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Alberta, Past and Present, Historical and Biographical
Vol 1 - Chapter VII
Political History of the North West Territories and Alberta From 1867-1905


The confederation of the provinces of British North America, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, was proclaimed on July 1, 1867. In the B. N. A. Act setting forth the terms of confederation, provision was made for the admission of Prince Edward Island, Rupert's Land, the North Western Territories, British Columbia and Vancouver Island into the union, upon addresses from the houses of Parliament of Canada on such terms and conditions in each case as should be in the addresses expressed.

On December 16, 1867, addresses were passed in the Senate and House of Commons of Canada praying for the union of Rupert's Land and the North Western Territories with the Dominion of Canada.

In 1868 the British Parliament passed the Rupert's Land Act enabling the Dominion of Canada to accept the surrender of the territory in question together with all the territorial and other rights conveyed by the original charter of Charles II to the Hudson's Bay Company in 1670. Accordingly, on October 1, 1868, Sir Geo. Cartier and Hon. William McDougall were appointed by the Dominion Government to proceed to London and arrange terms for the acquisition by Canada of Rupert's Land and the North Western Territory from the Hudson's Bay Company. A memorandum of agreement signed by Sir Stafford Northcotte on behalf of the company, and by the Canadian delegates on behalf of the government of Canada was arrived at, submitted to the Canadian Government on May 8, 1869, and approved by Order in Council on May 14th following. The principal terms of surrender were as follows:

(1) The Government of Canada paid 300,000 pounds sterling at the time of the transfer to the Hudson's Bay Company.

(2) The Company retained all its Posts then possessed and occupied and within twelve months from the date of the surrender were allowed to select a block of land adjoining each of their posts, the total of which was not to exceed 50,000 acres. The area actually selected and agreed to by the Government of Canada was 45,160 acres.

(3) The company was allowed fifty years from the date of the surrender to select one-twentieth of the surveyed land in the Fertile Belt. The selections in any township were to be made within ten years from the date of survey thereof. The Fertile Belt was designated as that portion of the Territories south of the North Saskatchewan River and east of Lake of the Woods and Lake Winnipeg.

The surrender and the agreement relating to it was ordered by the Privy Council of Great Britain to go into effect on July 15, 1870, and in that month the last meeting of the officers of the Hudson's Bay Company as governors and administrators of the North West Territories was held at Norway House.

To provide for the change of authority, the government of Canada, anticipating the surrender, passed an Act providing for the temporary government of the North West Territories (32-33 Viet. Cap. 3) in 1869, by a council appointed by the Governor in Council. Unfortunately the establishment of Canadian authority was attended with the serious disturbances that led to the Riel Rebellion of 1869-70, the result of which was the passing of the Manitoba Act and the institution of the first representative government in Western Canada. The government of that portion of the North West Territories not included in the Province of Manitoba was provided for by continuing the act of 1869, and by section 35 of the Manitoba Act, whereby the Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba became also the Lieutenant Governor of the North West Territories. The following year the Parliament of Canada passed an Act making further provision for the government of the North West Territories, authorizing the appointment of a council not exceeding fifteen and not less than seven to aid the Lieutenant Governor. This Council is known as the North West Council.

The first Lieutenant Governor of the North West Territories was Hon. A. G. Archibald. He arrived in Winnipeg September 2, 1870, a few days after Riel had fled from the scene of his brief, rebellious dictatorship. One of the first acts of Lieutenant Governor Archibald was to commission Captain W. F. Butler, a famous soldier and traveller, to proceed to the plains of Alberta to report on the condition of the country, with a view toward enacting proper ordinances for the government of that new part of the Dominion of Canada, and to ascertain the extent of the ravages of the terrible epidemic of smallpox that was then raging among the Crees and Blackfeet tribes of Alberta. To cope with the plague, a Board of Health was formed, the first form of local government organization to be established in this Province. Its members were men remembered by all Westerners with esteem and affection: Rev. George McDougall; Rev. Father Leduc; Rev. Father André; Richard Hardisty, Chief Factor; Rev. Father Lacombe; Bishop Grandin of St. Albert; Bishop Faraud, Lac la Biche; Rev. Henry Steinhauer; Rev. Peter Campbell; Rev. John McDougall; John Bunn.

In January, 1873, the first North West Council was gazetted, the following being the members thereof: Hon. Donald A. Smith, Hon. A. Girard, Hon. Henry J. Clarke, Hon. Pascal Breland, Hon. Alfred Boyd, John Schultz, Joseph Dubuc, Andrew G. Bannatyne, Wm. Fraser, Robert Hamilton and Wm. J. Christie.

The first meeting took place on March 8th. By an Act of 1873 the number of the Council was increased to twenty-one and in December of the same year five additional members were added to the Council, viz., Hon. James McKay, Hon. Jos. Royal, Pierre Delorme, W. R. Brown and W. N. Kennedy.

In 1875 the Parliament of Canada passed the North West Territories' Act (C. S. 1875, Cap. 49) which has been called the Constitutional Act of the Territories. From that period the North West Territories have enjoyed independent government and have risen from a state of semi-feudalism to almost complete provincial autonomy. The Constitution relating to government and legislation, the election of members to the North West Council or Legislative Assembly, and the administration of justice was set forth in this Act, and the law relating to descent of real estate, wills, rights of married women, registration of deeds, intoxicants, and other matters were also provided for. The legislative and executive authority was vested in the North West Council composed of five members appointed by the Governor in Council, and other members elected by the people in certain districts. Communities with a white population of 1000 persons within an area of 1000 square miles were constituted electoral districts and given the right to elect a representative to the Council. A measure of local government was conferred upon each electoral district. The Lieutenant Governor and North West Council were empowered to pass ordinances to erect each electoral district into a municipal corporation with rights to impose taxes for municipal purposes and to pass by-laws.

