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Legislative Reporting in Early Manitoba Newspapers

The Legislative Reporting database brings together published accounts of Manitoba Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council activities as reported in Winnipeg newspapers during the province's early, formative years.

Beginning in the early 1870s, the Manitoba Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council debates were recorded in the newspapers of the day. Reporters from the daily and weekly newspapers provided summary accounts of business conducted in the House as well as remarks and speeches - some verbatim - delivered by members of the Legislative Assembly and Council.

Newspapers and Years covered

The database contains the legislative reports of the Daily Free Press and the Daily Times, both Winnipeg papers, for the following dates:

  • 1st Parliament, 4th session, 1873-1874
  • 2nd Parliament, 1st-4th sessions, 1875-1878
  • 3rd Parliament, 1st session, 1879
  • 4th Parliament, 1st-4th sessions, 1880-1882
  • 5th Parliament, 1st-2nd sessions, 1883-1884


From 1885 until well into the 20th century, Legislative Library staff monitored and collected these newspaper accounts. In recent years the Library had the good fortune to partner with the Speaker of the House, Honourable George Hickes, and Professor Gerald Friesen, Department of History at the University of Manitoba. Under this partnership, the important work of researching and scanning the newspaper accounts of debates from 1871 to 1885 proceeded. The initial momentum behind making these accounts available on the Internet to researchers around the world is largely due to this important partnership.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Switching between Digital Collection and Legislative Reporting search sessions – how do I refresh the session?
  2. What is the Legislative Reporting in Early Manitoba Newspapers database?
  3. Why is this database significant?
  4. What does the database include?
  5. Where are the news clippings for the 4th Parliament, 2nd session?
  6. What languages are represented in the Legislative Reporting Database?
  7. How can I view the PDF document in a larger window?
  8. How are dates formatted in the database?
  9. What is the difference between Sitting date and Date of News clipping?
  10. When would I choose Search or Browse to find articles?
  11. If I use the Subject and keywords field search, what can I expect to find?
  12. How can I give feedback?
  1. When you have finished searching in one database, and wish to begin searching the other, please remember to click the ‘Sign Out’ link in the Search menu. Then you can launch your next search session in the other database.
  2. The database is a full text, searchable archive of newspaper accounts of the unofficial debates of the Manitoba Legislature from the 1st Parliament, 4th session, 1873 till the 5th Parliament, 2nd session, 1886.
  3. Until the official Debates and Proceedings of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba started in 1958, newspapers in Manitoba routinely reported on the business of the Legislature. Over many, many years, the Legislative Library collected these news clippings and pressed them into large scrapbooks, which became unofficially known as ‘Scrapbook Hansard’. This important resource gives us vital insight into the formation of legislation and public policy during the first eight decades of Manitoba’s history as well as the cultural context in which these changes occurred.
  4. News articles from the Winnipeg Daily Free Press and Daily Times are included. Each article reports on the business of the House for the same day, or previous. Occasionally, the article will cover more than one sitting day in the Legislature. Where a news account of a single sitting day continues over more than one day, the database will contain a link to the continuing article.
  5. While the newspapers of the day certainly covered this brief session, the clippings for this period have not been added to the database yet.
  6. Currently, English is the only language represented but the Legislative Library plans to add news clippings to the database from French language newspapers of the time period.
  7. Click/tap this image page icon which appears in the upper right corner of the application window. The PDF will launch in its own window, which you can then size appropriately.
  8. The dates are displayed in a month day year format, e.g. February 14, 1880. This format is used to search dates in the fields for Sitting date and Date of news clipping.
  9. The Sitting date is the date on which the House assembled during the session. The Date of News article is the day on which the newspaper published its account of the business conducted on that sitting day.

    The Sitting date is an important reference for checking against the Journals of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, which outlines and summarizes the business conducted in the House for that day.
  10. Use Search if you want to receive specific results. You can input your search words into the “Search for” full text box, or use the search fields (more info in 9.) instead. Full text searching will always return more results than field searching. Enter words such as Roads, Privilege, or Agriculture

    Use Browse if you want to glance through folders of news clippings arranged by Parliament and session, or by Newspaper. You may input subject terms as well as names in the Subject and keywords field.
  11. Subject terms refer to business commonly conducted in the House on a sitting day, e.g. Speech from the Throne, Reading of Bills, Manitoba Jurors Act. To gain an idea of what subjects are used, scan the Summary column in your search results and then use these terms in your subsequent searches.
  12. Proper names are for the MLAs for each Parliament, as well as the Lieutenant-Governor, Premier, and Speaker. List of the MLAs and other names.
  13. The Legislative Library welcomes your feedback and suggestions. Please forward your comments to legislative_library@gov.mb.caThank you!

