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The Story of Manitoba
Chapter XLIV A Settlement of Manitoba's Demands


Although the Dominion government had insisted that the settlement of Manitoba's claims which was made in 1885 should be accepted as a final settlement, the people of the province were determined that no adjustment of her claims would be considered final, unless it placed her on the same footing as her sister provinces. Both political parties agreed on that point, When Mr. Greenway became premier, his first task was to free the province from the burden of railway monopoly laid upon her by the disallowance policy of the Ottawa government; and very soon after this battle had been won, his government found itself in a contest with that of the Dominion over the school question, and not long after this struggle had ended in a partial victory for the province, the Greenway government went out of office.

During Mr Greenway's premiership the long-standing matters of dispute between the federal and provincial governments—better financial terms for the. province, an extension of her boundaries, and the light to control her natural resources, such as public lands, timber, mines, and fisheries—were kept in the background but were not forgotten. In 1895 the legislature had asked for a more prompt transfer of the swamp lands to which the province was entitled, and four years later it asked that the school lands be handed over to the province; but no serious attempt to secure a readjustment of the more important matters seems to have been made. The Greenway government went into power pledged to economy,' and under its management the income of the province seemed fairly adequate to its needs. In 1885 the total amount which the province received from the Dominion was $225,194, but m consequence of the terms accepted that year it rose to $435,860 in 1886. Increased population led to small increases ill the per capita grant now and then, and in 1897 the total grant was $470,335. In the following year there was an increase due to a readjustment of the capital account of the province, and in that year the total Dominion subsidy was $483,887.

In 1899 Mr. Greenway's government was wrecked on the same rock which had wrecked the Norquay government in 1887—provincial aid to railways. The provincial election of December, 1899, gave a majority of the seats in the legislature to the opposition. Finding that they no longer possessed the confidence of a majority of the members of the legislature, Mr. Greenway and his colleagues resigned on January 6, 1900, and the lieutenant-governor called upon Mr. Hugh J. Macdonald to form a new ministry. It consisted of Hon. H. J. Macdonald, premier president of the council, and attorney-general; Hon. J. A. Davidson, provincial treasurer, and minister of agriculture and immigration;

Hon D. H. McFadden, minister of public works, and municipal commissioner; and Hon. Colin H. Campbell and Hon. James Johnson, ministers without portfolios. The legislature met early in the year, and a prohibitory law was one of the measures passed during the session. Before the end of the year, however, Mr. Macdonald was induced to resign the premiership in order to contest the Dominion constituency of Brandon, and Hon. R. P, Roblin became premier, and president of the council, while Hon. Colin H. Campbell became attorney-general. At the end of 1900 there was another change, Hon. Mr. Roblin assuming the portfolio of agriculture; Hon. Robert Rogers becoming minister of public works, while Hon. Mr. McFadden took the provincial secretary's portfolio.

The matter of an enlargement of the province was brought up in the legislature during the session of 1901 on the motion of Messrs. Burrows and Myers. It was a matter on which both parties in the house agreed ; so the resolutions were adopted unanimously, and the memorial suggested was ordered to be sent to the federal government. The resolutions showed that, while Manitoba was smaller than most of the other provinces, she had organized a government complete enough to govern a much larger territory; that the character, resources, and needs of the country immediately west of Manitoba were almost identical with those of the province; and that in the interest of economical administration a part of that territory might well be added to Manitoba. The memorial asked that additional territory be given to the province on the west and that it be extended on the north to Hudson Bay.

