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Royal Commission and full information regarding the Nakusp and Slocan Railway Begbie, Matthew Baillie, Sir, 1819-1894; Burbidge, George Wheelock, 1847-1908 1894

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Array £^C$S*S*CK!^^^
Royal Commission
Nakusp pf Slogan
Victoria, B, C.
'The Colonist" Steam Presses,
r0yal eonnissieN
Shewing the Exhaustive Scope of the Enquiry,
fcL. S.]
Theodore Davie,
A tlomey- General.
VICTORIA, by the Grace of God, of the
United Kingdom of Great Britain and
Ireland, and ot the Colonies and Dependencies
thereof, Queen, Defender of the Faith, &c,
&c, &c
To the Honourable Sir Matthew Baillie
Begbie, Knight, Chief Justice of British
Columbia, and the Honourable George
Wheelock Burbtdge, Judge of the
Exchequer Court of Canada, Greeting :
It having been resolved amongst the proceedings of the Legislative Assembly of the
Province of British Columbia at its last Session :
" That whereas, acting under the advice of
the Executive Council, His Honor the Lieutenant-Governor has been pleased to give a
Provincial guarantee of interest upon the bonds
of the Nakusp and Slocan Railway Company,
to the extent of 4 per cent, per annum on
$25,000 per mile for twenty-five years, and by
the like advice, has in the agreement for the
guarantee of interest, reserved the right to
substitute bonds guaranteeing principal at the.
rate of $17,500 per mile, together with interest at a rate per annum sufficient to enable the
Company to realize par, but in no case to exceed. 4 per cent, per annum.
" And whereas, by Message from His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor, with the advice
aforesaid, a Bill has been introduced for the
purpose of guaranteeing principal and interest
in manner mentioned in the said agreement:
"And whereas, it has been stated, by the'
Honourable the Member for Nanaimo District,:
in his place in the House of Assembly, that it-
appeared that the Honourable the Leader of.
the Government had been working for the,
Company and not for the Province, and it has,
also been insinuated in the said House of As-
sembly by other Honourable. Members,,
although not directly charged, that the Members of the Executive Council were actuated by
corrupt motives in advising His Honour the
Lieutenant-Governor in relation to the matters
aforesaid ;
"Therefore, be it Resolved, That an humble
Address be presented to His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor, praying him to appoint a
Royal Commission to enquire whether the
Honourable the Premier, in advising the said
guarantee, worked for the Company and not
for the Province, and whether corrupt motives
of any kind existed with or influenced His
Honour's Ministers in the advice tendered by
them to His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor in relation to the Nakusp and Slocan Railway
Company, and whether any of His Honour's
Ministers have or had any interest, directly or
indirectly, in the Nakusp and Slocan Railway
Company, or in_ the Construction Company,
either in furnishing materials or supplies, or in
any way whatsoever ;" which resolution was
approved by an Order of His Honour the
Lieutenant-Governor in Council, dated the
16th day of April, 1894.
NOW KNOW YE that, in pursuance of
the said Resolution and Order in Council, and
reposing especial trust in your loyalty, integrity
and ability, We do hereby, in pursuance of the
powers contained in the " Public Inquiries
Act," and of all other powers and authorities
U.s in that behalf enabling, constitute and appoint you, the said Sir Matthew Baillie Begbie and George Wheelock Burbidge, jointly
and each of you separately, to be Commissioners with the power of making enquiry into all
and every of the matters aforesaid so far as the
same refer to the good government of this
Province, or reflect upon the conduct of any
part of the public business thereof, together
with the power of summoning before you, or
cither of you, any party or witnesses, or of requiring them to give evidence on oath, orally
or in writing, or on solemn affirmation (if they
be parties entitled to affirm in civil matters,)
and to produce such documents and things as
you, or either of you, may deem requisite to
the full investigation of the matters aforesaid ;
and We empower and direct you the said
Commissioners, or either of you, to report the
facts found by you, in writing, to Our Lieutenant-Governor of our said Province of
British Columbiaimmediately.or as soon as conveniently may be, after you shall have concluded
such enquiry, together with the views which
you or either of you, may have formed in relation to the matters aforesaid as a result of the
said enquiry, and that you do and perform all
those matters and things in and about the taking of the said enquiry, as by law in that behalf you are authorized to do.
In Testimony Whereof, We have caused
these Our Letters to be made Patent, and
the Great Seal of the Province of British
Columbia to be hereunto affixed : Witness,
the Honourable Edgar Dewdnev, Lieutenant-Governor of our said Province of
British Columbia, in our said City of
Victoria, this twentieth day of April, in
the year of Our Lord one thousand eight
hundred and ninety-four, and in the fifty-
seventh year of Our Reign.
By Command.
Provincial Secretary,
In the matter op the Nakusi- and
Slocan Railway Co.
To all whom it may Concern :
NOTICE is hereby given that under and by
virtue of a Royal Commission to them
issued, and dated the 20th April, instant, the
undersigned will hold a session at the Court
House, in the City of Victoria, on Wednesday,
the 9th day of [vlay proximo, at the hour of 11
o'clock in the forenoon, for the purpose of
opening the said Commission and of entering
upon and conducting the inquiries relating to
the several matters mentioned in the Resolution of the Honourable the House of Assembly
praying that such Commission might issue,
which Resolution was approved by an Order
in Council dated the 16th April, instant. And
all parties interested in such inquiries, or in
the matters in such Resolution referred to, and
who may wish to bring forward charges or exculpations, or evidence relating thereto, shall
be heard.
Dated at Victoria, B. C., 25th April, 1894.
Commissioners. SPEECH OF THE HON. T. DAVIE
in moving tbe Second Reading of the
MARCH, 1894.
Hon. Mr. Davie moved the second reading of the bill respecting the Nakusp and
Slocan Railway. This, he said, was one of
the enterprises included in the Railway Aid
Act of last session, with the Nicola and
Spence's Bridge and the Chilliwack Railway.
Under section 2 of that act, the government
were empowered to guarantee interest upon
an amount sufficient to build and equip the
road, but not to exceed $25,000 per mile, and
section 6 limited the umount of the guarantee
to " interest on $925,000, or the cost to the
■company of the said railway enterprise, whichever might be the smaller sum." The measure
passed the house without division unanimously,
as had also the Shuswap and Okanagan Guarantee Act at a previous session. The act
■of last session followed closely upon the lines
of the act respecting the Shuswap & Okanagan
Railway. The public accounts before the
house last year showed the cost of the latter
road to have reached the limit,.i.e., $25,0003
mile, within a fractional sum—and the government had then guaranteed interest accordingly
at four per cent. Practically, the government
were authorized last year to do the same with
the three roads, i.e., the Nakusp & Slocan,
the Nicola & Spence's Bridge, and the Chilliwack road, as with the Shuswap and Okanagan, in 1890—with the variation, however, in
the case of the Chilliwack road, that the municipality was to pay one-half. Soon after the
house rose last year, the Executive took the
enterprises up, and conceiving the Nakusp &
Slocan road to be the most urgent, the government.took steps to enquire fully, into its merits,
and, taking advantage of the assizes, at which
he had public business to transact, he (Mr.