The North West Council as constituted by the North West Territories' Act, which was consolidated in 18801 and again in 1886, continued until 1888 when the system of having appointed members was abolished and the Council was superseded by an assembly elected every three years. The first legislative assembly consisted of twenty-two members and three legal experts who retained their seats during the term of the legislative assembly, took part in debates but were not entitled to vote.

The North West Territories' Act of 1875 was proclaimed on October 7, 1876, and Hon. David Laird was appointed the first Lieutenant Governor of the North West Territories, lie proceeded at once to Livingstone (Swan River), where the capital of the Territories was temporarily located awaiting the completion of the government buildings at Battleford. The first session of the Council was held at Swan River March 8 to March 22, 1877. Ordinances relating to administration of justice, protection of buffalo, prevention of forest and prairie fires, ferries, roads, infectious diseases, and masters and servants—in all, twelve bills—were passed and sent to Ottawa for confirmation by the Federal Government. The members of the First Council were: Hon. David Laird, Lieutenant Governor; Matthew Ryan, Lieutenant Colonel Hugh Richardson, stipendiary magistrates as ex-officio members of the Council; Lt. Col. James F. Macleod, C. M. G., Commissioner of the N. W. M. P., appointed; A. E. Forget, Clerk of the Council.
For the administration of justice the Federal Government erected courts of civil and criminal jurisdiction, appointed a sheriff (Molineaux St. John) and two stipendiary magistrates. The Lieutenant Governor, subject to the Orders of the Governor in Council, had control of the Mounted Police force and the appointment of justices of the peace.

The second session opened at Battleford July 10, 1878, with an additional member, Pascal Breland, appointed. Increased powers had been conferred upon the Council respecting prisons, marriage, property and civil rights, after the formation of municipalities for purposes of local taxation. The buffalo ordinance was repealed and from that time the buffalo were doomed. Indian dogs were so numerous in the country that the citizens of Victoria petitioned the Council for protection for their calves and pigs. The citizens of St. Laurent petitioned for assistance to procure a school teacher. As the Council of the Territories had no power to impose direct taxation except in electoral districts, the Council referred the matter to the Federal Government. The Council was instructed by the Federal Government that the constitutional objection of want of representation could be met by raising a fund for school corporations and giving them the right to impose the rate. The constitutional objection of want of representation, which would apply in the case of taxation by the Council, would not be applicable to school corporations, who would merely tax themselves. The same question arose in the following session of 1879. The Federal Government was asked to amend the North West Territories' Act enabling the North West Council to pass an ordinance empowering the people of any settlement with a sufficient number of children, to form a school district and assess themselves toward its support.

The menacing attitude of some of the Indian tribes led the authorities to take steps for the organization of volunteer militia by Lt. Col. Osborne Smith, D. 0. C. of the Winnipeg Military District. Companies were formed at Battleford (Captain Scott), St. Laurent (Capt. Owen E. Hughes), Prince Albert, two companies of horse (Captains Moore and Young), and one company of infantry (Capt. Thos. McKay).

The fourth session of the North West Council was held at Battleford May 26 to June II, 1881. Three electoral districts had been formed, viz.: Kimberley, Salisbury and Lorne, the last of which returned Lawrence Clarke, Chief Factor of the Hudson's Bay Company at Fort Carlton, as the first elected member of the Council in the Territories. The most important legislative enactment of the session was the provision for short forms of conveyancing.

Hon. Edgar Dewdney succeeded Hon. David Laird as Lieutenant Governor of the North West Territories in May, 1883, and in the same year the capital was transferred to Regina. The construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway and the rapid growth of districts along the railway led the Dominion Government to choose Regina. The North West Council convened on August 22nd. Six elected members sat in the Council as follows: Francis Oliver, Edmonton; Capt. D. H. McDowall, Lorne; John C. Hamilton, Broadview; T. W. Jackson, Qu'Appelle; Wm. White, Regina; Jas. H. Ross, Moose Jaw. A residence of twelve months in the district preceding the issue of the writ was the qualification necessary to vote. The ex-officio members were: Lt. Col. Hugh Richardson and Col. J. F. Macleod, stipendiary magistrates. The appointed members were Pascal Breland, Lt. Col. A. C. Irvine and Hayter Reed.

The activity of the Council of 1883, especially among the elected members, indicates real progress throughout the entire North-West, and also the need of increased legislative power for the Council. Memorials were sent to the Governor General complaining of certain policies that were being carried out by the Dominion Government, viz.: The reservation of land on both sides of the C. P. R. known as the Mile Belt Reserve, the granting of leases in grazing lands, the practice of putting cancelled homesteads up for sale, and granting of immense tracts of lands to Colonization Companies. Further requests were made for power to incorporate companies having territorial objects, two more stipendiary magistrates, reduction of the duties on agricultural implements, a per capita grant based upon an assumed population of 100,000 for public improvements and representation in the Dominion Parliament.

The sixth session of the North West Territories continued from July 3 to August 6, 1884. Two more members were added, being the elected representatives of Calgary and Moose Mountain. A total of 188 votes were cast in Calgary and 157 in Moose Mountain in these elections.

