Tuesday, May 19, 2009


"Railroad" is a verb meaning to rush or push legislation so that there isn't time for objections to be considered

Railroading has a long tradition in Canada, especially in British Columbia. - BC Mary.

The Pacific Scandal

In April 1873, the government of Sir John A. Macdonald was charged with accepting illicit funds from Sir Hugh Allan. In return for these payments, Allan was assured that he would be awarded the lucrative contract to construct the transcontinental Canadian Pacific Railway. When evidence of the agreement was made public by Opposition members of Parliament and published in newspapers across Canada, the episode became known as the "Pacific Scandal."

Allan's correspondence revealed that he and his American partners had attempted to influence a range of public figures, including journalists and politicians. During the election campaign of 1872, large sums were contributed to individuals such as George-√Čtienne Cartier and Hector-Louis Langevin. A telegram from Macdonald to Allan's legal adviser, John J.C. Abbott, provided the scandal's most sensational evidence, as it read: "I must have another ten thousand; will be the last time of calling; do not fail me; answer today."

Macdonald employed a number of delay tactics in an attempt to avoid the political consequences of the scandal. However, there was no avoiding the public backlash and unrelenting attacks of the Opposition. The political cartoonist J.W. Bengough became popular for his illustrated commentaries on the Pacific Scandal.

A Royal Commission was appointed in August 1873 to examine the matter, and in November Macdonald's government finally resigned. A general election followed, and Macdonald managed to keep his seat in Parliament. For many individuals involved in the scandal, the long-term consequences were negligible. Macdonald's party returned to power in 1878 and Macdonald served as prime minister until his death in 1891, when he was succeeded by none other than ... [Allan's legal advisor] John Abbott.

Read more here, here, and - for the sequence of developments - here.


haven't read through your linked items yet, but one thing I picked up about this scandal is another layer of rascality - MacDonald was on the board of the Northern Pacific Railroad at the same time (the CPR project's main competitor, which woudl be built as close to Canadian territory as possible for dominatin/strategic reasons). Got this from http://www.dickshovel.com/two.html and http://www.dickshovel.com/two2.html and I wish that author would write some more about all that (he hasn't since those got posted back in the '90s).

MacDonald got back into Parliament by parachuting into the Victoria riding, with some local notable stepping aside so he could. Victorians were actually foolish enough to think havng him as their representative would mean they'd get the railhead....Burrard Inlet hadn't even really been considered at that point, in fact. He bamboozled them on that one, and the CPR still got huge land grants on Vancouver Island despite not delivering on the favoured (then-favoured) route via Bute Inlet. He also played footsie on the issue of importing Welsh, Scots and Cornish workers to build the railway, then once elected justified using the American Onderdonk to hire Chinese crews and made no efforts to move forward on the BC government's wishes for more immigration from the British Isles". "If you want the railway, we've got to undercot labour costs by outsourcing' basically. Victoria never quite got over it, some never forgave him when both these things they thought they had in the pocket by electing him were pushed in their face.....as I recall, once he was PM again he didn't run in Victoria again but parachuted himself back into Central CAnada.....
I was wrong about the MP stepping aside; Roscoe was in ill-health and did not run for the candidacy....I think it may have been Arthur Bunster who stepped aside from the nomination race on MacDonald's behalf; whoever it was never forgave MacDonald his betrayal. However, BC retained its suspicion of Liberals rather than Conservatives, due to Mackenzie's hostility towards the railway, and allegedly the province, which led to the original cancellation (as well as the Pacific Scandal)....this is among the reasons why when political parties were brought into the BC political arena in 1903, the Conservatives swept the seats....(but for one or two).
Is it "necessary" to gain a reputation for "drinking" like say the unforgettable John A. and that guy on Maui, in order to participate in railway scandals, or is it optional?

I'm gonna try to get a job with the PAB, I guess, that would be one way to get rid of those nagging Student Loans - I don't want to share my coffin or urn with a collection agent. I'm trying to get my "referral" from Lara (I'm learning a full dress dreamy arrangement of "Lara's Tune (Song? Theme?) from Dr. Zhivago, it can't hurt - though I wish her name was say.......Layla or Darlin'.
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