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Assiniboia is a republic in the North America, and due to its central location in the center of the continent, a major transportation and communications center. It is also one of the largest, most important oil reserves in the world, as well as a booming agricultural sector. Assiniboia is a member of the Juneau Pact, the Organization of Sovereign Nations and other international organizations.
One of the wealthiest nations in the world, Assiniboia has world class healthcare, education and infrastructure, and is consistently ranked as one of the best places in the world to live. A strong culture, reinforced through the massive film industry that dominates the world, is another important part of Assiniboia.
The area that is now Assiniboia has been long inhabited by the Native Americans that had hunted and lived in the vast plains and forests that now belong to Assiniboia. Their lifestyle had changed little from when they were assumed to have arrived in North America, over 12,000 years ago during the last Ice Age, and the late 1600s, when the first Europeans came into contact with the tribes of the region. In 1670, King Charles II of England granted the vast lands that drained into the Hudson's Bay to the The Governor and Company of Adventurers of England trading into Hudson's Bay, also known as the Hudson's Bay Company. The European's main interest in the region at the time was the quest for valuable fur pelts and for finding a shorter route to China, the Northwest Passage. However, the male Europeans began to settle down in the area and took Native wives, and the resulting "Metis" soon became one of the largest and most influential population in the area.Thomas Douglas, the 5th Earl of Selkirk in Scotland, sent poor Scottish settlers to live in the area where the Red and the Assiniboine River's met, which Lord Selkirk named Assiniboia. This area had been an Indian gathering place for centuries, and the Scottish settlers built their settlement around the HBC post of Upper Fort Garry (modern day Winnipeg) in 1811. Nervous of American expansionism and a possible attempt to recapture the Louisiana Purchase and even Canada, the English government gave much support to the colony, so that by 1850 the Selkirk Colony numbered in the neighborhood of 7,500 residents, and had started building further settlements down both the Red and Assiniboine rivers as far as Brandon and Fargo, although these were considered illegal due to the terms that the Indian Confederacy was created.
For decades, it was assumed that the central portion of North America was not suitable for widespread agriculture civilization, with the exception of the area around Winnipeg. After the British victory in the First American War, and the capture of the Western half of the Louisiana Purchase, this land and the land of the Hudson's Bay Company known as "Rupert's Land", was made a preserve for the Indian Tribes of the region, and those forced out of the United States. Although still part of the British Empire, the Native American tribes of the region had a strong basis for self government, though was later strongly influenced by the United States. Later HBC governors tried to encroach on the rights given to the natives, and the British government began to side with the Company as the threat of the US, and their influence on the Indian Confederacy grew. By the 1850's, the Confederacy existed only in name, most of its powers having been taken over by the Hudson's Bay Company.
Canadian DesignsIn 1864, the British Parliament passed the Canada Act, which created the self governing Dominion of Canada, under strong pressure from groups within the old colony. As part of the bill, the land administered by the Hudson's Bay company was not included. However, the wording of one part of the Canada Act gave "future rights of the residents of Rupert's Land" the choice to either join with Canada or establish themselves as a separate nation. But in 1869, with a renewal of the Hudson's Bay Charter due soon, the new charter being debated gave the Hudson's Bay Company the right to sell its land to Canada without prior notification or public discourse with the residents of the region. This sparked a huge outrage in Rupert's Land, and when Canada and the HBC tried to organize the sale of the territory to Canada, Metis leader Louis Riel protested first to the HBC and the Canadian Government, and when that failed, he and several other leaders of the Assiniboia colony traveled to England via the United States to present their case. While in America, they met with Secretary of State Elihu B. Washburne, who expressed interest in helping to create another nation to restrict Canadian expansionism.
