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Two Provinces Created For The West:
Saskatchewan And Alberta
Provincial Powers In Full Conferred On The Territories
Boundary Line Between Two Is The Fourth Meridian
Regina And Edmonton Temporary Capitals
Revenue Of Two Provinces Will Be $1,000,000
No Change In School Law
Each New Legislature To Consist Of Twenty-Five Members
Sir Wilfrid Makes A Great Speech When Introducing The Autonomy Bills

Saskatoon Phoenix
February 24, 1905. p.1


Ottawa, Feb. 21, 1905. Two new provinces to be named Saskatchewan and Alberta will come into existence on the first day of July next, with Regina and Edmonton as their respective Capitals, provisionally.

The boundary line will be the fourth meridian.

The northern boundary of both will be the present northern boundary of Athabasca on the 60th parallel of latitude. The southern boundary will, of course, be the international line on the 49th parallel.

The eastern boundary of Saskatchewan will be the same as at present, extended due north. Thus Manitoba loses her westward desired extension.

The part cut off from Saskatchewan on the east will be thrown into the unrecognized district north of Manitoba, which likely will later be added to that province for its Hudson Bay boundary.


A grant to each province for civil government of $50,000 annually.

A capitation grant of 80 cents per head on a minimum of 250,000 population or $400,000 annually; the maximum population on which this will be paid will be 800,000 population.

A debt allowance of $32.63 per head on the same basis will be granted in which five per cent will be paid, making about $400,000.

In lieu of land the grant will bring the total revenue up to $1,000,000 for each province from the Federal sources.

The provinces will receive some $400,000 in excess of the aggregate outlay of last year by both the Federal and Regina Governments upon services that now will fall upon the new provinces.


The provisions of the North-West Territories Act of 1875 remain unchanged, simply being re-enacted. An additional clause is to be inserted relating to such separate schools being entitled to their share of provincial grants for education.


The Dominion Government will continue to maintain its Royal North-West Mounted Police force.


The contract tax exemption rights remain in effect according to previous contract, but Sir Wilfrid foreshadowed action by the Federal Government to obtain the abrogation of these exemption by negotiation or expropriation. He deplored this exceedingly pernicious and unfair provision of the C.P.R. contract which was strenuously opposed by voice and voted of the Liberal opposition at the time it was enacted.


During the first five years an additional 1/4 per cent will be paid on the Land Capital account for Provincial Capital expenditures, these include Legislative Buildings, amounting to $187,500 per annum, or a total of $937,500, each province getting $468,750 as its share.


The above are the main features of the two bills presented by Sir Wilfrid Laurier to the House of Commons. In introducing the measure Sir Wilfrid spoke two hours and a quarter, and the speech will stand as a historic deliverance, and as one of the ablest efforts of this master of oratory. The House of Commons presented an animated appearance when the Prime Minister rose to present the most important legislation of the session, and one of the most important measures introduced in the Canadian Parliament. Hardly a Member was absent, while the galleries of the historic chamber were crowded with a dense mass of spectators. The gallery allotted to the members of the Upper House was filled with an attentive group of Senators, while the ladies gallery was bright with the elite of the capital's society.


The speech of Sir Wilfrid is probably the second best he ever delivered and it is strange that these two great utterances had to deal with the West. The premier, as well as those who heard him at that time, agree with his speech on the Northwest rebellion of 1885 will always stand as his best. On that occasion he was pleading for the halfbreeds who were driven to insurrection because of misrule form Ottawa. To-day he was extending full provincial rights to the people of the same territory.

The Premier referred very feelingly to the great privilege which was his and the high honor conferred upon him in presenting measures having for their object the bringing of two new members into the great Canadian family. He reviewed the history of North West Territories and of the Hudson's Bay Company, and the various steps in the progress and development of the country, culminating with the constitution granted by the North-West Territories Act of 1875.

Since that date there had been a gradual development of the responsible government until today the people of the North-West ask for admission to full membership in Confederation. He alluded to the remark that the Nineteenth was the century of the United States and Twentieth promises to be the century of Canada. The United States had developed wonderfully. Perhaps they had sacrificed too much to speed for their frontier civilization had become a byword for lawlessness. Canada up to the present day presented a gratifying contrast in this respect and the aim should be to maintain this record. (Cheers.) To the new sisters in Confederation autonomy would not be entirely new as they had enjoyed a large measure of autonomy since 1897. The metal had been in the crucible; the present measures were merely to put on it the stamp of Canadian nationality. The request for autonomy was based more on a sentimental than on a commercial basis and the sentiment was laudable.

Involved in the question of granting provincial autonomy to the North-West there were, said Sir Wilfrid, four dominating features--

1. The Number of Provinces,

2. The Ownership of the Lands,

3. The Financial Terms,

4. The School System.

The total area of the provisional districts of Assiniboia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Athabasca and Mackenzie is 1,000,112 square miles, that is, equal to the area of the seven existing provinces. The district of Mackenzie was not included in the new provinces. The area, included up to the 60th parallel of latitude, was 550,345 square miles, which was vastly larger than that of any existing provinces would comprise roughly 275,000 square miles.

Taking the last census and subsequent immigration up to First of July next, when the measures would take effect, a loose estimate of half a million souls was arrived at and on this basis of population the terms were granted.


Ottawa, Ont. Feb. 22 -- The representation in the House of Commons will remain the same as at present, but provision will be made for the appointment of four Senators to represent the provinces, two from each. This increases the permanent number of Senators in Canada.

Winnipeg, Man. Feb. 23 -- Free Press dispatches say that the autonomy bill will meet with general approval of Assiniboia Conservatives and Liberals alike. The measure is irreproachable and has been formulated with the best interests of the Dominion and Canada West in the issue.

The Telegram says that the people of the Northwest will resent the action of Laurier in withholding patrimony, that they consider the forcing of the Educational system will indicate that the Federal Government can place no confidence in the West, that the Government fears the result of any complications arising, and that its decision is in order to forestall any unforeseen policy arising out of a change.