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Manitoba Affidavits


In 1869, the Dominion of Canada and the Hudson’s Bay Company made arrangements for the transfer of Rupertsland, a territory that had, to that time, been considered by the Imperial authorities as the effective property of the Hudson’s Bay Company. The people residing in and around the Red River settlement (largely Métis) were concerned because they were consulted neither about the transfer, nor the impacts it would have on their lands and livelihood. Their concerns were exacerbated with the arrival of Canadian Surveyors at Red River and the appointment of an English speaking outsider as Lieutenant Governor (William MacDougall) for the territory in advance of the transfer. In February of 1870, the Métis and other residents of Red River formed a Provisional Government with Louis Riel as their leader, and were recognized as the de facto authority of the area. After months of tension between the Canadian and Provisional Governments, three delegates from Red River were sent to Ottawa to negotiate with Canada and resolve the situation. The result of the negotiations was the Manitoba Act, 1870, a statute that established Manitoba as a Province in the Dominion of Canada and protected specific rights of Red River residents. The Manitoba Act was given constitutional status by the Imperial Parliament via the British North American Act, 1871 (Constitution Act, 1871).

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