Davie) had gone to the spot, and it did not
take long to convince him of the vital importance to the country of immediate construction
of the road, to preserve the Kootenay trade,
which otherwise would be diverted to the
south, and lost to British Columbia. The
projected road would give access to one of the
greatest mining regions of the world, the trade
of which, without the road, would be drained
into the adjoining republic. The Nelson &
Fort Sheppard road, built by American capital, was then nearing completion and has since
been completed, connecting the country tributary to Kootenay Lake with the railway
systems of the United States. The Slocan
country is situated from twenty to thirty miles
to the westward of the Kootenay Lake, midway between Kaslo and Nakusp, and at the
present time the ore being taken out of the
Slocan is carried to Kaslo and shipped over
the Nelson & Fort Sheppard. The owners of
this road seemed fully alive to the immense
trade which was opening up. To show the
marvellous nature of some of the mines to be
served by the Nakusp and Slocan Railway,
he read several extracts from the press of the
mining districts, as follows :
" From a gentleman who recently spent ten
days in the vicinity of the Slocan Star mine,
we learn the following particulars : A. tunnel
500 feet long with an average depth of 150
feet has been driven in, exposing a solid body
of ore 12 feet in thickness. The .amount of
ore in sight in the drifts, openings and tunnel
has been computed by actual, measurement to
be 75,000 tons.    These figures' seem almost incredible, and take one's breath away, but
nevertheless, this is a hard, dry fact. At
present there are about twenty men employed
taking out about 13 tons per day, actuai value
being $200 a ton net. Close to this property
we have the Noble Five, another enormously
rich mine, which experts say will, when further development goes on, equal and possibly
surpass the Slocan Star. With such prospects
as these at our back, others of a like nature
being constantly developed, and as those who
know tell us numerous enquiries from capitalists regarding these mines, is it to be wondered
at that the people of the Kaslo-Slocan district
feel light-hearted and thoroughly believe that
this will indeed be a bright and prosperous
New Year for the most famous mining district
in the world ?"
Another paper says : "For the week ending to-day, the Nelson & Fort Sheppard has
forwarded 267 tons of ore, namely, 60 tons
from the Nobie Five group, 120 tons from the
Washingion, 57 tons from the Dardanelles, 20
tons from the Rico, and 10 tons from the
Mountain Chief—all Slocan mines. About
half the ore was billed to the Selby Lead
Works at San Francisco, and goes from
Spokane to Tacoma by the Northern Pacific,
thence to San Francisco, by water. The
other half was billed to the United Smelting
Company's works at Great Falls, Montana,
and goes from Spokane over the Great Northern. Reports from Kaslo are that George
Hughes has put on more stock, and that fully
40 tons of ore a day will hereafter be hauled
from the mines to Kaslo."
Another article is as follows :
"The ore from the Washington mine, in
Slocan district, is being shipped to San Francisco, and the 112 tons brought down by the
Spokane on Friday was valued at $16,000.
It is not to be wondered at then, that the prevailing reports from the Slocan are all so
encouraging. "Blake" Wilson came down
from Three Forks last night, and says that
times were never so good as now, and the indications are that 4,000 tons of ore will be
shipped this winter. The banks also report
the outlook- for next year as promising."
These quotations gave some idea of the
nature of the discoveries in the country to be
tapped by this railroad. The ore being taken
out by Kootenay Lake during the winter was
rawhided down the mountains and carried in
sleighs to Kaslo, a distance of from twenty to
thirty miles and still paid largely when transferred to San P'rancisco, Tacoma and elsewhere. When it paid to do this, anyone could
see how a railroad must pay, directly connecting the mines with the C. P. R.
The desirability of prompt construction and
a commencement made at once, being established—the question arose how to begin ?
What was the cost of the road and how was
the money to be found ? Fortunately, he had
valuable aid at hand to solve both questions.
From a gentleman who happened to be travelling in Kootenay, connected with one of the
strongest financial houses in London, he became convinced of the undesirability of issuing
interest guaranteed bonds. They were not
looked upon as a desirable investment, and
could only be sold at a heavy discount. They
were injurious to a country s credit—going
begging as they did—just as a promissory note
with an endorser being hawked about would
injure the credit of all parties to it, so was it
with this class of bonds, which no one cared
much to take. Interest guaranteed bonds
can, in lact, only be sold at just such a rate as
would give the investor margin sufficient out
of the interest and discount to form a sinking
fund which would make good the principal by
the time the loan expires. The Victoria &
Sidney Railway bonds—endorsed by the government and the city of Victoria—afford a case
in point, for with a five per cent guarantee
they were considered well sold at 90 or 95.
If the interest had been 4 per cent., as in the
case under consideration, they would probably
have brought no more than 75, and perhaps
not that, particularly in hard times'. If the
$925,000 of Nakusp & Slocan bonds had to
be sold at that price, the discount of 25 per
cent, would have amounted to $231,250, a
sacrifice which could not be justified. No
company could afford this waste—and the
government certainly ought not—so it became
apparent that some other method of financing
must be adopted. To have allowed the project to remain over for a year to obtain further
legislation, would have been as injurious, or
more so, than to make the sacrifice in money,
not only on account of the delay, but because
the additional time would meantime have been
given to divert the trade, and as is well known
when a market is once lost it is a difficult
matter to rtcover it. Vast quantities of ore
awaiting shipment, and mines waiting a rail-'
road to develop their wealth—the country
would hot have justified the government in waiting : the people were impatient for the development of this country, and the only way in which
British Columbia will benefit by the trade of
its development is by this road. To have ascertained by bills of quantities and engineers'
measurements exactly what the road would
cost, would have meant a year's delay, which'
the country would not have tolerated any
more than they would have countenanced
waiting another year's time to consult the legislature in the matter of floating bonds,     lie Mr. Davie) went to Montreal, and Mr. Van
Home ascertained from his engineers on the
spot what the probable cost of construction
would be, what the C. P. R., with the facilities which they had at hand, could construct
the road for, and that cost was placed at
$17,500 per mile. He, Mr. Davie, pressed
upon Mr. Van Home to build the line, but he
did not care to undertake it. He agreed,
however, that his engineers would superintend
the construction, and that the fompany would
lease the line, paying 40 per cent, of the gross
receipts as a rental. He, Mr. Davie, then
arranged with the Nakusp and Slocan Railway
Company to build the road, and he (Mr.
