House of Commons, 8 February 1949, Canadian Confederation with Newfoundland

326 Inquiries of the Ministry HOUSE OF COMMONS
Hon. J. A. MacKinnon (Minister of Mines and Resources): So far as I know, the man in question is in Montreal. At the present time he is out on bail bond under habeas corpus proceedings, pending a decision by the courts following the dismissal by me of his appeal from our deportation order.
Mr. Stewart (Winnipeg North): May I ask a supplementary question? Is the minister aware that this man is a traitor, and that he betrayed allied soldiers to the gestapo?



On the orders of the day:
Mr. Alan Cockeram (York South): May I direct a question to the Minister of Finance? In view of the increasing difficulties encountered by Canadian exports in world markets, is the government prepared to give an early decision on these questions: (a) allowing the Canadian dollar to find its own level in relation to other currencies, and (b) devaluing the Canadian dollar according to the Bretton Woods agreement?
Hon. Douglas Abbott (Minister of Finance): My hon. friend did not have an opportunity, I take it, of giving me notice of his question. It is one with which I have dealt on numerous occasions before. I do not think it is a matter of urgent public importance, and I am not prepared to deal with it now.
Mr. Cockeram: It certainly is important. You are losing trade every day.



Right Hon. L. S. St. Laurent (Prime Minister) moved the second reading of Bill No. 11, to approve the terms of union of Newfoundland with Canada.
Mr. John R. MacNicol (Davenport): Mr. Speaker, during the last fifteen years I have given a good deal of study to problems affecting Newfoundland; therefore I should like to add some comments to what has already been said with regard to the measure now before us.
I wish to congratulate all four leaders upon the splendid addresses they delivered yesterday. I assume it is quite in order that I should say a special word about my own leader (Mr. Drew), who delivered an able and instructive address.
I first became interested in the question of Newfoundland through a study of the history of the Newfoundland regiment which served in the war of 1812. This study took me on a trip of over a thousand miles, because the Newfoundland regiment travelled 2,500 miles before seeing action in this country in the first year of that war. The Royal Newfoundland regiment was not large. The part of it which served in Canada at that time consisted of not more than fifty men, but they were fifty heroes. Having been born in Ontario I am proud of the part that regiment took in keeping Canada within the empire. I do not know what we would have done had they not come here at that time.
The Newfoundland regiment was brought here by General Brock. Before the war broke out, General Brock had been at Quebec city. Having come from the island of Guernsey, one of the Channel islands, the former home of many Newfoundlanders, General Brock desired a portion of the Newfoundland regiment to go with him to York, now called Toronto. This they did. Brock took them with him to what is now called Amherstburg, and they were not long there before they were in the thick of the fighting.
When Brock arrived before Detroit—or, as the English called the area at that time, the straits—he had with him about fifty of the Royal Newfoundland regiment. The euphonious French word, Detroit, has been applied to this place ever since. These fifty men participated in that great victory, the capture of Detroit, which helped Brock in the splendid work he did before his death. After that battle, members of this regiment remained in the forces in that part of Canada, in what was then called the "right division."
I have made an exhaustive study of this period in our history in connection with the work I am doing for the restoration of the site of Moraviantown, in Kent county—Moraviantown was known in those days as Fairfield. The Royal Newfoundland regiment remained under Colonel Proctor in the "right division" and took part in the engagements on the Maumee. They fought up as far as Fort Wayne. They also took part in the attack by Proctor on Fort Meigs. I do not know whether they were at Fort Stevenson, Sandusky, but I presume they were. After the retreat of Proctor, the members of the Newfoundland regiment retreated with him. The majority of the party were taken prisoner east of the present city of Chatham when the boat in which they were ascending the Thames river was captured.
Later members of this regiment served in the vicinity of Toronto, then called York, and still later in the vicinity of Prescott in the attack on Ogdensburg. I shall not take the time of the house to enumerate all the points in which they served, but history records that on many fields a portion of the Royal Newfoundland regiment did a major job in Upper Canada and aided in preserving this part of Canada for the British empire.
FEBRUARY 8, 1949 Newfoundland 327
In the pursuit of my inquiries I learned of course about the battle of Moraviantown— or, as it is called in American history, the battle of the Thames—which was fought on the 5th of October, .1813, about three miles east of the present town of Thamesville in Kent county. During the last ten years I have made extensive studies in that part of the country, because, Mr. Speaker, in 1950 we expect to hold an international commemoration service at the site of Moraviantown. We hope the President of. the United States will attend, along with the governors of the states of Ohio, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Michigan. At the battle of Moraviantown the governor of Michigan was present, Governor Cass. General Meigs, the governor of Ohio, was not on the battlefield, but was on his way there. Many of his troops served in that battle. Governor Shelby of Kentucky was on the field. I assume that the present governors of these states will attend the commemoration service. The American commanding general at that battle was General W. H. Harrison, who later became President of the United States. I expect that President Truman will attend this service next year; also the governor of Pennsylvania, from which state many of the soldiers came, as well as many of the citizens of Moraviantown.
More than fifteen years ago, in the pursuit of the studies I was making, I decided to go to Newfoundland. While there I made an exhaustive survey of What will soon be our tenth province. The names of places in Newfoundland are interesting, because the people are nearly all from the Channel islands, Ireland, or England. Not many of them are from Scotland. Even in St. John's I could hardly find a church of my own persuasion to which I could go on Sunday, because there are few Scots on the island. Quite a number of the people there are from France, or from the northern provinces of Spain, called the Basque provinces.
The names are beautiful. The first port at which one lands from Canada is Port aux Basques—one could hardly find a more attractive name. Then there is a port called St. George, and as you go round the coast you come to a place called Curling. There is Corner Brook, in which the big paper mills are situated; and there is Twillingate, from which so many Newfoundlanders left to come to Canada. As I said yesterday, perhaps a thousand of them now live in the riding of Davenport. I am well acquainted with many of them and know of their splendid qualities, their fine character, their ability and their industry. Naturally I am pleased indeed that their homeland is to become a province of Canada.
I could mention other names, such as Grand Falls, Harbour Grace, Carbonear, Bay Roberts—I spent some time there; Brigus; Ferryland, first settled by Lord Baltimore before he went to what is now the city of Baltimore in the United States. It is too bad he did not remain in Newfoundland; perhaps it would have been better for that country had he done so. All around the coast of Newfoundland you find these euphonious and beautiful names.
I made a thorough survey of the resources of the country, of which there are many. I was greatly interested in the iron mines, having been in the iron smelting business myself. Canada has bought from Newfoundland as many as several million tons a year of raw high-grade iron, all of which I believe went to the furnaces at Sydney, Nova Scotia. I hope it will continue to go there so that that great port in Nova Scotia may be kept prosperous.
After my return home I read an article in Collier's, the issue of April 12, 1941, which argued that Newfoundland should become part of the United States. I always found Newfoundland to be intensely British and intensely loyal to British institutions and traditions. It will be perhaps the most British province in Canada, and will be a welcome addition to that sentiment here. When I spoke on this matter in 1941 I quoted this paragraph from the article in Collier's to which I have referred:
The Yanks have come for ninety-nine years. Maybe they would never leave. Maybe presently they'd take the whole island over, ship the commission of government back to England, build roads, start industries, set up Yankee relief, restore self- government.
That possibility will exist no longer when the house passes this bill, as I know it will.
There are one or two statements in this quotation of which we might take particular notice. One is "build roads." We must do that to help them out. I made a careful survey in the south part of the island, and it struck me that we would have a golden opportunity to make the island happy by building a road directly through from St. John's to Port aux Basques. I do not believe you can now motor across the island at all. But if the road followed the railway it would have to run away up north from St. John's to Grand Falls and finally come to Port aux Basques, a distance of over five hundred miles. A road straight across from St. John's to Port aux Basques would shorten the distance to be traveled and would speed up transportation between the various parts of Newfoundland and St. John's, and from the Avalon peninsula to Canada. The construction of such a road is one thing we might well keep in mind.
We should welcome these people by doing everything we can to make them happy. As 328 Newfoundland HOUSE OF COMMONS someone said yesterday, there may be differences of opinion, but there are differences of opinion about many matters of importance, and I shall not worry about that. I like the remarks made by my leader in that regard. I thought he handled the subject effectively and satisfactorily, as did the hon. member for Cape Breton South (Mr. Gillis.) We have an opportunity to do something for these people, to make them happy after Newfoundland becomes part of the confederation.
In addition to the roadway I have suggested I would strongly recommend that we have a new boat for the service between North Sydney and Port aux Basques. The last time I went across the strait I remember that the boat was a small one. It was satisfactory; I have nothing but compliments for it, but a new boat should be constructed so that freight cars as well could be transported. The narrow gauge railway from Port aux Basques to St. John's should be widened to standard gauge. I realize that it would take some time to do this, but it would make the people of Newfoundland happy that they had come into union with Canada. It would result in a great deal of business to them and to us also.
Let us consider Newfoundland as a tourist centre. We can say that every province in Canada is a magnificent tourist centre, and so it is. Newfoundland is a tourist's paradise. It has magnificent bays all around the island. As my leader said yesterday, when John Cabot and his son first reached Newfoundland they were so strongly impressed by what they saw that they called the place Bonavista, which means "beautiful view", and it certainly is a beautiful view. That name could be applied to any of the magnificent bays about the island. Then up in the north, at the centre of the island, as those who have been there know, for two hours before you arrive you see high projections or peaks which they call the Topsails. They are named the Foresail, the Mizzen Topsail, the Main Topsail and the Gaff Topsail. The view which they present is a topographical wonder, well worth anyone's trouble and expense to go to see; and so all over the island. It is a natural paradise.
Finally, Newfoundland has magnificent ores, one of which I have mentioned, iron. Iron ore from that country is the basis on which the fine city of Sydney has been built. I hope that every effort will be made to keep the Sydney plants in operation, using the iron ore which will now probably come in in larger quantities. It came in free of duty anyway. It is obtained at Bell island, not far from St. John's. I have been there. It is a very high grade ore, and a resource which can help to build up eastern Canada. We must do all we can to build up eastern Canada.
In the addition of seven representatives to the membership of the House of Commons, and six in the other place, the union of Newfoundland with Canada will greatly strengthen the delegation from the maritime provinces. From the maritimes we now have twenty-six members in the House of Commons and twenty-four in the other place. The members and senators from Newfoundland will be a welcome addition to the strength of the maritime delegation—and it cannot be too strong. If the electricity program I announced last year were carried out in its entirety, the delegation from there would be doubled. I am happy to say that at the conclusion of my speech in 1941 I said that the island would be entitled to seven members in the House of Commons and five in the other place.
I am pleased at having had some small part in creating favourable sentiment towards union, both in Canada and in Newfoundland. I have been given some credit for that in the press in Newfoundland. I created favourable sentiment here, particularly through the Newfoundlanders in my own riding. I feel that I have had some small part in bringing about this sentiment in Canada, in relation to a project which has been mooted since 1858, as the hon. member for Carleton (Mr. Drew) said yesterday. I take a good deal of satisfaction in having had a small part in the creation of the feeling which has brought this grand climax to the whole program of the fathers of confederation, namely, the bringing in of Newfoundland to form the tenth province of Canada.
Mr. T. L. Church (Broadview): Mr. Speaker, I was a member of the committee which considered the Labrador case, and I took part in the debate regarding that important part of Newfoundland. As hon. members know, Labrador was given to Newfoundland by a decision of the privy council. It had been under the protection of the British government, you might say; a governor had been appointed to the territory and Labrador was given to Newfoundland.
I wish to bring before the house the questions which were before the committee at that time. First of all, according to Beauchesne's Parliamentary Rules and Forms:
The second reading of a bill is that stage when it is proper to enter into a discussion and propose a motion relative to the principle of the measure.
According to May, the last edition:
The second reading of a private bill corresponds with the same stage in other bills. and in agreeing to it the house affirms the general principle or expediency of the measure.
The present Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) was minister of justice at the time this other matter was under discussion. I hold FEBRUARY 8, 1949 Newfoundland 329 in my hand a copy of Everybody's magazine, published by a great man in England, Mr. Poke. In an article he refers to the present Prime Minister. The article is a laudable one, which I approve. I knew the present Prime Minister before he was a member of this house. I have always had a great admiration for him because of his many personal qualities, which have endeared him to a large number of people. In the city I come from he opened our winter fair, and he has been a welcome guest there.
I also wish to refer to the leader of the opposition (Mr. Drew) because I have known him longer than anyone else in the house has. I knew his father: I knew our leader as a student at the university of Toronto. I did not like the reception the leader of the opposition met with here last Friday night, because he is a great Christian gentleman. He is a distinguished lawyer, and was an athlete. He is a kind-hearted man. I cannot speak too highly of the services which he gave to the glorious cause of education. I remember when he lived on Wellesley street. I lived around the corner from him, and he was a member of a great fraternity, D.K.E., opposite the house where young Jack Copp, a varsity rugby player, was killed by a burglar a few years ago. I have always been a great admirer of the leader of the opposition and I am a strong supporter of his today.
Now I wish to say something about the merits of the proposed bill. I was a member of the house in 1941 when the hon. member for Davenport, the great traveler and discoverer, took a trip down there in the summer of 1941. He made some discoveries about Labrador. The bill which was before us in 1947 had to do with the Quebec, North Shore and Labrador railway. I was a member of the committee which dealt with that bill. Important matters came up in that connection. At that time we had no control over Newfoundland. The sponsors of the bill were proposing to deal with the natural resources of Labrador and to build railways in contravention of the Railway Act. At that time we inserted a saving clause which read:
Provided that authority be obtained from Newfoundland.
That was a wise provision, because Labrador, I understand, is to have one member in the House of Commons and one senator. The final discussion on Labrador took place on April 25, 1947, and I shall quote from page 2433 of Hansard of that year. In connection with the bill many matters came up. The sponsors of the bill were asking for hotel services and railway services. At that time we did not own the territory or the country. Here is a matter which I brought up at that time:
Another point I wish to make is that we are committed to a 99-year lease on bases, from Newfoundland to British Guiana, between Britain and the United States. That lease was given with the consent of Canada. We have given to the United States leases on all the bases in the Atlantic ocean, including some on the shores of Newfoundland and Labrador. The bases are not all out in the ocean, because some are on Greenland. Iceland and other places in the north country, including Newfoundland and Labrador, the territory under the joint defence board and the atomic board.
This proposed agreement is ultra vires of the dominion. At the end of the bill it is brought under the Railway Act by saying that it is declared to be for the general advantage of Canada.
We did not have the power in the House of Commons at that time to sanction the Labrador bill. But this lease for ninety-nine years was practically a freehold. They were urging that the Newfoundland and Labrador bases be given to the United States, although the lease for ninety-nine years was to protect United States shores.
