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RETURN To an Address presented to His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor, asking His Honour to cause to be… British Columbia. Legislative Assembly 1900

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 63 Vict.    Offer of $1,000,000 towards Trans-Pacific Cable Scheme. 501
RETURN
To an Address presented to His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor, asking His Honour
to cause to be laid before the House copies of all correspondence between the
Provincial Government, or any member thereof, and the Imperial and Dominion
Governments, or any member thereof, relative to the proffered Provincial grant of
one million dollars towards the cost of laying a trans-Pacific cable.
By Command.
F. CARTER-COTTON,
Minister of Finance.
Treasury Department,
29th January, 1900.
[Telegram.]
Victoria, B. C, 5th May, 1899.
The Right Honourable
Sir   Wilfrid Laurier,  G.G.M.G., Ottawa, Ontario.
This Government observes with great regret that further difficulties have arisen in connection with Pacific cable scheme. It regards the enterprise as of vast importance, and
absolutely necessary if Canada is to secure her proper share of Pacific commerce, which it
believes will rapidly assume large proportions. Particularly is the enterprise of moment to
British Columbia, the Dominion gateway to the Pacific. On these grounds this Government
feels justified in assisting in the realization of the scheme beyond what is involved in its provincial share of Dominion responsibility. This Government, therefore, will assume for the
Province one-ninth share of cost of cable on arrangements similar to those with Australian
Colonies. Hoping that in thus strengthening the hands of Dominion Government the consummation of this Imperial enterprise may be achieved.
(Signed) F.  Carter-Cotton,
Minister of Finance.
Minister of Finance to Sir  Wilfrid Laurier.
6th May,  1899.
The Right   Honourable
Sir  Wilfrid Laurier,  G.C.M.G., Ottawa.
Dear Sir Wilfrid,—I sent you last evening the following telegram :—
" This Government observes with great regret that further difficulties have arisen in connection with Pacific cable scheme. It regards the enterprise as of vast Imperial importance,
and absolutely necessary if Canada is to secure her proper share of Pacific commerce which, it
believes, will rapidly assume large proportions. Particularly is scheme of moment to British
Columbia, the Dominion gateway to the Pacific. On these grounds this Government feels
justified in assisting in the realization of the enterprise beyond what is involved in its Provincial share of Dominion responsibility. This Government, therefore, will assume for the
Province one-ninth share of cost of cable on arrangements similar to those with Australian
Colonies, hoping that in thus strengthening the hands of Dominion Government the consummation of this Imperial enterprise may be achieved." 502 Offer of $1,000,000 towards Trans-Pacific Cable Scheme. 1899
I have now the pleasure of confirming the above telegram by stating that this Government
will be prepared to assume the responsibility for one-ninth share of the cost of the cable on
the same terms and under the same arrangements, in respect to the control and management
of the enterprise, as have been proposed by the colonies of New South Wales, Victoria,
Queensland and New Zealand.
This Government, of course, realizes that as that of a Province of the Dominion it will
have to bear its share, with the Governments of the other Provinces, of any responsibility
incurred by the Dominion in regard to the enterprise. It also recognizes the fact that in
making this ofler it departs somewhat from the course which a Provincial Government would
generally follow in regard to a Federal enterprise.
But, in the opinion of this Government, there are sound reasons for its adoption of the
course which has been intimated to you. As the Province which abuts on the Pacific Ocean,
British Columbia is most directly and chiefly interested in any scheme, the object of which is
to foster and develop commerce with all communities bordering on that ocean. It has sometimes seemed that the Federal Parliament did not fully grasp the potentialities of this Pacific
commerce, and of the events which are now transpiring, destined, as this Government believes,
to have an immense influence on the policies and fortunes of  the great Powers of the World.
This Government, therefore, viewed with much satisfaction the decision taken by your
Government a few weeks ago—to propose to assume one-half of the five-ninths of the cost of
the cable, provided the Imperial Government did the same, which, with the contributions of
the four Australian Governments, would have provided the requisite sum and assured the
early completion of the enterprise.
It has been, therefore, with the deepest regret that this Government observed that a
check had been sustained by the refusal of the Imperial Government to meet your Government's proposal.
With the aim of strengthening the hands of your Government, and of inducing the
Imperial Government to reconsider its decision, this Government decided to assume that share
of responsibility in the enterprise of which my telegram informed you, and it will await with
anxiety your reply that your efforts have been successful, and that at last the negotiations of
several years have been brought to a satisfactory conclusion.
Although, as this Government understands from the despatches which have appeared in
the newspapers, the Imperial Government is prepared to make an annual contribution to any
deficiency which may occur in the earnings of the cable—to meet the expenditure for maintenance, operation and interest on capital—of a larger sum than would be its share if it became
the owner of five-eighteenths in the enterprise, this Government considers it is of the greatest
importance that the Imperial Government should be a co-partner in the scheme, whether to'
the extent proposed or to a smaller one.
It is of great moment that the necessary capital should be obtained on the most favourable
terms, and to this end it is essential that an Imperial guarantee should be given, jointly with
that of the various Colonial Governments. As this Government is in ignorance of the actual
situation beyond what has been disclosed by press reports (which may or may not be accurate)
it is unable to discuss the subject more fully. But it would suggest that even should the Imperial Government decline to accept any share of ultimate risk for the capital invested in the
enterprise, it might be induced to give its guarantee to the subscribers to the capital, provided
that the Colonial Governments entered into a joint indemnity to it against any financial loss
from the giving of such guarantee.
I am, etc.,
(Signed) F. Carter-Cotton,
Minister of Finance.
Ottawa, 13th May, 1899.
The Hon. F. Carter-Cotton,
Treasury Department, Victoria, B.C.
Dear Mr. Carter-Cotton,—I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your favour
of the 6th instant, repeating and confirming your message of the preceding day.
You are probably aware by this time that, on the receipt of your telegram, I caused it at
once to be communicated to the press, both here and in England.    There is nothing more to 63 Vict.    Offer of $1,000,000 towards Trans-Pacific Cable Scheme. 503
do at present in the matter of the Pacific cable. We have strongly represented to the
Imperial authorities that any deviation from the terms laid down by the Imperial Committee
would be prejudicial to the success of the scheme. We still hope that the action of the
Imperial Government will be reconsidered.
I have, etc.,
(Signed)        Wilfrid Laurier.
Minister of Finance to Sir Wilfrid Laurier.
20th May, 1899.
Dear Sir Wilfrid,—I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your favour of
the 13th instant.
I hope that the Imperial Government will see fit to reconsider its decision as to the terms
on which it will assist the Pacific cable enterprise, so as to bring its method of participation
in the project into harmony with that proposed by other Governments interested in the
matter.
In any case, I trust that you will introduce a Bill at this Session of Parliament authorising your Government to take action within certain prescribed lines, so that any delay on the
part of the Imperial Government in modifying their proposals will not necessarily prevent any
action being taken until the Dominion Parliament meets again.
I am, etc,,
(Signed)        F. Carter-Cotton.
The Right Honourable
Sir Wilfrid Laurier, G.C.M.G., Ottawa, Ontario.
victoria, b. c.
Printed by Kichard Wolfenden, Printer to the Queen's Most Excellent Majesty
1900. 

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