Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Pacific Scandal

In the late 1860,s there was a movement by our neighbours to the south to plan an economic takeover of Canada and force Canada to seek admission into the United States. Those who were involved were interested in getting control of the railroads thereby also having control of the monies the railway would generate.

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!)



Sir John A. Macdonald and George Etienne Cartier approached Allen and promised him the lucrative contract to build the Trans-Canada railway in exchange for financial contributions. Allen gave Macdonald's conservative party close to $350,000 from American investors, Sir John A. Macdonald's party came to power and Allen got the contract.

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.


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.

I got this information from CBC.ca.
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2 comments:

  1. Happy Birthday young lady!!! xoxo

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    1. Thanks for taking the time to read and for wishing me a happy birthday!

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