Midterm Study Notes
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Division of Political Powers in 1867
Who: John A Macdonald
What: In 1867, the division of powers between federal and provincial governments
became distinct. Provinces had power over local concerns, such as; roads, municipalities, law
and order, and issues relating to cultures (e.g. Language, religion, education, marriage…). The
Federal government oversaw general matters, such as; the economy (tariff and trade policy,
banking and currency, navigation, and interprovincial trade), defence, and relations with First
Nations. However, the federal government was also granted residual powers – meaning that
they have jurisdiction on anything not especially set out to provinces and also has the power to
overrule and provincial legislation. Prime Minister at the time, John A Macdonald, didn’t want a
division of powers; instead he wanted it all on a municipal level.
Why: The result of the division of political powers in 1867 gave Canada the
characteristics that it still has today, as it combines both federalism and a division of powers. It
also, in 1867, resulted in tensions between federal and provincial governments that are still
The Nova Scotia Repeal Movement
Who: Joseph Howe, Charles Tupper, John A. Macdonald
What: In the 1867 election, Nova Scotia only voted in one conservative politician to
parliament, Charles Tupper, who was pro-confederation. However, Nova Scotia was upset with
the way in which Confederation was headed, so they started up an Anti-Confederation League,
headed by Joseph Howe. Howe was angered by the fact that Tupper had never put
Confederation to a vote in Nova Scotia. In turn, Howe went to London to re-negotiate the
involvement of NS in Confederation. Unfortunately, Howe was unsuccessful as the British
Government supported Confederation. However, Prime Minister John A. Macdonald faced the
issue of the majority of Parliament consisting of politicians opposing the idea of Confederation.
This in turn led Macdonald to create a Cabinet.
Where: Nova Scotia
Why: The Nova Scotia Repeal Movement was an important part of Canadian history
because it helps us to identify the discontent felt throughout the Maritimes about Confederation.
It explains the fears of political and economic domination by Ontario and Quebec (especially
regarding trade and tariffs).
Who: Joseph Howe
What: Joseph Howe is a hugely important figure in Nova Scotia’s history. In 1886, Howe
invested himself in helping Nova Scotia fight confederation. He was the leader of Nova Scotia’s
Anti-confederation movement and visited Britain twice in attempts to withdraw Nova Scotia from
confederation. However, Howe was unsuccessful in his attempts. There were several hard core
anti-confederates in Nova Scotia at the time who considered joining the states before they
would join Canada, although Howe was not one of them. Howe was an imperialist. He was in
favour of staying within the British Empire as opposed to joining the States. Unfortunately,
Howe’s popularity was slowly declining because of this. Howe accepted a seat in the federal
cabinet; though he used his position to mainly benefit the Nova Scotian economy, some saw
Howe as being a traitor and saw him as taking the federal cabinet position for his own political
gain. In 1869, Howe won the Nova Scotian bi-election. Because of his willingness to work with
the federal government, the anti-confederation movement in Nova Scotia weakened. Howe also Midterm Study Notes
February 9 th
managed to get 2/3 of Nova Scotian on board with the Macdonald government. In 1873 Howe
was appointed the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia.
Where: Nova Scotia
Why: Without the participation of Joseph Howe in the anti-confederation movement, and
subsequently the federal government, Nova Scotia may have never jumped on board with the
idea of confederation and had of joined the US instead.
The Guibord Affair
Who: Joseph Guibord, Ignace Bourget
What: Joseph Guibord was a member of the Institut Canadien de Montreal, which had
several contradictions with the Catholic Church due to its library contents. After Guibord’s death
in 1869, Catholic priest Ignace Bourget refused to give Guibord a Catholic funeral due to his
association with the Institute. Guibord’s widow took this through the court system, all the way up
to the Justice Committee of the British Privy Council. The Privy Council ruled in favour of a
burial for Guibord in 1875. Unfortunately, the courts’ ruling didn’t change peoples’ attitudes.
During the first burial attempt of Guibord, several hundred protestors came and pelted the coffin
with rocks, which led to the burial being postponed. After the death of his widow, Guibord’s
friends tried once again to have him buried. This time they were successful in burying him with
his wife. However, Bourget dug up Guibord’s coffin several days later.
