By Frank Leonard
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Extra resources for A Thousand Blunders: The Grand Trunk Pacific Railway and Northern British Columbia
16 In framing GTP policy on land and townsites, Hays evidently 23 24 A Thousand Blunders selected elements from both American roads. In a memorandum in October 1904, the president proposed the formation of a subsidiary land improvement or development company that would control all GTP property outside that required for the operation of the railway itself. ' Such a notion could quickly be extended from physical layout to economic hegemony. 17 The corporate records also cast doubt on Stevens's contention that GTP general manager Frank Morse was responsible for this shortsighted townsite policy that alienated many.
McBride's outright rejection of this demand led Hays to conclude only that British Columbia was fearful that the GTP might postpone indefinitely the extension to the coast, not that the government had turned away irrevocably from the practice of land granting. This novel interpretation certainly did not depend on the premier's communication that the government would consider concessions only for an undertaking to commence construction from the Pacific coast. 29 Despite McBride's refusal, the Grand Trunk management still counted on the province to grant a significant subsidy in land.
The British Columbia premier had already signalled that he expected the company to begin construction from the coast in return. 50 Though Liberal Senate leader William Templeman turned away the question with a reference to CPR construction on the west end without such a stipulation, McBride was adamant. 51 When the amended contract came before the Senate, the Conservatives tried again. This time they proposed an amendment specifically requiring Pacific construction. It was left to Templeman to express the company's position: 'If you build a road from Port Simpson to the Rocky Mountains, that road by itself will not do much good.
A Thousand Blunders: The Grand Trunk Pacific Railway and Northern British Columbia by Frank Leonard