In London, Riel met with several officials in the Government, and despite the counter arguments of the Canadian High Commissioner George Brown, Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone sided with the Metis leaders. This forced Prime Minister John A. Macdonald in Canada to agree to a referendum in Rupert's Land. Over 75% of the respondents voted in favor of independence, but Macdonald was prepared to send the Canadian Militia and the British soldiers stationed in Canada to take it by force, but under pressure from the United States, French-Canadians and the United Kingdom, Macdonald was forced to give up his goal, and called elections in September 1873, at which time he was soundly defeated. The creation of Alyseka in 1869, and now Assiniboia, dashed any hopes for Canada to stretch from Sea to Sea as John A. Macdonald had originally hoped for.
Independence and the Third American WarThrough the next year, leaders of the Metis, Indian Tribes and the settlers met in Winnipeg to create a Constitution for the new nation. It was completed in December 1873, but it took four months until the majority of tribes and colonies to accept it. March 2, 1874 was the day that the Republic of Assiniboia came to fruition, with Louis Riel as the first President. He would continue to serve until 1891 when he retired.
For the first few years, the United States provided much needed help and resources to help build the country. The US "encouraged" Native Americans living in the country to emigrate north to Assiniboia, which Riel and Assiniboia welcomed. White European and American settlement was slow, with the majority wishing to emigrate traveled to Canada or the United States first. This allowed the various Native and Metis groups in Assiniboia to slowly move from traditional ways to a more agricultural system, due to the death of the buffalo herds that had been up to then relied upon to feed the people from disease, over hunting and the destruction or claiming of the habitats they needed to survive. The native groups, however, established communal collectives instead of private ownership of the land. This allowed the tribes to continue their traditions while at the same time start a farming society and provide resources and support to those that needed it.
However, in 1881, Assiniboia was faced with its first serious threat, that of Canadian and British attempts to conquer the upstart nation during the Third American War. Despite valiant efforts, the small population, barely viable industry and the lack of American support all resulted in Assiniboia's defeat in the war. Hundreds of sq mi of underpopulated but resource rich North-West Ontario were shifted to Canadian ownership, and the proximity of the new border to Winnipeg forced the government to move deep into the Prairies and setting up at the small railroad junction of Wascana. Though Winnipeg would remain the de-facto industrial, communication and cultural center of Assiniboia, for 35 years the government would remain in the sleepy town, and only returned to Winnipeg after the Second Global War.
European SettlementAs the native tribes of Assiniboia began to establish themselves as farmers and businessmen, an increasing number of European immigrants, especially from Eastern Europe, began to arrive in the 1880's. Most of these groups, such as Mennonites and Hutterites, were welcomed with open arms, and helped to build a strong agricultural backbone to the new Nation. Despite the tensions with Canada, British settlers also became a significant presence, as well as German, Russian and Ukrainian settlers. Language issues dominated the government for years, as President Louis Riel tried to balance the demands of the natives, the Metis and the settlers. Ultimately, in the Language Rights Act of 1892, the government would be conducted in one of the two languages; French and English. The multitude of Indian and settler languages would be accommodated and encouraged in different localities, but children would be taught English and/or French at school.
The alliance with the US and Alyseka was also starting to cause tensions, especially as the road to the Second Global War was being paved. Violence and discrimination between the entrenched Metis, and immigrants from British, Russian, American, French and German settlers started to grow, and led to destructive riots in Winnipeg in 1909. The economy, focused on agriculture, grew by leaps and bounds: railways constructed with American capital and river improvements along the Assiniboine, Saskatchewan and Red River's all helped with the shipping of farm products and manufactured goods all over the nation, many heading to or from Winnipeg which developed into a large river port, and turning the Red River to the "Mississippi of the North."
