BC Sessional Papers

PETITION. British Columbia. Legislative Assembly 1880

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 48 Vic. Petition of Mayor and Council of Victoria. 405
To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the Legislative Assembly:
"We the undersigned, the Mayor and Councillors for the City of Victoria, respectfully
call the attention of your Honourable House, the Legislative Assembly of the Province
of British Columbia, to the non-fulfilment by the Dominion Government of the railway
obligations to this Province.
It is a matter of history that the default of the Dominion of Canada to carry out
the Terms of Union, led to an appeal by British Columbia to the Imperial Government
in the year 1874; that Lord Carnarvon, Her Majesty's Secretary of State for the
Colonies, before arbitrating on the differences between the Dominion and British
Columbia, obtained the consent of both Governments to accept his decision "without
any question or demur."
That, acting upon that agreement, Lord Carnarvon, after a most careful and
exhaustive consideration of the cases presented by both Governments, made an award,
the first condition being !' that the Bailway from Esquimalt to Nanaimo be commenced
'■ as soon as possible, and completed with all practicable dispatch."
That the immediate construction of the short line on Vancouver Island was in
conformity with the previously expressed wish of the Dominion Government in its
Minute of Council, approved by the Governor-General, 17th September, 1874.
That the Dominion Government approved the Carnarvon Terms on the 18th
December, 1874, and acknowledged that the conclusion at which his Lordship had
arrived, " upheld the policy adopted by it."
That, notwithstanding that over five years have elapsed since the settlement was
made, no construction has been commenced as agreed upon.
That the failure of the Dominion Government has been of incalculable injury—by
locking up the lands, preventing settlement, and stopping the development of this
valuable part of British Columbia.
That the prospect of railway construction was the controlling influence which induced British Columbia to become a portion of the Dominion of Canada.
That no railway in the Dominion of Canada of similar length holds out so certain a
prospect of financial success, as the line between Esquimalt and Nanaimo.
That as the value of the lands (coal and other mineral and agricultural) opened
must greatly increase by such works, we believe that a large immigration would follow,
and consequently a great increase of Customs Bevenue accrue to the Dominion from
this source. We would call attention also to the great importance of being able to
transport cual speedily to Esquimalt for Her Majesty's Fleet in the event of war.
"We therefore humbly pray that your Honourable Body will take immediate steps
to secure the commencement and carrying out of the obligation of the Dominion of
Canada to British Columbia to construct the Island Bailway.
Victoria, B. C, J. H. Turner,   Mayor.
April 8th, 1880. Geo. Mansell,
A. J. Smith,
Andrew Rome,
A. McLean, \- Councillors.
"W. E. Clarke,
Noah Shakespeare
John Boyd.


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