Why: Guibord’s case led to the ultramontanes creating a political movement surrounding the
right of the Catholic Church to control how its followers voted (liberal, not conservative).
Movements such as these showed that Canada was nation defined in cultural terms, and not in
political nation-state unity.
Who: Louis Riel
What: Louis Riel was a very prominent and important figure in the West. Riel was born
in the Red River settlement, but left to study priesthood in Quebec. In 1868 however, Riel
returned to Red River to become the leading spokesmen for the rights of the local population
(especially the Metis). Riel was a huge actor in the Resistance at Red River. In 1869, Riel and a
band of followers seized the Hudson’s Bay Company in Fort Garry. This gave them control of
the Red River. This was met by the Canadian Party infiltrating Fort Garry, with John Christian
Schultz at the head. Schultz was later captured, which allowed for the Metis, with Riel at the
head, to create a provisional government. As the provisional government started to make deals
with the Canadian government, Schultz escaped. After his escape, on approval of Riel, one of
Schultz’s followers, Thomas Scott, was executed. This has been said to be the reason for Riel’s
own execution. After the Resistance at Red River, Riel fled to the US. However, in 1884, Riel
was asked by the Metis to return to a small community in Saskatchewan, Batoche. The Metis’
goal was to have Riel head their movement to fight the government. Upon his return, people
start to notice that Riel isn’t quite the same person he had once been; though they trusted him
no less. This battle took place very similarly to the one in Red River. Riel made a provisional
government, and soon the Canadian government came to fight; although this time with a
different outcome. In the end, Riel was captured and forced to surrender. Riel was then charged
with high treason, and a jury found him guilty, but said he should not be given the death penalty.
However, the judge disagreed with the jury, and had Louis Riel executed on November 19 th
Where: Red River and Batoche
When: 1869-1870 and June of 1884 Midterm Study Notes
February 9 th
Why: Louis Riel is an excellent example as to how one person can change the course of
history. His influential decisions and resistance changed how people saw the West at the time.
Perhaps without Louis Riel’s existence the West wouldn’t stand as it does today.
Who: Thomas Scott, Louis Riel, the Metis
What: Thomas Scott was a militant protestant who came to Red River to help to oust the
provisional government. Scott was one of John Schultz’s (The Canadian Party leader) followers
who took insulting the Metis one step too far. Scott is taken to a court martial and is given a trial
with a jury whom condemns Scott to death. Before Scott had been sent to the court martial,
Louis Riel (secretary in A National Committee) had warned Scott to quit his racism and insults.
However, when the verdict is reached by the jury, Riel agrees that it is necessary to execute
Scott. He thought that it would make Canada respect them. This execution sparked hostile
reactions from Ontario, and sympathy from Quebec to the Metis.
Where: Red River
When: March 4 1870
Why: The execution of Thomas Scott had a negative effect on the negotiations between
Red River delegation and the Federal Government. Upon the delegates’ arrival to Ottawa, they
were greeted with a cold reception. The execution is also said to have ruined Louis Riel.
Who: Adams Archibald, Saulteuax and Swampy Cree, Wemyss Simpson
What: The first governor of Manitoba, Adams Archibald, invited the Sauleuax and
Swampy Cree Bands to meet with representatives of the Canadian government at Fort Garry.
Archibald had been instructed to do whatever it took to open more land for settlement in
Manitoba. After some back and forth between the government and the First Nations, Treaty one
consisted of reserves owned by the Crown, being paid annually by the Crown, and verbal
promises of the governments’ help in expanding the First Nation reserves into farming
industries. The First Nations signed Treaty One because they feared the expansion of the West
at the time. With the knowledge that soon more white settlers would be infiltrating their land;
First Nations wanted some reassurance that some of their land would be protected.
Unfortunately, the First Nations did not get what they had hoped for. As Indian Commissioner
Wemyss Simpson had read the treaty, the government only needed to supply farming
implements after the First Nations had settled in, meaning that the government did not have to
help them settle in to their new reserves.
Where: Manitoba – Fort Garry
Why: Treaty One helped us to foresee how the Canadian Government and the First
Nation population would understand treaties differently. With every treaty that was agreed upon,
First Nations found themse