#List of Rights c. 5 December 1869

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This List of Rights was based on that developed during the Council of Twenty-four. There exist several versions of lists attributed to that council, or said to have been printed shortly after. One such list is shorter, while another is longer.[1] The list below was printed (c. 3–4 December) and distributed throughout Red River Settlement by 5 December 1869.[2] A copy was forwarded by Canadian Col. John Stoughton Dennis, whose forces occupied Lower Fort Garry, to Canada’s Lieutenant-Governor designate, William McDougall,[3] waiting at Pembina and prevented from entering the Settlement by the Comité National des Métis, occupying Upper Fort Garry.

List of Rights

1. That the people have the right to elect their own Legislature.

2. That the Legislature have the power to pass all laws local to the Territory over the veto of the Executive by a two-thirds vote.

3. That no Act of the Dominion Parliament (local to the Territory) be binding on the people until sanctioned by the Legislature of the Territory.

4. That all Sheriffs, Magistrates, Constables, School Commissioners, &c., be elected by the people.

5. A free homestead and pre-emption land law.

6. That a portion of the public lands be appropriated to the benefit of schools, the building of bridges, roads, and public buildings.

7. That it be guaranteed to connect Winnipeg by rail with the nearest line of railroad, within a term of five years; the land grant to be subject to the Local Legislature.

8. That, for the term of four years, all military, civil, and municipal expenses be paid out of the Dominion funds.

9. That the military be composed of the inhabitants now existing in the Territory.

10. That the English and French languages be common in the Legislature and Courts, and that all public documents and Acts of the Legislature be published in both languages.

11. That the Judge of the Supreme Court speak the English and French languages.

12. That treaties be concluded and ratified between the Dominion Government and the several tribes of Indians in the Territory, to ensure peace on the frontier.

13. That we have a fair and full representation in the Canadian Parliament.

14. That all privileges, customs, and usages existing at the time of the transfer, be respected.


Next: #List of Rights, Draft Bill of Rights*


[1] [“F”], John C. Schultz, letter to John S. Dennis (4 December 1869, in  Canada, Parliament, Correspondence and papers connected with recent occurrences in the Northwest (Ottawa: 1870), 116, writes that on 4 December John Bruce, president of the Comité National des Métis, paid a visit (alone), to find out what were the concerns of Schultz and his Canadian Party at Winnipeg. Schultz replied that the last point in the List of Rights was insulting. Bruce could not see the insult, and wondered if Schultz had a correct copy. Thus the existence of variations at the time was implied, and can be expected. See for example lists: (5 F.), enclosure in William McDougall, letter to Joseph Howe (16 December 1869), in Canada, Correspondence and papers connected with recent occurrences, 100; Stewart Mulkin’s list in [3] below; “#List of Rights circa 16 November 1869,” this site, as well as debate transcript, “1 December 1869,” Council of Twenty-four, this site; and the fifteen-point list in Thomas D. Rambaut, “The Hudson’s Bay Half-Breeds and Louis Riel’s Rebellions,” Political Science Quarterly 2, no. 1 (March 1887), 147.
[2] William McDougall, letter to Howe (16 December 1869), 96. See also [3] below.
[3] John S. Dennis, letter to McDougall (4 December 1869), in Canada, Correspondence and papers connected with recent occurrences, 110. Dennis obtained the list from James McKay and Charles Nolin, who brought it to Lower Fort Garry on 4 December. McDougall also received a copy from Dennis’ nephew, Stewart Mulkins on 2 December—(2 “C”)Correspondence and papers connected with recent occurrences, 79, which had only 13 points.


Published 21 October 2014


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