Petition of Rights, 1884
                            Canadian Northwest

To His Excellency the Governor General of Canada, in Council.

     We, the undersigned, your humble petitioners, would respectfully
submit to Your Excellency in Council, the following as our grievances:

     1.   that the Indians are so reduced that the settlers in
          many localities are compelled to furnish them with
          food, partly to prevent them from dying at their door,
          partly to preserve the peace of the Territory;

     2.   that the Half-breeds of the Territory have not received
          240 acres of land, each, as did the Manitoba Half-

     3.   that the Half-breeds who are in possession of tracts of
          land have not received patents therefor;

     4.   that the old settlers of the N.W.T. have not received
          the same treatment as the old setters of Manitoba;

     5.   that the claims of settlers on odd numbers, prior to
          survey, and on reserves, prior to the proclamation of
          such reserves, are not recognized;

     6.   that settlers on cancelled claims are limited to eighty
          acres Homestead and eight acres of pre-emption;

     7.   that settlers are charged more than one dollar per acre
          for their pre-emptions;

     8.   that settlers are charged dues on timber, rails and
          firewood required for home use;

     9.   that custom duties are levied on the necessaries of

     10.  that settlers are not allowed to perform the required
          amount of breaking and cropping on their pre-emption,
          in lieu of their Homestead, when, as frequently happens
          in the vicinity of wooded streams, it is convenient to
          have farm buildings and grain fields on separate
          quarter sections;

     11.  that purchasers of claims from bona fide settlers who
          have not completed the required time of actual
          residence, do not get credit for the term of actual
          residence, by sellers;

     12.  that contracts for public works and supplier are not
          let in such a manner as to confer upon North West
          producers as large a benefit as they might derive
          therefrom, consistent with efficiency;

     13.  that public buildings are often erected on sites little
          conducive to the economical transaction of public

     14.  that no effective measures have yet been taken to put
          the people of the North West in direct communication
          with the European Markets, via Hudson's Bay;

     15.  that settlers are exposed to coercion at elections,
          owing to the fact that votes are not taken by ballot;

     16.  that while your petitioners wish to give the eastern
          government every credit for the excellent liquor
          regulations which obtain in the N.W.T. yet they must
          express their anxiety, lest those beneficial
          restrictions should be loosed, more especially as the
          country is sparsely settled and the Indians numerous
          and dissatisfied; . . .

     17.  ...................

     (h)  that the N.W.T. although having a population of 60,000,
          are not yet granted responsible government, as was
          Manitoba, when she had less than 12,000 of a
     (i)  that the N.W.T. and its Premier Province are not yet
          represented in the Cabinet, as are the Eastern

     (j)  that the North West is not allowed the administration
          of its resources as are the eastern Provinces and
          British Columbia.

     In submitting this as a fundamental grievance, your petitioners would
disclaim any intention of defrauding the Federal Government of the Monies
which they may have contributed to the improvement of the N.W.

     In Conclusion, your petitioners would respectfully state that they are
treated neither according to their privileges as British subjects nor
according to the rights of people and that consequently as long as they are
retained in those circumstances, they can be neither prosperous nor happy;

     Your humble petitioners are of opinion that the shortest and most
effectual methods of remedying these grievances would be to grant the
N.W.T. responsible government with control of its own resources and just
representation in the Federal Parliament and Cabinet.

     Wherefor your petitioners humbly pray that your excellency in Council
would be pleased to cause the introduction, at the coming session of
Parliament, for a measure providing for the complete organization of the
District of Saskatchewan as a province, and that they be allowed as in/70,
to send Delegates to Ottawa with their Bill of rights; whereby an
understanding may be arrived at as to their entry into confederation, with
the constitution of a free province, And your humble Petitioners will not
cease to pray.

Source:   Canada, Department of Interior, Dominion Lands Branch,
          File No. 83808.