I believe the government of Canada, the provincial governments and Newfoundland would be well advised to seek the cooperation of Britain and the United States in having that lease cancelled and charged up to lend-lease. In the darkest hours of the war, during the battle of the Atlantic, fifty ships, many of which were not fit for use and some of which could not be taken to sea, were given as consideration for that lease. I hope the Prime Minister will do something to help Newfoundland and Labrador by taking the action which I suggest.
I support the principle of the bill now before the house, and hope that it passes the House of Commons unanimously. If it does, I know that sooner or later we shall have the Chignecto canal leading into the bay of Fundy, because that is the back door into the St. Lawrence waterway. I speak with the possibility of war in mind—because this present weaponless war, as I call it, is just as dangerous as was the Hitler war. They are almost two of a kind.
I believe a better day is dawning for Newfoundland and Labrador and also for this country. Newfoundland was a pioneer at the time of confederation. I support my leader on the stand he has taken, and also the Prime Minister in what he has said. I do urge, however, that the giving up of those bases in Newfoundland and British Guiana in the darkest hours of the battle of the Atlantic should not be charged against Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador, but that negotiations should be had with the British government and with the United States to have them charged up to lend-lease.
330 Newfoundland HOUSE OF COMMONS
Mr. Stanley Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre): Mr. Speaker, I wish to speak briefly concerning only two matters which arise from the bill now before us. It has been said by a number of hon. members who have already spoken that as Canadians we must do our best to extend the warmest possible welcome to the people of Newfoundland as they enter confederation.
One of the consequences of confederation will be the coming to this city and to parliament of seven members of the House of Commons and six members of the other place. The question I raise, and which I hope is being considered by the government, is this: What sort of welcome will it be for these thirteen new members of the Canadian parliament if, upon arriving here, they find they have no office space? I suggest strongly that this is a matter which should receive the serious consideration of the government, and I suggest further it would not be out of place for the government to indicate to parliament whether or not such consideration is being given, and if so, along what lines.
This matter has been taken up on many occasions both in the house and with officials of the house, not only because of the coming to parliament of representatives of Newfoundland, but because of the overcrowding already existing, and because of the increase in membership provided by redistribution.
Mr. Probe: Put the senators in the new printing bureau.
Mr. Knowles: My hon. friend suggests that the senators' offices might be moved to the printing bureau. To say the least, space might be found in the east block for members of the other place; they would be somewhat closer to the Chateau Laurier. But speaking seriously, this is a matter that does require consideration.
I could make a case for the greater space needed for members on the opposition side of the house. Were I to do so, it might be regarded as a case of self-interest. May I add however that it seems to me to be unfair and poor business when so many parliamentary assistants, who have certain extra duties as a result of their appointments, find themselves crowded in the matter of office space.
I urge the government to give consideration to this matter, particularly because of the way in which the problem will be aggravated when these new members come from the province of Newfoundland. I would ask the government to do the fair thing and to tell us, either from the floor of the house or informally, what ideas they have, and to indicate whether or not progress is being made toward implementing those ideas.
If the government wishes to have my suggestion, then I have already made it, namely, that space be found in the east block for the offices of a number of senators, including those we now have and the new ones who may be appointed within the next few months, and that members of the House of Commons be permitted to move into some of the offices thus vacated. As a matter of fact, in the light of the number of vacancies in the other place at this time, it seems to me only fair that this working section of parliament should be entitled to some of the vacant space on the other side of the building.
Mr. Graydon: The government will not need much space after this.
Mr. Fraser: The C.C.F. want to go into the red.
Mr. Knowles: My hon. friend's remarks are understandable. They are the observations one would expect to be made the morning after the night before.
Mr. Graydon: What a day!
Mr. Knowles: I move on to say a word about the other matter I mentioned at the opening of my remarks. It has been touched upon by the hon. member for Broadview (Mr. Church), although I must confess I was not able to hear his remarks well enough to get clearly the point he was making.
I too am concerned about the relationship between the measure now before us and chapter 80 of the statutes of 1947, an act to incorporate Quebec, North Shore and Labrador Railway Company. I understood the hon. member for Broadview to point out that there had been inserted in that act a saving clause as set out in section 7 to the effect that all the things parliament was permitting this company to do should be done only up to the border of Labrador, and that from that point on, permission would have to be secured from Newfoundland. The reference is not to the government of Newfoundland, to the provincial government of Newfoundland or to any government in the future. I raise the question as to what now happens when Newfoundland becomes a province of Canada. My point is of particular concern in view of the fact that section 20 of the Quebec, North Shore and Labrador Railway Act says that—
The works and undertakings of the company are hereby declared to be for the general advantage of Canada.
We all recall the arguments in the house at the time this bill was before us. Hon. members will have in mind our opposition, lest this act be made a means whereby private interests would have the opportunity to exploit a great natural resource in the northeastern section of this continent, a resource FEBRUARY 8, 1949 Newfoundland 331 part of which was in Canada and part in another country, namely, Newfoundland. I am wondering whether the action we are taking today, without some kind of assurance or saving clause, does not give to the company —provided they exercise the right within the five-year period set out in section 19 of the act to which I have referred—the right to go in and exploit for private gain the iron ore resources and other great natural wealth to be found there.
That wealth can mean great things for the people of Newfoundland, if properly developed in the interests of the people. It can mean great things for the people of Canada as a whole. I should hope that when we reach the committee stage on the bill and are dealing with the section concerning natural resources, the ministers piloting the various sections through the committee might be in a position to give us at least their opinions as to what the situation would be with respect to the act to which I have referred. As hon. members are aware, we are vitally concerned that the great natural resource be developed for the good of the people of Canada as a whole, including the people of Newfoundland, and not for the advantage of private interests.
Mr. Speaker: Is it the pleasure of the house to adopt the motion?
Some hon. Members: Carried.
Mr. Speaker: Mr. St. Laurent moves that I do now leave the chair and that the house resolve into committee of the whole on said bill.
Mr. Drew: Mr. Speaker, I thought the Prime Minister intended to speak on the second reading.
Mr. St. Laurent: I had intended to say something about the points that have been raised, but I did not insist because I thought I could make those remarks as soon as the house got into committee. Then if what I said suggested further questions, those questions could be answered during the committee stage. While Mr. Speaker is in the chair I could say what I intended to say but I do not think that that would be of any particular advantage to hon. members.
Mr. Drew: I do not want in any way to seek a change in the ordinary rules of the house. The reason I did not speak on second reading was that I thought the Prime Minister had indicated that he was going to speak. There are certain observations that I should like to make on the second reading, and in View of that I should like to have your consent, Mr. Speaker, to proceed.
Mr. St. Laurent: That will be quite agreeable to us. After I had moved the second reading, if I spoke I would close the debate. I thought that if I were going to close the debate it would be just as convenient to have my intended remarks made in committee, where there would be an opportunity to ask further questions as might be suggested. I think it is the desire of all hon. members of the house that no one be deprived of his right to speak on the second reading. If the leader of the opposition wishes to do so I think we could consider the motion as not yet carried and allow him that opportunity.
Mr. Knowles: Is this a precedent that might be quoted on future occasions?
Mr. St. Laurent: If on a future occasion the circumstances are such as they are today, I hope it would be the temper of the house to make the same disposition as I suggest should be made today.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Has the leader of the opposition unanimous consent to speak at this time?
Some hon. Members: Agreed.
Mr. George A. Drew (Leader of the Opposition): Mr. Speaker, I should like to make certain remarks on second reading of this bill and explain my position in regard to the agreement which accompanies it.
First of all, I should like to refer to the remarks that I made yesterday when the motion was before the house, and express the hope that the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) will have something to say on those points before the house goes into committee. I believe that they raise important considerations which should be borne in mind by hon. members when dealing with this extremely important bill.
The bill itself is simple and brief. It merely has the effect of approving the terms of the draft agreement which was settled by the representatives of the Canadian government and by those who had been appointed to represent Newfoundland in those discussions. In effect, the considerations before hon. members on second reading of this bill are very similar to those which were before them yesterday when they were dealing with the motion.
The question before hon. members is really whether or not they wish to proceed with the arrangements which have been made to bring Newfoundland into confederation.
I think it should be pointed out and remembered during the discussions that in a case of this kind there is not the latitude to suggest amendments which can be exercised ordinarily when a bill is in committee. Usually, when a bill is in committee, any changes that are made by way of amendment or deletion affect the legislative' authority of this house 332 Newfoundland HOUSE OF COMMONS alone. Therefore if there are any changes in the minds of hon. members, there is no reason why those proposals should not be put forward, by way of argument, by way of amendment, or otherwise within the rules of the house.
But in this case it must be remembered that the government, acting on behalf of Canada, has signed a draft agreement which is now before us as an appendix to this bill. The same draft agreement has been signed by those who were called upon to represent Newfoundland, no matter what their status may have been. Therefore, the house must recognize that if the terms of union are to proceed they must of necessity proceed upon the basis of the draft agreement which has been presented if there is to be concurrence within the terms of that agreement.
The principle involved is to agree or not to agree to proceed with the terms of union along the lines of this draft agreement, but the support of this bill which brings such draft agreement into effect for the purpose of completing the confederation cannot be regarded as approval of every term of that draft agreement.
As I pointed out to the Prime Minister yesterday, there is real objection to the inclusion in an agreement of this kind of a provision which, on the one hand, permits a province to do a particular thing and to carry out a particular type of production and, at the same time, places a limitation upon the sale of that product in other parts of Canada. It matters not that the particular provision may have no practical effect now that the decision of the supreme court has been given in regard to the constitutional authority of the parliament of Canada to place restrictions on the manufacture and sale of oleomargarine. The fact remains that imbedded in this agreement is a principle which, if it were accepted as one which could apply to other types of production within Canada, would produce very unsatisfactory results. It could, in fact, produce the very thing that confederation was intended to bring to an end; that is, any form of trade barrier between the provincial areas within Canada.
For that reason I think this particular provision might well be made the subject of discussion between the government of Canada and the representatives of Newfoundland, with the idea of deleting it so that a principle which may have very serious consequences in some other case might not be established as a precedent which would be contrary to the practice that has been so carefully followed ever since confederation. I strongly urge the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) to take this suggestion into consideration, because it would seem to me that there is no reason why the dominion government on the one hand should wish to put forward any special provision for one province, and on the other hand impose a restriction in relation to that particular provision.
I should like to point out also that in relation to the financial arrangements there is a restriction which does not apply to any other province. As I pointed out yesterday, there is a specific undertaking that, even though new financial arrangements are made with other provinces, that is not to be taken as a ground for any claim by Newfoundland for similar consideration by way of adjustment of their position. Again, it seems to me, that is imposing a particular restriction on a single province, which is not consistent with the uniform type of arrangements which have applied to the other provinces of Canada.
As will be recalled, this provision is not something which can have only a theoretical importance. It is related to events which actually occurred in regard to the adjustment of financial arrangements with other provinces during the past two years. When the then minister of finance, Mr. Ilsley, announced in this house in 1946 the terms the dominion government would put before the provinces as the alternative to the retention by the provinces of their major taxing powers, no provision was made for any changes to follow. But very shortly after those proposals, or I should say those arbitrary terms, had been stated in this house, negotiations took place between the dominion government and different provincial governments. As the result of arguments advanced by one provincial government, some changes were made; and those changes were passed on to the other provinces. Then certain very advantageous terms were placed before British Columbia. I am not suggesting that those terms were not quite properly demanded by that province, because British Columbia has found even the present terms inadequate. Nevertheless there was an immediate demand from the premier of New Brunswick and other premiers that they should receive equally favourable terms, and so the bidding and the consequent adjustment went on. It was a form of horse trading between governments, such as had been anticipated by Sir Wilfrid Laurier so many years ago when be condemned this very practice in such vigorous terms, saying that such arrangements usually were merely the payment of a note given in return for political treachery. I remind hon. members that those are the words of Sir Wilfrid Laurier, not mine; but this type of horse trading over the subsidies that should be paid in return for taxing powers has produced precisely the result anticipated so many years ago by Sir Wilfrid Laurier.
FEBRUARY 8, 1949 Newfoundland 333
At this point may I interject that when I was premier of Ontario and was putting forward the position of my province, I did not refuse to deal with subsidies as part of the arrangement. I mention that because of certain remarks made during the debate on the address prior to its adjournment last Friday evening. I would remind hon. members that the proposals I put forward at that time are a matter of record, and that we in fact proposed a system of subsidies on a basis which would adjust itself to the requirements of the provinces, with a national adjustment fund, which was the key recommendation of the Rowell-Sirois report. We stated that we wished to enter into arrangements of that kind under a transitional agreement which would also provide for an examination of the whole combined taxing system of Canada by competent experts of all the governments and other experts who would be brought in to examine this extremely important subject.
We pointed out that there is only one group of taxpayers in Canada, who pay taxes to the dominion government, the provincial governments and the municipal councils. We pointed out that there is no magic by means of which money can be drawn from any obscure source. There is no question of generosity on the part of the dominion government involved in any of these proposals or, if one chooses to use the term preferred by the minister of reconstruction (Mr. Winters), no question of beneficence. There is nothing of that kind. The dominion government is merely the collecting body which draws from the people of Canada taxes for the purpose of undertaking certain responsibilities. If the dominion government requires more money for the purpose of making payments back to the provinces, the money comes from the very same people; it comes from the taxpayers of Canada as a whole.
What we recommended then, and what I still recommend, is that there be an examination of our whole taxing system so that the taxes required by the dominion government, the provincial governments and the municipalities may be adequate for the responsibilities they are called upon to assume. In this way we may be enabled to establish in Canada the most scientific tax system possible, adjusted to meet the modern conditions in which we live, so that the taxes called for by these three levels of government may be imposed upon the people of Canada in a way that will place a less onerous burden upon them and place the least possible restriction upon personal effort and upon production in every part of this country.
I think it is appropriate that I should recall my recommendation in that respect, because certain comments have obviously been made without knowledge of what we actually recommended. I also refer to that proposal because it has a very direct bearing on the terms that are included in this draft agreement between Canada and Newfoundland. The representatives of Newfoundland have accepted terms similar to those which were placed before the provinces of Canada in this house in 1946. This restriction has, of course, been placed upon Newfoundland that they cannot apply for an adjustment in consequence of a subsequent adjustment with any other province. I suggest, Mr. Speaker, there is a particular reason for that restriction being included.
This agreement also does something that I recommended, and recommended very strongly as premier of Ontario at these dominion-provincial conferences. I urged that, in addition to the taxing systems we proposed and the subsidy payment provided by a transitional agreement, there be also an immediate recognition of the recommendations in the Rowell-Sirois report that a national adjustment fund be set up. We urged that such a fund be set up on a basis very much higher, however, than that recommended in the Rowell-Sirois report. This would enable those provinces still needing additional financial support, over and above the ordinary subsidy payments during the transitional period, to obtain funds from this national adjustment fund. Perhaps I should interject that it is a matter of record that I also said I was prepared to agree to any form of distribution of that fund, which was acceptable to those provinces receiving contributions from it.
