Challenging the Liberal Order Framework: Natural Resources and Metis Policy in Alberta and Saskatchewan (1930-1948)

dc.contributor.authorO'Byrne, Nicole Colleen
dc.contributor.supervisorFoster, Hamar
dc.contributor.supervisorWebber, Jeremy of Lawen_US of Philosophy Ph.D.en_US
dc.description.abstractThe British North America Act, 1930 (the Natural Resources Transfer Agreements or NRTAs) marked the end of a lengthy battle between the provincial governments of Saskatchewan, Alberta, and Manitoba and the federal government of Canada. Prior to 1930, the provincial governments did not have administrative control over their natural resources, which were managed by the federal Department of the Interior. As a result, the three prairie provinces did not share equal constitutional status with the other Canadian provinces that did control their own resources. Under the terms of the new constitutionalized intergovernmental agreements the provincial governments agreed to fulfil all of the federal government’s continuing obligations to third parties after the transfer. One of these obligations was the redemption of Métis scrip issued by the federal government to extinguish the Métis share of Aboriginal land title. After the transfer, however, the provinces resisted granting more land to satisfy what they considered to be a federal obligation. The provinces refused to redeem Métis scrip entitlements and the federal government did not enforce the terms of the NRTAs. Both the federal and provincial governments failed to live up to the terms of the constitutional agreement and the Métis scrip issue fell through the jurisdictional cracks of Canadian federalism. This dissertation examines the historical context and consequences surrounding the Alberta and Saskatchewan government’s failure to recognize Métis scripholders’ rights-based claims to land. Each provincial government pursued different avenues with respect to natural resources and Métis policies. The purpose of this study is to examine the different phases of policy development in each province in light of the general failure of recognition. The transfer of control and administration of the public domain from one level of government to another provides interesting insights into the history of government-Aboriginal relations in Canada. Aboriginal people (including Métis) were not consulted during the negotiations leading up to the NRTAs; nevertheless (or perhaps as a result), the transfer agreements were a catalyst for political organization in several Métis communities. Métis who had been living on federal crown land were concerned that the transfer of lands to the provinces would negatively impact their right to pursue traditional livelihoods such as hunting, fishing and trapping. In Alberta, the NRTAs sparked the formation of the Métis Association of Alberta, a political lobbying group that advocated recognition of historical claims to land. During this period, parallel Métis living in Saskatchewan and Manitoba created parallel organizations. These political groups represent some of the earliest attempts by Aboriginal people in the prairie provinces to voice their concerns and influence government policy. There are three recurrent themes in this study. First, land appears as a point of convergence for Métis claims and an alternative to the distribution of government social assistance due to high levels of unemployment. Second, Métis political organizing affects government policy-making. Third, the thesis notes the marked change in policy direction by the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) government in Saskatchewan after its election in 1944. The CCF introduced natural resources policies based on social democratic principles such as collective marketing. This approach was a marked departure from the liberal approaches introduced by previous provincial governments in Alberta and Saskatchewan.en_US
dc.rights.tempAvailable to the World Wide Weben_US
dc.subjectAboriginal-non-Aboriginal relationsen_US
dc.subjectAlberta history (1930-1948)en_US
dc.subjectSaskatchewan history (1930-1948)en_US
dc.subjectNatural resourcesen_US
dc.subjectThe British North America Act 1930en_US
dc.subjectNatural Resources Transfer Agreementsen_US
dc.subjectCooperative Commonwealth Federationen_US
dc.subjectMetis Association of Albertaen_US
dc.subjectSaskatchewan Metis Societyen_US
dc.titleChallenging the Liberal Order Framework: Natural Resources and Metis Policy in Alberta and Saskatchewan (1930-1948)en_US


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