By A. A. den Otter
Alexander Galt and his son Elliott labored tirelessly to advertise source exploitation on Canada's colossal western plains. Their coal mines in Alberta gave start to town of Lethbridge.
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Additional info for Civilizing the West: The Galts and the Development of Western Canada
Once again Galt freely mixed public and private motives; the cold calculations of the Montreal financier and railway promoter were roughly integrated into a warm attachment to his adopted country and his motherland. Gait's strong statements brought him into conflict with his friend, Sir John A. Macdonald. He had never been a loyal party man and his political vacillations were always disconcerting to the prime minister. J. Brydges who, while working on the Pacific railway proposal, wanted Galt as leader.
In the provisions for the annexation of the Northwest, for example, the documents clearly stipulated a measure of local government as an inducement to settlers but they also implied that the rich resources of the territories were to be administered for the benefit of the nation. Galt, the entrepreneur turned politician, wanted a general government with sufficient power to properly manage and develop the wealth of British North America. 21 In this way he not only suggested the creation of a transcontinental state but he also drafted the rough outlines of its structure.
During the session of 1870 he vigorously opposed the Conservative administration on their lacklustre performance regarding Canadian economic nationalism. In a parliamentary speech he attacked their failure to understand the full significance of confederation. "The intention of... [confederation] he believed, was to secure by the union of all the scattered British North American Colonies, a united country of sufficient power, population, and wealth, to be able to maintain itself alone. "47 In other words, Galt actively urged Canadians to pursue the establishment of a strong transcontinental economy, and to be more assertive in their dealings with the United States and Great Britain.
Civilizing the West: The Galts and the Development of Western Canada by A. A. den Otter