2 September

Alberta and Saskatchewan Join Confederation

Alberta and Saskatchewan were made provinces of Canada on September 1, 1905. As the official ceremonies took place in Edmonton on September 1 and in Regina on September 3, it should be justifiable to tell the story on September 2.

When the area was bought from the Hudson's Bay Company in 1869, Alberta and Saskatchewan were included in the Northwest Territories, and became "districts" within them later. When they became provinces in 1905 they were greatly enlarged. Alberta now covers more than 255,000 square miles, is 800 miles long and averages 300 miles in width. Saskatchewan covers about 252,000 square miles, is 700 miles long and averages 335 miles in width.

Prime Minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier made his first trip west to open the two new provinces, and attended the ceremonies at Edmonton and Regina with Governor-General Earl Grey. Photographs of the ceremonies at Edmonton show the Governor-General and the Prime Minister on the speakers' stand, against a background of scarlet-coated Mounties on horseback, and Indians from the Hebbema Reserve. Thousands of people from far and wide went to Edmonton and Regina for the great occasions.

When Alberta and Saskatchewan were made provinces they did not have the power they have today. The Federal Government retained all public lands, mines, minerals, and resources. The provinces did not even have complete control of education. R. B. Bennett, who was Leader of the Opposition in Alberta, and who became Prime Minister of Canada in 1930, strongly attacked the arrangement whereby the provinces did not have control of their own resources.

One of the interesting things about the development of Alberta and Saskatchewan is that they, more than other provinces in Canada, broke away from the old political parties, the Liberals and the Conservatives. Alberta elected a United Farmers government in 1921. A Social Credit government elected in 1935 remained in power until 1971 (see August 30). Saskatchewan elected a Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (Socialist) government in 1944, and it won successive elections in 1952 and 1956. Both provinces contributed heavily to the Progressive Party which played a big part in the Federal Parliament until 1930, when the Conservatives under R. B. Bennett swept the country.


2 September

-1535    Jacques Cartier explored the Saguenay River on his second voyage to Canada.

-1670    Port Royal, Acadia, was returned to France following the Treaty of Breda. 1683 La Salle left Canada in disguise to seek the protection of the king.

-1726    The Marquis of Beauharnois was made Governor of Canada.

-1750    St. Paul's Church, Halifax, was opened. It is the oldest Protestant church in Canada.

-1858    James Douglas was appointed Governor of British Columbia.

-1870    A. G. Archibald arrived at Winnipeg to be Lieutenant-Governor of Manitoba.

-1945    The formal terms of surrender were signed by the Japanese civil and military envoys on board the U.S.S. Missouri in Tokyo Bay.

-1962    The Sons of Freedom Doukhobors began a 400-mile march from Shoreacres to Agassiz, B.C.

-1964    The Royal Commission into the Protestant School Board of Greater Montreal land transactions made its report.