Abstract: Report of the Royal Commission Concerning the Saint John and Quebec Railway Co. Charges, 1914

In the spring of 1914, an act was passed by the New Brunswick Legislature empowering Harrison Andrew McKeown, W. Wilberforce Wells and William Shives Fisher to inquire into a variety of charges connected with the Saint John and Quebec Railway Company. The Company had been granted the contract to build a 117 mile stretch of railroad between Gagetown and Centreville, though in 1912 it had subcontracted the entire project to three independent construction companies.

Three main charges were examined by the Commission: that there had been significant cost over runs; that "a large amount of money" had been misappropriated; and, that the contractors "were compelled to pay, and did pay" significant sums to sitting members of the legislature. This last charge was even more serious as the Premier, James Kidd Flemming, and Provincial Secretary, Harry McLeod, were both intimately implicated in the charge.

The first charge was less accusatory than it was the subject of a fact finding mission. No wrongdoings were assigned. The Commissioners simply stated that an extra $873 292.25 was required to finish the project.

As to the second charge, the Commissioners found that, though technically there was a diversion of funds which totalled over $100 000, the vast majority of the money went towards the construction of the railroad and thus was not illegal in the spirit of the law. Nonetheless, the Commissioners did note that $4 000 clearly had been misappropriated, going to a local Fredericton newspaper, The Gleaner, and J. N. W. Winslow.

Regarding the third charge, Flemming admitted to receiving $2 000 from the Railway Company, but denied that there was any compulsion in the exchange. Harry McLeod was also under suspicion of extortion. The Commissioners found McLeod not guilty but found Flemming guilty of the act of compulsion.


Harrison Andrew McKeown, W. Wilberforce Wells, William Shives Fisher.

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Main ReportpdfHeader onlygif
Enabling LegislationpdfHeader onlyincluded with Main Report

Bibliographic Information

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