Sir Hugh Allen was president of the Canadian Pacific Railway at the time. His American partners, some of them, felt that the Canadian railway should travel south from Ontario and connect with the Northern Pacific Railway, which was nearing completion. This move would open up the Canadian Northwest for American trade and perhaps takeover? Many Canadians though were suspicious of any deals that involved American investors. (Many still are today!)
Macdonald first took the prime minister's position in 1867. British Columbia joined the confederation of Canada four years after that with a stipulation that the railway be extended west. By 1872, Allen hadn't undertaken the work to complete the railway and the American investors were getting impatient. They felt they were being excluded from the railway project. Rumours began to circulate around Ottawa about embezzlement.
A picture of Sir John A. Macdonald compliments of the Parliament of Canada website.I got this information from CBC.ca.
When rumours as juicy as embezzlement within the federal government are circulating, reporters are going to take notice and investigate. On July 18, 1873, the Globe out of Toronto published a telegram from Macdonald to Allen where Macdonald begged the businessman for money. A little more digging and it was discovered that American funding contributed to the Conservative victory. Macdonald resigned on November 11, 1873. (Five years later, he was re-elected as Prime Minister.)
Canada was a young country; Sir John Alexander Macdonald was our first Prime Minister. This event, Canada's first scandal, became known as the Pacific Scandal, Canada's first scandal.
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Karen Magill, Sir John A Macdonald, history, conservative, railroad British Columbia,Pacific Scandal,