I mention that for this reason. In the draft agreement with Newfoundland the principle of grants in aid, recommended by the Rowell-Sirois commission, is recognized. Over and above the ordinary subsidy payments, there are substantial grants in aid which are related to the recognition of special financial requirements. I find it difficult to believe it was not in the mind of the dominion government that, when this new province shall receive these special grants, there may well be demands from those provinces that have accepted these unsatisfactory terms. In some cases the provinces are not satisfied and there may well be a demand from them that they receive similar consideration. It would look as though the dominion government had decided that this type of horse trading would have to stop some place. Therefore they decided, after further negotiations, that they would say to Newfoundland, at that point it stops; you cannot claim any more.
If that is the purpose, and I cannot see any other purpose in placing such a limitation 334 Newfoundland HOUSE OF COMMONS in the agreement, then right at the outset we are accepting the inclusion in the agreement of something that the people of Newfoundland, within a comparatively short time, may consider unsatisfactory, having regard to the speed with which those adjustments took place after the terms of the dominion-provincial agreements were announced in the House of Commons in 1946. I therefore come back to my comments of yesterday on this subject. I suggest to the Prime Minister that consideration be given to the unsatisfactory results that might follow the inclusion of a limitation of that kind, and that, through negotiation with the representatives of Newfoundland, this particular restriction be deleted.
In so far as these arrangements are concerned, it is appropriate to point out that the representatives of Newfoundland have concurred in these terms. Whether the authority of those who represented Newfoundland was adequate is, as I said yesterday, something to be determined by the people of Newfoundland and the government of the United Kingdom. The mere fact of concurrence, however, does not constitute a reason for opposing the terms under which the union goes forward. I wish to make it clear that I see very serious objections to the provisions I have mentioned. I think it would be desirable that these grounds of possible objection be removed. It could be done by consultation; and, if it is done, at least two reasons for misunderstanding in the near future may have been withdrawn from the terms of union.
There is in this agreement a provision that the subsidy payments may continue, not for the shorter period in which they are payable to the other provinces but, on the option of the representatives of Newfoundland, for an extended period of eight years. This is not a ground for opposing the terms of. union, although I do object in principle to such an arrangement. It has been agreed to by certain provinces. I think it is an unsatisfactory arrangement, but that is for them to decide. The whole problem, of course, can be solved when there is a resumption of the dominion-provincial conferences and the dominion government and provincial governments sit down, as they should, and discuss the whole relationship of the dominion and provincial governments in the tax field, with particular reference to the financial requirements of the municipalities in Canada from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
The very terms of this agreement once more emphasize the need for the revival of that conference, which only stands adjourned by the dominion government and can be recalled at any time by them. This action has been requested over and over again, not only by myself, but by other premiers of the provinces of Canada. The terms of the agreement emphasize as well the need for a conference which will set up a continuing, integrated, functional relationship between the dominion government and the governments of the provinces, so that the very type of discussions which are suggested by some of the terms of this agreement could, from time to time, be dealt with by the representatives of those governments who are working together within this federal structure, and who can deal with practically any problem that may arise, without the necessity of any constitutional change, so long as they work together in a spirit of co-operation and good will.
I should like particularly to remind the people of Newfoundland that, in supporting this bill which embodies these terms, it will be my aim, as it will be the aim of those associated with me in this house, to bring about such a conference at which Newfoundland and the other provinces will be present, where the combined constitutional authority of all these governments can be brought together most effectively for the advantage of the people of Newfoundland, of every other province of Canada, and generally for the welfare of Canadians.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: I must remind the house that if the Prime Minister speaks now he will close the debate.
Right Hon. L. S. St. Laurent (Prime Minister): Mr. Speaker, when I asked a few moments ago for the unanimous consent of the house to hear the remarks of the leader of the opposition, I did not realize what I was letting the house in for. But I am sure we have all found it most interesting to hear him extol and congratulate himself on the high statesmanship of his attitude in respect of dominion-provincial relations.
Mr. Drew: Mr. Speaker, I rise to a point of privilege. I sat down because the Prime Minister indicated that he was going to speak. I received no concession from this house when I spoke; and I sat down on the understanding that the Prime Minister was going to speak.
Mr. St. Laurent: On the point of privilege, Mr. Speaker, I would suggest that the leader of the opposition read the rules of this house. When he does so, he will learn that, if the mover of a motion speaks in the course of a debate, he closes the debate; and that no one can be heard in that debate after he has spoken. If the leader of the opposition felt that I was rising to speak, and did not object to my doing so at that time, his failure to FEBRUARY 8, 1949 Newfoundland 335 object would have prevented him, in the absence of consent of the house, from himself being heard. That explanation having been made, and because I felt that possibly there might have been some misunderstanding of the effect of the rules of this house, I asked the house to waive the application of the rule, even to waive the motion that had been put for the second reading of the bill, and to revert to a previous stage so that the leader of the opposition might be heard, not after I had spoken but before. He could not be heard after I had spoken. I think that is exactly what the position is. If the hon. gentleman did not wish to have any courteous waiver of the rules by the house, I am sorry that the circumstances made it necessary for him to have it in order to make the remarks he has made at this stage of the discussion.
Mr. Drew: I was under the impression, from some of the earlier proceedings, that it was someone else who needed to read the rules of the house.
Mr. St. Laurent: It may be. The hon. gentleman is not the only new arrival in this house.
Mr. Rowe: The Prime Minister himself might read them.
Mr. St. Laurent: I do not intend to be led into discussing at this time the whole matter of dominion-provincial relations. The motion before the house is for the second reading of this bill. Other opportunities will be presented when the matter of dominion-provincial relations can be taken up again. On this bill I wish to deal with the pertinent points made by the leader of the opposition. The first one is the undesirability of there being in the terms of union something which appears to many to be a new principle; that is to say, some impediment or barrier to interprovincial trade arising out of the terms of this clause which was inserted in the agreement with respect to oleomargarine. I think I am privileged to refer to the document, since it has been tabled, and I am referring to the document that was tabled and not to the schedule of the bill as such. In the document tabled, term 46 provides as follows:
(1) Oleomargarine or margarine may be manufactured or sold in the province of Newfoundland after the date of the union and the parliament of Canada shall not prohibit or restrict such manufacture or sale except at the request of the legislature of the province of Newfoundland, but nothing in this term shall affect the power of the parliament of Canada to require compliance with standards of quality applicable throughout Canada.
(2) Unless the parliament of Canada otherwise provides or unless the sale and manufacture in, and the interprovincial movement between, all provinces of Canada other than Newfoundland. of oleomargarine and margarine, is lawful under the laws of Canada, oleomargarine or margarine shall not be sent, shipped, brought, or carried from the province of Newfoundland into any other province of Canada.
Hon. gentlemen will notice with what care this provision was drafted. It provided that the parliament of Canada would not prohibit or restrict such manufacture and sale in Newfoundland except at the request of the legislature of the province of Newfoundland. By a majority judgment the supreme court has now decided that the parliament of Canada cannot prohibit or restrict the manufacture or sale of oleomargarine in any of the provinces. I must confess that one of the reasons given in the majority judgment came to me rather as a surprise. I had assumed that this provision in the Dairy Industry Act was one which related to the subject of agriculture. As hon. members know, parliament and the legislatures of the provinces have concurrent jurisdiction in respect of matters dealing with agriculture. But the supreme court held that this was not a matter related to agriculture, but rather something which was local and private within the province. Consequently it held that the parliament of Canada had no jurisdiction in regard to it. The clause as drafted envisages that the parliament of Canada would not so "prohibit or restrict" except at the request of the legislature of Newfoundland. If the parliament of Canada has no jurisdiction, in that the matter does not come within the clause relating to agriculture in the British North America Act, it cannot do anything at all about it. My view was that if it had jurisdiction, it was because the subject matter related to agriculture, over which both parliament and the legislature would have jurisdiction. As far as I was concerned, I felt that it might be proper, in a matter in which both had jurisdiction, to agree, since oleomargarine had been available in Newfoundland for a long time, that the parliament of Canada would not exercise its jurisdiction unless the legislature of the province requested it to do so.
The term provided in addition that, if this was something over which parliament had jurisdiction, the oleomargarine manufactured and offered for sale in Newfoundland would not be exported into any other of. the Canadian provinces, unless the parliament of Canada, having jurisdiction, made it legal for oleomargarine to be manufactured and sold in those provinces. That is the thing that is regarded as setting up a barrier to trade, involving a new principle.
Well, Mr. Speaker, it does not involve a new principle. There have been for many years in the dominion and in the provinces a barrier to the transportation, or to the forwarding from one province to another, of any form of intoxicants. The provinces have 336 Newfoundland HOUSE OF COMMONS asserted their control over the sale and distribution of intoxicants within their respective areas; and under these provincial laws it is an offence, which is sometimes committed unwittingly by Canadians going from one province to another, to have in a province any intoxicant which has not been purchased from the liquor control board of that province. Very recently I was a bit embarrassed by a guest at my own apartment who had an empty bottle that had contained something which would be regarded by most persons as coming within the legal definition of intoxicants, and which had been purchased from the board of Quebec.
Under the legislation administered by the leader of the opposition, it has been for a good many years an offence to have in Ontario any intoxicant that has not been purchased from the board of control which operated under the government of which the hon. gentleman was the premier for several years. That was not only something done by the provinces. So that it might be fully effective throughout the whole dominion, in spite of the fact that the dominion has jurisdiction in interprovincial trade, there were introduced into the Canada Temperance Act by a statute of 1916, amended in 1919, the provisions which are now sections 168 and following of the Canada Temperance Act, which is itself chapter 196 of the Revised Statutes of Canada, 1927. That makes it an offence punishable under the terms of the legislation of the parliament of Canada to transport or have in one's possession any intoxicant—and the word is defined by the statute—contrary to the provisions of the laws of the province where the person happens to be. Therefore, in order to make effective this barrier to the trade in intoxicants produced or manufactured in one province and designed to be sold in other parts of Canada, the legislatures of the nine provinces of Canada and the federal parliament agreed in setting up this concurrent system which makes it an offence punishable under the laws of Canada to have anything which is not allowed under what the legislature has seen fit to provide as the regime in the province where it exercises its jurisdiction.
In a general way, since 1919, the Canadian public has regarded that portion of the legislation of the provinces and of the dominion as good legislation. Perhaps I should say that I have heard it is the intention of the government of one province to recommend to the legislature a prohibition against the manufacture and sale of oleomargarine within its limits. There was a report that the premier of Prince Edward Island, in the exercise of the jurisdiction which the majority of the supreme court have declared to be that of the provinces, had said that he was going to recommend to the legislature of his province that the manufacture and sale of oleomargarine be prohibited.
Mr. Drew: I believe he has already dealt with it by order in council.
Mr. St. Laurent: That may be so. I was not aware that it had come into effect, but I did read in the newspapers that it was the intention to do that.
This matter of where the jurisdiction lies in the sale of commodities that might compete with the produce of the dairy industry may not yet be finally settled. The Canadian Federation of Agriculture is still considering the advisability of applying to the privy council for leave to appeal, and has quite recently asked the Canadian government whether it would not itself assert an appeal. It has been informed that that was highly improper in view of the attitude taken by the government in recommending to this house that there be in future litigation no further appeals to the privy council. Whether or not there will be an appeal has not yet become certain.
When these terms of union were drafted and signed there had been no decision from the supreme court. If hon. members will reread them they 'will see that they were carefully prepared, to be applicable to any situation that might arise. If the jurisdiction had remained with the federal parliament, or if an appeal to the privy council results in that tribunal saying that it does rest in the parliament of Canada, then term 46 will make it certain that the people of Newfoundland will not be deprived of the right to continue to use a substitute for the butter they do not produce in their island, and which they have been using for so many years. If on the other hand it is decided by the courts that the parliament of Canada has no right to do anything about it, the fact that the government of Canada agreed with the delegation of Newfoundland that it would not do anything about it is not going to cause any harm to anybody.
It may be suggested that there is a difference between intoxicants and oleomargarine. There is. Intoxicants are obviously connected with peace, order and good government in a local way. Therefore it is obvious that those who are responsible for peace, order and good government in a local and private way within a province can be concerned about exercising proper control over the sale and distribution of intoxicants.
Are the manufacture and sale of oleomargarine something about which provincial governments or provincial legislatures are concerned? The majority of the supreme court have said that it is. They have said that it is something of local and private con FEBRUARY 8, 1949 Newfoundland 337 cern within the province. Well, if it is, the provincial legislatures have a right to do about it that which may appear to them to be in the public interest. They are the ones to judge, if they have the jurisdiction, what they should do about it.
The exercise of jurisdiction is never in any instance controlled by the opinion one may hold about the wisdom of the way in which the person having the jurisdiction has exercised it. The privy council has repeatedly said that it will not concern itself with the wisdom or otherwise of the exercise of jurisdiction, if there is jurisdiction. If there is jurisdiction, the constitution says where that jurisdiction lies; and it is those who have the jurisdiction who are supposed to have the wisdom to exercise it properly.
With respect to the second point, that there is in the terms of agreement with the province of Newfoundland something which is different from the terms to be found in the tax agreements with the other provinces, I believe the leader of the opposition (Mr. Drew) has omitted to look at the last part of the clause in question. That clause provides that the government of the province of Newfoundland shall have the right to enter into a contract with the dominion government along the same lines as the contracts made with the other provinces; but that it shall also have the option of making that contract, not only for the period for which it is made with the other provinces, but for five years longer than the period made with the other provinces.
Mr. Diefenbaker: What paragraph is that?
Mr. St. Laurent: That is term 27 (2). Perhaps I should read it, so that my point may be not only asserted but proved on the record. It states:
27. (1) The government of Canada will forthwith after the date of union make an offer to the government of the province of Newfoundland to enter into a tax agreement for the rental to the government of Canada of the income, corporation income, and corporation tax fields, and the succession duties tax field.
(2) The offer to be made under this term will be similar to the offers to enter into tax agreements made to other provinces, necessary changes being made to adapt the offer to circumstances arising out of the union, except that the offer will provide that the agreement may be entered into either for a number of fiscal years expiring at the end of the fiscal year in 1952, as in the case of other provinces, or for a number of fiscal years expiring at the end of the fiscal year in 1957, at the option of the government of the province of Newfoundland, but if the government of the province of Newfoundland accepts the latter option the agreement will provide that the subsequent entry into a tax agreement by the government of Canada with any other province will not entitle the government of the province of Newfoundland to any alteration in the terms of its agreement.
