This Week in History
Parliament Passes the Manitoba Act
For the week of Monday May 8, 2000
It's a province! On May 12, 1870, the Canadian Parliament passed the Manitoba Act, transforming a tiny corner of Rupert's Land into the fifth Confederation province.
On December 8, 1869, Riel and his followers set up a provisional government at Red River. They exchanged delegates with the federal government during the winter of 1869-70, and a list of demands was drawn up and sent to Ottawa. It involved the safeguarding of French-language claims, of Roman Catholic educational claims, and of Métis land claims.
The delegation in Ottawa successfully negotiated Manitoba's creation. On May 12, 1870, the list of demands was approved and became the basis for the legislation to bring the Red River Colony into Canada. It was the country's first new province since its creation in 1867. Manitoba was given self-government and representatives in both Houses of Parliament, as well as a provincial government to control its local affairs.
Manitoba's entry into Confederation in 1870 was a negotiated response to the demands of Riel's provisional government. In 1956, Louis Riel was nationally recognized for his unique value in Canadian history and, in 1992, the provincial government of Manitoba accorded him the status of a Founding Father. The Creation of Manitoba has been commemorated by a Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada plaque in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
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