25 March

Boundary Established

An exchange of notes between Britain and the United States on March 25, 1905, established the Alaska Boundary the way it is today. Canada was helpless to do anything about it, although it was one of the worst deals ever foisted on the nation.

The Alaska boundary had been a problem for years. Finally, Britain, who controlled Canada's international affairs, and the United States agreed to have the boundary decided by an "impartial commission." Britain appointed Sir Louis Jetté and A. B. Aylesworth of Canada to serve with Lord Chief Justice Alverstone. The United States appointed Elihu Root, Secretary of War, Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, and Senator George Turner of the State of  Washington. Root and Lodge had already opposed Canada's claims, saying they were "baseless and trumped up." Turner represented the City of Seattle which competed with Victoria and Vancouver for trade in the Yukon. This was important because of the Klondike gold rush. Thus, the American members of the tribunal were far from impartial.

The commission began its work early in 1903, but nothing had been settled by the end of August. Roosevelt, the American President, believed in the policy of the "big stick," and sent a message to the British government stating that the boundary must be fixed the way the United States wanted, or troops would be sent to enforce it. Britain had no desire to become involved in a war with the States and Lord Alverstone was instructed to side with the Americans. The boundary decision which was announced on October 20, 1903, was supposed to be a compromise, but Canada was blocked from any seaport in northern British Columbia or the Yukon.

One result of the decision was that the Laurier government decided that Canada must handle her own foreign affairs, and the Department of External Affairs was created in 1909.


25 March

-1820    The Bank of New Brunswick was incorporated. It was the first bank in the colony.

-1839    The Aroostook agreement ended the "war of pork and beans."

-1880    George Brown was shot in the Globe office, and died on May 10. George Bennett was hanged for murder.

-1886    The first Workmen's Compensation Act was passed by the Ontario Legislature.

-1893    Magistrate Baxter of Toronto fined a cab driver $2 or ten days in jail for driving a lady on Sunday.

-1897    The Manitoba Legislature passed a compromise act on the separate schools question.

-1957    Prime Minister St. Laurent held a conference with British Prime Minister Macmillan in Bermuda.

-1958    The maiden flight of the Canadian built CF-105 took place. It was supposed to be the most. advanced fighter aircraft of its time.