Second Global War, Economic Depression, and the Film Industry
The days of economic boom and growing prosperity were cut short by the Second Global War, which, although starting in far off Turkey, soon reached Assiniboia. When the British Empire declared war on the United States, Canada also joined the conflict, which directly threatened Assiniboia on two fronts. Despite initial setbacks in the forested, mucky and wet Canadian Shield, Assiniboia slowly pushed Canadian and British forces back, where, unlike other fronts, trenches and massed artillery were uncommon, while the canoe, snowshoe and ski, unseen anywhere else, were much more important. But Assiniboia finally did capture the Lake Superior port of Fort William on Christmas Eve, 1913, and pushed deeper into Ontario, and reached the mining center of Sudbury by the time the war ended in 1916. Other Assiniboian forces helped in Oregon Territory and along the Appalachian front, earning commendations for valor and determination, while Alysekan troops helped support the Assiniboian forces in Ontario.
The enormous cost, including over three hundred thousand soldiers in arms, of which over 30,000 were killed and three times that number severally wounded, hit Assiniboia hard. The lack of immigration after the war also stunted the economic growth. Resources of Occupied Ontario were discovered and exploited, which helped to fuel the economy of Assiniboia, as did reparations from Canada and the UK. But the stock market crash of 1931 threw a spanner in the works. Assiniboia, due to cautious investment strategies and sponsoring of business, was ahead of many nations in the aftermath, but still suffered unemployment and near bankruptcy. Attempts to make Assiniboian farms more productive with machinery and fertilizer was partially successful, while Socialist inspired work projects helped build thousands of miles of paved roads, hundreds of public buildings and massive infrastructure projects including the first Northern hydroelectric dams. The main effort to restore the economy was seen through motion pictures: the rapidly growing industry was being constrained in the US due to high taxes and demanding censors, so Assiniboia offered huge incentives and vast amounts of land to studios that would relocate north. This was a huge success: millions of dollars poured into the economy, and thousands found jobs, despite the rise of the discriminatory "Studio Town System," where a studio would set up shop, and use its clout to force the local government to reduce their taxes, allow the studios to hire their own police forces and generally receive everything they wanted, and this would last until the 1960s.
The Third Global War and PeacekeeperIn the 1930s, Canada began to tear itself apart between English and French. The death of Prime Minister Mackenzie King resulted in full scale Civil War, which began to affect Assiniboia directly. Refugees, making their way through the scrub and wilderness in Occupied Ontario, were settled in refugee camps, while Assiniboia began to increasingly support Quebec in their fight for independence. Ontario, becomingly increasingly National Socialist saw this as a threat to themselves. In July of 1940, the National Socialists, having Quebec on the ropes with the occupation of Montreal and the Siege of Quebec City, turned their attention to Assiniboia. With battle hardened troops and weapons from the UK and the Confederacy, Ontario swarmed over the border, brushing aside the few troops in the way, and reached the outskirts of Winnipeg in little over a month. President Joseph P. Kennedy continued to advocate for a peaceful resolution until the Confederacy launched a surprise attack on the US in August. President Kennedy rallied the US, and did everything in his power to support Assiniboia, while again Alysekan troops rushed to rescue their ally. After a bitter fight, including a crash industrialization in the western states, Assiniboia gained the upper hand in 1944, and began to drive Canadian troops once again from Assiniboian territory. The leaders of Assiniboia were in little mood to make peace with Ontario, even after Quebec resumed the fight and recaptured Montreal and occupied Ottawa, agreeing with Quebec that "Canadian militarism must be destroyed." They got their wish: the surrender of Canada in 1945, and the division of the devastated Ontario into occupation zones for both Quebec and Assiniboia gave the first taste of what would happen when the Grand Alliance succeeded in winning their fight. With the destruction of Canada, Assiniboian troops were transferred to the Confederate Front, and after the CSA surrendered, participated in the naval assault on Scotland and Ireland, liberating the British Isles from National Socialism, and ending the war in the West. Assiniboian troops were prepared to go to Asia, but the Chinese surrendered before that could take place.