The liquor traffic was a prominent feature in the speech from the throne. The fee system of liquor permits introduced in the previous session had the effect of lessening the number of applications. Smuggling, however, was increasing notwithstanding the vigilance of the Mounted Police and the penalties imposed. The establishment of breweries was recommended by the Lieutenant Governor and endorsed by the Council to obviate smuggling. Thirty-six ordinances were passed in this session, the most important of which were the School and Municipal Ordinances.

A Select Committee reported (July 7, 1884), that the Federal Government should be requested to put Section 93, B. N. A. Act, in force in the Territories as provided by Section 9 of the North West Territories Act. The School Ordinance provided for the formation of school districts with power to levy taxes for school purposes. An appropriation of $7,000 was divided among the different school districts. Those in operation were: Protestant, 17; Roman Catholic, 11. Three towns, viz.: Regina, Moose Jaw and Calgary were incorporated to date; also four municipalities, viz.: Qu'Appelle, South Qu'Appelle, Wolseley and Indian Head.

By the "Administration of Justice Ordinance 1884," the North West Territories were divided into three judicial districts, viz.: Assiniboia, Alberta and Saskatchewan, subdivided into Regina, Medicine Hat, Calgary, Macleod, Edmonton, Battleford and Prince Albert districts. Although the three stipendiary magistrates had concurrent jurisdiction over the whole of the Territories, for convenience Lieut. Go!. Hugh Richardson resided at Regina, Lieut. Col. Macleod at Macleod, and Magistrate Rouleau at Battle- ford. There were sixty-three justices of the peace and thirty-four notaries at this time. Permits for 9,908 gallons of liquors were issued during the year.

This session is important in that it witnessed the first opposition to the control of the expenditure by the Lieutenant Governor, and the assertion of the rights of the Council to legislative and executive control of all matters relating to the government of the North West Territories such as was granted to the legislative assemblies of the older provinces of Canada. The opposition was led by Mr. Frank Oliver of Edmonton, and Mr. J. H. Ross of Moose Jaw in the form of an amendment to the Report of the Committee on Finance in framing the annual budget to be sent to the Federal Government.

The members of the Opposition claimed that the funds granted by the Parliament of Canada for the expenses of government in the North-West should be placed under the control of the representatives of the people instead of in the hands of the Lieutenant Governor. Subsidies similar to those received by the other provinces, grants in lieu of public lands until the North West Territories were able to take over these lands, funds for public schools on the security of school lands of the Territories, and that no person not directly responsible to the people should be allowed a voice in the local legislature or a seat at the Council Board.

The affairs of the North West Territories now began to attract the serious attention of the Dominion Parliament. In the session of 1885 bills were introduced providing for a census of the North West Territories, the introduction of the Torrens system of land registration and for representation of the Territories in the Parliament of Canada. The most pressing question of the hour was the discontent among the half-breeds who claimed the scrip privileges accorded the Metis of Manitoba. This question caused considerable feeling in the Council and throughout the whole of the Territories. A Commission consisting of Messrs. W. P. R. Street, A. E. Forget, and Roger Goulet was appointed on March 30th, too late, however, to prevent the half-breed uprising, known as the Second Riel Rebellion. The Commission was directed to enumerate the half-breeds resident in the Territories previous to July 15, 1870, and to issue scrip. The Commissioners disposed of the claims of 1815 half-breeds, issuing money scrip to the value of $279,,200 and land scrip for 55,200 acres.

The bill providing for representation was postponed until the census was taken.

Five million bushels of wheat were produced for export this year and the first shipment of wool from the Alberta ranchers was made in the summer of 1885, the clip amounting to 70,000 lbs. The C. P. R. was completed. The last spike was driven by Sir Donald A. Smith at Craigellachie, B. C., November 7, 1885.
During the summer Hon. Thos. White, Minister of the Interior, visited the Territories. His visit formed the occasion for the people to lay their claims for reform directly before the Dominion Government. The petition of the people of Prince Albert expresses these claims in a general way: Representation in the Dominion Parliament; a legislative assembly for the Territories and abolition of the North West Council; the formation of a new province with control of public lands; railway branch, lines and the Hudson's Bay Railway; the extension of the Habeas Corpus to the Territories; abolition of clues on timber for domestic purposes; opening of odd- numbered sections for homesteading; improved mail service; appointment of officials from residents of the Northwest; that unoccupied Indian re- serves be opened for homesteading; that farmers be furnished with seed grain.

A re-arrangement of the territorial electoral divisions was made in 1885 and elections were held oil 15th. The members elected were: J. H. Ross, Moose Jaw; J. G. Turriff, Moose Mountain; S. A. Bed- ford, Moosomin; W. D. Perley and Robert Crawford, Qu'Appelle; H. C. Wilson, Edmonton; Viscount Boyle, Macleod; Charles Marshallsay, Broadview; Samuel Cunningham, St. Albert; O. E. Hughes, Lorne; D. F. Jelly and John John Secord, Regina; D. Lauder and H. S. Cayley, Calgary.

The report of the Lieutenant Governor to the Minister of the Interior for 1885 showed that 71 school districts had been organized since the passing of the school ordinance of 1884, representing a school Population of 2,500 pupils. A Board of Education for the Territories, of five members, was appointed. The members of the Board were Messrs. Marshalisay and Secord of the Assembly, Charles B. Rouleau and Pere Lacombe.

The movement for "better terms" which began in 1884 was vigorously revived in this session.

