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Why We Were Not Annexed to Canada

Manitoba Pageant, April 1963, Volume 8, Number 3

This article was published originally in Manitoba Pageant by the Manitoba Historical Society on the above date. We make it available here as a free, public service.

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From The Nor'Wester, January 14, 1860:

The sub-joined extract from a letter received by Mr. Donald Gunn from Mr. A. K. Isbister in London in the summer of the present year is of importance as an indication of the views of the Canadian Government with regard to the annexation of the North West Territory:-

"After repeated and ineffectual attempts to induce the Canadian Government to undertake the administration of the Indian Territories, Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton made up his mind if the present government continues in power to take the settlement of the question into his own hands without further delay. In an interview which he granted me, I brought before him the view of yourself and the public meeting held last autumn, in favour of annexation to Canada. This, however, I found to have been unnecessary. I found him to be quite as much of the annexationist as yourself - and being only too happy to give over the whole territory to Canada and be rid of the responsibility of governing an immense region so distant and inaccessible and so peculiarly situated. He had not simply offered the country to the Canadian Government - he had pressed it over and over again upon their acceptance; but without success. M. Georges Cartier, the Canadian Prime Minister, was over here last autumn, and seems to have satisfied Sir Edward of the hopelessness of annexation. He told him frankly that, as head of the Lower Canadian party, any proposal of the kind would meet with his determined opposition - as it would be putting a political extinguisher upon the party and the Province he represented, and if carried out would lead to a dissolution of the union. He admitted the desirability of throwing open the Hudson's Bay territory to Canadian capital and enterprise, and would willingly agree to Canada's contesting the validity of the Company's Charter before a Court of Law and bearing the expense - provided that the territory taken from the Company should not be annexed to Upper Canada, but should be erected into a separate colony, to form part of a general federation of British Provinces.

Page revised: 1 July 2009

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