With the war over, the difficult task of reconstruction began. With much of Winnipeg reduced to ruble by artillery and airplane bombardments, the slow process of rebuilding the Capital began in earnest, and the creation of the Organization of Sovereign Nations, as well as signing of the Juneau Pact were hailed as steps to peace and security to rebuild. However, the invasion of Scotland by England in 1951 brought home that peace was not long lasting, and Assiniboia, under Tommy Douglas became an active member of the OSN and attempts to resolve issues around the world that threatened war. Despite its alliance to the US, it was admitted by both French and Brazilian politicians that they would rather work with Assiniboian diplomats than their own allies! Assiniboia, while still maintaining its alliance with the US and working with the US and Alyseka to create the North American Strategic Defense Command, began to renounce the use of force except in self defense, which angered America when they worked hard to build a strong front against Sorelist France and the Brazilian Bloc. However, US Presidents also used the pacifist Assiniboians as a go between for relations with both the Sorelist dictatorships and the Brazilian allied nations, which earned the nickname for the Assiniboian Foreign Affairs Ministry as the "US Department of State-Northern Branch."
Socialization, Oil and the FutureDouglas began a strong Socialization process, nationalizing banking and other heavy industries. But his toughest battle was when he began to tackle the Studio Town System, and in the bitter fights that followed, managed to loosen the movie studio grips on small towns throughout the nation. For this, as well as establishing the first government run health service in North America, he is fondly remembered to this day as one of the greatest Assiniboians where ever lived. However, later attempts at Socialization, including of several movie studios and the entire internal waterway transportation system where bitterly fought and forced the government to back down.
In 1946, near the city of Calgary, Buffalo, the first major oil strike in Assiniboian history was made. Although smaller operations, especially in the Virden area had been ongoing for years before hand, this discovery, and the result of a massive geological survey determined that Assiniboia has one of the largest reserves of oil in the world, next to Persia, Arabia and Texas. A massive program of drilling and exploration resulted in a huge population increase in the formerly agricultural state of Buffalo, and by 1955 Assiniboia was considered self-sufficient in oil production, and by 1960 was one of the largest exporters to the US and Alyseka. The discovery of the so-called "oil sands" near Lake Athabaska has raised new questions and the very intensive industrial extraction of oil has resulted in heavy pollution and environmental degradation. Attempts by Socialist President Gary Doer in the early 2000s were met with a stern response from the industry that any government tampering with the system could result in a worsening of the 2003 Economic Crisis. Only under President Stephen Harper has the first, very timmid, attempt at regulation for the oil sands been put in place.
The backbone of the Assiniboian economy for decades, the agriculture sector, also began to change. For the first time in the 1960s were more people living in cities than on the farm, and in 1979 the news that agriculture was no longer the largest source of the GDP in the entire economy sent shocks through the nations. The large cooperatives that the Aboriginals established soon became farming conglomerates, and the small fields that twisted and turned with the landscape where changed to massive fields, often miles in width, and dominated by tractors. Thousands immigrated to Winnipeg, Wascana, Calgary and Saskatoon, which quickly became industrial centers. However, poverty, housing shortages, crime and unemployment soon reared their heads, while a series of half measures by divided governments in the 1970s and 1980s only made problems slightly better, and often much worse. Assiniboia, in the same spirit that encouraged the movie industry in the 1930s, looked at this economic crisis as the foundation for a new industry: that of technology. Many innovative companies set up shop, which slowly turned the sooty, dirty industrial districts into high-tech, almost futuristic centers of progress and modernity. While poverty and despicable social conditions, highlighted in Winnipeg's North End only a few blocks from the center of government for the entire nation, still dominate the political agenda.
GovernmentAssiniboia is a Republic as described in the Constitution, which was modeled on the American document, but with influence of the British Westminster Parliamentary system added in. The Government is divided into three branches: The Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches. The Constitution, the supreme law of Assiniboia, is modeled on the US Constitution, and is composed of a Bill of Rights (the Rights to Free Speech, Free Elections, Petitions, Freedom from Cruel and Unusual Punishment, Freedom of Unlawful Imprisonment, Peaceful Assembly, and Government Interference in Private Lives), and multiple amendments that require the Senate, the President and a 2/3rds approve Referendum. The Judical Branch is the "keeper" of the constitution, and determines if various laws are constitutional or not.