In 1902 another resolution in regard to the matter was adopted by the legislature without a dissenting voice. The preamble recited the more important facts in the struggle for an extension of the provincial boundaries; pointed to the great stretch of country on the west, similar in character to Manitoba; showed the rapid growth of the province and the need of greater area; and referred to the completeness of her political, commercial, and social organizations. The resolution affirmed that, in the interest of Manitoba and the North-West Territories, the boundaries of the province should be extended so as to include parts of Assiniboia and Saskatchewan as far north as Hudson Bay. The members of the cabinet, together with Messrs. Greenway, Burrows, and Miekle, were appointed a committee to make all necessary inquiries and to interview the ministers of the Dominion and North-West governments in regard to the matter. If the resolution reached the Ottawa government, it does not seem to have elicited any response; but a conference with the government of the North-West Territories brought a prompt and decided reply from that body. It was expected that one or more provinces would soon be organized in the territories, and the people there were not willing to lessen the importance of these provinces and enhance that of Manitoba by ceding to her a portion of Assiniboia and Saskatchewan

When it became known that two new prairie provinces would be formed in 1905, the legislature of Manitoba renewed its application for increased area. The Dominion government asked for a conference on the matter, and Hon. Mr. Campbell ami Hon. Mr. Rogers went to Ottawa to press the claims of the province. After considerable discussion Mr. Laurier asked the provincial ministers to wait a few days for the reply of his government to Manitoba's demand. In the interval he introduced into parliament the bills creating the new provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta, and 'the terms of the bills made it plain that the boundaries of Manitoba would not be extended on the west. Mr. Lau rier's remarks in introducing these Autonomy Acts also made it plain that some of the other provinces would be considered in granting Manitoba an extension northward. He said:

"But, sir, there is another demand of the province of Manitoba which, I think, is entitled to fair consideration Manitoba has asked to have her territory extended to the shores of Hudson Bay, and this is a prayer which seems to me entitled to a fair hearing. But the province of Manitoba is not the only one whose territory could be extended to the shores of Hudson Bay. The province of Ontario would have the same right; the province of Quebec would also have the right; and the new province of Saskatchewan would have an equal right to have her territory extended to the shores of Hudson Hay. Therefore, in the project we have to present to the house to-day, instead of including in the province of Saskatchewan that portion of territory lying north of Lake Winnipegosis and Lake Manitoba, we propose to leave that outside to be included neither in Saskatchewan nor in Manitoba, but to be dealt with at some future day. And 1 may say at once that I have the authority of my colleagues to make the announcement that we propose to invite the province of Ontario, the province of Quebec, the province of Manitoba, and the province of Saskatchewan to meet us here to decide whether or not it is advisable that the limits of any of these provinces be extended to the shores of Hudson Bay, and, if so, in what manner it should be dime.''

These remarks were made by Premier Laurier on February 21, and two days later Messrs. Campbell and Rogers wrote to him. urging the justness of Manitoba's claim for an extension westward, reiterating the request for an extension northward to the bay, and affirming that Ontario and Quebec should have no voice in the disposal of the District of Keewatin, which had been attached to the government of Manitoba for many years.

Ontario's government was quick to take the hint conveyed in Mr. Laurier's remarks and, following its traditional policy, to claim the lion's share of any new territory which Manitoba might naturally expect to receive. On March 2 Premier Whitney wrote Mr. Laurier that, if Keewatin were to be divided, Ontario would claim a part of it; and when the Ontario legislature met on the 21st of the month, the speech from the throne intimated that the Dominion government would be likely to consider Ontario's demand favorably.

On the same day, March 21, 1905, the Dominion government's reply to Manitoba was drafted. After reciting the answers of the federal government to previous demands for the extension of her boundaries, it stated that extension westward could not be entertained, inasmuch as it would meet with disfavor among the people residing in the district concerned and would not be in the interest of the country as a whole. It admitted that the demand for extension northward was not unreasonable and suggested that it might be considered after the measure for establishing the new provinces had been disposed of; and it intimated that the governments of Ontario and Saskatchewan would be invited to take part in a discussion of the proposed extension. The reply of the government of Manitoba, dated April 1, repeated many reasons why the province should receive all the additional territory asked for and denied the right of Ontario to be a party in any negotiations in connection with it. The act which created the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan out of the North-West Territories received the assent of the governor-general 011 July 20, 1905, and four days later a proclamation was issued, which detached Keewatin from any connection with Manitoba and added it to the remaining North-West Territory. In September, 1906, the Manitoba government again presented its claims for increased area, and later in the year, some of its members, together with representatives of Saskatchewan and Ontario, met several of the Dominion ministers to discuss the question of extension; but the discussion does not appear to have any practical results.

