How might we better understand the Canadian regime? This inquiry provides a review of a moment in Canadian political history and its statesmen that stands as an example of the practice that shaped Canadian nationhood. Sir John A. Macdonald and Louis Riel were the only “Fathers of Confederation” to meet in pitched battle. Their conflicts between 1869 and 1885 shaped two separate and core elements of the Canadian regime: English-French and East-West tensions. Through a lens of statesmanship, this inquiry analyzes the thoughts and actions of these two men. Macdonald, eastern and English, may be understood as a transactional statesman. In brief, this means he practiced a politics of negotiation, compromise, and dedication to classical liberal principles. Riel, western and French, can be read as a transformational statesman. This is a politics of profound idealism, of discomfort with this world, and of an identification of oneself with one’s cause. The inquiry examines these Fathers, their interactions, and the outcomes of their clash of statesmanship. It shows that their statesmanship represents a fresh way for us to might understand the English-French and East-West dynamics in Canada. Further, it demonstrates that ideas and statesmanship are critical to understanding the Canadian regime.