The Executive is mostly composed of the President, and his office. The Presidency is where the American influence is most felt: elected for four years terms, the President is also the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, and is in charge of appointing qualified persons to multiple Federal offices, with the approval of the Senate. He does have the right to veto laws passed by the Senate, and unlike his American counterpart, can directly propose laws to the Senate, but is not allowed to vote on them. While seemingly a figurehead, the President does have a large amount of power, plus the prestige of the position usually means that whatever he says must be taken into account by at least the Senate. If the President is incapable of serving due to health or other issues, then the Prime Minister ascends to the post.
The Prime Minister was created as a balance to both the President and the Senate. The PM is the technically the head of the Legislative branch as the "First" Minister of the Cabinet, which is composed of Ministers heading the various federal departments, who are all nominated by the PM, and approved by both the Senate and the President. If the President, the Senate or both disprove of a selection, then a new nominee must be selected. If the PM becomes the President, then a new Prime Minister, nominated by the President and the Cabinet, must be approved by the Senate. Cabinet ministers can either be members of the Senate, or Civil Servants, and no seat in the Senate is required.
The Senate, elected to four year terms, but may be dissolved before an election if the Senate looses confidence in the current government, composes the unicameral legislative branch. All laws are to be passed by the Senate before being submitted to the President to either sign or veto, at which point the law must either be amended or scrapped. Currently, there are 157 Senators, with each senator to represent 100,000 citizens. As of the 1998 Referendum, the Senate was elected by a "proportional representation" system, doing away with the American "first past the post" system. This means that instead of being elected by constituencies, each political party would compose a list of names equal to the number of seats in the Senate. Depending on what percentage of votes are received by the party, the seats for the Senate will be divided on those percentage points. In the 2010 Senate elections, for example, the Assiniboia Nationalist Party won 38% of the votes, therefore received 60 seats, and was the largest party in the Senate. Although this has meant that Coalition governments are a fact of life since the referendum, most coalitions have been stable, and with a few exceptions, last the full four years before a new election must be called.
The Judaical Branch was designed to be the ultimate system of checks and balances in the Assiniboian government. With seven justices, which are nominated by the President and approved (or rejected) by the Senate, the Supreme Court was to be the highest court in the land, as well as testing the constitutionality of laws that are brought up. They are allowed to propose changes to make a law comply with the Constitution, but they must be approved by the Senate and President. Laws that are considered unconstitutional are "put on hold," meaning that they cannot be used, and have no effect in the country. The most famous case of this constitutional crisis was when President Tommy Douglas and the Socialist controlled Senate of the 1950s and 60s passed multiple measures, including the federalized Health Service, which was considered unconstitutional by the Nationalist dominated Supreme Court as a "Government Interference in Private Lives" issue. The proposals they made would have made the law impotent, therefore the issue was made a referendum for an Amendment to the Constitution, which received the required 2/3rds vote to pass.
MilitaryThe Assiniboian Armed Forces are composed of three branches: the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force. The Army is composed of roughly 35,000 men, is an all volunteer, highly professional force, armed with the best of modern weaponry, including the Mark V Medium Support Tank (AKA, the Custer). The Navy is the smallest branch of the Assiniboian Armed Forces, mainly composed of small river craft, and icebreakers operating out of Port Riel in the north, with a few small ships based on the Great Lakes. The Air Force is mainly designed to be a close-support/interception force, to provide cover for the army, as well as shoot down enemy aircraft.
Assiniboia also maintains a reserve force of over 65,000 men and women, who would be called upon only in times of national or local emergency, and several laws passed states that the reserves cannot be sent overseas unless approved during war-time.
