In the 1860’s, there was no consistent reporting of the debates in the Legislatures of British North America, so, when Confederation was being debated and argued over, it was only by reading newspapers that the people of the colonies could find out what was happening. Many of the politicians involved in those debates were themselves either journalists or newspaper owners at various times. Today, historians rely on those newspaper reports in order to know what was said, what ideas were put forward, and which pressures were brought to bear against the men who were building a new country.
In fact, one Canadian historian, P. B. Waite, wrote an account of the entire Confederation story based entirely on newspaper records. The Fourth Estate, as the media are called, remain a vital part of the democratic system in Canada.