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1870-1880 - Introduction
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Sir John A. Macdonald - Prime Minister of Canada - 1867-1873 and 1878-1891.

This time period, perhaps more than any other, was a defining moment in Saskatchewan’s past, present, and future. Not only did the control of the area pass from the Hudson’s Bay Company to the Canadian government, but several policies, acts, and regulations were passed that affected the settlement experience in the west.

Depending on your point of view, Saskatchewan to this day has either benefited or suffered from the policies developed during this decade. The National Policy of Prime Minister Macdonald had the greatest impact on settlement and in setting the future course of the province. This three corned policy relied on railway expansion, western settlement, and protective tariffs to encourage industrial growth in the east. Developed in the 1870s and expanded further during the 1880s it was the key policy to creating a settled West and a prosperous Canada.

Once the overall vision of the National Policy was in place more specific acts were passed to encourage settlement. Treaties were signed with the Aboriginal People to legally transfer the ownership of the land to the Crown. The Dominion Lands Act was passed to establish policies and procedures around homesteading. The establishment of the North West Mounted Police brought law and order to the land before the settlers arrived. The government also sponsored several survey and exploration teams to the prairies. The findings of John Macoun during the 1870s and 1880s painted a positive image of the prairies as a land that could support agriculture.

By 1880 the framework for settlement was laid and now it was just a case of waiting for the settlers to show up and bring prosperity to the entire country.

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Sir John A Macdonald

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Image Preview R-A8661 Photograph 1 - Sir John A. Macdonald - Prime Minister of Canada - 1867-1873 and 1878-1891.
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