The Council by a vote of tell seven carried a reply to the speech from the throne which was virtually a censure on the policy of the Dominion Government towards the Territories. The policy of the Council was contained in an elaborate memorial to the Dominion Parliament and presented by a special deputation, Messrs. Perley, Ross and Wilson.

In the session of 1886 the Dominion Parliament dealt with the memorial of the North West Council. Out of the twenty-seven reforms asked for, seventeen were granted and the others dealt with in a liberal spirit. The Habeas Corpus Act was extended to the Territories and a Supreme Court with appellate jurisdiction was established. Four Federal electoral districts were formed, two for Assiniboia, one each for Alberta and Saskatchewan. Two senators were Provided for. The powers of the Council were enlarged to make ordinances relating to:

(a) Direct taxation within the province for territorial and municipal purposes.

(b) The incorporation of companies with territorial objects.

In addition to the completion of the C P. R., this year witnessed plans for the extension of the Manitoba and North Western Railway, Long Lake Railway, Manitoba and Southwestern Railway and the Northwestern Coal and Navigation Company's Railway (the Gait Railway afterwards the Crowsnest Branch of C. P. R. and A. R. & I.) for which land grants of 6,400 acres per mile were given by the Dominion Parliament.

A special Committee of the North West Council was appointed in 1886 to draft memorials to the Dominion Government in matters requiring attention in the Territories and within scope of the Dominion.

The demands in the main were:

(a) Reduction in price of pre-emptions.
(b) Assistance for a system of secondary education.
(c) Payment of losses sustained by settlers during the rebellion of 1885.
(d) Vote by ballot.
(e) Votes for bona fide male adults after six months' residence in the electoral district.
(f) Reduction of freight rates on the C. P. R.

The Dominion Parliament was dissolved on January 17, 1887, and representatives for the electoral divisions of the N. W. T. were elected to the Dominion Parliament for the first time. These were as follows: Alberta, D. W. Davis; Assiniboia East, W. D. Perley; Assiniboia West, N. F. Davin; Saskatchewan, D. W. McDowall.

Land grants of 6,400 acres were given to the Athabasca Railway Company from a point south of Calgary to Edmonton, about 300 miles.

On February 18, 1887, the Territories were divided into five judicial districts, viz.: Eastern Assiniboia, Western Assiniboia, Northern Alberta, Southern Alberta and Saskatchewan. On the same date the following were appointed judges of the Supreme Court of the North West Territories: Hon. Hugh Richardson of Regina; Hon. Jas. F. Macleod, C. M. G., of Fort Macleod; lion. Chas. B. Rouleau of Calgary; Hon. Edward Wetmore of Fredericton, N. B. The Territories' Real Property Act passed in 1886 by the Dominion Parliament went into effect on January 1, 1887, and under it the Torrens System was established. Registrars were appointed for the five Registration Land Districts resident at Prince Albert, Battleford, Regina, Calgary and Edmonton.

The last session of the North West Council opened on October 14, 1887. During the recess Lord Boyle and W. D. Perley resigned and in their places the following members were returned: Macleod, F. V. G. Haultain; Qu'Appelle, Wm. Sutherland.

The development of the country was reflected in the statements in the Speech from the Throne. The number of schools increased to 109 with 3,543 pupils. The crop returns from 168 townships showed 76,384 acres under cultivation, viz.: Wheat, 33,354 acres; oats, 29,416 acres; barley, 8,244; roots, 5,370 acres; new land broken, 16,596 acres.

The liquor law of the Territories or the permit system was declared by a report of a special committee of the Council to be "unsatisfactory and ineffective either as a temperance or a prohibitory measure." Accordingly a resolution was passed asking that power be given to the Council to deal with this question similar to the power enjoyed by the other provinces and that the Canada Temperance Act be put in force in the Territories.

On the 10th of November a special committee consisting of the elected members of the Council was appointed to prepare a memorial respecting the future Constitution of the North West Territories which placed the views of the people of the Territories before the Parliament of Canada.

The memorial embodied the terms and principles so often contended for in previous years with respect to larger powers of local government and control of expenditure. In this connection it is interesting to note the report of the Lieutenant Governor to the federal government. He wrote as follows:

"During the sitting of the Council a memorial was adopted recommending that a purely representative form of government take the place of our present Council. I think it my duty to inform you that my information from several scattered centres of population in the Territories, does not indicate that such is the general feeling of the people. A strong fear is expressed that a purely representative form of government will lead to direct taxation and thus impose upon settlers burdens which they are at present unable to bear."

On the 19th of November the North West Council met for the last time. During the session of 1888 the Dominion Parliament passed amendments to the N. W. T. Act creating a legislative assembly for the Territories of twenty-two members with three legal experts who held office (luring the terms of the assembly, took part in the debates but did not have the right to vote. The term of the assembly could not exceed three years C. S. 1888 Cap. 19).

Hon. Edgar Dewdney, who had been Lieutenant Governor since the retirement of Hon. David Laird in 1883, became Minister of the Interior and was succeeded by Hon. Joseph Royal. The first legislative assembly of the Territories opened at Regina, October 31, 1888; Hon. H. C. Wilson, member for Edmonton was elected first speaker. The advisory council consisted of the following members:

Hon. F. W. G. Haultain, Macleod.
Hon. D. F. Jelly, North Regina.
Hon. Wm. Sutherland, North Qu'Appelle.
Hon. Hillyard Mitchell, Batoche.

The legal experts were: Hon. Justices Richardson, Macleod and Rouleau.

