Transcript of The Canadian Pacific Railway
Hardships Faced by the 'Navvies' The Canadian Pacific Railway Building the Railway Looking for New Opportuinities The Canadian Pacific Railway (now commonly known as the CP Railway) runs approximately 14,000 miles through Canada and into the U.S. It goes from Montreal to Vancouver and goes as far north as Edmonton. The Canadian Pacific Railway was Canada’s first transcontinental railway and was mainly used to transport cargo. The Canadian Pacific Railway became Canada’s largest railway and held this position till 1975. The Canadian Pacific Railway still runs to this day. Hardships Faced by the Navvies Many of the Chinese labourers did the most dangerous of work. They often blasted away rocks with nitroglycerine and other explosives. Many of them died in accidents, fires and disasters. Landslides and dynamite blasts also killed many. As well as being given the most difficult work, they were also paid the least compared to the whites. The Chinese were paid $1.00 a day which had to be used for their basic necessities such as food and shelter, while the whites did not have to pay for these things and were still given more than the Chinese (they were paid between $1.50 and $2.50). The Chinese workers lived in camps and did their own cooking. Their diet mostly contained of rice and dried salmon. They weren’t able to pay for fresh fruits and vegetable therefore they lacked vitamin C and many died of scurvy. The Pacific Scandal Sir Hugh Allan had paid Sir John A. Macdonald $360 000 for the Conservative Campaign. At the time the money Sir Hugh Allan had given Sir John A. Macdonald seemed like a bribe. At the elections the conservative barely won. Afterwards when Sir Hugh Allan's company was awarded with the contract to build the railway many people started to think that the money he had given to Sir John A. Macdonald was a bribe. It wasn't legal to bribe so many people opposed Macdonald. Macdonald and his conservative government were defeated by the House of Commons in 1874. This became known as the Pacific Scandal later on. Alexander Mackenzie became the Prime Minister after the elections. In 1878 though, Macdonald became the Prime Minister again after the conservatives had defeated the Liberal. John A. Macdonald was appointed as the first Prime Minister of Canada. He had promised British Columbia that he would build them a railway system that would connect them to the rest of the country (running from Ontario to the West Coast within 10 years). In return for a railway British Columbia would join the new country. The scandal and the Liberals had ended Sir Hugh Allan’s involvement in the railway. The Liberals weren't as involved in building the railway and had only made a couple of attempts at it in Ontario and Manitoba. Macdonald had promised that the railway would be completed in ten years. Macdonald had a hard time getting supporters for the CPR. At the time the economy was in a depression and people didn't want to take chances as several other railways had gone bankrupt. He later awarded a new contract to a Montreal Company. Its supporters included rich merchants and bank owners. He promised them all $25 million in cash, about ten hectares of free land and a guarantee of freedom from competition for twenty years. The company rushed to complete the railway and finished it in just over four years. It was quite a simple task but the rock in Ontario and Rocky Mountains in the west had posed as a problem. Thankfully the CPR had a determined general Manager. William Van Horne was appointed the general manger of the Canadian Pacific Railway on January 1 1882. He was involved in the daily running. He personally hired the navvies (laborers). There was a shortage of laborers in BC so they appointed workers from China. As many as 17 000 Chinese labourers were given the job between 1881 and 1884. When the Canadian Pacific railway was complete the workers had to find jobs. Many of the Chinese workers went back to China but some couldn’t afford the ticket back. Many of them settled in British Columbia and worked as gardeners, cooks and servants in rich white family households. You Will Learn About: - The Pacific ScandalFull transcript
- The Construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway (Who was involved, When it took place, and What was its purpose).
- The Hardships faced by the 'Navvies' The Canadian Pacific Railway How it all Began The Canadian Pacific Railway Challenges for the Chinease At the time many Canadians discriminated the Chinese. They looked different, spoke a different language and had different customs. Some were also afraid of the Chinese. Some white people thought that the Chinese would take away their jobs. Others made up false stories. They thought of the Chinese as dirty disease carriers because of their crowded living conditions. Also the Chinese workers were paid less than the whites because they thought that the Chinese didn’t need much to live. They thought that the Chinese were happy with less and didn’t need much. Many Chinese were called names and were abused. As well as that Chinese weren’t allowed to be buried in the same cemeteries as non-Chinese. Challenges for the Chinease After the construction of the railway was completed the Canadians made it quite difficult for the Chinese workers to bring other family member into Canada. While the Europeans were given free land in Canada the Chinese had to pay a head tax for every person. Every Chinese in Canada had to pay $50.00 to the government. This made it harder for other Chinese to come to Canada and bring their families. Many of the men lived away from their families for years; some never even saw them again. In 1990 the number of Chinese people increased therefore the government increased the head tax to $100.00 per person. In 1903 the head tax was increased again to $500.00. Chinese were the only race of people that had to pay a head tax. Conclusion While constructing the railway the Chinese workers discovered jade in the rocks. Jade is very valuable in Chinese beliefs as it’s believed to brings health, wealth and happiness. They increased their wages by shipping the Jade to China. After the Canadian Pacific Railway was complete it ensured the survival of Canada. It made it possible to ship people and products from Nova Scotia to British Columbia. Also it acted as a symbol towards the U.S that all of the land north of the Canadian Pacific Railway was of Canadian territory. The Canadian Pacific Railway was one of the largest achievements at the time. Video Bibliography Books:
-Pearson Canadian History
-How Canada Became Canada: From the Atlantic to The Pacific: Canadian Expansion 1867-1909. Written by: Dr. David Bercuson.
-The Story of Canada; The Making of a Nation. Written by: Janet Lunn and Christopher Moore. Sir John A.
-Macdonald. Written by: Rebecca Szulhan