In other words we say to them: You may have your choice; first, you may place your selves in the same position as the other provinces. But if for greater security you wish to have at once an agreement that will go on five years beyond the agreement with the present provinces, you have to make it as a firm agreement for the whole period. And if we make a new agreement in 1952 with the other provinces, that will not entitle you to have yours revised. In other words, you cannot have it both ways. You cannot have an agreement whereby, if we make a less favourable agreement from 1952 to 1957 with the other provinces, you will keep the former advantage, whilst, if we make a more favourable agreement with the other provinces, you will get the increased benefits. You must say at the outset whether you will stand on the same level as the other provinces and get in 1952 the same kind of agreement they get, or you can at once secure for yourselves the benefit for a further period of five years on the present basis. But if you do that, you take it for the period for which you are exercising your option.
I submit that is not a principle which would prove substantially to be objectionable.
I am fully in accord with the leader of the opposition when he states that the principle we are now debating on second reading is as to whether there should be made an agreement for the union of Newfoundland with Canada on terms which will appeal to the people of both sections as fair and reasonable. We suggest that these terms are fair and reasonable. But accepting the principle of the bill does not involve acceptance of the individual terms. It involves merely the desire of parliament to look at the document to see whether or not it amounts to fair and reasonable terms.
The hon. member for Broadview (Mr. Church) raised the question of the embarrassment which might result to the people of Canada from having Newfoundland join with Canada in view of the fact that in 1941 there had been given a ninety-nine year lease for certain military bases in Newfoundland. Those leases were made on terms agreed to by the government of the United Kingdom and that of the United States at a time when the situation was a most unhappy one. The leases are in existence. The government of the United Kingdom, the government of Newfoundland and the government of Canada alone can do nothing to modify those terms. They create a condition for years in certain areas in Newfoundland; and they must be respected, unless it can be arranged with the government of the United States that they shall be varied.
There are in process at the present time negotiations looking to variation in the leases to bring them into accord with the joint declaration made by the President and the 338 Newfoundland HOUSE OF COMMONS Prime Minister on February 12, 1947, about the principles which would govern the arrangements for military co-operation between the two countries. Those principles were agreed to by the two governments. They were announced simultaneously by the President and by the Prime Minister. I believe they have received pretty universal approval throughout the United States and Canada. It is our hope that in our negotiations with the government of the United States we shall have the actual exercise of the rights provided for by these leases brought into line with the principles which have been set out in this joint declaration. We hope that will be so because of the attitude of the two governments of Canada and the United States. Their practice has not been to deal with each other at arm's length, but rather to try to make arrangements which would afford the most satisfactory method and degree of co-operation between the peoples of the two countries.
We hope it will be possible to have the lessees, who by contract have their rights for ninety-nine years in these leases, agree that they should exercise their rights in the manner which the two governments of. Canada and the United States agreed would be the proper way to ensure co-operation between them as set out in their joint declaration of February 12, 1947. The hon. member for Broadview may be assured that I hope to be able to discuss with the President of the United States some aspects of these leases on the occasion of the visit I am to have the honour of paying him on this very week end.
The hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles) feels that the entry of Newfoundland into confederation and the presence of six senators and seven members of parliament in addition to the present membership of our houses of parliament is going to place a serious burden upon the restricted office space available in this central block. I think everyone who occupies any portion of the central block will be in full agreement with him as to the facts.
His suggestion that space should be made in the east block for the hon. members of the other house would seem to indicate that he does not realize to what extent there is already congestion in the space available in the east block for the services located there. I was Secretary of State for External Affairs for well over a year before I could get space in the east block. During that period I had to use as my office the one that was available for me during the session in the centre block.
Mr. Cruickshank: Put them in the printing bureau.
Mr. St. Laurent: The suggestion is made that they might be put in the printing bureau, but those who have visited the printing bureau know that there is such congestion there that a large part of the work which should be done by the king's printer has to be let out by private contract. Hon. members are aware of the serious difficulties which arise in providing additional buildings for government services in this capital district. There are urgently required in the capital district more buildings for the housing of government services.
Up to the present time it has been felt that it would be unfair to take any building materials or manpower which could be used for the provision of houses and devote them to the construction of government buildings. But there has been some easing in the supply situation. Hon. members are aware that for the last week or so there has been quite a controversy here in Ottawa as to where the additional buildings are going to be located.
The matter was submitted to the federal district commission and to the planning commission. They were told that the three services that require new accommodation were the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Trade and Commerce and the printing bureau. They looked over the field and found two sites in Ottawa and one in Hull. One site in Ottawa was opposite the supreme court building on Wellington street and it was decided that that should be used for a building for the Department of Veterans Affairs. They recommended that the other site in Ottawa west should be devoted to the building for the Department of Trade and Commerce and that the printing bureau, which requires a large site—I am told it will have a frontage of seven hundred feet and a depth of three hundred and fifty feet—should be located in the city of Hull.
Mr. Knowles: Let the senators go to Hull.
Mr. St. Laurent: The provision of additional accommodation for government services is necessary in order to relieve congestion throughout the whole service. If accommodation is made available for the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Trade and Commerce it will relieve congestion in the space available for the houses of parliament. The project I hear discussed most frequently for the housing of hon. gentlemen of the other place is the east block. The west block is the one I hear discussed as being the proper location for additional offices for members of parliament. I feel it is urgent that more space be provided for hon. members. This is something which is receiving active consideration, not only out of concern for the comfort of others but FEBRUARY 8, 1949 Newfoundland 339 out of concern for the comfort of each one of us who is affected by the congestion which now exists. Perhaps hon. members do not realize that the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Howe) is still located in one of the temporary buildings where he has been since the beginning of the war.
There is a necessity that something should be done. It is recognized that the redistribution which we have provided for and the augmented number of hon. members occasioned by union with Newfoundland will increase the urgency for additional space.
I have attempted to deal with the matters which relate to the principle of this bill. My own is that in accepting the principle of the bill the house does not go beyond asserting that it is desirable that there be union of Canada and Newfoundland on terms advantageous to the people of both sections. When the bill is in committee it will be the responsibility of hon. members to look at the terms set out in the schedule annexed to the bill and determine whether those terms will be of mutual advantage to the people of Canada and to the people of Newfoundland in their desire to be united with the people of Canada.
Motion agreed to, on division, bill read the second time and the house went into committee thereon, Mr. Macdonald (Brantford City) in the chair.
On section 1—Agreement approved.
Mr. St. Laurent: As hon. members will see, there is only one section to this bill, which asserts that the terms set out in the agreement are approved. I think probably it would be more satisfactory to hon. members if the terms were first read so that hon. members would know what is implied in approving or refusing to approve these terms. I would suggest that we suspend consideration of section 1 of the bill and immediately give consideration to the terms of union.
Mr. Knowles: Clause by clause?
Mr. St. Laurent: Yes.
The Chairman: Then clause 1 of the bill stands, and the preamble to the schedule will also stand until we have considered the sections of the schedule. Is it the wish of the committee that we consider the schedule under headings? For example, the first heading is "Union" and includes sections 1 and 2 of the schedule.
Mr. Diefenbaker: I was just wondering whether it would not be better to take the preamble first, for the reason that certain questions arise in connection with the preamble which might be cleared away at this time.
The Chairman: Standing order 76 reads:
In proceeding in committee of the whole house upon bills, the preamble is first postponed, and then every clause considered by the committee in its proper order; the preamble and title to be last considered.
Mr. St. Laurent: I think the suggestion of the hon. member for Lake Centre is that we consider the preamble of the schedule, not the preamble of the bill. I may be mistaken, but I have always taken it that standing order 76 referred to the preamble of a bill. Here the preamble of the schedule is part of a document which, coming to us in the form it does, has to be taken or rejected as it is, because it is an agreement made with another party which is submitted for approval. It can be approved or disapproved; parliament can say it will not approve this one but that it would be perhaps disposed to approve one that contained something else, but in that event the bill would be defeated and this agreement would not be approved. It seems to me there is some value in the suggestion of the hon. member for Lake Centre, because I think the facts alleged in the preamble help us to understand the terms of the agreement. Even if it were necessary to have unanimous consent to do so, I would suggest that such unanimous consent might be given and that we take up the preamble of the schedule before attempting to deal with the individual terms.
The Chairman: Then it is agreed that the preamble to the schedule be considered now.
Section stands.
On the preamble (to the schedule).
Mr. Diefenbaker: Mr. Chairman, the preamble generally deals with the discussions that took place with members of the national convention of Newfoundland, and also the submissions made and the arrangements entered into at the discussions which took place between the governments of the United Kingdom and Canada and the representatives of Newfoundland. Yesterday my leader made clear that we in this house had but one matter to determine, and that was the question of whether or not we favoured consummation of the dream of confederation by the inclusion of Newfoundland.
That, of course, is the legal and parliamentary position. But in addition to the legal position, as I see it there is also a moral responsibility resting upon this parliament to remove or alleviate any causes of discontent on the part of the very large minority who voted in the negative during the two referendums. The essence of democracy is a recognition of the need to preserve the rights 340 Newfoundland HOUSE OF COMMONS of minorities. Dictatorship denies that minorities have rights and, as far as minorities are concerned, those rights are determined by the simple process of coercion.
On June 19 of last year I asked the right hon. Prime Minister a number of questions in regard to the proceedings that led up to the question of confederation between Newfoundland and Canada. At page 5545 of Hansard for last year the right hon. gentleman used these words:
The British North America Act contemplated that there might be union between Canada and Newfoundland on a joint address of the houses of parliament of Canada and the legislature of Newfoundland. That principle could be resorted to; but it would require, in order to be resorted to, the restoration of self-government in Newfoundland, and then joint addresses under the terms of section 146 of the British North America Act. On those joint addresses, union could be consummated by order of His Majesty in council without legislation in the parliament at Westminster or legislation in the parliament of Canada. But if that method is not resorted to, the matter is not expressly provided for and would have to be accomplished by new legislation that could, I suppose, be adopted only by the parliament at Westminster if there were joint addresses from the houses of the Canadian parliament asking that it be done.
Then he goes on to set out in detail the usual processes. Once more I should like to point out that we in this parliament recognize with pride the fact that the hopes of the fathers of confederation are about to be consummated. The acquisition of Newfoundland will take its place, in strategic importance, with the acquisition by the United States of Alaska and Louisiana. It is actually the completion of that unity which caused Mr. Galt, as he then was, to say at the time of confederation:
Half a continent is ours if we have but the courage to take up the burden.
In taking up that burden, in welcoming those who heretofore have belonged to a sister dominion, above everything else we want to be sure that these new citizens who join us will do so in a spirit of amity and unity, thereby making their contribution to the strength, power and destiny of this confederation. For that reason I bring up these questions, because as I read the British North America Act the procedure followed here was never contemplated. Section 146 contemplated only one procedure, much different from that now being adopted.
With a view to ameliorating the causes of division and bringing into this confederation the people of Newfoundland in that spirit of dedication to our common destiny, I ask certain questions by way of explanation. I believe that the answers to these questions, properly given by the Prime Minister of this country, will go far to remove the causes of the discontent which now exists in New foundland, which cannot be denied and cannot be answered by a refusal to face the facts.
I ask, first, in view of the fact that under the Newfoundland Act, 1933, and the commission report at that time, it was contemplated that responsible government would be restored, why is it that the plan of confederation as provided for under section 146 of the British North America Act has not, in fact, been followed in this case? Secondly, what has the Canadian government done to remove the reasons for the objections that have been made by that very large minority that showed its strength in the vote on the two references? Thirdly, have any representations been received in opposition to the course followed by the Canadian government from groups of individuals in Newfoundland claiming to represent the seventy odd thousand who voted for the restoration of responsible government? If such representations have been made, would the Prime Minister table them and also table the replies given in reference thereto? Fourthly, and I think it is very important, the leader of the opposition has made clear that our responsibility as Canadians is to vote on this legislation and in no way to infringe upon the sovereignty of another dominion.
Recognizing that, I should like to ask this question. In view of the fact that Newfoundlanders will now become Canadians, and the desire of each of us must be to remove any possibility of disunity by reason of the fact that the government has not followed the scheme set forth in the British North America Act to cover possible union in the future, has this government made any representations to the British government regarding the question whether or not it would be preferable that responsible government be restored in Newfoundland prior to the matter of confederation being discussed in this house?
I think an answer to those questions would go a long way towards arousing the people of Newfoundland to a realization that we in Canada, in welcoming them, want them to realize that in no action we take are we endeavouring to control their destiny without a recognition of their rights.
Mr. Church: In passing Bill No. 11 you are passing on to the people of Newfoundland all the criminal law, the civil law, the law of patents, the law of trade-marks and many other matters. I do not wish to take any further part in the debate on the control bill, Bill No. 12, to amend the statute law to implement the terms of union of Newfoundland with Canada.
Last night I read a statement by the attorney general of England, Sir Hartley Shawcross, in an address at Lincoln's Inn, in FEBRUARY 8, 1949 Newfoundland 341 which he complained about the costs of law. He said that it was too complicated, the procedure too involved for the ordinary litigant to be able to afford court costs. It is this type of thing we are passing on to the people of Newfoundland under Bill 11. Nothing is being done to rectify these conditions in Canada. Reference has been made by Sir Hartley to the shocking state of statute law in England. The criminal code even in Canada has not been revised by the House of Commons since its inception in 1905.
In a radio address reported in the Daily Telegraph, Mr. Churchill spoke of the need for legal reform. In the same article it was reported that he said the same thing in a radio address on March 2 last. Mr. Churchill was complaining about the very same thing, the cost of litigation. There were 25,000 new rules, orders in council and so on, and no one can tell about their validity until the court of last resort has been reached. He said that only about five of these orders in council had been considered by the Supreme Court of Canada.
Last night, I asked about the difference between that kind of rule and the lucidity of the divine laws. I am reading something from the twelfth chapter of St. Luke in which lawyers were reproved. I wish to quote the following verses:
44. Woe unto you. scribes and Pharisees. hypocrites! for ye are as graves which appear not. and the men that walk over them are not aware of them.
45. Then answered one of the lawyers, and said unto him, Master. thus saying thou reproachest us also.
46. And he said, Woe unto you also, ye lawyers! for ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers.
52. Woe unto you. lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves. and them that were entering in ye hindered.
So, you see, we have a divine rule relating to lawyers who are needed in the law courts.
In 1491 BC. the ten commandments were laid down by Moses from Mount Sinai, yet their lucidity is amazing. Everybody understands them. Now, there is a conflict between divine law and constitutional law. Any minister or member of the government knows that he must follow constitutional practice. A government which does otherwise is proceeding unconstitutionally, as a great lawyer in England, P. St. George Kirke, said. It is difficult for us, men of all occupations, to decide what should be done about the criminal law, civil law and matters of the kind.
Last night I referred to a town in England, called Stevenage, which had been planned by the Labour government. They tore down the old buildings and started something else. An appeal was taken to the law courts. A judge of the lower courts expressed the opinion that nothing like it had been done since the time of Ahab, who was a king of Samaria, when he took Naboth's vineyard. But Ahab gave Naboth compensation for it. Of all the judges in England, there was only one county court judge who questioned these rules and regulations of statute law. He said that this statute law conflicted with the eighth, ninth and tenth commandments which are as follows:
Thou shalt not steal.