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Search Help

System Requirements

The Newspaper Accounts database is best accessed using Internet Explorer 5.0 or later, Mozilla 1.0 or later, and Netscape 6.0 or later. Adobe Acrobat Reader 4.0 or later is required to view PDF documents. Documents can be quite lengthy, 1 to 10 MB in size or larger, so you will require a high speed connection to have a satisfying search experience.

Switching between Digital Collection and Legislative Reporting search sessions – how do I refresh the session?

When you have finished searching in one database, and wish to begin searching the other, please remember to click the ‘Sign Out’ link in the Search menu. Then you can launch your next search session in the other database.

General Search Tips

To use the French language search interface, click on the français link within the Newspaper Accounts database during your search session.
Please note: Currently, only English newspaper articles are available for searching. News accounts from French language newspapers will be added in future updates to the database.

Searches are not case sensitive, so capitalization is unnecessary.

  • Enter norquay john
  • Enter premier

Use quotes to search for a specific phrase or name.

  • Enter "speech from the throne"

To search in the Sitting date or Date of article fields, enter date in mm dd yyyy format. The name of the month must be fully spelled out.

  • Enter May 12, 1882 or May 12 1882 (punctuation is disregarded)
  • Enter February 3-4, 1876 (multiple Sitting dates)

To search in the Legislature or Session fields, enter the number of either or both, e.g.

  • Parliament
    • 5th
  • Session
    • 1st

To search multiple Parliaments or Sessions simultaneously, enter

  • 1st or 2nd

To navigate to a prior screen, click on the breadcrumbs at the top of your results window in Internet Explorer, or click the Back button.

To clear the results of a previous search, click New search before continuing with your next search.

Full Text Searches

Searches entered in the Search for box are full text keyword searches. These searches are performed on the complete text of every PDF document contained in the newspaper clippings database. You may select the kind of full text search you wish depending on the result you want:

Full text Boolean search

Full text searches default to Boolean, which automatically combines all of your keyword search terms together using ‘and’. You may also use ‘or’ and ‘not’ along
with your search words.

  • Enter bills reading to retrieve documents containing both of these words
  • Enter bills or reading to retrieve documents containing either of these words
  • Enter bills not reading to retrieve documents containing the word bills but not reading

Full text Concept search – use the down arrow to select Concept search
Concept search retrieves synonyms and other related words (expanded search) on all search words. Search results are ranked according to greatest relevance.

  •   Enter justice to retrieve justice, judge, magistrate etc.

Full text Pattern search – use the down arrow to select Pattern search
Pattern searching accommodates spelling differences and ‘fuzzy searching’ by expanding the search. Search results are ranked according to greatest relevance.

  • Entering process will retrieve process, procedure.
  • Entering honor will retrieve honor, honour

Field or Metadata Searches

  • Search for individual words or phrases in Article title, Sitting date, Date of article, Subject keywords and Summary, Legislature or Session.
  • Order of words you enter does not matter
  • Use field searching to narrow your search when a full text search retrieves too many documents.
  • Enter words in as many fields as you like to obtain more specific results

Modify Search

  • If your search returns too many documents, click in the box labeled Search Within Results and type in additional search terms in the ‘Search for’ box, or the Field search boxes, to narrow your search results.

Search History

  • To repeat a previous search, click the Search History button, then select a specific search you would like to replicate.

Browse Searching

Clicking on the Browse link will take you to:

  • Browse by Parliament and session, and
  • Browse by Newspaper (Winnipeg Daily Free Press and Daily Times).

To navigate within Browse, click on the folders for Parliament and Session, or Newspaper to advance to the article level, for example:

Browse>Hansard clippings>4th Parliament January 22, 1880 – May 30, 1882 (Honourable J. Norquay)>4th Session, April 27, 1882 - May 30, 1882 >

Browse>Hansard Clippings>Daily Free Press, February 1, 1879 - June 25, 1879>3rd Parliament February 1 to June 25, 1879 (Honourable J. Norquay)>1st Session, February 1, 1879 to June 25, 1879 >

Both browse listings are in chronological order. Newspaper browse follows the Parliament and session dates.


Wildcard Searching

Wildcard Searching
match one or zero characters
match exactly one alpha character
match exactly one numeric character
match anything or nothing
match exactly one character
match any character except the next character
[ ]
search expression; can include a hyphen to indicate a range of letters or numbers; will match only one character within the brackets
search expression; Word1 must be found within N words of word2, and word1 must come before word2.
word1 word2 adj N
search expression; Word1 must be found within N words of word2.
word1 word2 within N

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