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A Comment on Manitoba Métis Federation Inc v Canada

I. INTRODUCTION

Only one year after Confederation, Canada purchased the land known as Rupert’s Land. Rupert’s Land was a vast tract of land that included what is now Manitoba. Prime Minister John A MacDonald was intent on expanding the recently formed country westward. As the money changed hands from Canada to the Hudson’s Bay Company, a new reality was about to dawn on the inhabitants of Rupert’s Land. Canada was seeking control over land where the Métis lived.

News that the land under Métis feet had been sold to Canada understandably caused alarm. It also caused conflict. Louis Riel led the resistance to Canada’s attempt at surveying the area around what is now Winnipeg, eventually leading to negotiations. Representatives of the Metis met with representatives of Canada in Ottawa. These negotiations lead to a deal in the form of the Manitoba Act. This Act allowed Manitoba to enter Confederation, and also provided that 1.4 million acres of land would be allocated to Métis children.

 

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