Thou shalt not bear false witness—
Thou shalt not covet—
The county court judge referred to that, and he did something which was 'very fine indeed. This shows the need for law reform in this country as well.
Another matter came up which I should like to mention, and with that I shall conclude. This matter came up in connection with the nationalization of a very important industry in Great Britain. A billion dollars of paper money was issued. It is turned out by printing presses and adds nothing to the national wealth of the country. After depreciating a person's investment, the government compels him to take that particular type of money. What chance have the people in the law courts when the judges over there do not act?
The other matter about which I wanted to speak was with regard to patents and inventions. The law regarding patents and inventions mentions a seal. The law is set out in the 15th chapter of Genesis, verses 5 to 18. God made a covenant with Abraham. That was the authorship of that seal. What did the inventors get? They have been interfered with; something has been written into the law which should not have been put in. The patentees have been interfered with. The patentee was to get all the rights and privileges under the patent. Every patent had been granted by the king and the crown to the patentee. It is issued by the crown under the royal seal which goes with this patent or trade-mark, the patentee to have and enjoy the whole profit and advantage from time to time accruing by reason of the said invention during the time of sixteen years. What is being done? Inventors are being driven out of Great Britain, and here in Canada they are being driven to the United States by the same factors, by the control system, income tax and surtax up to a large sum of money. The surtax is 2 1/2; per cent. The result is that inventors are leaving this country and are going to a free country, namely the United States. The inventors are also leaving Britain with the same object in View. I commend the changes made in this law. In conclusion, I can only say that these instances I have given are violations of the 342 Newfoundland HOUSE OF COMMONS eighth, ninth and tenth commandments: thou shalt not steal; thou shalt not bear false witness; thou shalt not covet. That is what the government is doing with regard to patents and trade-marks under the law as it is. The lawyers know something about that.
I do not wish to criticize the high court judges. Far from it. I can tell hon. members, however, that we have no real law reform in this country. For many years past I have been trying to get some. It is a forgotten subject here. We should have a committee to go over these legal bills and see that we get some reform. With the complexity of the law, with the maelstrom of red tape and the cobwebs in it, I can tell hon. members that it is a relic of other days. In England, as a result of the summary offenders act, half the prisons have been closed. How? The people are given time to pay. Yet we have no law reform in Canada of the criminal law which we are to pass on to Newfoundland according to this bill. In Toronto we built the Toronto jail, the jail farm on Yonge street for men and the jail farm for women three miles from there at Concord. The government here, through one of the departments, have taken those two new jail farms. I do not know why that was done. I can tell hon. members that 400 people have been crowded into the Toronto jail. It was built after 1867 for use only for remands, and is fit for no more than 200 persons. We have been trying to get something done, and we did get something done by establishing these two jail farms. If that is the kind of law reform that is to be passed on to Newfoundland, it is another matter. Having explained these matters, and pointed out the urgent need for law reform in this country, I suggest that we should have a legal committee to go over every one of these laws every year in order to see that we get some real law reform.
Mr. MacInnis: Mr. Speaker, I want to say a few words along the same lines as those spoken by the hon. member for Lake Centre (Mr. Diefenbaker), although I am not taking the same position. Indeed, I am taking the opposite one. I am speaking not in criticism of what he said but because two members from this group spoke along the same lines in the debate yesterday.
Mr. Diefenbaker: I merely asked questions.
Mr. MacInnis: Yes, I quite understand. It seems to me that we are going a little bit too far when we say that the fathers of confederation could lay down the procedure by which the dominion of Newfoundland, some eighty years later, could come into confederation. It is true that a procedure was laid down in the British North America Act, but when that procedure was laid down it could not be foreseen that the dominion of Newfoundland would not have a responsible government in 1949 when its entry into confederation was being considered. That is one of the points I wish to make. There is so much unanimity in this house on the desirability of Newfoundland joining with Canada that I think it would be a mistake to indulge in criticism that can lead nowhere; because, in my opinion, there is nothing this parliament can or could do in the matters complained of. I am not attempting to defend the government in what it has done. It does not need my defence, because .it has plenty of supporters on its own side quite able to defend its actions. I do not believe it was up to this government to suggest to the government of the United Kingdom that it should restore responsible government to Newfoundland to enable it to negotiate with the government of Canada. I am not well versed in how these things are done, but I do not believe that it would be proper for the Dominion of Canada to make proposals of that kind to the United Kingdom government. There were two referendum votes taken on this question by the people of Newfoundland. According to the system of voting followed, both votes were opposed to the reconstitution of responsible government. The first vote was on three questions: the commission form of government, responsible government and confederation. Responsible government received the largest vote. But it was stipulated that it would require to have an over-all majority. The first vote then stood at 85,000 to 69,000 against responsible government. In the next vote the situation was somewhat similar. Confederation carried by quite a reasonable majority. If an hon. member came to this house with as clear a majority as confederation received I believe he would think that he was quite justified in speaking for the electors of his constituency. There is only one logical conclusion to the criticism of how the negotiations were carried out, and I do not think any hon. member would want to accept that conclusion because, in the first place, it would delay confederation and in my opinion the results would be the same as they are now. That conclusion is to have another referendum taken by the people of Newfoundland with the exact terms of confederation before them. They should be asked whether they want confederation or not. That is the logical conclusion to the criticism made by the hon. member for Lake Centre and the two hon. members from my own party. I do not think anyone would suggest that seriously as a solution, if a solution is required, or if we want to insist that a greater FEBRUARY 8, 1949 Newfoundland 343 degree of democracy should be used in the circumstances. I believe that the procedure followed, namely a referendum vote of the people of Newfoundland, was a democratic one. There may be a difference of opinion in Newfoundland between those who wanted responsible government and those who wanted confederation, but I do not believe that the best way to smooth out those differences of opinion, and put an end to any bad feeling that may still exist, is to keep harping on it in this house. Let us get ahead with the terms of confederation as quickly as possible, and when we bring Newfoundland into confederation with the rest of Canada I hope that neither they nor we will ever regret it.
Mr. Dorion: Mr. Speaker, the bill now under consideration will undoubtedly assume considerable importance in the annals of this country. I therefore feel it only proper that, upon the entry of the new province into confederation, a small part at least of the debate in the house be carried out in French, so that our future fellow citizens may remember that Canada has two official languages.
The few comments I wish to make in connection with the preamble of this bill are as follows:
Following the statements made by the hon. member for Lake Centre (Mr. Diefenbaker), I must first agree with the view he has expressed, and maintain that, in so far as the entry of Newfoundland into confederation is concerned, we should have been governed by the stipulations not of an ordinary statute, but of that basic, fundamental law which governed the birth of Canada, the British North America Act. As we all know, section 146 of the act provides for the entry of Newfoundland into confederation. It is probably expedient to recall it.
It shall be lawful for the queen. by and with the advice of Her Majesty's most honourable privy council, on addresses from the houses of parliament of Canada, and from the houses of the respective legislatures of the colonies or provinces of Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, and British Columbia, to admit those colonies or provinces, or any of them, into the union, etc.
I must point out, Mr. Speaker, that this has already been done. Indeed, when British Columbia joined confederation in 1871, the process followed was that provided in the British North America Act. The preamble of the order of Her Majesty in council, dated May 16, 1871, states unequivocally:
And whereas by addresses from the houses of the parliament of Canada, and from the legislative council of British Columbia respectively, of which add resses copies are contained in the schedule of this order annexed, Her Majesty was prayed, by and with the advice of her most honourable privy council, under the one hundred and forty-sixth section of the hereinbefore recited act, to admit British Columbia into the dominion of Canada, on the terms and conditions set forth in the said addresses.
And later when Prince Edward Island joined confederation, the British North America Act was once more complied with. The procedure followed was that which is outlined in section 146. The preamble to the order in council dated June 26, 1873, reads as follows:
And whereas by addresses from the houses of the parliament of Canada, and from the legislative council and house of assembly of Prince Edward Island respectively, of which addresses copies are contained in the schedule to this order annexed, Her Majesty was prayed, by and with the advice of her most honourable privy council, under the one hundred and forty-sixth section of the hereinbefore recited act, to admit Prince Edward Island into the dominion of Canada, on the terms and conditions set forth in the said addresses.
In my opinion, Mr. Speaker, the new bill before the house is a further departure from the provisions of the British North America Act and I take the liberty of drawing the attention of hon. members to that fact. When one is aware of the present government's ideas on centralization, this breach assumes a great deal of importance. Not only do the government deliberately overrule a section of the British North America Act, but they disregard explicit undertakings agreed upon since 1934 with the people of Newfoundland. In November 1933 Newfoundland's legislative assembly requested the suspension of its letters patent, and the said act was ratified by the British parliament. The act passed by the assembly of Newfoundland included the following proviso:
Be it agreed that as soon as the island's difficulties have been resolved and the country is again self- supporting, responsible government shall be restored at the people's request.
When the British parliament ratified the act, it was decided as follows:
Whereas we are in receipt of an address from the legislative council and the house of the said island asking that we be graciously pleased to suspend the said letters patent and to issue new ones providing for the administration of the said island until it again becomes self-supporting, on the basis of the recommendations contained in the report of the royal commission which was appointed by us on the 17th day of February, 1933 . . ."
A little later, in 1941 or thereabouts, Newfoundland's economic situation having improved considerably, the island people approached the British parliament with a view to restoring responsible government. At that time, on December 2, 1943, Mr. Emrys-Evans, 344 Newfoundland HOUSE OF COMMONS then Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs, expressed himself as follows:
The arrangements made in 1933 included a pledge by His Majesty's government that as soon as the island's difficulties had been overcome and the country was again self-supporting, responsible government on request from the people of Newfoundland would be restored. Our whole policy is governed by this undertaking.
In 1945, in violation of this agreement— since it actually was an agreement between the Newfoundland legislature and the British parliament—the commonwealth relations office, through the government commission, decided to call a national convention.
Members of this convention were elected during the summer of 1946 and on February 8, 1947, the convention decided to send a delegation to Ottawa to examine the conditions under which Newfoundland might possibly enter confederation.
After the lengthy discussions with which we are familiar, proposals were submitted by Canada and there occurred at this stage a rather important development: the proposals made by Canada to the Newfoundland national convention that had been called in the summer of 1946 were implicitly rejected, since it was decided to submit to the people two questions only:
First, were the electors in favour of responsible government and second did they favour a commission of government.
This means that the national convention, having been apprized of the proposals made by Canada, had decided to ask the people of Newfoundland, by means of a referendum, if they wished to return to their pre-1933 type of administration or whether they were content to keep the system which had been in force since that date.
What happened then?
The British government, without consulting anybody in Newfoundland, without the approval of anyone there, or, at any rate without the approval of any legally constituted body, decided to put three questions to the people of Newfoundland, in spite of what had been formerly decided upon by the national convention. This is how the first referendum came about.
Now, evidently, the only legally organized body which at the time could speak on behalf of the people of Newfoundland was this national convention, and that is why, contrary to the wishes and decisions of that convention, the British government resolved to put three questions to the people of Newfoundland in the referendum of June 1948.
I submit that this decision by the British government was irregular, even illegal and unjustified. In my opinion, it would be interesting to know what interests were then at stake, what lobbying took place about which no report has reached us. Why did British interests decide to put the third question to the people of Newfoundland so that they could answer whether or not they favoured the entry of the island into confederation?
It would surely be interesting to know what must have taken place at the time, about which we have not been told anything.
And so on June 3, 1948, when the first referendum took place, there were 22,311 votes cast for the commission government, 64,066 for confederation with Canada and 69,400 for responsible government. Here I ask myself this question: On what grounds, under what statute, legislation or authority was the result of the first referendum disregarded and a second one held?
If the result of the first referendum, in which responsible government received a majority, had been complied with, conditions would have become again as they were before 1933. The government of Canada could then have dealt with the established responsible government according to the rules set forth in the British North America Act.
Why was the result of that vote disregarded? On what grounds? Under what authority? We do not know. All we know is that the second referendum took place on July 22, 1948. At that time 78,323 votes were cast for confederation with Canada and 71,334 for responsible government, a majority for confederation with Canada of 7,000 votes.
But it must be noted that only 78,323 votes favoured the entry of. Newfoundland into confederation and the electoral list comprised 176,297 electors. Therefore if the first result had not been satisfactory because there had not been an absolute majority, the same principle could have applied to the second referendum, and the latter might conceivably nave been rejected, in view of the fact that the results were far from expressing the will of an absolute majority of the electors. It must also be noted how the appeal was made to the electors in favour of the entry of Newfoundland into confederation.
I have here an article written by Mr. Camille l'Heureux in Le Droit of November 10, 1948. I wish to quote the following paragraph:
FEBRUARY 8, 1949 Newfoundland 345
All kinds of abuses crept into the pre-referendum campaign. Aided and abetted by members of the commission government, the advocates of confederation openly led an intensive campaign of scandal, trickery and sectarianism. The propaganda in favour of responsible government was not only delayed in post offices but in many cases it was destroyed. The responsible government league goes so far as to accuse the leaders of those who advocate confederation, of pitting Orangemen again Roman Catholics on the island. In this connection, the league quotes the rallying cry given its members by the Grand Master.
However, it happened that Canada accepted that second vote which was taken on July 22, 1948, and after such irregularities, after that infringement of the British North America Act, we are now told that things must be done quickly, that the debate must necessarily be shortened, so that Newfoundland's entry may be decided as soon as possible.
That is not satisfactory, especially since the scanty details we have been able to obtain do not permit us to size up the extent of the burden which the entry of Newfoundland into the confederation will mean for the Canadian ratepayers. I submit that we have not been given all the information which would enable us to analyse the importance of the action we are going to take, because if we are to rely on what the press has brought to our knowledge on various occasions, it would appear that Newfoundland's entry into confederation is going to be exceedingly costly for us.
Here, Mr. Chairman, there is a third point I wish to make. As the cost of Newfoundland's entry into confederation will no doubt come out of the present revenues of the Canadian government, it is clear that the government will draw from the income tax as well as from all other existing revenues, a considerable part of which belongs to the provinces, and that is why we were and still are right in claiming that the provinces should have been consulted. The province of Quebec especially should have been consulted, because of the marking of boundaries between Labrador and that province, which is a matter included in this bill. No doubt that is why the premier of Quebec used these words which I quote from a statement he made on November 8, 1947:
That is a problem of the highest importance, concerning as it does all provinces in Canada, and especially the province of Quebec. It seems to me altogether discourteous for the federal authorities to take such important action without even consulting provincial authorities. particularly those of the province of Quebec, deeply interested in this matter.
Mr. McIvor: I enjoyed very much the intelligent presentation which was given to us yesterday to show- why we should have this union, but more important than trade, more important than national defence is something else which has not yet been presented to this committee. I refer to the religious union that exists already between Canada and Newfoundland. I can give you a concrete example. The advisory board of the Salvation Army, of which I am a member, has jurisdiction over Canada, Newfoundland and Bermuda. Perhaps this is one of the indirect reasons why we are to have union at this time. I say that when the Christian church leads, all others can intelligently follow.
