Lecture 22 – Resisting Confederation
John A. Macdonald had Britain purchase the northwest known as Rupert’s Land from the
Hudson Bay Company for Canada.
In the next 6 years 3 provinces joined confederation: Manitoba in 1870, British Columbia in
1871, and Prince Edward Island in 1873.
The Acquisition of Rupert’s Land
1864, American senators discussed building of the Northern Pacific Railway hoping to capture
more of the British territories trade.
In 1868 the Canadian government began negotiations in London to acquire Rupert’s Land.
An agreement was reached between 1869-1870 and the British government paid the Hudson Bay
Company $1.5 million for the land.
Administering the Northwest
In 1869 Parliament passes the “Act for the Temporary Government of Rupert’s Land and the
Northwest Territory”. It allows for a colonial system of government with an appointed governor
The government made plans to build a road from the Lake of the Woods to Fort Garry.
They dispatched a survey crew along with William McDougall to take up administrative duties
in the Red River colony.
A group of Métis forbade McDougall to enter Rupert’s land. Since Rupert’s land wasn’t
officially transferred yet, Ottawa had no legal authority to deal with the problem.
Red River Resistance 1869-1870
The Red River residents resented that they had not been consulted over the sale of Rupert’s land.
Manifest Destiny – The idea that you are entitled to land that is not yours
On Nov 2, 1869, the Métis seized Upper Fort Garry and established a provisional government. John A. Macdonald tried the diplomatic route by asking influential political figures to negotiate
with the Métis. Military force was also being organized.
Louis Riel’s government drew up a list of demands and grievances in Nov. 1869.
The Canadian expansionist party in the Red River colony prepared to oppose Riel’s provisional
The Métis raided their headquarters and captured members of the raiding party including
Louis Riel wanted to make an example and demonstrate to the Canadian government that they
were serious in their demands. They put Scott on trial and ruled to execute him.
On March 4, 1970, a firing squad executed Scott. Protestant Ontario now had their martyr.
Quebec viewed Riel as a protector of the French Catholic Métis.
To appease both sides Macdonald signed the Manitoba act that gave Red River colony a
Manitoba Act (May, 1870)
Ottawa denied Manitoba control over its public lands and natural resources.
The Métis populatio