The second provisional government of the Red River resistance, convened 9 Mar 1870, named itself the Legislative Assembly of Assiniboia and, in its third List of Rights to Ottawa, requested that "Assiniboia" become Canada's fifth province. However, without consulting the assembly, Riel suggested to Ottawa the name Manitoba to avoid confusion. To ensure Manitoba's smooth transition to Canadian authority, Col Garnet WOLSELEY persuaded Donald SMITH, HBC representative, to revive the original council and greet Lt-Gov A.G. ARCHIBALD formally on 6 Sept 1870. The first Assiniboia then ceased to have an official existence.
On 8 May 1882 the federal government created 4 "provisional districts" in the North-West Territories: Alberta, Assiniboia, Athabasca and Saskatchewan. Assiniboia was the southern district, present-day southern SASKATCHEWAN. The districts, designed "for the convenience of settlers and for postal purposes," were roughly equal in size and natural resource distribution. Along the CPR, Assiniboia developed rapidly.
With the 1886 grant of 2 seats in the federal Parliament and the use of the district boundaries to determine representation in the Territorial Assembly, a district consciousness developed. When provincial status and new boundaries were being considered in 1904-05, Assiniboia and Saskatchewan were potential names. Minister of the Interior Clifford SIFTON preferred Assiniboia but, when residents of the northern district asked that their choice be used, he acquiesced.
Today the name applies to a rural municipality and provincial constituency in Manitoba, and to a town and federal constituency in Saskatchewan. This riding was prominent in 1919, when an independent farmers' candidate defeated a former provincial Liberal Cabinet minister, and again in 1935 when it sent former premier James G. GARDINER to Ottawa to become federal minister of agriculture.
Author GERALD FRIESEN