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Metis List of Rights
adopted February 3, 1870

1. That in view of the present exceptional position of the Northwest, duties up goods imported into the country shall continue as at present (except in the case of spirituous liquors) for three years, and for such further time as may elapse, until there be uninterrupted railroad communication between Red River settlement and St. Paul, and also steam communications between Red River settlement and Lake Superior.

2. As long as this country remains a territory in the Dominion of Canada, there shall be no direct taxation, except such as may be imposed by the local legislature, for municipal or other local purposes.

3. That during the time this country shall remain in the position of a territory, in the Dominion of Canada, all military, civil and other public expenses, in connection with the general government of the country, or that have hitherto been borne by the public funds of the settlement, beyond the receipt of the above mentioned duties, shall be met by the Dominion of Canada.

4. That while the burden of public expense in this territory is borne by Canada, the country be governed by a Lieutenant-Governor from Canada, and a Legislature, three members of whom being heads of departments of the Government, shall be nominated by the Governor General of Canada.

5. That after the expiration of this exceptional period, the country shall be governed, as regards its local affairs, as the Provinces of Ontario and Quebec are now governed, by a Legislature by the people, and a Ministry responsible to it under a Lieutenant- Governor, appointed by the Governor General of Canada.

6. That there shall be no interference by the Dominion Parliament in the local affairs of this territory, other than is allowed in the provinces, and that this territory shall have and enjoy in all respects, the same privileges, advantages and aids in meeting the public expenses of this territory as the provinces have and enjoy.

7. That, while the Northwest remains a territory, the Legislature have a right to pass all laws local to the territory, over the veto of the Lieutenant-Governor by a two-third vote.

8. A homestead and pre-emption law.

9. That, while the Northwest remains a territory, the sum of $25,000 a year be appropriated for schools, roads and bridges.

10. That all the public buildings be at the expense of the Dominion treasury.

11. That there shall be guaranteed uninterrupted steam communication to Lake Superior, within five years; and also the establishment, by rail, of a connection with the American railway as soon as it reaches the international line.

12. That the military force required in this country be composed of natives of the country during four years. [Withdrawn after a vote of 16 yeas to 23 nays.]

13. That the English and French languages be common in the Legislature and Courts, and that all public documents and acts of the Legislature be published in both languages.

14. That the Judge of the Supreme Court speak the French and English languages.

15. That treaties be concluded between the Dominion and the several Indian tribes of the country as soon as possible.

16. That, until the population of the country entitles us to more, we have three representatives in the Canadian Parliament, one in the Senate, and two in the Legislative Assembly.

17. That all the properties, rights and privileges as hitherto enjoyed by us be respected, and that the recognition and arrangement of local customs, usages and privileges be made under the control of the Local Legislature.

18. That the Local Legislature of this territory have full control of all the lands inside a circumference having upper Fort Garry as a centre, and that the radius of this circumference be the number of miles that the American line is distant from Fort Garry.

19. That every man in the country (except uncivilized and unsettled Indians) who has attained the age of 21 years, and every British subject, a stranger to this country who has resided three years in this country and is a householder, shall have a right to vote at the election of a member to serve in the Legislature of the country, and in the Dominion Parliament; and every foreign subject, other than a British subject, who has resided the same length of time in the country, and is a householder, shall have the same right to vote on condition of his taking the oath of allegiance, it being understood that this article be subject to amendment exclusively by the Local Legislature.

20. That the Northwest territory shall never be held liable for any portion of the L- 300,000 paid to the Hudson's Bay Company or for any portion of the public debt of Canada, as it stands at the time of our entering the confederation; and if, thereafter, we be called upon to assume our share of said public debt, we consent only, on condition that we first be allowed the amount for which we shall be held liable.


Source: Alexander Begg, The Creation of Manitoba (Toronto: 1871), p. 255.


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