This module explores the transition from corporate governance to representative democracy in a period of months, highlighting the sophisticated grasp members had of governance models in place around the world.
The debates of the Convention of Forty and Legislative Assembly of the Provisional Government of Assiniboia reveal that economic development was a driving force for change in the Red River Settlement. Economic activity at the settlement included the fur trade, farming, and business ventures. To prosper, residents required improvements to the transportation and communications infrastructure but faced financial and investment impediments. Overcoming these barriers to increased economic development was one reason for deciding in favour of confederating with Canada.
The debates of the first and second sessions of the legislative assembly also show that legislating bills and devising a code of civil law were seen to be a means of protecting and promoting development. To protect their stake in the settlement’s future once it became Canadian, the original settlers needed laws that guaranteed security, of people and of property.