The Building of the Canadian Pacific Railway Part 2

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  • Building the railway is a waste of time and money, especially now.
  • We will withdraw from Confederation if the railway is not built.
  • Sandford Fleming, you're in charge of directing the railway survey.
  • 1873 - After John A. Macdonald resigned, Alexander Mackenzie led the Liberals to power and he thought that building a transcontinental railway was a waste of time and money. This was understandable because when he took office, a major economic depression hit North America.
  • The route should go through Yellowhead Pass and then south to Burrard Inlet.
  • No! No! No! It should go through the Homathco River Valley, to the head of Bute Inlet, and then across to Vancouver Island.
  • No you're both wrong! It should go to Port Simpson because it is closer to Asia.
  • But because of Macdonald's commitment to build the railway, Mackenzie was obligated to finish the task and after failing to fulfill his promise, politicians from BC began to complain and threatened to withdraw from Confederation if the railway was not built. Realizing he had no other option, Mackenzie allowed the land survey to continue.
  • The National Policy 1) a system of protective tariffs 2) immigration to the West 3) The Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR)
  • No one knew where the railway would go, so all the possible routes had to be explored. Building it through the Canadian Shield and Rocky Mountains would be difficult and reaching major settlements - Victoria and New Westminster -would also be difficult. Because of this, Sandford Fleming, surveyor for the Dominion, was appointed to direct the survey.
  • Hi! We are the CPR Syndicate.
  • Fleming sent surveyors into BC and although they brought back helpful information, it led to a huge debate about where the railway should go. This debate is known as "the Battle of the Routes." Because Fleming, his deputy Marcus Smith, and other people had different opinions, no decision was made about the route of the railway.
  • While John A. Macdonald was out of office, he thought about the railway because he knew it would help Canada survive. He needed to convince Canadians the railway was needed, so he developed the National Policy in 1876 which became the Conservatives' campaign promise after winning the 1878 election. It had three main parts: tariffs, immigration, and the CPR.
  • After Macdonald returned as prime minister, he needed to find new investors for the CPR and after a couple of years, he found the men he was looking for: George Stephen, Donald Smith, and James J. Hill, forming the CPR Syndicate. Macdonald offered them $25 million, 25 million land acres, and a monopoly west of Lake Superior. In return, they had to build the railway within 10 years.
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