It was found that the subsidies, which the Dominion was giving to Alberta and Saskatchewan, were far more liberal than any which Manitoba had ever been able to secure, and so early in 1908 the oldest of the three provinces renewed the fight which had been carried on for more than a generation. Premier Roblin introduced a memorial into the legislature on January 15, which reviewed the history of the struggle for an extension of the boundaries of the province and gave a long list of reasons why the extension should be made. The accompanying petition asked for all that part of Keewatin which lies between the eastern boundary of Saskatchewan and the meridian passing through the junction of the Ohio and the Mississippi and extends from the northern boundary of Manitoba and the boundary of Ontario as fixed by the privy council in 1884 as far north as the 60tli parallel of latitude. It also asked for an increase in subsidies which would put the province on an equality with Alberta and Saskatchewan. The amounts suggested were: $405,375 as interest oil capital account, $93,750 in lieu of public lands, and a per capita grant of $375,000 until the population of the province reached 400,000, then of $562,500 until the population reached 800,000, then of $750,000 until the population became 1.200,000, and after that a grant of $1,125,000.

Later in the year Mr. Roblin and Mr. Rogers went to Ottawa in connection with this petition, and on July 8 Mr. Laurier introduced a resolution into the commons that embodied the concessions which his government was willing to grant to Manitoba. A part of the resolution read:

"Be it resolved that it is expedient that the said petition should be acceded to and that upon such terms and conditions as may be agreed to by the said legislative assembly and by parliament the boundaries of Manitoba may be extended as follows: the northern boundary to be the 60th parallel of latitude, the western boundary to be the present eastern boundary of Saskatchewan to the said 60th parallel; the 'eastern boundary to be the present eastern boundary as far as the northeast corner of the province, thence in a straight line to the point where the 89th meridian of west longitude intersects the shore line of Hudson Bay.

"And be it further resolved: That whereas, notwithstanding the extension above described, the ungranted lands of the crown in the territory so to be added to the said province will still continue to be administered by the government of Canada for the purposes of the Dominion and the said province will not have the public lands as a source of revenue; it is just and equitable to recognize the increased cost of civil government which such extension of territory will occasion to the province, and in view of the premises to make to the said province an increased allowance by money payment, the amount of which should be the subject of negotiations between the government of Canada and the government of Manitoba."

This resolution was adopted by the house of commons on July 13, 1908. Mr Roblin objected to giving Ontario a part of the district north of Lac Seul and the Albany River, and then negotiations were dropped until the following Ma roll. On March 12 Messrs. Rogers and C. II. Campbell had a conference with Mr. Laurier and Mr. Fielding. The Dominion premier offered the province the additional territory specified in the resolution quoted above, and after some consideration the provincial ministers decided to accept it. They then asked that the province be given financial terms as good as those granted to Saskatchewan and Alberta, or else that it be put on the same footing as Ontario and Quebec as regards public lands, minerals, and timber; but the conference adjourned without a decision on these matters. Late in December Mr. Laurier suggested another conference, but Mr. Roblin's reply, dated January 8, 1910, intimated that the province would accept either alternative suggested during the preceding March, and this offer was subsequently endorsed by the legislature.

The matter stood thus for a year, but on March 17, 1911, the governor-general in council passed a minute approving of the extension proposed in 1909, and offering some increase in the subsidies paid to Manitoba. When the matter came before the provincial legislature, it was pointed out that the total grant offered would be little more than half that received by Alberta or by Saskatchewan"' and on motion of Mr. Roblin and Mr. Winkler the offer was declined, and the request for an equitable grant or the ownership of the natural resources of the province was repeated. In April the Dominion made a supplementary offer of a considerable area of swamp lands, and this might have been accepted if the Dominion elections had not intervened.

