Macdonald’s National Policy focused on expanding transport and reach across the country; linking it sea to sea using a transcontinental railroad, encouraging Western settlement (by Europeans, Americans, and Eastern Canadians), and encouraging domestic production with protective tariffs. In order to accomplish this, Indigenous lands in the west were sought for railroad construction and land settlement. For instance, the occupation of these lands was undertaken through treaty and reserve policies. In 1878, Macdonald made himself head of the Department of the Interior, giving himself ultimate control over settlement policy and Indigenous policy in the North-West.
Tobias, John L. “Protection, Civilization, Assimilation: An Outline History of Canada’s Indian Policy.” Western Canadian Journal of Anthropology 6.2 (1976)