By Frank Leonard
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Extra info for A Thousand Blunders: The Grand Trunk Pacific Railway and Northern British Columbia
59 Such a position clearly departed from Hays's letter of intent. '60 But Morse still believed that the government would eventually accept the GTP demand. In early March, the general manager marshalled his arguments for McBride. '61 Morse explained that GTP estimates depended on the more economic strategy of building from the east. Only if the government would accord the company the privileges set out above could the company defray the additional cost and undertake Pacific construction. 62 Once again McBride rejected the GTP demands completely.
35 In contradistinction to the claims later advanced during the inquiry, the GTP did not simply wait for speculators to select a harbour for its Pacific terminus. 36 Although this report has not survived, it probably prompted the company to send harbour engineer James H. Bacon to inspect Tuck's Inlet late in 1903. Hays had repeatedly stated to Rivers Wilson that the characteristics of the harbour would be the prime factor in the selection of the terminus. On this standard, the advantage of Tuck's Inlet was by no means clear.
62 Once again McBride rejected the GTP demands completely. But even before he received the formal response, Morse declared that if the terms were rejected, the company would act independently. Three days later, the general manager informed McBride that the cabinet's refusal 'permanently disposes' of the matter of Pacific construction. This abrupt conclusion led to questions for Templeman in the Senate about the origin of Hays's letter. Even the federal minister of railways attempted to persuade the company to reverse its stand.