About the electronic version
Report of the Central Railway Commission
[electronic resource]
New Brunswick. Commission to Inquire into Matters Connected with the Central Railway Company and the New Brunswick Coal and Railway Company.
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1998
Note: Images have been included from the print version.
About the print version
Report of the Central Railway Commission.

New Brunswick. Commission to Inquire into Matters Connected with the Central Railway Company and the New Brunswick Coal and Railway Company.
John Simpson, Printer to the King. 1909 Print copy consulted: University of New Brunswick Libraries.
Note: In: New Brunswick. Legislative Assembly. Journals of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of New Brunswick, 1909, Supplementary Appendix, pp. 30-110.    Prepared by the University of New Brunswick Libraries, in partnership with the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick and the New Brunswick Legislative Library under contract for SchoolNet, with the assistance of the University of New Brunswick Libraries Electronic Text Centre.

   An abstract has been created for the electronic version of this text. It was written by Hart Caplan, University of New Brunswick Libraries.

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  • Railroads -- New Brunswick.
  • Political corruption -- New Brunswick.
  • Administrative responsibility -- New Brunswick.

Revisions to the electronic version
2/25/99 Editor Elizabeth Hamilton, Project Manager, SchoolNet project no.1269, University of New Brunswick Libraries.
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    Abstract: Commission to Inquire into Matters Connected with the Central Railway Company and the New Brunswick Coal and Railway Company , 1909

       Not unlike other stories of Canadian railroad construction, the Commission which examined the building of a fifteen mile stretch of track between Chipman and the Newcastle Coal Fields found ample evidence of graft, corruption, kickbacks, destroyed evidence, and glaring conflicts-of-interest. Commissioners Judge P. A. Landry , Fulton MacDougall , and Almon Tweed , were charged with examining the business practices of the New Brunswick Coal and Railway Company, awarded the construction contract in 1901 until 1905, at which time the Lieutenant Governor made the company a corporate ward of the Province.

       Like Commissioner James McQueen 's reactions at his findings in the Patriotic Potato Inquiry, the Commissioners were unabashed in voicing their amazement and disgust with the manner in which business was conducted between 1901 and 1905. And, like McQueen's investigations, the wrongdoings sprung from granting government contracts to those intimately connected with the government, namely the Provincial Secretary and Attorney General.

       The Commission's report is a scathing indictment of all involved. For instance, the report stated that "the company never performed the functions usually exercised by an incorporated company-it was in fact nothing but a disorganized department of the Government of the Province". They also reported that not only was the company negligent in their accounting practices, but that "it was never the intention of those controlling the Company to keep books of accounts for public purposes".

       Finally, the Commission recommended that the Directors of the Company, including the Attorney General and Provincial Secretary, be held responsible for the unaccounted funds, and in a "charitable construction of the entire transaction" found them personally liable for $134 035.35.

       h.c.

       Commissioners:
    Sir Pierre-Armand Landry
    Fulton MacDougall
    Almon I. Tweed .




    Résumé: Commission d'enquête sur les questions relatives à la Central Railway Company et à la New Brunswick Coal and Railway Company , 1909

       À l'instar d'un certain nombre d'autres récits sur la construction des chemins de fer au Canada, la Commission qui a examiné la construction d'un tronçon de quinze milles de voie ferrée entre Chipman et les champs houillers de Newcastle a mis à jour des preuves manifestes de malversations, de corruption, de pots de vin, de destruction de preuves et de conflits d'intérêts flagrants. Les juges-commissaires P. A. Landry , Fulton MacDougall , et Almon Tweed ont été nommés à la commission pour enquêter sur les façons de procéder de la New Brunswick Coal and Railway Company, soit l'entreprise de chemin de fer qui a obtenu le contrat de construction du tronçon en question de 1901 à 1905, au moment où le lieutenant-gouverneur a placé la société en tutelle.

       Tout comme pour les réactions du commissaire McQueen à la lumière des résultats de son enquête sur la "pomme de terre patriotique," les commissaires ont exprimé sans équivoque leur surprise et leur dégoût pour la façon dont l'entreprise a mené ses affaires entre 1901 et 1905. De plus, à l'instar de l'enquête du commissaire sur la pomme de terre patriotique, les actes délictueux découlaient de l'adjudication de contrats gouvernementaux à des personnes étroitement liés au gouvernement, en l'occurrence le secrétaire de la province et le procureur général.

       Le rapport de la commission est un véritable réquisitoire contre toutes les personnes incriminées. Ainsi, les commissaires précisent que "l'entreprise n'a jamais exercé les fonctions habituellement dévolues à une entreprise constituée en corporation; ce n'était à toutes fins utiles que l'antichambre d'un ministère désorganisé du Gouvernement provincial." Les commissaires signalent par ailleurs que non seulement l'entreprise s'est-elle montrée négligente dans ses pratiques comptables, mais "il est très clair que les personnes qui contrôlaient l'entreprise n'ont jamais eu la moindre velléité de tenir des livres comptables à des fins d'examen public."

       Enfin, la commission a recommandé que l'on tienne directement responsable des fonds non consignés les administrateurs de l'entreprise, y compris le procureur général et le secrétaire de la province. En outre, à la lumière de "leur interprétation généreuse de toutes les circonstances entourant la transaction", les commissaires ont tenu les administrateurs personnellement responsables de la somme de 134 035,35 $.

       h.c.

       Commissaires:
    Sir Pierre-Armand Landry
    Fulton MacDougall
    Almon I. Tweed .