Manitoba exhibits both classical characteristics of Canadian political life and unique developments that are strikingly Manitoban. Accordingly, the development of the Manitoba Legislative Assembly has reflected the range of divisions within Canadian political society, including east/west tensions, Francophone/Anglophone relations, struggles between Aboriginal lifestyles and European colonialism, urban/rural divisions and of course the continuing legacy of immigration – multiculturalism. While exhibiting these traditional Canadian elements of nation building, Manitoba has also developed a distinct identity. The Métis and First Nation heritages, the timing and settlement patterns of immigration waves, the small provincial population, the province’s have-not status and its difficult climate all contribute to the political environment. As the province’s principal representative institution, the Manitoba Legislative Assembly is unique and reflects both the distinctive social and political context of Prairie politics and the complexities of the modern Western world.
When one looks over the history of Manitoba’s Legislative Assembly, three distinct phases of development emerge: the province-building phase, 1870 to 1921; the non-partisan coalition phase, 1921 to 1969; and the modern era, 1969 to the present.