The new government immediately undertook a revision and consolidation of the ordinances, of the North West Territories. The work was done by Hon. Justice Richardson and A. E. Forget, Clerk of the North West Council.

The legislature was anxious to obtain control of the liquor traffic by license or prohibition. The question was referred to the legal experts who decided that the legislature had no power to take a Plebiscite on either question.

The abolition of the North West Council and the establishment of a legislative assembly did not solve the problems of legislation and executive or in the Territories. Although the assembly had been granted control of expenditure yet the N. W. T. Act did not clearly give the assembly that control of moneys voted by the Dominion Government for expenses in the Territories which was sufficient for the expedition of public business. There were parliamentary institutions without responsible government. There was no responsible body to prepare legislation for the consideration of the assembly and in consequence its legislative functions could not be satisfactorily performed.

There was no cabinet of responsible ministers. By law, the Lieutenant Governor was forced to select four members of the assembly as an advisory council only in matters of finance. He was president of the council and voted as a member thereof. In order to initiate legislation the assembly were forced to Present "an humble address" to the Lieutenant Governor asking that he be pleased to appoint a commission to draft certain incasures, which it should have been the right and duty of the assembly to do.

Strained relations ensued between the Governor and the Assembly on the question of the powers and responsibilities of the Advisory Council. The Lieutenant Governor held that the Assembly was not entitled to a statement of the public accounts on the ground that the moneys were granted from the Dominion, and that his responsibility to the Assembly was limited to the Territorial revenues alone, and so construed Section 13 of the N. W. T. Act of 1888, which was as follows:

"The Lieutenant Governor shall select from among the elected members of the Legislative Assembly four persons to act as an advisory Council on matters of finance, who shall severally hold office during pleasure; and the Lieutenant Governor shall preside at all sittings of such advisory Council and choose a right to vote as a member thereof, and shall also have a casting vote in case of a tie."

Consequently the first advisory Council resigned on October 29, 1889, and a new Council consisting of Messrs. Brett, Betts, Jelly and Richardson were appointed. This Council failed to receive the confidence of the Assembly and tendered their resignations November 11, 1889. The Governor refused to accept the resignations, stating that they were acting strictly within the law. The difficulty reached a crisis on the 14th, when the Assembly refused, on the motion of Mr. Haultain, to consider supply for 1889-90 until the expenditures of 1888-89 had been accounted for. The Lieutenant Governor was forced to accept the resignation of the Council. He tried to form a new Council with Mr. Tweed, Member for Medicine Hat as leader. Mr. Tweed refused unless the claims of the Assembly were acceded to.

On the 21st of November the Assembly adopted a memorial to the Dominion Government protesting against the Governor's interpretation of the N. W. T. Act and asking for an increased subsidy. On the following day the Assembly was prorogued. The Governor, feeling that he was forced by the Constitution to have a council, was obliged to select one "from amongst those willing to comply with the law irrespective of the fact whether they possessed the confidence of the House or not." This Council appointed February 8, 1890, were: Messrs. Brett, Betts, Jelly and Secord.

The conflict was revived again in the Session of 1890. In the reply to the speech from the the Throne, the Assembly severely criticised the action of the Lieutenant Governor and the Advisory Council, ignored the members thereof in selecting the standing committees and refused all legislation offered by them. The reply was particularly censorious in matters of finance. It pointed out that by the Act creating the Assembly, no motion regarding finance might be adopted except it was first recommended by the Lieutenant Governor, while the power to pass such a motion unquestionably lay with the majority of the Assembly. It pointed out further that the Assembly could legislate on few subjects that did not involve finance, particularly so of schools. There existed the anomaly of the Assembly being responsible for proper legislation regarding schools, and yet deprived of the control of the funds necessary for the maintenance thereof. The Governor in a message to the Assembly defined his position clearly and firmly and held he was acting in accordance with the interpretation of the law set forth by the Minister of Justice of Canada. Before the Assembly prorogued the House passed an address to the Governor, which was never sent to him but appears on the Journals of the House. It sets forth the position of the majority of the members with great clearness and ability. The Assembly was prorogued on November 29th, and dissolved by the efflux of time June following.

The elections for the second assembly were held on October 31, 1891, and the session opened December 10th. J. H. Ross of Moose Jaw was elected speaker. In May of this year Messrs. Brett and Betts went to Ottawa to secure enlarged powers for the Assembly. An Act amending the N. W. T. Act (R. S. C. 1886, Cap. 50), gave power to the Lieutenant Governor to dissolve the Assembly at any time, and cause a new one to be chosen. The Assembly was to sit separately from the Lieutenant Governor. The cause of the various deadlocks in the two past years was removed by the provision empowering the Assembly to make ordinances relating to: The expenditure of Territorial funds and such portions of any moneys appropriated by Parliament for the Territories as the Lieutenant Governor is authorized to expend by and with the advice of the Legislative Assembly or of any committee thereof (54-55 Vict. Cap. 22).
The Legislative Assembly proceeded at once to act upon the enlarged powers granted under the Statute and passed all dealing with the executive government of the Territories. It was held by the Minister of Justice (Sir John Thompson), that this Ordinance limited the powers of the Lieutenant Governor and was consequently in conflict with the terms of the N. W. T. Act which gave the Committee of the Assembly power to offer advice to the Lieutenant Governor only in matters of finance and expenditure and not to advise him on all matters connected with the duties of his office. The next year the Assembly repealed the ordinance and substituted legislation for the expenditure of Territorial funds and such portions of any moneys appropriated by Parliament for the Territories as the Lieutenant Governor was authorized to expend by and with the advice of the legislative assembly or any committee thereof.