Davie) then concluded an agreement between
the Pacific Company and the Nakusp and
Slocan, which is now before the house, under
which the C. P. R. superintend the construction and agree to operate the line for 25 years
under a penalty of $50 per day. The Nakusp
Company pressed for the cost of equipment as
well, which the government would have been
authorized under the act to allow, but the
matter was concluded for the cost of construction only. The company had to put up the
sum of $118,400, being the amount of the
Dominion subsidy in cash. To have built the
road by interest guaranteed bonds, would have
required all of the bonds—for under the act
the company were to have " the cost to them
of their enterprise." Placing therefore the
cost of construction at $17,500 per mile for
thirty-seven miles, the length of the road 37
miles, amounted to $647,000. Add to this
the discount of bonds, which would have been
part of the "cost of the enterprise," cost of
organization, engineering, right of way and
one thing and another, would have footed up
fully to the $925,000, and no company could
then have been procured, nor now, so far as
he knew, to undertake the work, and put up
$118,000—for less than the whole of the
bonds, and there was no time to hunt up
others, if the work was to be commenced at
once. In fact the company had called
for tenders for construction, payable in
bonds, and the lowest bid was for all the bonds
at $25,000 per mile. Then, the cost of the
road, $17,500, was a smaller cost than the
Nelson and Fort Sheppard, which had cost
between $19,000 and $20,000 per mile ; was
less than the Columbia & Kootenay, which
had cost $22,000 per mile, and was less than
the city of Victoria had paid for the Sidney
railroad guarantee. Having, therefore, concluded arrangements in Montreal, he (Mr.
Davie) returned to Victoria, and the executive
concluded to give the guarantee upon the
terms arrived at. Under the railway aid act
of last session, it was provided that if at any
time the money received for the forty per cent,
gross earnings amounted to more than enough
to pay the interest upon the bonds for two
years, the remainder should be handed over to
the company. Under the new arrangement,
however, it was provided that any over-plus
should remain with the government and be
accumulated as a sinking fund. In carrying
the arrangement out which had been arrived
at with the Nakusp & Slocan Railway, as the
government had no authority to do anything
else than guarantee interest, it was agreed that
the government should endorse the full issue of
interest guaranteed bonds and lodge them in
the bank subject to being replaced with $17,-
500 principal and interest bonds, should the
legislature conclude to make the change. An
overdraft was to be arranged on the security of
the bonds—upon which the company were to
be at liberty to draw to the extent of 90 per
cent, of certificates of work done. As well as
the C. P. R. engineer the government had an
engineer also.
The cost of building the road at $17,500 per
mile, was $647,500. But from this has to be
deducted $118,400—the cash found and deposited by the company with the government
—leaving the net amount guaranteed by the
government, being the total obligation assumed
by the Province, $529,100.
Upon the plan contemplated last year—the
S. & O. plan—the total cost would be $925,-
000. Deduct from this $118,400, and you
have $806,600 as the total obligation assumed
by the Province. Interest upon the latter sum
at 4 per cent, amounts to $32,264 per annum,
which, on the Shusway & Okanagan plan, the
plan unanimously endorsed by all of us, would
have to be paid yearly by the government,
that is irrespective of the 40 per cent, gross
earnings, with nothing to show for the expenditure at the end of the 25 years. Whereas,
on the other plan, 4 per cent, on $529,100
amounts to $21,164 yearly only ; add to this a
sinking fund of 2 per cent., which will be
more than sufficient to extinguish the principal
at maturity, and you will still have less to pay
than the 4 per cent, on the plan authorized by
the house, and you have a railway fully paid
for at the end of the time. So the government then either get enough to pay the principal, or else have the railroad free and clear.
The latter calculation was at 4 per cent., but
the Province could get the money at ■$%. He
(Mr. Davie) had the difference between the
two methods calculated, when in Montreal,
and the advantage in favor of guaranteeing
principal and interest at the lesser rate was
startling. On the $25,000 4 per cent, basis
the money, irrespective of the 40 per cent,
gross earnings, costs $41,645.91  per mile, in interest, compounded in 25 years, but on the
$17,500 plan at 3^ per cent, it costs $23,-
849.56 per mile in interest. So on the one
plan you will have paid out, interest compounded in 25 years for the 37 miles of road,
$1,540,898.67, and nothing to show for it, in
the other case you have paid out only $882,-
433.72 and a fully built and maintained railway free of all claim, to show for it. If the
Victoria and Sidney railway problem were
worked out on the same basis—then 5 per
cent, bonds having sold at 90 or 95—it would
be seen how much better off the city and province would have been at the end of 25 years
had they found principal as well as interest.
Those bonds netted about $270,000, which
money the city could have borrowed for 4 per
cent., all charges paid, and the interest would
have amounted to $10,800 per annum, or
$4,200 less than is now being paid. At the
end of 25 years, without compounding at all,
this $4,200 would amount to $105,000, and
compounded, it would come to more than the
cost of the road. To return, however, to the
Nakusp & Slocan road, for which, as shown,
there would have to be raised $31,746 per
annum to pay interest and sinking fund—that
this will be more than recouped is proved from
the volume of trade. He wished to draw attention to the provision which it would be
noticed had been inserted in the agreement.
It had been stated the other day that one reason why earnings of the Shuswap & Okanagan
Railway are small is because the C. P. R. had
been restricted in their charges to an amount
not in excess of the local rates on contiguous
sections of the C. P. R. But in the agreement
with the Nakusp & Slocan Railway there is,
besides a provision that the rates shall not be
higher without the consent of the government,
the additional provision that neither shall the
rates charged be less than those on the contiguous lines of the C. P. R. without the consent of the government, thus leaving it to be
determined hereafter, whether, in the interests
of the miner, but at the expense of the province, a low rate shall be charged—or for the
benefit of the province the rate shall be higher.
As stated already, against the $31,000 a year
to be provided by the government there will
be 40 per cent, of the gross earnings, and that
these gross earnings will be considerable from
the outset seems quite evident. The Nelson
Tribune, for instance, in a recent issue said :
" From and after January 1 the output of
the mines in Southern Kootenay will amount
in value to $15,000 a day, of which fully a
half will be marketed without delay. By the
time the Nakusp & Slocan is ready to take
ore, the output of the mines in Slocan district
will alone be of a^value far exceeding the sum
above mentioned,  and it is within reason t
estimate  the  total  output  of  the  mines  in
Southern   Kootenay  for  the   year   1894,   at
He (Mr. Davie) had read in a local paper
recently that in one week of January there had
been shipped 922 tons of silver lead ore from
Kaslo to the smelters at Tacoma, Portland,
San Francisco and other places, all going out
over the newly opened Nelson and Fort Sheppard Railway, lind from the fourteen Kaslo-
Slocan mines then shipping ore, the monthly
output till the close of the sleighing season,
was expected to be between 900 and 1,000
tons. There are, however, about 27 locations
at present under development, besides a great
many other claims of perhaps equal value
which will be developed with the
advent of capital, besides the further important discoveries of minerals which will annually
be made. Estimating, however, on an Output
of only 40 tons per day, the earnings from this
source will be $64,800 per annum ; the earnings from merchandise, live stock, etc., according to a moderate estimate, will be $31,-
000; and from passengers, mails and express
$24,000, making a total of $119,800. The
estimated earnings on ordinary traffic are
placed much lower than those on the Columbia and Kootenay and the Shuswap and
Okanagan Railways. Out of these estimated
gross earnings of $119,000 per annum the
province would be entitled to $48,000 as 40
per cent, of the gross revenue, according to
the agreement with the C. P. R. This
amount, it would be seen, is for in excess of
interest and sinking fund.
