Mr. Bertram, Speaking in the House of Commons

I think the House will agree that the Government deserve great credit for the active measures adopted by them to have law and order administered in the Yukon district, because a new problem had to be solved. A tremendous number of people had gone in there during last year, and a very large number are going in this year, and something had to be done for the purpose of maintaining law and order in that country, and the Government deserve the thanks of the people for the prompt and hearty way in which they looked into and dealt with that matter, a result particularly due to the Minister of the Interior [Clifford Sifton] and his actions in that connection. . . . it is estimated on somewhat good authority that from fifty thousand to two hundred and fifty thousand will be wending their way to the Klondike territory during the year 1898 . . . If 100,000 people go to our mining regions this year, the volume of business that will be developed will surpass anything before experienced in Canada . . . every effort should be put forth to secure that the trade of the Yukon should be turned to the profit of Canadians, and not to the enrichment of the people of the United States. . . .it is the first duty of our Government to secure that the trade of the Klondike should pass through its natural channel, through Canadian territory, so that we may reap the advantage of it [by means of of a railway through British Columbia] . . .

We all know that mining booms do not last for ever, and although I have no desire to reflect upon the reports made by any one, yet we have no right to suppose that everything said regarding that territory will be found to be absolutely true. Each one who runs in quest of gold does not find it, and there can hardly be a doubt that a great number of people who go to the Klondike will be disappointed. During the past year thousands have been wending their way with supplies, over the mountains and through the passes of that region, and when that number is increased by a further fifty thousand people, or perhaps a hundred thousand, it is absolutely necessary that provision should be made to enable large numbers to get out of the country rapidly and safely. . . . I need not dwell upon the great necessity for a railroad into that country over Canadian territory, nor need I dwell upon the vast advantages which the people of Canada will derive from securing the Klondike trade; these are facts that are patent to all.

[G.H. Bertram, replying to the Speech from the Throne, House of Commons Debates, February 4th, 1898]

Source: Debates of the House of Commons, "Mr. Bertram, Speaking in the House of Commons," (: , February 4, 1898), 8-10

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