The development of the revenue system of Manitoba
Greenway, Harold Franklin
The first formal government of any description to appear in Western Canada, was the Council of Assiniboia, created in 1835. It was established under the charter rights of the Hudson's Bay Company, with its main work the establishment of law and order, rather than the financial considerations which form our chief interest at present. This council is of interest to us, however, because it is the first legislative body to possess and exercise the power of taxation in territory which forms part of our province. One of its earliest acts was to levy a tax of 4% on all general merchandise, and of one shilling per gallon on all liquors coming into the colony. There is no accessible source of information regarding the revenue produced by this measure, however, till 1860 when the Nor-Wester published a summary of the public accounts for the preceding year. Revenue totalled L2,347, more than half of which came from the tax on imports. The reminder was derived from Interest, Sale of Materials, Fines, Post Office, Marriage Licences, etc. Expenditure from 1858-9 amounted to L996,15s, 4 1/2d and was consumed by salaries, the gaol, and public works (Labor, Timber, Roads and Bridges). Thus the credit balance for the year actually exceeded expenditure, while in 1859-60 a balance is also shown, although it is reduced to a little over L500. The greatest troubles of the colony were not financial, but political and industrial, if such important looking adjectives may be allowed when speaking of such a modest community...