He had heard all kinds of foolish rumors
about the cost of the road and the class of
work and material employed, that it was a
cheaply constructed, ill conditioned affair, but
these stories carried their own condemnation.
In the first place the local government have an
engineer superintending the work, though he
supposed this would count for nothing with
the hon. gentlemen opposite. Then the C.
P. R. have to be satisfied, for they have to
operate the road, and under clause 22 of the
contract the work of construction is to be clone
to the satisfaction of their engineer. This
supervision, it may be depended upon, would
of itself be sufficient to insure that the contractors should not scamp the work. He had
obtained from the government engineer, Mr.
Mohun, the following memorandum as to the
road :
" There is no curve as sharp and no grade as
heavy as some on the main line of the C. P. R.
The trestle work is fully up to the standard of
that on the main line of the C. P. R., and much
of it is heavier than is called for by the specifi- cation. In steep side hills, instead of the road
bed being constructed partly in cut and partly
in embankment, the full width has been cut out
of the solid sidehill, avoiding dangerfrom slips,
and the earth excavated has been wasted, increasing the width of the roadbed considerably more than is necessary. In this connection, several thousand dollars expended in construction, on the first location have been thrown
away by the company, a shorter and safer
route having been adopted to avoid dangerous
Another charge is that the company is using
old rails. The life of a rail is 25 or 30 years.
There are points on the C.P.R. where, on the
steep grades it is necessary to replace existing
rails with the heavier ones, and it is the rails
which for this purpose are taken out- —as good
or nearly as good as new—that are to be used
on this line. There is no good reason why
they should not be used, and they can be
used, without impairing the permanency of
the work. But the most conclusive of all the
reasons why the sound construction of the road
is assured is that the company have to earn the
Dominion subsidy, not a dollar of which they
can get if their line is not fully up to the
standard required by the department. The
road is a valuable enterprise, and at a very
moderate estimate can safely be predicted to
yield a surplus over interest to the government. He had noticed that this plan of setting aside 40 per cent, to meet such charges is
by no means new, and originated neither in
British Columbia nor yet in the Dominion of
Canada. Railroads the world over have been
constructed on all kinds of schemes. Sometimes governments build and own them themselves. Sometimes the government comes to
the aid of the companies with a guarantee of
interest on the full or part of the cost of the
enterprise ; sometimes the governments guarantee interest, or principal, or both; sometimes the government reserves an interest in
the road, and sometimes they do not; and Mr.
Davie proceeded to instance a number of cases
illustrating the varying descriptions of aid
given, quoting instances found in Western
Australia, India, Africa and other countries.
Another important  provision  which  would
be found in the agreement, is that the govern
ment has reserved for two years the right to
acquire a half interest (an amount equal to 49
per cent.) in the road upon payment of half
the subsidy, to be received from the Dominion,
and before this option expired they would
have abundant opportunity of informing themselves as to its prospects as an investment.
While he thought he had fully justified the
course of the government in the matter, he did
not favor going too far in using the credit of
the province, but rather thought it best to call
a halt to see how the assistance given so far
is going to operate, before granting any extensive aid of this character. For this reason he
could not encourage the hope of any legislature assistance this session in the matter of the
Nicola & Spence's Bridge Railway, which he
would gladly aid, for it is to go through what
is believed, and has been partly proved to be,
a valuable mineral and coal as well as an agricultural country. The authority had been
taken last year to subsidize it, but the Canadian Pacific Railway had not yet completed
their explorations, so as to undertake to operate the road. Under these circumstances,
although at one time the government had
thought they could deal with the road the
same as the Nakusp & Slocan, the matter
would have to remain over. Respecting the
Chilliwack road, he would have something to
say later. It must be remembered that public
assistance cannot be altogether confined to
railways as there are other enterprises which
deserve government backing. He hoped, for
instance, in a few days to submit to the house
a bill proposing aid for important drainage and
dyking works.
We must not overlook the danger of going
too far ahead in the matter of staking the provincial credit, it required to be tenderly used,
and nothing would be easier than by a reckless
system of guaranteeing to injure the credit of
the country irreparably. Still, when it is
demonstrated that the public credit can be
safely and advantageously used, the government should be prepared to employ it. He
felt that the bill now before the house is one
which the government can safely commend,
and with that assurance he now moved its
second reading.    (Applause.) COST OF CONSTRUCTION
As  Sworn  to  by  Engineers
A Return brought down to the House on
the 27th of March, 1894, in reference to the
construction of the Nakusp & Slocan Railway,
contained the sworn statements of those immediately connected with the enterprise.
In speaking of the tenders received, Mr. A.
J. Weaver-Bridgman, Secretary-Treasurer of
the Nakusp & Slocan Railway Co., makes
affidavit :
" The only tender received complying with
the form was that of Mr. D. McGillivray,
which was for all the bonds of the Company
and contained a marked cheque for $112,000.
" Three other tenders were opened, one4for
$20,000 per mile in bonds and $5,000 in paid
up stock of the Company , one for $25,000 in
bonds and $4,000 in paid up stock ; and one
for $20,000 in bonds per mile, none of which
complied with the form of tender issued, or
were accompanied by either cheque or deposit,
and which consequently could not receive consideration. The last mentioned tender was
immediately withdrawn after receipt."
Mr. Duchesnay, civil engineer, appointed
by the C. P. R. to examine the line and report
on the cost, states as follows in his affidavit:
" My estimate for the several sections of the
line was as follows :'—
"From Nakusp to Summit Lake,   12 mites
@ $14.517 $188,701
" From Summit Lake to head of  Slocan
Lake, 1 r miles @ $9,968    109,648
*' From head Slocan Lake to Wilson Creek,
$% miles @ $14,224      78,232
" From Wilson Creek to Three Forks, 8J-£
miles @ $23,720    201,620
" Mean average, 38 miles      15,216
"This estimate was exclusive of all rolling
stock, equipment, and plant whatever.
" This was the estimate which I communicated to Mr. Abbott, and in preparing the
same I went upon the assumption, from the
source of my instructions, that the Canadian
Pacific Railway Company proposed themselves
to build the road as they had done in the case
of the Columbia and Kootenay Railway, of
which I had been the Engineer in charge ot
construction. The above estimate (as mentioned in a telegram from Mr. Abbott to Mr.
Van Horne on the 3rd July, 1893,) did not
make any allowance for contingencies or omissions, and I then considered, as I now do,
that a margin of 15 per cent, should be allowed to cover any omissions in my estimate and
all accidents and contingencies, and I concurred in the telegram so sent.
"My final estimate, therefore, assuming,
that the Company themselves would construct
the line, is :— $578,221
"'5 percent      86,733
*' And the average per mile      17,497
"The above estimate makes no allowance
for ordinary contractor's profit, nor for the
cost of railway transportation of rails, material
and labour, nor the use of rolling stock, tools,
and materials, which would have to be defrayed by a constructing company ; the Canadian Pacific Railway Company, in constructing a road themselves, finding their own railway transportation and using their own rolling
stock, tools, plant and materials, for which the
work is only charged at construction rates."
