What is Sir John A. Macdonald's place in Canadian history? Macdonald was not only the first Prime Minister of Canada but also the principal Father of Confederation, the founding of Canada that occurred in 1867. During his time in office (1867-1873, 1878-1891), Macdonald saved the country from American annexation by building the national railway that connected East with West. He also worked hard to mitigate historic suspicions that pitted English Canadians against French Canadians. Macdonald not only kept a diverse nation together but also created the conditions for economic prosperity and political stability that Canada enjoyed well into the 20th century.