The elections resulted in the defeat of the Laurier government, and soon after Mr. Borden became premier of Canada, Mr. Roblin had a conference will; him in regard to Manitoba's claims, and a settlement was reached. On November 21 Mr. Roblin was able to say, "Manitoba comes into her own after forty years of struggle and effort to secure equality in the Confederation of Canada. Her claims are recognized, and she steps forward into line with her sisters in the Dominion. The boundaries remain as fixed by Sir Wilfred Laurier and accepted by Manitoba; but the subsidy, the indemnity for public domain, and other financial matters are all to be readjusted on a basis to give us equality with Saskatchewan and Alberta.''

On April 1, 1912, the legislature of the province passed an Act to Provide for the Further Extension of the Province of Manitoba; and this act, which received the assent of the lieutenant-governor and came into force on April 6, formally endorses the agreement made with the Dominion. The clause of the act, which defines the present boundaries of' the province, is as follows: The Legislative Assembly of Manitoba hereby consents that the limits of the Province be increased so that the boundaries of this province shall be as follows: Commencing where the 60th parallel of north latitude intersects the western shore of Hudson Bay; thence westerly along the said parallel of latitude to the northeast corner of the Province of Saskatchewan; thence southerly along the easterly boundary of the Province of Saskatchewan to the international boundary dividing Canada from the United States; thence easterly along the said international boundary to the point where the said international boundary turns due north; thence due north along the said international boundary to the most northerly point thereof at or near the Northwest Angle of the Lake of the Woods; thence continuing due north along the westerly boundary of the Province of Ontario, by virtue of the Canada (Ontario Boundary) Act, 3889, Chapter 28 of the statutes of 1889 of the United Kingdom (the said westerly boundary being the easterly boundary of the Province of Manitoba), to the most northerly point of the said boundary common to the two Provinces under the said act; thence continuing due north along the same meridian to the intersection thereof with the centre of the road allowance on the twelfth base line of the system of Dominion land surveys; thence northeasterly in a right line to the most eastern point of Island Lake, as shown in approximate latitude 53° 30' and longitude 93° 40' on the railway map of the Dominion of Canada published on the scale of thirty-live miles to the inch, in the year one thousand nine hundred and eight, by the authority of the Minister of the Interior; thence northeasterly in a right line to the point where the eighty-ninth meridian of west longitude intersects the southern shore of Hudson Bay; thence westerly and northerly, following the shores of the said bay to the place of commencement; and all land embraced by the said description, not now within the province, shall, from and after the commencement of this act, be added thereto, and the whole shall, from and after the said commencement, form and be the Province of Manitoba."

The act provides that the new territory shall be subject to the laws of Manitoba and those of the Dominion, as if it had been a part of the original province. By this extension of its boundaries the province gained about 100,000,000 acres in area and 6,016 in population. The crown lands, mines, minerals, timber, waterpowers, etc., in the added territory remained in the hands of the Dominion government, and the unsold swamp lands, acquired by the province under an old arrangement, reverted to the Dominion.

The capital account of the province is fixed at $8,107,500 less $457,816.15 withdrawn in various ways; and on the balance the Dominion pays the province five per cent, per annum. The grant in lieu of lands is graduated, being $562,500 per year until the population reaches 800,000, then $750,000 until the population reaches 1,200,000, and after that it is to be $125,000. These payments are reduced by $15,000 each year, the interest on the estimated value of the land grant made to the university of Manitoba, and by a further sum as interest on the estimated value of the swamp lands which the province had sold before the settlement was effected. The province is also to receive a further sum of $201,723.57 in lieu of public lands, and this is to be used in the erection of public buildings. This grant is made in consequence of similar grants to Alberta and Saskatchewan. These financial adjustments are assumed to have come into force on July 1, 1908, and the Dominion will pay the, province the differences between the sums which it would have received under the new terms (luring the intervening four years and the sums it actually received. It is estimated that these arrears amount to a little more than $2,000,000.


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