And again :—
" We inspected the grading over the portion
then built as far as Slocan Lake, and found
the work decidedly, well done, and, as I consider, fully up to the standard required by the
specifications of the Dominion Government
when inspecting for the purpose of paying the
usual subsidy."
And further:—
" The general gradients and curvature of
the line as located are, I consider, the best the
country will permit."
In the sworn statement of Mr. Marpole,
Superintendent of the Pacific Division of the
C. P. R., are the following : —
" We found the work of construction, so far
as it had progressed, to be well done, and
such as would be, in our opinion, acceptable
to the Canadian Pacific Railway Company for
operation, and up to the standard required by
the Dominion Government regulations for a
subsidized road in a mineral country. So far
as inspected the gradients and curvature are,
in my opinion, not excessive, and are the best
the country will allow within reasonable limits
of expenditure in construction.
" I am familiar with the estimate made by
Mr. Duchesnay, and in my opinion the total
cost as placed by him at $664,954 was a moderate estimate even under the favorable conditions which he mentions as influencing him
in its preparation.
" I submit, for the purpose of comparison,
the relative cost of the Mission Branch of the
Canadian Pacific Railway and of the Columbia
Kootenay Railway, both of which were constructed by the Canadian Pacific Railway, and
under the immediate supervision of the Company's Engineers.
"Attached hereto and marked "A" is a
statement of the cost of the mission Branch of
the Canadian Pacific Railway, which shows
the total cost to have been $236,157.15,  ex
clusive of the bridge across the Fraser River,
and the average cost- per mile, $23,615.72 ;
and also attached hereto and marked " B " is
a similar statement of the cost of the Columbia
and Kootenay Railway, showing the total cost
of that railway to have been $588,913.11, exclusive of the bridge across the Kootenay
River, and the average cost per mile, $21,-
" The work of construction on the Mission
Branch of the Canadian Pacific Railway and on
the Columbia and Kootenay Railway was heavier than on the Nakusp and Slocan Railway,and
the smaller amount of the estimate for construction was also due to the fact that at the
time of construction of the former railways the
cost of labor and supplies was higher than it
was estimated it would be at the time of the
construction of the Nakusp and Slocan Railway ; but, even making allowance for these
conditions, the estimate of $17,497 os 'ts probable cost to the Canadian Pacific Railway, in
light of the facilities mentioned in Mr. Duches-
nay's declaration, is low.
"The rolling stock and equipment which will
be placed upon the Nakusp and Slocan Railway when completed will be transferred from
the main line of the Canadian Pacific Railway,
and will be of the same standard as is now in
use on other branches operated by the Company.
" The rails supplied by the Canadian Pacific
Railway Company, to the Nakusp and
Slocan Company, in pursuance of the agreement of the 9th August, 1893, are ordinary 56
and 60-pound rails, which are being taken oft
sections of the main line where we have heavy
traffic and where large locomotives are in use
for the purpose of being replaced by 72-pound
rails, and in this matter the Nakusp and Slocan Railway is being treated in an exactly
similar manner to the Mission Branch, the
Columbia and Kootenay, and the Arrow Lake
Clearing, grubbing, grading, trestles and
bridges,   excluding   the   bridge across
Fraser River $127,902 15
Track, ballasting, engineering and incidental expenses     80,850 21
Right of way      8.998 67
Fencing       6,622 83
Buildings      11,783 29
Total cost of railway ready for traffic, exclusive ot bridge across Fraser River,
and exclusive of rolling stock $236,157  15
Mileage, 10, equal to a cost ot $23,615.72 per mile,
not including rolling stock or the bridge across the
Fraser River.
Certified correct.
Accountant, Pacific Division, C. P. R'y. IO
Clearing, grubbing, grading trestles and
bridges, exclusive of the Bridge across
Kootenay River $358,584 07
Track, ballasting, engineering and incidental expenses   220,621  18
Buildings       9,707 86
Total cost of the railway ready for traffic,
exclusive of the bridge across Kootenay
River, and exclusive of rolling stock,. ..$588,913 11
Mileage, 27.8, equal to acost of $21,183.92 per mile,
not including bridge across Kootenay River.
Certified correct.
Accountant, Pacific Division, C. P. R'y.
Mr. A. F. Stewart, civil engineer, at present
in charge of the Arrow Lake branch of the C.
P. R., and one of the most careful and experienced railway engineers in Canada, says :
" In the year 1891 I made a general recon-
naisance of the country lying between Lower
Arrow Lake and Kootenay Lake, under instructions from the Canadian Pacific Railway,
and thoroughly explored the country passed
through by the line of the Nakusp and Slocan
Railway as now located, and in the year 1892
I ran a trial line from Nakusp to Summit Lake.'
"I also made an estimate of the cost of a
line from Nakusp to Three Forks, which was
in excess of the estimate made by Mr. Duch-
esnay, C.E., with which I am familiar, but
this excess is principally due to different specifications. I however, thoroughly agree with
the estimate under which Mr. Duchesnay
places the total cost at $664,954, and the
average cost per mile at $17,497, under the
favourable conditions which he mentions as
influencing him in its preparation."
It will be interesting to note what the cost
of some of the principal railways in Canada
was. The Star Almanac for 1894 gives a
table showing the cost per mile, both actual
and theoretical (estimated), in 1892. Rolling
stock, it says, is in most cases included in the
cost, but it does not specify.     Here it is :
—    JJ « n g>oo « t- o yS o t- o c*og 1- fl rtvO *r n
■«*»•- *; * 0 - c? dm i~oo q i- r-00 i*-oo q « n 15
5o« 00" f* n «" o> t^od >o t^ >n ^ o - t^vo rtOO'4
<      «3 v>
.=     a> 00 S. ^S? Z1 ~ **" *^ N^ ciC*a*o - 00 *r -
fc r , S     -iJi-l^C?i4-0*\01OfOCf-C^t^ MOO  l~ -JoQ   >0
g*J   u     h   RMn -HlflNH „- Pit,
'a-31«2 =x
2-3     "
0 o1
3t3  rt
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—; rt       (i « t-
<o   uuw
C_5 u X 2 en rt
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=.s a % o s.s
Mulhall's Dictionary of Statistics gives the
total mileage and cost of construction for
Europe and the world, at various dates, as
follows :
Cost per Cost per
Miles, Mile. Miles. Mile.
1840        1,679 ^30.000 4.515 £15,800
■850      14,465 27,800 23,555 19,800
i860      31,885 25,000 66,290 16,300
1870      63,300 23.306 128,235 16,400
1880    101,720 23,700 228,440 17,200
1888    130,000 23,300 354,310 16,100
The same authority for a period between
1887 and 1888 gives the average cost of construction per mile for the United States at
£12,500; for Australia, £9,300; and for
South Africa, £8,900.
The above figures will give a good general
idea of the cost of railway construction, and
readers can come to a conclusion as to the
legitimate cost of construction in a mountainous country like British Columbia. J^n Opposition Organ's View in J92,
The following is a copy of an editorial in the
" News-Advertiser," November 2nd, 1892, on
the necessity of communication being opened
into the Slocan country via Nakusp :—
" We are glad to see that the Vancouver
Board of Trade is at length bestirring itself to
do something towards making the important
and rich district of West Kootenay accessible.