The question of separate schools occupied the attention of the Assembly this session. Memorials from the Roman Catholics in the North West Territories to the Governor General in Council had been transmitted to the Lieutenant Governor, and laid before the Assembly. These memorials were supported by a further memorial to the Standing Committee on of the Assembly from Rev. Father Leduc, O. M. I., Vicar General of St. Albert, and Mr. A. E. Forget, Roman Catholic member of the Council of Public Instruction. The memorials complained that the laws relating to education tended to deprive the Roman Catholics of the management of their schools as provided by Section 14 of the North West Territories Act of 1886, which read as follows:

"The Lieutenant Governor in Council shall pass all necessary ordinances in respect to education; but it shall therein always be provided, that a majority of the rate-payers of any district or portion of the Territories, or of any less portion or subdivision thereof, by whatever name the same is known, may establish such schools therein as they think fit, and make the necessary assessment and collection of rates therefor; and also that the minority of the rate-payers therein, whether Protestant or Roman Catholic, may establish separate schools therein, and in such case, the ratepayers establishing such Protestant or Roman Catholic separate schools shall be liable only to assessment of such rates as they impose upon themselves in respect thereof.

"The power to pass ordinances, conferred upon the Lieutenant Governor by this section, is hereby declared to have been vested in him from the seventh day of May, one thousand eight hundred and eighty."

Among the rights of which the memorialists alleged they were deprived were the discipline of their schools, the grading and licensing of teachers, selection of textbooks, inspection of schools by qualified persons of their own faith, the right of using the French language and of opening their schools by the recitation of prayers.

The memorials were referred to the Standing Committee on Education. The Committee presented a report which was endorsed by a majority of the Assembly, the vote being 19 to 3. The report stated that the school ordinance in force did not wrongfully deprive the Roman Catholics of the right to establish separate schools and that the regulations respecting schools should be left in the hands of the Council of Public Instruction.

This is a convenient place to refer to the use of the French language in the North-West. As we have seen, the first white men to reach the west were French and French Canadians. Most of the employes of the fur companies were French Canadians or French Half-breeds. On these grounds French was retained for a number of years as one of the official languages of the North West Territories. By the North West Territories Act the debates of the Assembly and the proceedings before the Courts could be conducted in either the French or the English languages. The Journals, reports and ordinances could be printed in both the French and English languages. But in 1891 the Parliament of Canada amended the North West Territories Act giving power to the Assembly of the Territories to regulate its proceedings and the manner of recording and publishing the same. [54-53 Viet. C. 22, s. 18.] Acting within this power Mr. Haultain introduced a resolution in January, 1892, that the proceedings of the Assembly be thereafter recorded and published in the English language only.

During the elections the question of the liquor traffic excited even greater public feeling than the constitutional differences between the Lieutenant Governor and the Assembly. By the amendments to the N. W. T Act 1891, referred to above, the Assembly was empowered to enact legislation relating to saloon, tavern licenses and other licenses in order to raise a revenue for territorial and municipal purposes. Consequently as soon as the Assembly got a chance it abolished the unsatisfactory permit system and established the liquor traffic on the license basis. The ordinance provided that no license should be granted in a license district where a majority of three-fifths of the electors voted in favor of prohibition. Before the Assembly prorogued it passed a resolution, a forerunner of many subsequent resolutions, respecting the annual appropriation made by the federal government for the government of the North West Territories. The population and the necessities for local public improvements were growing rapidly while the subsidy was stationary. The resolution reiterated the claim made in 1884 for grants in lieu of lands, debt allowance and increased aid for education. In response to this memorial the Federal Government invited Mr. Haultain to Ottawa and as a result a lump sum of $193,200 was granted, an increase of $40,000.

The fourth session of the Second Legislative Assembly met on August 17, 1893. Ordinances were passed regulating mines, and the exportation of liquor to portions of Canada outside the Territories. A bill to establish a general land tax system was defeated. The words with which the Lieutenant Governor Royal dismissed the Assembly indicates the evolution of responsible government in the Territories:

"When on the 4th of July, 1888, I was sworn in as Lieutenant Governor of the North West Territories, the functions of that office were as totally different from those of the Lieutenant Governors of the Provinces as they will be from those performed by my successor. I was responsible to the Privy Council of Canada alone for all executive acts done in the Territories. The Assembly had hardly a voice in the government of the country and the Lieutenant Governor was practically a political commissioner under whose direct supervision and authority the affairs of the Territories were conducted and administered. Now all this has been changed and hence my satisfaction. The legislature today practically enjoys the rights and privileges of self-government."

Hon. C. H. Mackintosh succeeded Hon. Joseph Royal as Lieutenant Governor in November, 1893. The fifth session opened at Regina on August 2, 1894. The Speech from the Throne contained a review of the development of the country for the previous seven years. The number of schools had increased from 111 on June 30, 1887, to 372 on June 30, 1894, with a school population of about 8000. Expenditure for schools increased in the same period from $36,397.47 to $121,056.94.

The elections for the Third Legislative Assembly of the Territories were held October 31, 1894. Hon. J. F. Betts, member for Prince Albert East, was elected Speaker when the House met on August 29, 1895.