In the past forty years, Assiniboia's army evolved from an elite, heavy "fist" to be deployed with American or Juneau Pact to a peacekeeping force with the Organization of Sovereign Nations, designed to maintain peace in hot areas around the globe, such as on the Palestine/Egypt border and various African hot spots. Assiniboia continues to work with the US and Alyseka for North American security, namely through the Juneau Pact and the North American Strategic Defense Command, which operates radar stations and air bases throughout Assiniboia and Alyseka.
Assiniboia was founded by both Native Americans (both those from the North, as well as those American tribes "encouraged" north by the US) and the Metis, who are a mixed European and Native American heritage, so native ties were very strong in the beginning of the Republic. However, after the 1880s, European immigrants quickly grew to be the dominate force within the nation, composing mostly English, Scottish, German, Ukrainian, French and Russian. The traditional native ideal of "co-operative" land holding prevailed in the East, and was reinforced by the first European immigrants, namely the Mennonites and Hutterites. After the start of the 20th century, the government and economy was mostly dominated by those of European descendants, and the western part of the nation became more white. It wasn't until the 1960s that the native influence once again became important, and now both Native and European ideals are virtually equal.
The culture of Assiniboia is a strange blend of Native traditions, immigrant nostalgia, and American ideals unique from anywhere else in the world. Theater has always played a major part in Assiniboia, and the booming Film Industry started in the 1930s was a natural outgrowth of theater. Television is primarily dominated by the state owned Assiniboian Broadcast Corporation, while Beyond West Media's Assiniboian Television (ATV) is growing in prominence and popularity. Besides movies, music has always been important, starting with the Metis fiddling traditions, and into the present with famous names such as Rock and Roll legend Brent Leroy. Country music superstar Neil Young and modern pop band phenomenon High Flying Eagles are all from Assiniboia.
Painting relied very much on the natural beauty of Assiniboia, and the hard work that all races and creeds had put into the land. Some of the most famous names include Harold Blackpaw in the 1920s, J. E. H. MacDonald and his "Group of Five" in the 1930s and 40s, and modern painters like Luba Goy. Literature also has played a strong part in Assiniboia. Well known books including North to Athabasca by Jack London,Forest of Peace by Sinclair Ross are based in Assiniboia, while writers such as Burton Cummings and Lorne Calvert were born and raised in the nation.
As of the 2008 Census, Assiniboia's population is 12,897,871. In the census, three major ethnic groups emerged: 29.3% (3,779,076) of the population claimed Native American ancestry; 2,760,144 (21.4%) were Metis (mixed European/Native), and 18.7% (2,411,901) claimed Anglo-Saxon descent, which includes those from the British Isles, former Canada and the United States. The other 10.6% are composed of smaller groups of Germans, Chinese, Russians, Filipinos, Hispanics and Africans.
The largest city is Winnipeg, with 2,187,908 in the metropolitan area. The next largest cities are Calgary (1,709,281), Edmonton (1,487,092), Wascana (1,284,097) and Saskatoon (876,905). Altogether, 87.9% of Assiniboians live in urban centers, while the other 12.1% are rural.
The original territory of Assiniboia was determined by the land that drained into Hudson Bay, land that was given by King Charles II of England to the Hudson's Bay Company in the 1600s, and which became part of Assiniboia upon Independence. With a southern border with the United States, a western border with Alyseka, an eastern border with Quebec, and the North along the Arctic Ocean, Assiniboia can be considered a "landlocked" country for many months of the year, with the only ocean bound port of Port Riel on Hudson Bay frozen for most of the winter. Only in the past few years, with the effects of global warming and the use of icebreakers, has Port Riel been able to be operated all year.
Due to the central location of Assiniboia in North America, most of the nation features a continental climate. In the winter, this can mean temperatures can be close to -20° Celsius, but can drop closer to -40° with the windchill. Snow can last in some ares from 5 to 7 months, while areas of the north can have snow all year round. Assiniboian Government Outpost "Vigilance" is the northernmost human settlement in the world. During the summer months, the average high can be in the 25° - 30° region, occasionally reaching nearly 40°.