Mr. St. Laurent: The hon. member for Lake Centre asked certain questions. I have not all the material here but in order that the record may not appear incomplete I shall attempt to give a provisional answer. First, I should like to say that I appreciate the attitude which has been taken by hon. members in respect of this proposal. Personally I share the views expressed by the hon. member for Vancouver East, that it is not apt to be helpful, in eradicating the irritation that naturally comes from losing out in any contest by popular vote, to be constantly referring to that fact.
Rules were set for this matter. It so happens that there was a substantial minority that did not have its way and that would now like to see the thing started over again. There are some people who would like to see a more recent test determined by a vote started over again, but that is not the way democracies work.
In this case there was originally an undertaking by the government of the United Kingdom—I am not attempting to make a defence of the government of the United Kingdom, I am simply stating the facts which I think afford justification—to restore responsible government to Newfoundland on demand or on request—I do not remember exactly what the terms were—when the situation had improved.
In December, 1945, the government of the United Kingdom decided—there was no other government in Newfoundland at that time than the commission of government composed of a governor appointed by the United Kingdom, three residents of the United Kingdom, and three residents of Newfoundland—that they were not the ones to make the request for the restoration of responsible government and determined that there would be a national 346 Newfoundland HOUSE OF COMMONS convention, elected by the people of Newfoundland, to consider the form of their future government.
That convention was elected. After it had investigated the financial situation and so forth its findings were made public. Then the government of Newfoundland said: We will ask the people themselves whether they want responsible government, a continuation of the commission of government, or confederation with Canada. In view of the fact that three questions were to be submitted, they said, if there is not an absolute majority in favour of any one there will have to be a second referendum. There was a vote but there was no absolute majority in favour of any of the three questions, and a second referendum was held.
On that second occasion the people of Newfoundland, instead of saying that they wanted responsible government restored, decided against it. In the first referendum some of them had wanted responsible government restored, but they were not a majority of those who voted. In the second referendum the majority said: No, we do not want responsible government restored; we want union with Canada.
Twenty-five members of the convention voted against the submission of the proposal of the convention and I am rather surprised at the attitude taken by the hon. member for Charlevoix-Saguenay that there was no justification for putting the question to the people of Newfoundland. The national convention was merely a convention to inquire into the situation and to make recommendations; it was not even a legislative body.
In the absence of any legislative body other than the commission of government, which was not representative, and a referendum having been submitted to the people, it seems to me that the result of that referendum was a democratic expression of what the people of Newfoundland wanted.
I shall deal with the other questions at eight o'clock. I appreciate that the hon. member for Lake Centre is as desirous as any of us here to have union accomplished under such terms as will leave the least possible resentment in the minds of the new Canadians who are joining our nation.
Mr. Diefenbaker: That was the purpose of the questions.
Mr. St. Laurent: I shall endeavour to give as full answers as possible, because I think the hon. member feels that the more light we can throw on the fact the greater help will be given to dispelling resentment.
Mr. Diefenbaker: That was the purpose of the questions.
Mr. St. Laurent: That was as I understood them.
At six o'clock the committee took recess.


The committee resumed at eight o'clock.
Mr. St. Laurent: When the committee rose at the dinner hour I was proceeding to deal with the questions suggested by the hon. member for Lake Centre, and I believe I said I appreciated that he was putting these questions for the purpose of having the facts upon the record in the hope that it might dissolve some of the resentment felt by those who believe some other procedure to achieve confederation should have been followed.
If I understood the hon. member correctly his first question was why, in view of the terms of the Newfoundland act of 1933— which provided that on request of the people of Newfoundland, when their financial situation had been restored, they would get back responsible government—the procedure to bring about union had not been that contemplated in section 146 of the British North America Act. That section, as hon. members will recall, provided that her majesty, on the advice of her most honourable privy council, might on the joint addresses of the houses of the Canadian parliament and the houses of the legislature of Newfoundland or Prince Edward Island, admit those colonies into union.
I think I have dealt with the first part. We did not consider it would be proper for us to express any views in respect to the manner in which the government of the United Kingdom and the government of Newfoundland should carry out the provisions that had been made in 1933. We constantly maintained the position that we felt the Canadian people would be glad to welcome the entry of Newfoundland into confederation, but that we should not do anything to influence her decision or course of action in the matter. To be quite frank, I may say we felt that this would probably be the most helpful attitude for us to maintain in order to bring about a desire to join Canada. We felt that the people of Newfoundland, naturally proud of their history and the control over their own affairs which they had up to 1933, would resent any action by the Canadian government or the Canadian people which might be construed as expressing an opinion as to what they should do.
The hon. member for Lake Centre will remember that we had some exchanges in that regard at the end of the session of 1948. He referred to the Hansard report of Saturday, June 19, 1948. I will not take time to read the exchanges that took place then, but FEBRUARY 8, 1949 Newfoundland 347 in answering questions put by the hon. member for Lake Centre I said our position was that we felt we should not attempt to interfere with the discharge of the responsibilities of the government of the United Kingdom or the government of Newfoundland, and that we would scrupulously endeavour to avoid doing anything which might be construed as an attempt on our part to dictate to our good friends of the island.
The situation which presented itself to us was that the government of the United Kingdom had requested the election of a national convention; that this national convention had passed a resolution requesting the governor of Newfoundland to inquire whether the Canadian government would be prepared to receive a delegation and to explore with that delegation whether or not there were satisfactory terms which could govern the union of Newfoundland with Canada. The reply given was that we would welcome that delegation. The delegation came. We worked with them for over three months, and afterward submitted what we then considered would appear to be fair terms upon which the union could be consummated.
We did nothing beyond that at that time. I'he matter came before the national convention; and after discussing the terms a majority of the national convention voted against including in the referendum a question as to whether or not the people would wish to unite with Canada. I can give this house the assurance that we expressed no views as to whether that question should or should not be included in the ballot. The government of the United Kingdom decided that, in view of the number who had voted for its inclusion in the ballot, and in View of what we were told, that there were petitions signed by great numbers in Newfoundland asking that it should be included, they would submit the question.
During the whole of that period we were maintaining an attitude of the strictest neutrality, because personally I think many of us felt that by doing so we would favour the prospects of union to a greater degree than if we attempted to say or do anything which could be construed on the island as showing a desire to influence their decision in the matter.
The question was submitted, with the result that has been referred to already in the course of the debate. After the first referendum a statement was made by my predecessor, the Prime Minister at that time, that if on the second ballot the people of Newfoundland indicated in a clear and unmistakable way that they wished to join Canada on substantially the terms of the proposal that had been submitted, the Canadian government would co-operate with their representatives in giving final form to those terms. If I remember correctly the hon. gentleman, or some hon. gentleman on the other side, asked what would be considered a clear and unmistakable decision of the people of Newfoundland. Speaking for myself—because we had not discussed the matter in council—I said I thought it would be the usual democratic process; that if there was a majority, that majority would be apt to be considered as the expression of the views that should prevail, but that after all it was not our responsibility to count the ballots or decide the sufficiency or insufficiency of the vote. If the government of the United Kingdom and the government of Newfoundland, after counting the ballots, stated to us on their responsibility that there had been a majority for union with Canada, I said I thought it would be very difficult for us to refuse to recognize the validity of that statement; and they did state to us that there had been a clear majority expressing a desire to unite with Canada, and that the governor was appointing a delegation to come and discuss the final terms of union.
That delegation came. The situation was discussed, I think, in a manner that did credit to both the Canadian and the Newfoundland delegations. I believe the view that prevailed was that it was not a time to try to get this or that particular advantage but that it was in the interests of all, if there was to be union, to have such terms determined as could be accepted by the majority of the reasonably- minded people in Canada and Newfoundland as being fair and apt to promote the welfare of the enlarged Canadian nation.
On the day those terms were to be signed there arrived from St. John's a telegram addressed to me, which in compliance with the request made by the hon. member for Lake Centre I shall table. It is signed by Mr. Fred W. Marshall, chairman of the responsible government league. Perhaps I should read the telegram so that its contents may be available to all hon. members in the house. It was in the form of a night letter, dispatched from St. John's, Newfoundland, on December 10, and which reached us here on the morning of December 11. It is addressed to the Right Hon. Louis St. Laurent, K.C., Prime Minister of Canada; report delivery Ottawa, Ontario.
Following memorial passed unanimously at mass meeting of citizens held tonight " this vast gathering of citizens of Newfoundland meeting at St. John's in the dominion of Newfoundland the 10th day of December, 1948, places on record its strong objection and protests most emphatically against the manner in which Newfoundland is being forced into confederation with Canada.
It affirms that the only manner in which terms of confederation can be negotiated with Canada is by a duly representative legislature of Newfoundland.
348 Newfoundland HOUSE OF COMMONS
It consequently objects to the appointment of any delegation of citizens to negotiate terms with Canada.
It most strongly protests against the recognition of the present delegation of citizens appointed by the governor in which the people of Newfoundland had neither choice nor voice.
It demands that instructions be given immediately by the governor or the commission of government to the said delegation to refrain from signing any terms on the ground that it has no power to do so and that, moreover, such an act of signing would prejudice the constitutional position of Newfoundland in England.
It moves that a copy of this memorial be sent immediately to the governor, the members of the commission of government and the members of the said delegation and the Prime Minister of Canada.
Fred W. Marshall, Chairman, Responsible Government League.
This document arrived on the morning of December 11, but notwithstanding its arrival the terms of union were signed at that ceremony to which I need not refer. The proceedings were broadcast at the time to the whole Canadian public.
The telegram was answered on the 14th of December in the following form:
Fred W. Marshall, Esq.,
Responsible Government League,
St. John's, Newfoundland.
Dear Sir,
The Prime Minister has directed me to acknowledge the receipt of the telegram which you sent to him on December 10th on behalf of the Responsible Government League, and to let you know that its contents had been duly noted.
Yours sincerely,
R. G. Robertson, Secretary.
I will table these documents. I should add that the only other document of which I know, and I have had a fairly careful search made as well as endeavouring to keep as fully informed as possible about the proceedings, is the receipt on October 8, 1948, of a communication from W. L. Collins, Secretary of the Responsible Government League. It reads as follows:
Herewith enclosed you will find a copy of the resolution passed unanimously at a giant rally held in St. John's. Newfoundland, on Friday, October 8.
I have the honour to be, sir, Your obedient servant,
W. L. Collins.
Forwarded with this letter was a carbon copy of something which reads as follows:
Whereas a delegation, privately selected by the chairman of the commission of government, is at present at Ottawa under instructions to prepare the entry of this country into the Canadian Federation;
And whereas since the said delegation was neither chosen nor elected by the people of Newfoundland, it cannot, in justice, claim the right to represent our people or to negotiate on their behalf any final terms of confederation;
And whereas it has been ofiicially stated by the commission of government that the people of New foundland will not be permitted to express, by way of plebiscite, their approval or otherwise of the final terms on which Canada proposes to absorb this country;
Be it therefore resolved that this mass meeting of Newfoundlanders do most strongly condemn the unjust and improper methods which are, and have been, used to deprive us of our inalienable democratic rights and of our existence as an independent people:
And be it further resolved that. on behalf of approximately half the electorate of Newfoundland who share our beliefs, we do most strongly deny to the members of the said delegation any right whatever to act on our behalf, or in our name to give their consent to any terms which would finally commit Newfoundland to confederation without the prior approval of our people being first obtained to such terms, by way of plebiscite:
And be it still further resolved that copies of this resolution be sent to the British, the Canadian and the Newfoundland governments, to the members of the Ottawa delegation and to the press.
One other document which I have not before me at this moment was addressed, not to the Canadian government, but to the meeting of prime ministers in London. I will certainly have it found. During the dinner hour efforts were made to have it located, but since it was after six o'clock those efforts were not successful. It was not a document addressed to the government of Canada; it was addressed to those attending the meeting of prime ministers in London.
The answer to that communication was sent immediately after my return to Ottawa on November 9, 1948. It reads as follows:
W. L. Collins, Esq.,
Responsible Government League.
Dear Sir:
On his return from London, Mr. St. Laurent asked me to acknowledge receipt of your letter addressed to him there under date of the 16th of October, enclosing a memorandum to the commonwealth prime ministers then assembled in conference in London, and to inform you that the matter of the union of Newfoundland with Canada was not dealt with in the conference.
Yours very truly,
Guy Sylvestre. Private Secretary.
With respect to these representations of the organization which calls itself the responsible government league in Newfoundland, I can only repeat what I said in the house at the end of the last session, at page 5546 of Hansard:
The department would, of course, receive courteously and file anything that would come from any group in Newfoundland, but the department would not act on anything that does not come from those who have the constitutional responsibility for the government of Newfoundland at the present time.
This referendum had been held and the majority of those voting expressed the opinion they did not want the restoration of responsible government but did want union with Canada substantially on the terms of the proposal. It was our feeling that had we, at FEBRUARY 8, 1949 Newfoundland 349 that time, done anything to rebuff or repulse the advances being made by the people of Newfoundland we would have seriously offended a large number of them, and possibly offended them to the point where the matter of union with Canada would have been shelved again. We felt we must be extremely careful to do nothing which would offend the susceptibilities of. those who we hoped, as the fathers of confederation had hoped more than eighty years ago, would ultimately become our fellow citizens in this Canadian nation.
The hon. member for Lake Centre (Mr. Diefenbaker) has asked what the Canadian government has done to remove the objections. For the reasons I have stated, the Canadian government did nothing to remove those objections, leaving it to the people of Newfoundland to make their decision and deal with those who favoured and those who did not favour union with Canada.
The third question was, Have any representations in opposition been received by the Canadian government. I have answered that question, and as soon as the staff find it for me I will table the further document which was addressed to the prime ministers in conference at the London meeting.
The fourth question was, Has this government made any representations to the United Kingdom government as to the desirability of restoring responsible government. To that question I must answer that we did not. We felt that it was not our province to do so and that, in so far as the Canadian government was concerned, it should leave entirely to the government of the United Kingdom and the government of Newfoundland the taking of such steps on their side as they might see fit. We felt that the Canadian government would have its responsibilities to the Canadian parliament in the attitude it was taking for Canada in these issues, and that it should not assume any further or greater responsibility than that.
I hope that this statement of fact will satisfy most people that we endeavoured to maintain a correct attitude in the course of these negotiations. As I have seen in newspaper articles the statement that this suggestion of union was the result of a deep-laid conspiracy which had arisen out of the meeting of the Quebec conference in 1943, there is one assertion I wish to make. I do not think I need to do more than mention the date. Hon. members know what it was that brought together in Quebec, in 1943, Mr. Winston Churchill and Mr. Franklin D. Roosevelt, and I do not need to deny that statement. But for the record I deny that any question whatsoever of the entry of Newfoundland into confederation or of the union of Newfoundland with Canada was discussed at the Quebec conference of 1943. At that time the leaders of those democratic nations were endeavouring to devise ways and means by which to bring to an end the horrible war which was threatening the very existence of us all. That was the matter that was discussed at the Quebec conference of 1943.