The session of 1896 opened September 29th. The separate school question was raised again, but the Assembly adhered to the ordinance as passed in conformity with the N. W. T. Act. On October 8th Mr. J. H. Ross, member for Moose Jaw, moved for a committee to prepare a memorial to the Dominion setting forth the financial and constitutional position of the Assembly, the need of fuller powers, and the basis upon which the Territorial subsidy should be determined.

On the 23rd the draft was submitted to the Assembly and adopted. Full provincial status was not demanded. The committee did not ask for right to raise money on the credit of the Territories, the chartering of railways and the administration of criminal laws. They asked that the executive government be put upon a more constitutional basis, viz.: That an executive council be substituted for the advisory committee, a body which had no competency to advise the Lieutenant Governor, to control dissolution or elections relating to the Assembly, and that the Assembly have power to appoint sheriffs, magistrates, coroners and all provincial officers.

Regarding the finances of the Territories the Assembly reiterated its position of 1892, viz.: That a fixed amount in the nature of a subsidy should be granted and increased every four years. It was pointed out that whereas the population was 66,799 in 1891, and the federal grant $211,200, the population in 1896 was 105,000 and the grant only $242,879; that is, the population had increased 56% while the grant. increased only 16%.

The items of the subsidy asked for were as follows:

(1) Per capita grant of 80 cents per head on a population of 112,906 - $183.133.
(2) Government and legislation—$50,000.
(3) Adequate grant in lieu of public lands.

In pressing the claims in lieu of lands the Assembly urged that the revenues arising therefrom accrue to the Dominion of Canada. Land subsidies to the extent of 25,000,000 acres valued at $25,000,000 had been given to railways in addition to a cash subsidy of $25,000,000, of which amount the people of the Territories also bore their proportionate share. Had the Dominion of Canada paid the land subsidy in cash there would have been added to interest charges of the country the sum of $750,000 per year.

The debate on the memorial was the occasion for the first suggestion for a separate province of Alberta, the matter being raised by Dr. Brett of Banff.

Important amendments to the school ordinance were made in this session which form the basis upon which grants are still made to the public schools of both Alberta and Saskatchewan.

The demands set forth in the memorial were recognized by the Dominion Government and in the speech from the Throne at the opening of the session of 1897, the Lieutenant Governor announced important changes in the Constitution of the Territories whereby, to quote his own words, "A completely responsible system of government" was obtained. A true executive council was chosen and public departments created for a better administration of the public service. Larger powers respecting roads and trails and important public works under territorial supervision were undertaken.

The ordinances of the Territories were consolidated and a considerable body of amending legislation was passed this session to secure simplicity and uniformity.

The session of 1898 was opened on August 16th by his Honour M. C. Cameron. During the recess the Yukon Territory had been separated by Order in Council from the North West Territories and organized under a separate government. The assumption of control by the federal government and the relinquishment thereof by the Territorial Government was attended by some little friction, especially respecting liquor permits. The Territorial Government sent Mr. G. H. V. Bulyea into the Yukon to issue license permits and establish regulations respecting the liquor traffic. Major Walsh, Commissioner of the Yukon, under the Dominion Government, who arrived later, refused to recognize the authority of the Territorial Government, and conducted the traffic under regulations defined by the Mounted Police. Consequently two sets of permits were issued. In the end the Minister of Justice decided that the permits issued by the Government of the North West Territories were valid. Subsequently the Dominion Parliament passed the Yukon Territory Act superseding the Order in Council of 1897 and extinguishing the jurisdiction of the North West Territories over that part of Canada.

Before the Legislature prorogued Mr. Haultain introduced a resolution upon a question that has engaged the attention of legislators in the North-West since the beginning of western colonization. It relates to lands granted to railway or colonization companies. Invariably the policy of the corporations has been to withhold the land from sale or settlement, and avoid taxation by keeping the land valid in the Crown until it is purchased on a long instalment plan and the purchaser obtains the patent thereof. In his budget speech in 1897 Mr. Haultain showed that out of grants of nearly 6,000,000 acres, and consequently lands not available for taxes, only 204,000 acres had been patented. The resolution petitioned the Federal Government to force the location and issue of patents for all lands to which railway and colonization companies were entitled, so that they might bear their just proportion of taxes for schools, local improvements and other purposes.

His Honour M. C. Cameron died on September 26th, and was succeeded by his Honour A. E. Forget, for many years Clerk of the North West Council.

A new election was held on November 4, 1898, and the Assembly met on April 4, 1899. The Assembly consisted of 31 members, a number of new districts having been created by the Redistribution Bill of 1898. Wm. Eakin, member for Saltcoats, was elected Speaker.

The militia system was extended to the North West Territories in 1900.

From this period to the passing of the Alberta and Saskatchewan Acts the important question in the Territories was provincial autonomy, though there was a difference of opinion among the members of the Assembly whether there should be one province or two. It annually formed the subject of correspondence and negotiation between the Government of the North West Territories and the Dominion Government until the Autonomy Acts were passed in 1905. The memorial of the Assembly dated May 21 1900, was followed in December 1901 by an elaborate memorandum from Mr. Haultain in which the whole question was reviewed and the problem stated. The Government of the Territories drew up a Bill of Rights which claimed all the powers of one of the old provinces of Canada.

On March 21, 1901, Hon. A. L. Sifton, who had accepted the position of Chief Justice of Alberta, was succeeded in the Department of Public Works by Hon. G. H. V. Bulyea. The control of the Land Titles' Offices and Registration Districts was transferred from the Dominion to the Territorial Government in 1903.

The session was brief, the usual memorial for provincial institutions was sent. to Ottawa.

