Canadian Confederation – Part 5

TESTS OF SOVEREIGNTY “The meat of the buffalo tastes the same on both sides of the border.” —Sitting Bull The Cypress Hills Massacre and the arrival of Sitting Bull tested Canadian sovereignty in the West. The massacre on June 1, 1873, near Abe Farwell’s trading post, involved a group of American and Canadian hunters and …

Canadian Confederation – Part 3

Whiskey and Annexation The 1860-1870s saw lawlessness in the Canadian West in the form of whiskey traders and buffalo robe hunters. Without formal law they were perpetrating violence among themselves and various First Nations tribes in what is now southern Alberta and Saskatchewan. Ottawa was learning that it was one thing to claim a region and …

Canadian Confederation – Part 2

Cattle and Gold   By 1844 President Polk had made U.S. ambitions in the far West clear with his slogan, “54° 40′ or fight.” It referred to a northern border adjustment between British and American territory in what is now B.C. Vancouver Island had the best naval harbour north of San Francisco, coal deposits and …

Canadian Confederation – Part 1

Motivation and Formation   July 1, 2017 marks the 150th anniversary of Canada’s Confederation. The forces driving the British North American colonies into political union were both complex and varied but focused upon military protection, cultural freedom, and sovereignty in the West that were all driven by industrial economic issues. The creation of Canada in …