Within the last few months there have appeared in our columns letters from some of the
people of that district, pointing out the immense mineral resources which the prospecting of the last few months has shown to exist
there, in addition to the ore deposits which
were formerly known. Anyone who has ever
been in a mining camp, and especially one
newly opened and in a district with which the
means of communication are either difficult or
entirely wanting (and this from the character
of the country where minerals are found is
generally so in the case of new discoveries),
can understand the anxiety, if not the impatience, with which the miners and prospectors
regard the deliberate m;nner in which outsiders proceed about the work of constructing
roads or railways. To the man who knows
that he has ore which only requires to be
hauled and delivered at a smelter to yield him
thousands, and perhaps hundreds of thousands
of dollars, the hesitancy and deliberation displayed by a government or capitalists in making the most minute inquiries before they will
expend a dollar in building roads or railways,
without which the wealth cannot be realized,
is exasperating, although doubtless from one
point of view very proper and. very reasonable.
Such has to a very great extent been the case
in regard to the events in connection with
West Kootenay, and the result has been that
another winter has come upon us without any
progress having been made during the past
season in making some of the richest mineral
sections of this continent accessible to the
outer world. Yet during that period any
doubts which existed as to the magnitude or
richness of the mineral deposits have been removed, and the reality shown to be greater
than the most sanguine supposed.
Now, however, there is reason to believe
that some practical efforts will be made to
overcome the drawbacks under which West
Kootenay labors  in   regard  to railway com
munication. Those who have had the opportunity of knowing the facts in the two cases
will not dispute the assertion that the probabilities for traffic for a railway that will tap the
products of tho mineral districts in the neighborhood of the Slocan, Arrow and Kootenay
Lakes are as good, and we consider really better than were those which the discovery of
carbonates in California Gulch in 1877 disclosed. Yet the latter quickly induced two
railway companies to head towards the site of
what is now Leadville, and the difficulties of
the route did not deter them from expending
large sums of money to reach a mining camp,
the continuance of which, beyond a comparatively brief period, there was no certainty, although the character of the ore then being
mined was such as to build up colossal fortunes in a short time, and bring into existence
a town of 30,000 people.
Whatever may have been the reason for the
delay in opening communication between the
southern portion of West Kootenay and the
Canadian Pacific Railway, it is certain that
the people of the Province will not be inclined
to tolerate any longer inaction which is causing serious injury to the commercial and industrial interests of British Columbia. The
ore is there, and the question now to be settled
is the best way to bring it out and take in the
supplies necessary for the sustenance of the
considerable population which will be engaged
in the mining industry. In many quarters
there is a strong feeling .that the Provincial
Government has been strongly remiss in connection with the matter, and that matters
would be a good deal further advanced in the
desired direction than they are now had the
Executive displayed more energy or ability in
regard to them. We do not propose, however, to condemn the Government in regard to
this until it has an opportunity of making its
defence. Then again, there are many who
consider the timidity with which the Canadian
Pacific Railway Company has approached the
matter has had much to do with the slow development cf the country. They admit that
the amount of ore carried over the Columbia
and Kootenay Railway is not such as to give
muce encouragement for the expenditure of
large sums of money in railway construction.
But, on the other hand, it must not be forgot- ten that there were many who criticised the
expenditure of money on aline from "nowhere
to nowhere," and who then urged the construction of a line from Revelstoke, which, in
whatever location the richest deposits of ore
might be found, would have given the Province and the Railway Company a line in the
direction in which, sooner or later, the main
artery of traffic must be found. Now that
piece of road is a necessity, and if the Railway
Company is informed of what is transpiring in
the West Kootenay District it will not, we believe, on business grounds alone, lose any
more time than can be avoided in commencing
construction. The Boards of Trade of the
principal cities of the Province should take
united action in regard to this matter. The
people of British Columbia, whether on the
Coast or in the West Kootenay District, demand that the advantages to be derived from
the development of a rich mining region like
that of Slocan should not be retarded because
any railway company, however powerful, hesitates to make the expenditure requisite to open
up a country as to the future of which there
can no longer be any doubt. For one-fifth of
what it cost some Denver capitalist to reach
Leadville, the whole of this rich country can
be tapped. If by the time the Legislature
meets some assurance is not forthcoming that
the Canadian Pacific Railway Company intends to occupy the field, and that without
further delay, some other method must be
adopted to open up the country. We are
told that British Columbia has within its borders one of the richest mineral districts on this
continent, and that being the case the people
naturally demand that they shall secure the
advantages that will accrue to all parts of the
Province by its development."
The above editorial was based on a resolution of the Vancouver Board of Trade which
held a meeting the previous evening, at which
meeting, after a long discussion, the following
resolution was moved and carried unanimous-
After some further discussion, the following
resolution was passed :—
It was moved by Capt. Tatlow, seconded
by Mr. Cotton, " That this Board, feeling the
urgency of taking immediate steps to secure to
the Province the trade of the mining districts
of the interior, and the Slocan in particular,
would urge upon the Provincial Government
and the Canadian Pacific Railway the necessity of giving that district better means of
communication by means of a waggon road
from Slocan to Arrow Lakes, until such time
as a railway can be constructed, and that the
President be requested to communicate with
the Provincial Government and the President
of the C. P. R. to this effect, and that a copy
of this resolution be forwarded to Mr. Davie,
the Premier, at Ottawa, and Mr. Van Home."
Moved by Mr. Cotton, seconded by Mr.
McLagan, " That the Boards of Trade of New
Westminster, Nanainio and Victoria be asked
to unite with this Board in carrying out the
foregoing resolution." THE PREMIER'S SPEECH
Hon. Mr. Davie—Hon. gentlemen opposite have made a sorry spectacle of themselves
to-night. They have been saying that the gov-
vernment proposes to make a farce of this
investigation ; and yet, sir, what do they themselves propose but to make it a screaming farce.
They propose that the government being upon
its trial for corruption, shall themselves appoint
a counsel to prosecute them. Well, sir, was
absurdity like that ever uttered before ? They
have been comparing the government in this
matter to criminals. Well,
parison. Did you ever hear of a case where a
criminal in the dock had the right first of all
to select his own counsel to defend him, and
then without reference to anybody else, to
select a prosecutor or attorney-general to prosecute him? And that is exactly what the hon.
members opposite propose for the government
to do I Now, if the government were to do
anything of that kind, would the country then
not denounce the thing as a fraud, an effort of
the government to whitewash themselves at
the expense of the country, and would ask :
" To whom does this lawyer owe his allegiance but to the men that employed him ?" I •
say that is a thing too absurd to be thought of
for one moment. And it shows to what
lengths hon. gentlemen have to go to get out
of the very awkward position in which they are
placed. Why, their object to-day all the way
through is to shuffle out of the charges they
have made against the government. First of
all they do not propose to have any enquiry of
any kind themselves, and when the inquiry is
forced upon them they try to escape by raising
false issues and side tracking the main one.