Moreover, I emphatically deny that there was at any time any attempt by the Canadian government, otherwise than by maintaining a correct attitude and by maintaining the attitude that the whole of the people have maintained, to induce our Newfoundland friends to become associated with us. We felt then, as I still feel today, that the most effective way we could act to bring about, as early as possible, a consummation of this dream of 1867, was to behave as honourable, free men in a prosperous community, acting in a correct manner in the administration of their affairs. We felt that was the thing that would be most apt to make an impression upon the people of Newfoundland. That attitude was adopted and maintained with the most scrupulous exactitude. On the other hand, we felt that to do anything that might be construed as a rebuff to or a repulse of any advances that were being made would be offensive to that population; and we refrained from doing anything of that kind. I hope the people of Newfoundland and the people of Canada will find in the end that this union, on the terms that have been proposed, will work out to the mutual advantage of all those who will be citizens of greater Canada, and that it will prove to be a step forward in the progress of that people, which already occupies an important position in the family of nations.
Mr. Raymond (Beauharnois-Laprairie): Mr. Speaker, before I proceed with the observations I intend to offer to the house on this subject I should like to ask the Prime Minister a question. I should like to know whether the Statute of Westminster applies to Newfoundland.
Mr. St. Laurent: I should not like to be too positive about that. We are told by the Newfoundland delegation that it did not apply to Newfoundland inasmuch as it provided that it would come into force in any one of the dominions upon adoption by the parliament of that dominion, and the parliament or the then legislature of Newfoundland had not adopted it. But the terms of union provide that, if union is consummated, it will thereafter apply to the province of Newfoundland in the same way as it applies to the other provinces of Canada.
350 Newfoundland HOUSE OF COMMONS
Mr. Raymond (Beauharnois-Laprairie): Mr. Chairman, the question of a union between Canada and Newfoundland—the latter coming into confederation as a tenth province— gives rise to a certain number of problems which may be classified under the following headings: constitutional, financial and economic, political, both from the national and international points of view, and all that follows therefrom.
We are therefore about to commit ourselves to a most important undertaking, one that carries with it most serious consequences for the future of this country. For the time being, I will restrict my remarks to the constitutional problems.
The Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) gave, as his authority for the procedure adopted, section 146 of the British North America Act. He does not believe it necessary to obtain the approval of the provinces, being of the opinion that, in cases like this, the members of this house represent the particular provinces from which they come.
Had the act of 1867 not provided for the annexation of Newfoundland, I would maintain that this procedure is altogether unconstitutional since I do not share the opinion expressed by the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) to the effect that our constitution is merely a law that may be amended or changed according to the fancy of a majority of this house, without the consent of the provinces, the contracting parties to the act.
On the contrary, it is not an act in the ordinary sense of the word; it is, in the words of an eminent member of the Montreal bar and a former bâtonnier, "the outcome of an understanding, of an agreement, of a contract. It is a pact agreed to between the provinces; more than that, it is an agreement between two totally different races and creeds."
The statutes passed by the imperial parliament only served to enact this contract into a law; they ratified it. Proof thereof is found in sections 91, 92, 93 and 133 which are a recognition of the agreement, of the contract entered into, without which recognition Quebec never would have agreed to it. I will never allow that, after having secured our agreement to a contract, the power given by a parliamentary majority be used to amend this contract. That would be a denial of justice.
This truth was recognized by the judicial committee of the Privy Council, in the matter of The regulation and control of Aeronautics in Canada (1932 A.C.). Here is what Lord Sankey had to say:
Inasmuch as the act embodies a compromise under which the original provinces agreed to federate. it is important to keep in mind that the preservation of the rights of minorities was a condition on which such minorities entered into the confederation, and the foundation upon which the whole structure was subsequently erected. The process of interpretation, as the years go on, ought not to be allowed to dim or to whittle down the provisions of the original contract upon which the federation was founded, nor is it legitimate that any judicial construction of the provisions of sections 91 and 92 should impose a new and different contract upon the federating bodies.
It will be noted that Lord Sankey insists on the word "contract." Now, I agree that section 146 of the British North America Act, to which the four contracting provinces had agreed, grants the power to proceed with the union of Newfoundland, but it does not follow that in the exercise of that power, the constitution could be transgressed in other respects. According to section 146, a very definite method must be followed and a majority of this house has no right to change it without the consent of the provinces which were parties to the act of 1867. Section 146 of the constitution reads as follows:
It shall be lawful for the Queen, by and with the advice of Her Majesty's most honourable privy council, on addresses from the houses of the parliament of Canada, and from the houses of the respective legislatures of the colonies or provinces of Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, and British Columbia, to admit those colonies or provinces. or any of them, into the union . . .
To invoke that section of the constitution, all the conditions mentioned would have to be fulfilled, to wit: addresses from the parliaments of Canada and Newfoundland. This implies the existence of a legislature in Newfoundland, but such a legislature does not exist. The island is governed by a commission appointed by London in 1934. There can therefore be no address from the Newfoundland legislature before it has been restored. One of the main factors to carry out union is missing.
The procedure followed is counter to the constitution. We have not negotiated with the non-existing Newfoundland legislature; we have dealt with the creatures of the imperial commission which had only administrative powers until a responsible government was restored.
The contract agreed to on December 11 last was not between two parties authorized to make such a contract; one of the parties was unauthorized. The adoption of this measure would be not only a breach of the constitution but it would make us share in the breaking of a solemn pledge of Great Britain to Newfoundland, and in a most FEBRUARY 8, 1949 Newfoundland 351 arbitrary action taken by the London government commission.
Reference is made to the referendum of July 22 last which gave a bare majority in favour of union. Concerning this referendum, I shall merely quote the views of Monsignor J. M. O'Neill, Bishop of Harbour Grace, and add a few personal remarks:
I do not mean to insinuate that the confederate leaders are communists. Perhaps they are not. But I do say that they used communistic tactics to obtain the small majority they secured in the second referendum. By pitting the poor against the rich, the outports against St. John's, the protestants against the catholics, they succeeded in accomplish— ing the communistic aim of divide and conquer. Divide they did, perhaps for all time.
That gives us an inkling of the means used to secure a majority. In addition to that, reference was made to the trying conditions of 1933, when the people who were on relief were getting six cents a day. Then there was the lure of family allowances, and old age pensions, considerably higher in Canada than in Newfoundland. I believe that in Newfoundland the old age pension does not exceed $72 per person and $120 per couple, while here it is at least $360 per person. The members of the imperial commission participated in the campaign in favour of the union. ' No stone was left unturned to reverse the wish already expressed by the Newfoundland people in favour of responsible government.
I have said that in approving this agreement we would be sharing în the violation of a pact between Newfoundland and Great Britain. As a matter of fact, when, as a result of financial difficulties and after an inquiry by a royal commission, the Newfoundland legislature sent to London a request for the temporary suspension of the constitution, the statutes show that it was agreed as follows:
The existing form of government would be suspended until such tirne as the island may become self-supporting again.
It would be understood that, as soon as the island's difficulties are overcome and the country is again self-supporting, responsible government, on request from the people of Newfoundland, would be restored.
These clauses were incorporated in "The Newfoundland Act 1933".
Later on, in 1943, Mr. Emrys-Evans, Under- Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, commenting on this act in the British House of Commons, expressed himself as follows:
I am quoting from page 599 of the House of Commons debates of England:
The arrangements made in 1933 included a pledge by His Majesty's government that as soon as the island's difficulties had been overcome and the country was again self-supporting, responsible govern— ment, on request from the people of Newfoundland, would be restored.
Our whole policy is governed by this undertaking.
In 1946 the government commission decreed that a national convention, consisting of 45 members elected by the people, be appointed to inquire into the state of the country and recommend various methods of government to a nation-wide people's referendum rather than rehabilitation of the promised responsible government.
I quote the following excerpts from the said act:
Acts of the honourable commission of government of Newfoundland of 1946.
The National Convention Act states:
Whereas it has been decided that provision should be made for enabling the people of Newfoundland to examine the future of the island and express their considered views as to the suitable forms of government for the island, having regard to the financial and economic conditions prevailing therein, and that this provision could most appropriately be the holding of an elected national convention of Newfoundlanders;
And whereas it has been decided that the said convention should have the duty and function hereinafter in this act set forth;
And whereas it is necessary to provide for the constitution of the said convention and the election of representatives thereto and the regulation of their proceedings;
It shall be the duty and function of the convention to consider and discuss among themselves as elected representatives of the people of Newfoundland the changes that have taken place in the financial and economic situation of the island since 1934, and, bearing in mind the extent to which the high revenues of recent years have been due to wartime conditions, to examine the position of the country and to make recommendations to His Majesty's government in the United Kingdom as to possible forms of future government to be put before the people at a national referendum.
Having acquainted itself with the terms of union submitted by Ottawa, the national convention, appointed in 1946, suggested to the British parliament two forms of government between which the people would be asked to choose: firstly, maintenance of the present status and, secondly, restoration of responsible government. It also defeated, by 29 votes to 16, a motion recommending a third form of government, namely, union with Canada.
Notwithstanding the decision of the people's elected assembly, the British government ruled to include union with Canada on the ballot forms, even though this had been turned down by a majority of almost 2 to 1. In the referendum of June 3, 1948, the majority voted for responsible government. This was the second time, so to speak, that the people 352 Newfoundland HOUSE OF COMMONS and their representatives expressed themselves in favour of or against union between Newfoundland and Canada. The government commission, however, never admitting defeat, arranged for a second referendum which gave a slight edge to those favouring confederation after the struggle I have already summarized. The governor then appointed a delegation to negotiate union with Canada. This delegation had no legal status to enter into such an agreement; such a step was autocratic and totalitarian.
May I remind the house that in a letter dated October 29, 1947, the then prime minister expressed himself as follows:
If the people of Newfoundland stated clearly, in a manner excluding the possibility of any doubt, their desire that Newfoundland become a province of Canada, on the basis of the proposed arrangements, the Canadian government, subject to the approval of parliament, would be prepared, insofar as it was concerned, to take whatever constitutional steps were required to achieve this union at the earliest possible moment.
The reply given by the national convention, by a vote of 29 to 16, on January 27, 1948, was a plain answer, more so surely than the slight majority afforded by the second referendum. Moreover, no doubts could remain after the first referendum, which favoured responsible government and excluded entry into confederation. Yet we have a very slight majority, secured by means which brought condemnation by Bishop J. M. O'Neill, dispelling any doubt in the mind of the government.
The conclusion to be drawn therefrom can be found in a letter published by Bishop J. M. O'Neill:
It became obvious to many Newfoundlanders that the government of Canada, in collusion with the government of the United Kingdom. had long ago determined to annex Newfoundland regardless of the outcome of the referendum.
Mr. Speaker, we cannot be a party to a contract that violates an explicit agreement, concluded between Great Britain and Newfoundland, to re-establish responsible government. In doing so we would be party to an injustice, to an unlawful act.
The Deputy Chairman: Shall the preamble carry?
Preamble agreed to.
The Deputy Chairman: We shall now deal with the terms of union.
Section agreed to.
Section 2 agreed to.
On section 3—Application of the British North America Acts.
Mr. Nicholson: Mr. Chairman, I was not satisfied with the Prime Minister's explana tion regarding the application of the British North America Act. While strictly speaking this is a problem for the British government, I suggest the Prime Minister should give some indication as to how that government is going to overcome the British North America Act which, as I said last night, states very definitely in section 146—
It shall be lawful for the queen, by and with the advice of Her Majesty's most honourable privy council, on addresses from the houses of the parliament of Canada, and from the houses of the respective legislatures of the colonies or provinces of Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island—
and so on. Would the Prime Minister indicate what is going to be done to make it legal for this union to take place, in view of the terms of the British North America Act?
Mr. St. Laurent: Mr. Chairman, I do not know that I can add to what I have said. We have acted here in full conformity with what was prescribed by the terms of the British North America Act with respect to the Canadian situation. The responsible authorities for the government of Newfoundland are, and have been since 1933, the government of the United Kingdom and the commission of government.
The hon. member wants to know how they are going to act to overcome that. They are going to act in accord with the expressed wishes of the majority of people of Newfoundland who, in referendum, stated they wished to have union with Canada and did not wish to have restored now their responsible government. How will that become effective? It will become effective by virtue of a confirmatory statute of the parliament of the United Kingdom, which is the parliament that passed the British North America Act and which, according to the terms of the agreement, is called upon to give legal effect to the terms of the agreement before they become effective.
The hon. gentleman asks why the other procedure was not resorted to. The other procedure was not resorted to, first, because it could not be resorted to without restoring responsible government, and the majority of the people had said that they did not want that done; and, secondly, because of the constitutional developments which have taken place since confederation and which are reflected in the terms of the Statute of Westminster. No longer does His Majesty exercise the royal prerogative. in respect of Canadian affairs on the advice of his most honourable privy council in London; he exercises that prerogative in respect of Canadian affairs on the advice of his Canadian ministers. It would have been a retrograde step to ask that that prerogative be exercised for this purpose by His Majesty on the advice of ministers responsible to the electors of the FEBRUARY 8, 1949 Newfoundland 353 United Kingdom and not on the advice of ministers responsible to the elected representatives of the Canadian people.
It must not be forgotten that the British North America Act was passed in 1867, almost eighty-two years ago, and that conditions in this country, its people, its parliament and its government are not the same today as they were then. I was surprised at the attitude expressed this afternoon by the hon. member for Charlevoix-Saguenay. Most of us from my province derive perhaps some sentimental satisfaction from the developments that have taken place and that have brought about the situation whereby the prerogative of His Majesty is now exercised on the advice of ministers responsible to his Canadian subjects, but the hon. member for Charlevoix-Saguenay seems to be one of those who have lagged behind, and he is not willing to keep pace with the developments that time has brought about.
The situation is that a statute will have to be passed by the parliament of the United Kingdom before these terms of union become effective. If that statute is passed it will have the same effect as had the statute of the parliament of the United Kingdom which confirmed the agreement made, in a manner not strictly in accord with the British North America Act, for the return to the province of Saskatchewan, to the province of Alberta and to the province of Manitoba of their natural resources. The procedure being followed here is the procedure that was followed there.
It was found that the British North America Act did not provide the proper machinery for the return of those resources to the western provinces. In order to get them back to the western provinces, as my hon. friend's constituents wanted, and as the rest of the people of Canada felt was fair, an agreement was made that they would be returned. It was provided that that agreement would not come into operation until it was ratified by the parliament of Canada, by the legislature of the province, as far as that province was concerned, and then confirmed by an act of the parliament of the United Kingdom. That was necessary because it was a procedure not strictly in accord with the terms of the British North America Act.
