vaccinated in school

From the Provincial Archives of British Columbia:

A 351 Ne'er Do Well Dump, Grouse Creek
A 353 Bill Phinney, miner
A 903 Bastien, Fort Victoria 1862
A 934 Bird cages parliament buildings
A 937 Miner's shaft, Williams Creek
A 1514 Anthony Musgrave
A 1958 Miners panning for gold near Yale, B.C. 1870s
A 2605 Fire hall, Cormorant St., Victoria
A 2652 James Douglas
A 3330 Early view of New Westminster
A 3354 New Westminster 1859
A 3786 Barkerville main street
A 8953 Begbie
B 3592 Old Haida woman
B 6308 Family on porch
B 7284 Cariboo Road near Chapmans Bar Bluff
C 5229 Emily Carr in Victoria
D 4292 Haida chiefs in Skidegate
D 7740 Chinese woman
F 6344 CPR train coming across bridge
F 7610 Downtown Victoria 1890s

PDP00633 Sombreness Sunlit by Emily Carr
PSP00656 Indian Reserve, N. Vancouver by Emily Carr
PDP02292 Slim gambling

From the CBC Archives:

“This Hour Has Seven Days” Rene Levesque interviewed
by Larry Zolf with Trudeau as guest interviewer

“The Days Before Yesterday” Bruce Hutchison as narrator
of King-Byng affair

"Gems" from Public Archives Audio-Visual

1902 Skiing in Quebec
1907 Tommy Burns fight
1912 First paved highway in Canada
1917 Vimy Ridge
1933 Maple Leafs win Stanley Cup / Foster Hewitt
1933 Bluenose racing

From Artistic Productions Limited:

“Normandy Dream” with Cpl. Jack Fleger

 Photographs by William Dunn:
Acadian girl
Middle-class thatched house in England
Westminster parliament buildings
Cathedral ceiling, England
Coal oil lamp, Beaverton, Ontario
Canterbury vaults
The Black Prince sarcophagus
Mountain mists, Vancouver Island
Carmanah forest, Vancouver Island
Stacked logs
P.E.I. dory
Prairie wheat field
Totem pole, Victoria, B.C.
Ship in Straits of Juan de Fuca
Twilight coast
Twilight island
Red River cart
Nova Scotia cape house
Bastien Square, Victoria, B.C.
Distant ship, Straits of Juan de Fuca
Wheat field in snow
Fishing dock with buildings
Wood patterns, Kamloops, B.C.
Newfoundland house
Tom Hodgson portrait
Oil flame
Expo '67 geodesic dome
Mail box close-up
Sixties fashion model
Margaret Laurence's house
Patriation title background
CN Tower
Rolls Royce
Victoria harbour
Bastien Square, Victoria, early morning
Montreal night
Toronto financial district
Back lane, Queen Street West, Toronto
Ada Dunn, Beaverton, Ontario
People on sidewalk
Gabrielle Nishiguchi portrait
Dr. Carl Christie portrait
Myron Momryk portrait


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How to Cite this Resource

If you are citing this resource in a project, the author and publication information is:

Dunn, William and West, Linda. Canada: A Country by Consent. Ottawa: Artistic Productions Limited. 2011.< http://canadahistoryproject.ca/index.html>

To cite a specific file within the resource, for example the War of 1812:

Dunn, William and West, Linda. “The War of 1812.” Canada: A Country by Consent. Artistic Productions Limited. 2011. <http://canadahistoryproject.ca/1840/1840-03-war-1812.html>