The last session of the Assembly of the North West Territories met on September 22, 1904, and prorogued on 8th.

Party lines were always indefinitely drawn in the Assembly of the North West Territories, due, it is believed, to the influence of Mr. Haultain, Mr. Ross and Mr. Oliver. There was an unwritten but strong obligation recognized that the good government of the Territories depended upon the elimination of federal politics and the decision of all questions relating to the North-West on their merits as affecting the welfare of the Territories.

With the passing of the Autonomy Acts in 1905 party lines became clearly drawn, dividing the public men of the Territories into two distinct parties.

The Alberta Act came into force oil 1, 1905. Hon. G. H. V. Bulyea was appointed Lieutenant Governor, August 24, 1905. On September 1st, Hon. A. C. Rutherford, M. P. P. for Strathcona in the Territorial Assembly, was called upon to form the first Government of Alberta. On September 9th, the following appointments were gazetted:

President of the Council, Provincial Treasurer and Minister of Education, Hon. A. C. Rutherford, Strathcona; Attorney-General, lion. C. W. Cross, Edmonton; Minister of Public Works, Hon. W. H. Gushing, Calgary; Provincial Secretary and Minister of Agriculture, Hon. W. T. Finlay; Hon. L. G. DeVeber became Minister without portfolio. In 1906 the latter was appointed to the Senate, and the Executive was reduced to four members.

The first general election was held oil 9th, 1905. The principal issues dividing the parties were the rights of minorities to establish separate schools, and the ownership of public lands. The alignment of parties in the Province naturally followed that of the Federal parties. Reference has been made already to both of these questions. The framing of the Provincial constitution raised these questions again, and this time for final settlement.

As far as the matter of schools was concerned, the Alberta Act has settled that issue finally, but the ownership of the Crown Lands of the Province is still a live and unsettled question. Sir Wilfred Laurier, Premier of Canada and leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, introduced the bill for the creation of the Province of Alberta in February, 1905.

The school clause of the Bill provided that the minority should have the right to establish their own schools and to share in the public funds for the maintenance of such schools. An ambiguity in the construction of the clause caused a sharp division in public opinion throughout the country, and especially in the Provinces of Ontario and Quebec. As the clause was first drawn, it was held by the opponents of separate schools that it re-established out and out denominational schools, on the basis of the North West Territories Act of 1875, under which Roman Catholic Separate Schools had been established, with complete ecclesiastical control of finance, inspection, teaching and textbooks. These rights had been considerably restricted by the Territorial Assembly in 1892, limiting the right to establish separate schools to those sections in which the Catholics were in a minority, and limiting religious teaching to a nominal half hour at the close of the day. Later, Ordinances and regulations enforced by the authority of the Assembly, provided for uniform curricula, qualifications of teachers and inspections in all schools, public or separate.

The Conservative leaders in Parliament, and their followers in both houses, strongly opposed the clause ill form. Hon. Clifford Sifton, Minister of the Interior and the representative of the North West Territories in the Laurier Cabinet, resigned in protest against the clause, in which action he carried the support of many Liberals in all parts of the North West Territories and in Eastern Canada. Mr. F. W. G. Haultain, Premier of the North West Territories, and Mr. R. B. Bennett, the member for Calgary in the Territorial Assembly, led a fiery crusade against the clause. The opposition and the hostility of many Liberals that such a law would be incompatible with the long-declared liberal principle of Provincial rights led the Federal Government to amend the clause to make it certain that it conformed to the law passed by the Territorial Assembly, and then in force in the North West Territories; that is, the rights of minorities were those defined in the Territorial Ordinances of 1892 and 1901.

On Land question the Liberals of the Province supported Sir Wilfred Laurier. The Conservative Party led by Mr. F. W. G. Haultain, in Saskatchewan, and Mr. R. B. Bennett in Alberta, contended that all lands, mines, and minerals situated in the Provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan should belong to the respective Provinces in the same way that those resources belong to the older Provinces of the Canadian Confederation, that is to say, the public lands should belong to the Crown in the right of the Province of Alberta, and in the right of the Province of Saskatchewan and not to the Crown in the right of the Dominion of Canada. The Liberal party led by Hon. A. C. Rutherford ill and Hon. Walter Scott in Saskatchewan, contended that the money grant in lieu of lands was a more satisfactory settlement of the question. Public opinion in the new Provinces was emphatically expressed at the polls. Premier Rutherford carried Alberta 23 seats to 2, and Premier Scott, in Saskatchewan, won 16 seats to 8.

The land question is still unsettled, although both parties, in fact all parties in the Province, agree that the lands should belong to the Province. In 1911, Premier Sifton, who had succeeded Premier Rutherford as Liberal leader, presented a formal demand to the Dominion Government to transfer the lands, mines and minerals still in the Crown, except the homestead lands, to the Province. Before any action could be taken upon the subject, the Liberal party led by Sir Wilfred Laurier, was defeated in the Federal General Elections in October, 1911. The demand was renewed in 1913 by the three Prairie Provinces, and signed jointly by Premiers Sifton of Alberta, Scott of Saskatchewan and Roblin of Manitoba. Subsequent demands were made in 1919, and a conference of the Premiers of all the Provinces was held at Ottawa. it was found, however, that the older Provinces of Canada objected to a revision of the Alberta Act in this respect, and to the transfer of the lands to the Prairie Provinces without cornpensation, and readjustment of subsidies in favour of the older members of confederation. There the issue lies today.


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