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THE NORTH-WEST TERRITORIES.
The future extension of the Dominion of Canada, so as ultimately to embrace the whole of British North America from ocean to ocean, was anticipated, as appears by sections 146 and 147 of the B. N. A. Act, 1867. We need here draw attention to the former section only (a), by which provision was made for the admission of the other British territories, organized and unorganized. The important point to be noted is that by virtue of the last clause of this section, the various orders in council subsequently promulgated effecting the admission to the Union of Rupert's Land and the North-western Territory, and of British Columbia and Prince Edward Island are, in effect, Imperial Acts, and are, to those new portions of the Dominion, their constitutional charters, amended, however, in certain particulars by subsequent Imperial legislation.
The Dominion government lost no time in setting to work to secure control of the vast territories lying between Ontario and British Columbia. At the very first session of the parliament of Canada, an address (b) was passed by both Houses representing the expediency, both from a Canadian and an Imperial point of view, of an early extension of the Dominion to the shores of the Pacific. This address pointed out the necessity for a "stable government" and the estab
(a) See ante, p. 545.
(b) See Dom. Stat. 1872, p. lxiii., et seq.
lishment of institutions analogous to those of the older provinces, in order to the development of the agricultural, mineral, and commercial resources of the Great Lone Land, and prayed that Her Majesty might be pleased (pursuant to section 146 of the B. N. A. Act) "to unite Rupert's Land and the North-Western Territory with this Dominion, and to grant to the parliament of Canada authority to legislate for their future welfare and good government."
That part of these territories (c) known as Rupert's Land had been under the control of the Hudson's Bay Company ever since, in 1670, King Charles II. granted his charter to those "adventurers trading into Hudson's Bay," and as lordsproprietors they had full right of government and administration therein subject to the sovereignty of England. The boundaries of Rupert's Land were never accurately determined. Speaking roughly, the country known by that name comprised the territory watered by streams flowing into Hudson's Bay; but the company had extended their operations and assumed jurisdiction (d) over other parts of the North-Western Territory. We note this distinction between the North-Western Territory proper and Rupert's Land, because, as we shall see, the authority of the Dominion parliament to legislate for these two portions respectively of this great country flowed, in the first instance, from different Imperial Acts.
The existence of the Hudson Bay Company's charter rendered it necessary, in the view of the home government, that terms should first be settled with that company for a surrender of "all the rights of government" and other rights, privileges, etc., in Rupert's Land enjoyed by the company under their charter, other than their trading and commercial privileges. To this end, the Rupert's Land Act,
(c) See a very interesting article in Western Law Times, Vol. I., June, 1890, which contains in brief an account of the early organization of these territories under the H. B. Co.
(d) See post.
1868, was passed by the Imperial parliament, empowering Her Majesty to accept such surrender on terms to be agreed upon-" subject to the approval of Her Majesty in council of the terms and conditions to be proposed by the Dominion parliament for the admission of Rupert's Land and embodied in an address." The 5th section of this Act provides:
"5. It shall be competent to Her Majesty by any such order or orders in council as aforesaid on address from the Houses of the parliament of Canada to declare that Rupert's Land shall from a date to be therein mentioned, be admitted into and become part of the Dominion of Canada; and thereupon it shall be lawful for the parliament of Canada from the date aforesaid to make, ordain, and establish within the land and territory so admitted as aforesaid all such laws, institutions, and ordinances, and to constitute such courts and officers as may be necessary for the peace, order and good government of Her Majesty's subjects and others therein; provided that until otherwise enacted by the said parliament of Canada all the powers, authorities and jurisdiction of the several courts of justice now established in Rupert's Land and of the several officers thereof and of all magistrates and justices now acting within the said limits shall continue in full force and effect therein."
This Act, it will be noticed, is confined to Rupert's Land, but, under the terms agreed upon by the Hudson Bay Company and the Canadian delegates, the company surrendered all their rights of government and other rights, privileges, etc., etc., not only in Rupert's Land but also in any other part of British North America (other than Canada and British Columbia) and all lands and territories therein, save some 50,000 acres reserved to them by the agreement. We need not refer further to the terms of surrender as embodied in the Imperial order in council finally passed, because those terms were simply the price paid by the Dominion for the surrender, and do not in any way touch our subject. The order in council-23rd June, 1870-which finally admitted Rupert's Land and the North-Western Territory to the
Union provided that from and after the 15th day of July, 1870, those vast areas should form part of Canada, and that as to the North-Western Territory "the parliament of Canada shall from the day aforesaid have full power and authority to legislate for the future welfare and good government" thereof; but it made no further provision as to legislation for Rupert's Land, because that was provided for by the section of the Rupert's Land Act, 1868, which we have already quoted. As to the North-Western Territory proper, therefore, the legislative power was conferred by the order in council operating as an Imperial Act by virtue of section 146 of the B. N. A. Act; while as to Rupert's Land the legislative power was conferred by the Rupert's Land Act, 1868. Nothing, however, turns upon this distinction, for, as we shall see, after the province of Manitoba was formed, full legislative power was given to the parliament of Canada over all territories not included within the boundaries of any province, so that any possible distinction which might have been urged as arising from the difference in the phraseology of the two earlier enactments is entirely obliterated.
Anticipating the admission of these territories, the Dominion parliament in 1869 passed "An Act for the temporary government of Rupert's Land and the NorthWestern Territory, when united with Canada" (32-33 Vic. c. 3), providing for the appointment of a Lieutenant-Governor to administer the government of these territories under instructions from the Governor-General in Council and that by Order in Council the Lieutenant-Governor might be empowered (subject to such conditions and restrictions as might be imposed by such Order in Council), "to make provision for the administration of justice therein, and generally to make, ordain, and establish all such laws, institutions, and ordinances as may be necessary for the peace, order, and good government of Her Majesty's subjects and others therein." The Lieutenant-Governor was to