Well, now, as to the course to be adopted in a
case of this kind, happily we are not without
precedent, twenty years ago this house was
engaged in a similar matter. The parties were
not the same'as now, but there is a remnant of
the party here, the hon. the leader of the opposition.    Sir, what has he told us?    He has
told us that it is perfectly absurd for the government to select the charges upon which they
will be tried, you never heard a prisoner
selecting the charges he will be tried upon;
the prosecution does that. But what did he
do then, sir ? Now, I will show you. It is
just as well to refer to precedents, and I will
show you exactly what the course of proceeding was. On the 20th February, 1874, Mr.
Robson, moved, seconded by Mr. Smithe :
" Whereas, certain statements have appeared in the public newspapers connecting the
names of members of the late government and
of the present government, with proceedings
of a questionable character in relation to
Texada Island, in the Straits of Georgia ; and
whereas, transactions are alleged to have taken
place in respect to said island of a nature prejudicial to the public interest; be it therefore
resolved : That a respectful address be presented to His Honor the Lieutenant-Governor
praying that he will cause a royal commission
to be appointed, with full power to take evidence under oath, and send for persons and
papers, for the purpose of inquiring into the
whole matter, and reporting thereon to this
house at its next session."
Now, sir, at that time Mr. Robson was in
opposition, and a prominent member of the
opposition ; the hon. leader of the opposition
here was then a member of the government,
he was not the leader, Mr. Walkem was the
Mr.—No; Mr. DeCosmos was
Hon. Mr. Davie—Mr. Walkem was a
member of the government at all events; I
may be wrong in saying that he was leader.
However, you have heard Mr. Robsbn's motion. There was no point of order raised
against Mr. Robson's motion such as the opposition would now lead the house to believe
would have prevented his moving for a commission in  this matter.    Now, Mr. Robson's 14
motion did not suit his opponents, so it was
defeated, whereupon the standing orders were
suspended, and Hon. Mr. Walkem moved,
seconded by the Hon. Mr. Beaven :
" Whereas, the hon. the member for Nanai-
mo has stated in his place in this house, that
he was credibly informed that prominent members of the late and present government were
in a ring to acquire possession of Texada
Island, in a manner prejudicial to the interests
of the public, be it therefore resolved :
"That a respectful address be presented to
His Honor the Lieutenant Governor, praying
that he will cause a royal commission to be
appointed, with full power to take evidence
under oath, and send for persons and papers,
for the purpose of inquiring into the whole
matter and reporting thereon to His Honor the
Lieutenant-Governor for publication."
Now, sir, there is a precedent set by the
hon. the leader of the opposition for the way
these things shall proceed, by which you will
observe that the hon. gentleman was not content to go to trial Upon the charge formulated
by Mr. Robson, but distinctly formulated the
charge himself upon which he was to be tried.
Mr. Beaven—Amplified it.
Hon. Mr. Davie—No, sir, he particularized it; and he selected the charge upon which
he was to be tried.
Now, that case, sir, will also serve to show
what was done on the commission. Hon.
gentlemen opposite ask who is to prosecute it.
Why, sir, those who bring the charges. Else,
why do they bring them ? The hon. leader of
the opposition should know that, he has had
experience enough in this line for upwards of
twenty years; he has had experience enough
to come out in a courageous manner and conduct his prosecution as Mr. Robson did then.
And the hon. member from New Westminster
and the hon. member from Nanaimo District,
and any other members on the other side who
made these charges, should come forward and
conduct their own prosecution, and without
a lawyer also. The hon. leader of the opposition, as I have had occasion to remark before,
is excelled by few legal men as a constitutional
lawyer, he does not need any lawyer. And
we will see that it is a non-politicial tribunal.
And similarly, other hon. members opposite,
can act without a lawyer. Who prosecuted in
the Texada case ? Did the government employ
a lawyer to prosecute themselves, as suggested,
by hon. gentlemen opposite that they should
do? No, Mr. Robson, with a courage equal
to his ability, appeared before the commission
and prosecuted.
Here is what the report of the Royal Commission says referring to the sittings of the
" That, at such sittings, the three Commissioners were all present, except on one occasion, viz., the 20th day of August, at Viptoria,
when an enquiry was held before the Honor-
ables Messrs. Crease and Gray, as to the mode
of examination, by interrogatories of Mr. De-
Cosmos, a witness then absent at Ottawa, the
Chief Justice on that occasion not being present, owing to his having gone to Cassiar on
'• That at these various sittings, of which
public notice was always given in the newspapers in Victoria, the honorable member for
Nanaimo, Mr. Robson, was always present,
and was afforded every opportunity, by examination and cross-examination of the witnesses,
and by suggestion and argument, to promote
the enquiry and establish the charge."
Now, then, there is an example for hon.
gentlemen opposite to follow, that of a man
who was always honorable in his methods in
political matters, and was courageous and
straightforward in his actions. They do not
want a lawyer at the expense of the province.
So now having told the hon. members of their
privileges, I shall hope they will avail themselves of them.
Now, let us look at some of the objections
raised. I shall take up the remark of my
friend, Mr. Stoddart. I think that hon.
gentleman has exercised an independence in
this matter for which he is to be complimented.
Although I think if he had had the opportunity of seeing this amendment in print, and
considering at greater length the resolution
that I proposed and the amendment of the hon.
the Chief Commissioner, he would not have had
occasion to express himself as he did. Now,
sir, the hon. gentleman says that he is quite
sure that there are more members of the Nakusp & Slocan Railway Company and of the
Construction Company than have been stated
by these papers already brought down. Well,
sir,i that is so, and there is any suspicion
that cabinet ministers are members of either
the Nakusp Company or the Construction
Company, the amendment of the Chief Commissioner gives exhaustive power of enquiry.
Here is his amendment: "And whether
any of His Honor's ministers have or had any
interest, directly or indirectly, in the Nakusp
& Slocan Railway Company, or in any of the
contracts of the company, or in the Construction Company, either in furnishing material or
supplies, or in any way whatsoever." Why,
sir, the original resolution was comprehensive
enough to cover all that, and it was intended
to be so. " Whether corrupt motives of any
kind existed with or influenced His Honor's
ministers in the advice tendered by th,em to
His Honor the  Lieutenant-Governor in rela- is
tion to the Nakusp & Slocan Railway Company." Could language be more comprehensive than that? We want to find out whether
there was any species of corruption at all.
Now, if the members of the government had
any interest in it, directly or indirectly, there
would be corruption. So that the resolution
was proposed in the most comprehensive way.
Now, the hon. member, Mr. Forster, has
said that the report of his remarks in the opposition organ, the Times is not correct.
