The second provisional government was declared by the elected representatives of the Convention of Forty, who appointed James Ross as Chief Justice, Henry McKenney as Sheriff, Dr. Curtis James Bird as Coroner, Andrew G.B. Bannatyne as Postmaster, John Sutherland and Roger Goulet as Collectors of Customs, Thomas Bunn as Secretary of State, Louis Schmidt as Under-Secretary, and Louis Riel as President. The Convention members also determined that existing “Justices of the Peace, Petty Magistrates, Constables, &c.” would continue in their positions, with a few substitutions. Judge John Black, Alfred H. Scott, and Reverend Nöel-Joseph Ritchot were appointed as delegates of the Provisional Government to negotiate terms of confederation in Ottawa.[i]

The Provisional Government of Assiniboia was established as a representative government, because its members were elected. The government was responsible in that the executive council to the President was made up of members of the assembly (as opposed to appointed without having been elected). If confederation with Canada had not been achieved, conceivably the government would have demonstrated that it was fully responsible by calling for new elections in order to see a new president and executive council installed, chosen from among members of a new legislative assembly. At that point, it is possible that political parties would have formed, resulting in the majority and minority division in the legislative assembly that was typical of governments in North America.

Additional Content available online:

Norma Hall, with Clifford P. Hall, and Erin Verrier, A History of the Legislative Assembly of Assiniboia/le Conseil du Gouvernement Provisoire (Winnipeg:  Manitoba, Department of Aboriginal and Northern Affairs, 2010), which contains charts showing membership in the assembly, executive, and committees.

Model of representative government instituted at Red River Settlement in 1870. Note that, on the 14th Day of their debates, the Convention of Forty members determined that the President was not to be one of the voting members of the Legislative Assembly. In addition, the Assembly had the power to “over-ride the veto of the President of the Provisional Government” with a two-thirds majority vote.

For additional illustrations of models of governance online see:

Definitions: Representative and Responsible Government, Provisional Government of Assiniboia site.


                                                                          The British Bee Hive





[i] See the discussion leading to the Provisional Government’s formation on the 13th Day14th Day , and 15th Day of the Debates of the Convention of Forty. See also “Appendix B: Representative Government announced in Rupert’s Land*,” Provisional Government of Assiniboia site. The members of the Provisional government were adamant that the delegates to Ottawa represented the government and were anxious that they be recognized as such. Canada was reluctant to formally admit to as much. See Session 3, Day 2Provisional Government of Assiniboia site; and Noel Joseph Ritchot, quoted in, Report of the Select Committee on the causes of the difficulties, 70.