MacDonald Responds

Land of Red and White 1975Macdonald had no intention of being blackmailed. He now had the railway and the N.W.M.P. to aid him. The two simultaneous crises, the railway and the rebellion, solved one another. The railway had an opportunity to display its usefulness and efficiency in a national emergency. In less than a week the first troops were moved by train from the East to Winnipeg. Within less than another week the first of three striking columns of Canadian Militia were headed north from the main line of the C.P.R. toward the Saskatchewan River.

The rebellion was localized and pinned down. The Cana­dian people realized the value of the railway, and an addi­tional loan went through Parliament. While the gaps were being finished, the rebellion was running its course. Finally on November 7, at Craigellachie, B.C., the last spike was driven by Donald Smith. Without the C.P.R., the outcome of the events in the Northwest might have been completely different. On March 12, 1885, Superintendent Gagnoff telegraphed a warning of Metis preparations to attack Fort Carlton. A few days later he again telegraphed the warning, adding that he believed Indians would join the attack. N.W.M.P. reinforcements were ordered north to Fort Carlton on March 15.