HC Deb 19 February 1877 vol 232 cc576-7

asked the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies, If he will state what steps are being taken by the Government of the Dominion of Canada to carry out that part of the agreement sometimes known as the Carnarvon Compromise, which provides for the immediate construction of the insular portion of the Northern Pacific Railway; and, whether he has any objection to lay upon the Table copies of a Memorial on this subject addressed to Her Majesty's Government in the early part of last year by the House of Representatives of British Columbia, and of Lord Carnarvon's reply?


Sir, the Bill introduced by the Dominion Government for the construction of the railway from Esquimalt to Nanaimo, on Vancouver's Island—which is not admitted by that Government to be an integral part of the Pacific Railway—was thrown out in the Senate, and, after considering the circumstances, and ascertaining that the cost of that railway would exceed what had been contemplated, the Dominion Government proposed that the Province should receive a sum of money in lieu of that railway, and in compensation for the delays in the construction of the Pacific Railway. This proposal has not been accepted by the Province, and Lord Carnarvon has recommended that the further consideration of the point should be deferred until after the completion of the surveys and the western terminus of the Pacific Railway on the mainland has been decided upon, when an opinion can be formed as to the further proposals which, under all the difficult conditions of the question, may fairly and reasonably be made by the Dominion Government. Papers on the subject are being printed; but it would not be convenient to present them at this moment, although I have no objection to their being presented at a future time.