12 May 1870

The Manitoba Act is given the Royal Assent, paving the way for Manitoba to become a province of Canada on July 15.

The Manitoba Act, also known as the Manitoba Act, 1870, is a significant piece of Canadian legislation that played a crucial role in the creation of the province of Manitoba. It was passed by the Parliament of Canada and received royal assent on May 12, 1870. The Manitoba Act is an important milestone in Canadian history as it marks the formal entrance of the western territories into confederation.

Key points about the Manitoba Act:

Establishment of Manitoba: The act established the province of Manitoba as a part of the Dominion of Canada. This made Manitoba the fifth province to join confederation after Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia.

Manitoba’s Boundaries: The act defined the boundaries of the new province. Initially, Manitoba’s borders were smaller than they are today. The province consisted of a smaller area around the Red River Settlement. Over time, Manitoba’s boundaries expanded through negotiations and land agreements.

Protection of Rights: The Manitoba Act included provisions to safeguard the rights and privileges of both English-speaking and French-speaking inhabitants of the Red River Settlement. It protected the use of the French language and the rights of the Roman Catholic Church, ensuring their continued existence and influence in the new province.

Public Land and Natural Resources: The act addressed the issue of land ownership and distribution. It provided for the transfer of public lands to the province of Manitoba while ensuring the protection of existing land titles and property rights.

Representation: The Manitoba Act established a system of government for the province. It outlined the structure of the legislative assembly and set the number of representatives for the province in the Canadian Parliament.

Indigenous Rights: The Manitoba Act, unfortunately, did not adequately address the rights and concerns of the Indigenous peoples in the region. This omission led to significant conflicts and unresolved land claims that continue to be addressed by subsequent agreements and negotiations.

The Manitoba Act was a crucial step in the expansion of Canada’s confederation into the western territories. It aimed to address the unique circumstances and demands of the Red River Settlement and laid the groundwork for the establishment of the province of Manitoba. Over the years, the act has been amended and supplemented by additional legislation to reflect the evolving needs and aspirations of the province and its inhabitants.