Well, we have struck out the part he objects
to although I am satisfied he used them. And-
then Mr. Brown quibbles about the wording
of the resolution, he says the wording of
the resolution is to limit the question to the
first guarantee. And in order to make that
clear we have struck that part out also. And
as to their burning with the desire to move for
a Royal Commission and could not do it because of the point of order, I venture to say
that rule 45 has nothing whatever to do with
it. That rule merely prevents anybody moving for an expression of opinion, an abstract
expression of opinion which would involve the
expenditure of money. And this is an entirely different thing. And in 1874, there
was no objection made to Mr. Robson moving
the same resolution. So it is just as competent for an hon. member on the opposite side
to move this thing as members of the government and, if there was any sincerity about hon.
members, opposite, and they had wanted a
Royal Commission, they would have risked the
point of order, and have got themselves on
record ; and what better thing would they have
wanted than for the government to have defeated their motion for a Royal Commission by
raising a point of order? Fault was found
with me because I said on a previous occasion
I did not know who were the members of the
Construction Company. What I said was
strictly correct. Until the information had
been obtained for this house I had not taken
the trouble to find out who were the members
of the company or the Construction Company.
I was dealing with the company and I knew
that it was registered under Act of Parliament
and it ,was merely a matter of idle curiosity, to
know who were the members of the company.
I knew the gentlemen I was dealing with, and
having found out that the company was in a
position to put up $118,000, it was no part of
my business to be prying into the question of
their membership. I can assure hon. gentlemen that my time is too much occupied—and
I think they will believe it when I say it—
with matters of importance, to be employed
in prying into other people's business, even if
I were so disposed. And I did not concern
myself as to who was going to make what pro
fit there was in this contract, or who were the
members of the company or the Construction
Company. I was content with ascertaining
from reliable sources what the road would
cost, and then entering into an agreement with
a company of sufficient means, as evidenced
by the deposit of $118,000 to build it. And
then, sir, we are told that the resolution is not
wide enough ; it leaves out the crux of the
whole thing. But the crux of this thing is
corruption. That is what we want to find out
about; the other questions which the hon.
gentlemen opposite want to interpose are mere
matters of politics. But this is the red herring
which they want to drag across the scent,
which they hope will side track the whole
object of the inquiry. They want the commission to inquire whether the government exceeded their authority under the Railway Act,
1893. Do they want a Royal Commission for
that purpose ? That is a question for this
legislature to say, and not a Royal Commission. If this house had said that they exceeded
their authority, or if the house did think the
government had exceeded their authority they
would not have passed the bill, or if the house
passed the bill, although of the opinion that
the government had exceeded their authority,
that is a ratification of what the government
has done, and in either case the matter is ended, and, such being the case, can you tell me
what earthly reason there is for a Royal Commission to sit and re-open the question, which
has been settled by the legislature ? Even
assuming that the government have exceeded
their authority, what is that, sir, in comparison
with the gross charge of theft and corruption
made against us ? The hon. leader of the opposition proposes to mix up two things which
are wide apart, then go before the commission,
abandon the theft and corruption, and try to
get a verdict in his favor on a wholly immaterial issue. Why, the question of excess of
authority does not weigh in the scale one
feather's weight in comparison with the corruption charges that have been made. You
cannot but see the utter insincerity of the
gentlemen of the opposition when they put two
such different matters in the balance together.
"And that the commissioners be also empowered to investigate, ascertain and report what
persons have been or are, either directly or
Indirectly, interested in the land known as
the Townsite of Three Forks, or in any
of the proceeds of the land known as lot
210," etc. Has it ever been suggested in
this house before now or is it even now
charged that any member of the government had anything to do with Three Forks ?
Has any one of the opposition pretended for a
moment to say that there has been anything i6
wroBg about that so far as the members of the
government are concerned ? Not one of them.
And without a single charge or suggestion on
which to found it, the hon. gentleman now
proposes, when the matter is all over, when
the bill is passed and everything done, to ascertain and enquire into something that has
not been even suggested or insinuated by anybody. I wonder i( the gentleman does not
have feelings of shame to put such a thing on
the records of the house. I do not want a
better document to show before an audience
in any place, to prove that the opposition are
trying to shirk the issue of corruption, which
they have raised in respect of the Nakusp
matter. " Or, who may have a promise of
any interest from the person or persons to
whom the grant is to be issued, or from
any person or persons to whom they may
have promised or agreed to transfer their
right or any part or interest thereof or
therein." To find out who may have
the promise. And who might that be ?
Well, sir, the hon. gentleman opposite might
have a promise, or anybody on the street,
Tom Jones, Bill Sykes, or anybody else. He
wants the commissioners to find out who has
an interest in this. He would find Jones and
Sykes, and there may be hundreds of them.
And he wants to mix that up with the charge
of corruption and boodling against the government ! If you will tell me that there is any
sincerity in the actions of a man who will mix
such trifling matters up with the grave issues
which we have to day proposed for investigation, you insult my common sense, and the
common sense of every man in the community.
It is only a contemptible way of crawling out
of the aspersions of dishonor which they have
Mr. Brown—The papers were full of it.
Hon. Mr. Davie—I am dealing with what
the members of the opposition were full of,
that was charges of corruption against members of this government in regard to the Nakusp. And I say they are ignominiously retreated to-day from what they said, and then
they say the resolution does not cover all the
ground. It covers everything that is in the
resolution of the leader of the opposition, except the question of excess of authority, which
has nothing to do with the point of corruption
and a roving commission to find out   who the
Three Forks belongs to, and in respect ot
which no suggestion of impropriety has been
made in this house,—
Hon.  Mr. Beaven—Cowardly business!
Hon. Mr. Davie—I should say it was
cowardly business to try to burk an enquiry by
trying to find out whether Tom Jones or
William Sykes were interested in the Three
Forks. If hon. gentlemen opposite want a
commission of inquiry into the Three Forks
business, let them move for it themselves, and
not encumber this enquiry with it.
I wish to say a word in regard to what the
hon. member for the Islands has said. Now,
sir, there is no member in this house for whom
I entertain a higher sense of respect than the
hon. member for the Islands, and he knows it.
He knows how frequently I have been to him
to consult him on matters which I have to
deal with, matters of importance, how pleased
I am to get his views on all subjects, and as I
never fail to get good ideas from him, and he
never speaks in this house but what he throws
light upon subjects nnder discussion, I prize
his opinions highly. But I rather think that
his confidence in the integrity of the government has rather outweighed his sense of what
ought to be done on this occasion. I think he
is wrong when he says the government are too
sensitive in this matter. I think when the
government's integrity is attacked their duty
to the public and themselves is that the matter should be cleared up. (Hear, hear.) And
I think it would have been the crowning mistake of my life, for which I should have
blamed myself to the day of my death, if I had
not moved for this inquiry. Sir, I am glad to
say that I have done so. And, sir, I can see
the despondency coming over the faces of the
hon. gentlemen opposite when they find their
guns spiked as they are by this resolution.
Why, sir, this is the chief clap-trap that they
intended to bring up at the elections, this
charge of corruption, had it not been enquired into, and that was the reason that they
failed to do what was their right and privi-
ledge, i. e.. move for an investigation, and for
their conduct in this matter and for the red
herring they have sought to draw across the
scent, I shall confidently ask the country to
pronounce them, as the majority in this house
already know them lo be, political humbugs.
(Loud Applause.)


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