This is the same thing. This procedure is not strictly in accord with the terms of the British North America Act. It is to do something which the British North America Act contemplated, but it is being done under conditions which have changed over the eighty-two years. The requirements of the British North America Act, in so far as they can be complied with, are being complied with, but in order to give it the effect of law —no one can dispute that something is being added—there must be a confirming statute of the parliament of the United Kingdom, the same parliament that originally passed the British North America Act.
Mr. Nicholson: I am sure the Prime Minister is making a sound legal argument, but I should like to draw the attention of the committee again to the fact that this is a very controversial question in Newfoundland. As I mentioned last night, I spent a week there in December. I have been in a great many countries throughout my short lifetime and that was the first time I have ever been in an embarrassing position as a Canadian. I was embarrassed on a great many occasions.
I want to make it clear that the people I met, who were so bitter about the question, were not necessarily opposed to becoming part of Canada, but they felt that an injustice was being done. They felt that it would have been better in the long run to have taken the additional step of granting responsible government to Newfoundland and then having the elected representatives of the people carry out the terms of the British North America Act and negotiate with the elected representatives of the Canadian people.
I have here a copy of the St. John's Daily News which contains reference to a letter to the London Times by Sir Alan Herbert, who is sponsoring the Newfoundland bill in the British house. Sir Herbert says in his letter:
Canada may think it wise and proper to take in a new province of which at least half of the population is bitterly opposed to the arrangement. That is her affair. But the United Kingdom's good faith and honour are ours. Further if the Statute of Westminster means anything we have absolutely no right to dispose of this dominion's independence, population and possessions by a British act of parliament as our government proposed to do. Our only right and duty is to say. here is your liberty again. Do what you will with it. Many people seem to think this affair is settled. I hope they will think again. I have the Newfoundland (Liberation) bill ready and shall introduce it as soon as I have power. I hope some lover of liberty and right dealing who is successful in the private members' ballot will take it over.
Then the St. John's Daily News of January 13 contains a summary of the bill and the report goes on to say:
Sir Alan said he isn't opposed to confederation of Newfoundland with Canada but he supports the convention of the Newfoundland responsible government league that the island's government should be restored by the United Kingdom and allowed to conduct its own negotiations with Canada. He said if responsible government were restored there could be a Newfoundland general election in May when the candidates favouring self-government and confederation could face each other. If the confederation party was elected the terms recently signed with Canada by certain "unelected Newfoundlanders" would be a useful basis for discussion. "Confederation (if there is all that hurry) could still be accomplished before the snows fell again." If the self-govemment party was elected then "Newfound 354 Newfoundland HOUSE OF COMMONS land is quite able to take care of herself and looks like being able to do so for a long time to come."
I might remind the committee of the opinion expressed by Mr. Lodge, who was a member of the commission of government which was established in Newfoundland by the British government in 1934. When he returned to Great Britain in 1939, he said:
After five years of commission government, Newfoundland is economically poorer than she was before its advent. Notwithstanding all the optimistic utterances of the secretary of state the commission has failed to make any definite progress towards rehabilitation.
Then in chapter 1 he said:
At the end of 1933 two governments of His Majesty, theoretically equal in status, agreed together that one should surrender to the other not merely independent dominion status but the whole of the political freedom of its people.
And later on:
It was the negation of political liberty and the repudiation of all those principles of democracy on which British statesmen affirm—and believe, at any rate when they are making after-dinner speeches— that the empire has been built up and will always rest.
Again it mentions:
It is quite possible that, had the problem been posed at a point of time either a year earlier or a year later, the decision might have been quite other...
On the other hand, before the end of 1934, Great Britain had elaborated the comforting doctrine that, however reprehensible debt repudiation may be when practised by other countries, default ceases to be really default when the defaulter is the British government.
It seems to me that the fact of having been in financial difficulties in those early thirties should not have been a situation which imposed a penalty which deprived the people of this important part of the world of their democratic rights for such a long period. Now, regardless of the terms of the British North America Act, notwithstanding that 78,000 voted in favour of union with Canada, we cannot overlook the fact that 71,000 registered their opinion that before we could proceed with the terms of union the commitment given by the British government should be fulfilled and the people should have a chance to go to the polls and elect their own government.
I cannot press this further, because I know that legally the Prime Minister is quite within his rights in saying this is not primarily a Canadian problem. But I should like to tell the members of this committee that during my lifetime we are going to have a great deal of bitterness because of the method that has been followed; not because the people of Newfoundland cannot be happy as a part of Canada, but because the government of Canada has approved the treatment that has been given to Newfoundland in depriving those people of responsible government for this long period and is completing negotiations without having given them a fair chance to have their own elected representatives carry on their negotiations for them.
Mr. Claxton: I do not want to reply at length to the hon. member for Mackenzie, because the points he raised have been covered already. But the hon. member speaks about thwarting the will of the people. I ask him whether in these circumstances it would be better for Canada, for the union and for the people of Newfoundland to thwart the will of the majority, as expressed in a plebiscite, or to thwart the will of a minority as expressed in the same way.
Mr. Nicholson: I pointed out last night that, at the first democratic opportunity the people of Newfoundland were given, a proposal was made that the question of confederation be placed on the plebiscite, and that was rejected by 29 to 16. Then the democratically elected representatives of. Newfoundland decided unanimously that at that stage they would not confuse the issue by pressing the question of confederation with Canada; they would ask the people the two straightforward questions: are you in favour of continuing commission of government, or are you in favour of responsible government? In spite of that unanimous decision by the Newfoundland convention the British government disregarded this expression of opinion and the people were obliged to express themselves on the three questions. I know that in the first referendum there was not a clear majority. In the second referendum there was a small majority; but the charge is made that a large amount of money from outside Newfoundland was used to influence opinion.
Mr. Case: That is just a suspicion.
Mr. Nicholson: It is a charge that has been made.
Mr. MacNicol: By whom?
Mr. Nicholson: By those in the minority, who I think should be given a chance to prove their claim. Certainly there is a great deal of bitterness in Newfoundland because of the feeling that funds from outside that country were used in order to obtain a majority decision in favour of confederation. Whether we like it or not, Canadians are going to be held responsible for the bitterness that now exists and will continue to exist.
Section agreed to.
On section 4—Representation in parliament.
Mr. Fleming: A number of hon. members have expressed concern about the right of the FEBRUARY 8, 1949 Newfoundland 355 Newfoundlanders to representation in a democratically elected body prior to union. I am just as concerned about their representation after union comes about, presumably on March 31 next. Article 4 of the terms of union provides that the province of Newfoundland shall be entitled to be represented in the Senate by six members and in the House of Commons by seven members. Then article 6 (2) provides:
For the first election of members to serve in the House of Commons, if held otherwise than as part of a general election, the governor general in council may cause writs to be issued and may fix the day upon which the polls shall be held, and, subject to the foregoing, the laws of Canada relating to by- elections shall apply to an election held pursuant to any writ issued under this term.
I take it that once union becomes a fact there will be no delay in the appointment of the six senators. Patents can be issued, and they can take their places in the Senate very quickly. But I am concerned about the time within which Newfoundland will obtain representation in the House of Commons, through the election to this chamber of seven representatives. In the terms of union there is no time limit within which this election is to take place. I mention that fact because there is an interesting comparison in article 16, Where you find a time limit imposed by the terms of union upon the election of a legislature for the province. That article reads:
The legislature of the province of Newfoundland shall be called together not later than four months after the date of union.
There is no similar time limit with respect to the election of the seven members of the House of Commons. Once union becomes a fact, presumably this parliament will proceed at once to enact legislation which will be as binding upon Newfoundland as upon any other part of Canada. In particular, taxation will be imposed upon Newfoundland just as upon any other part of Canada; and as this parliament proceeds to impose such taxation while there are no members from the province of Newfoundland holding seats in this house, we shall be in the position that parliament will levy taxation without representation, something I hope every one of us will view with the greatest apprehension.
I do not know whether we may expect a general election this spring. That possibility is at least contemplated in article 6(2). But unless we are to have some assurance that there will be a general election this spring I think the house is not only entitled to but should require an assurance from the government that, immediately union becomes effective, writs will be issued for the holding of elections in these seven constituencies in the province of Newfoundland, so that province may have representation in this house just as quickly as the law will permit.
Mr. Jaenicke: The question I should like to raise is somewhat different. Not long ago we amended the British North America Act, and the representation in parliament was fixed at 255. This amendment was brought about by an address to His Majesty. As I read this section, the number of members of parliament is now to be increased by seven. Therefore this will be contrary to the provisions of the British North America Act. Is it the intention of the government to present another address to His Majesty to increase the representation, or will the British legislation provide for that increase? The same thing also would apply to the number of senators.
Mr. St. Laurent: The British North America Act provides that, in the event of Newfoundland becoming a province of Canada, it would be entitled to six senators. In 1867 the act provided for four senators, but by virtue of an amendment which was made, I think in 1915, it was provided that the number would be six instead of four. This provision has existed in the British North America Act for over thirty years.
With respect to representation in the House of Commons, if and when the terms of union are ratified here and approved by the parliament of the United Kingdom, provision will automatically be made for seven members additional to the representation in the house. In the omnibus bill which was read for the first time yesterday, hon. members will find provision is made for the required amendments in the Representation Act to refer to Newfoundland and to refer in the schedule to the electoral divisions of Newfoundland.
In answer to the question of the hon. member for Eglinton (Mr. Fleming), I may say that this parliament has decided what provisions will apply to elections required to provide representation for all parts of Canada. As soon as the existence of a vacancy is brought to his notice, the Speaker is required to notify the chief electoral officer. It is a statutory provision of the Dominion Elections Act that writs for the filling of that vacancy must be issued within six months.
Mr. Jaenicke: I should like to ask the Prime Minister whether the procedure he outlined would not be a departure from the established precedent concerning the manner in which the British» North America Act is amended? In my opinion it can only be done by an address to His Majesty, and the parliament of the United Kingdom would have to pass a special act in order to amend the British North America Act, or to change the representation in the House of Commons.
356 Newfoundland HOUSE OF COMMONS
Mr. St. Laurent: I submit not, Mr. Chairman—any more than it was necessary to amend the British North America Act for the purpose of giving legal effect to the return of the natural resources to the western provinces. It was not done in the form provided by the British North America Act, but it was confirmed by the parliament that passed the British North America Act and made effective notwithstanding anything to the contrary. In the Votes and Proceedings tomorrow the hon. member will probably find the form of address which it is proposed to ask the houses of parliament to adopt. I think he will find the matter is properly taken care of in that form of address.
Mr. Fleming: I appreciate the point the Prime Minister has raised in his 'answer, but I am also not unmindful of the fact we wait very long sometimes for the holding of by- elections. I recall very well that two years ago, owing to inclement weather, we were told, the by-election in the riding of Halifax was delayed for seven or eight months. In view of the circumstances under which these vacancies will exist, presumably on the first day of April, would it not be very simple for the Prime Minister to assure the house that steps will be taken immediately to see that the writs are issued and everything possible is done to expedite the filling of the vacancies in the Newfoundland seats in this house.
Mr. St. Laurent: The only assurance I can give the hon. member is that we will attempt to discharge our responsibilities in that regard in such a manner as will satisfy both the house and the Canadian public.
Mr. Case: I should like to make this observation. It has been some time since the dominion of. Newfoundland has had an election. Clause 4 provides for the election of seven members. I think it can be reasonably assumed that the people, given that opportunity of expressing themselves, may or may not elect all of one party on certain conditions or matters of policy.
I notice provision is made for the appointment of six members to the Senate. I do not know what practice was followed by the fathers of confederation when the upper chamber was created. Appointments were made from Ontario, from Quebec and from the other provinces which entered into the union. I may now be trying to pry into an internal secret, but it would be interesting if the government would disclose how generous they might be in seeing to it that, not only the government, but His Majesty's loyal opposition would be represented in the Senate. I can understand how these appointments are made at a later stage; but when a province is coming in and there are these appointments to be made, it would seem reasonable to think that some recognition should be given to the minority who have never had an opportunity of electing any part of the federal government of the Dominion of Canada. If I am not presuming too much, and the Prime Minister would care to make an observation, I am sure I would appreciate it very much.
Mr. St. Laurent: All I can say is that we are endeavouring to obtain the best possible information concerning what would be apt to make the people of Newfoundland feel they had chosen wisely in joining confederation. So far, the only specific recommendation we have had is that, because of the general mentality of the people of Newfoundland, it would be wise if it were possible to have two of the six senators chosen from the Anglican denomination which represents about a third of the population.
Mr. MacNicol: From what group?
Mr. St. Laurent: Two chosen from members of the Anglican denomination; two chosen from the Roman Catholic denomination and two chosen from the United church or other denominations which make up the remainder of the population.
I inquired how soon after the entry of Prince Edward Island, British Columbia, Manitoba and the setting-up of Alberta and Saskatchewan appointments had been made to the Senate. To my surprise I was informed it was about five months. I am not sure whether there was one earlier than that, but I believe the earliest were made around the five-month period, and in some cases it was much longer than five months. I was surprised to find that so long a time had been found necessary to deal with these vacancies. This point was discussed with those from whom we were seeking to be enlightened about the situation in Newfoundland. We were told it would be unwise to proceed otherwise than by threes, if we could not make six appointments. If we made the six appointments, it would be all right provided they were distributed according to religious denominations, as I have described. But if we did not do that we should make at least three appointments at a time, because it would be unsatisfactory if any one of these three groups was preferred to the other two. We were told we should be careful to avoid offending the susceptibilities of these three separate religious groups in the island.
Mr. Stephenson: I should like to ask the Prime Minister one question. He has mentioned that two members of various religious denominations might be appointed, but is it not possible for them to be all of the Liberal faith?
FEBRUARY 8, 1949 Newfoundland 357
Mr. St. Laurent: I am told it has been so long since elections were held in Newfoundland that most of the people are unable to indicate what their political faith is. On the other hand, I have received representations which were along the lines of the statement made by the Minister of Reconstruction and Supply (Mr. Winters) about the people of Canada generally, that they are Liberals and it behooves us to go out and see that they vote that way.  
Mr. Knowles: All public men over seventy will turn out to be Liberals.
Mr. Graydon: Perhaps the Prime Minister might want to ask the minister of reconstruction if he would care to revise those figures he gave the house the other day. I would ask him this question. Does the government anticipate arranging the election so that there will be representation from Newfoundland in this particular session, provided that this session goes its normal length?
Mr. Knowles: Fishing again.
Mr. St. Laurent: I hope it will not be possible to have representation during this session, because that would mean that the session would have to go on until late in the summer. The matter cannot be dealt with until after March 31, and it then requires two months at the very least in order to arrange an election. That would account for April and May. I would hope that by the time April and May were over we would be nearing the close of this session.
As to the other question, that matter has also been under consideration and discussion. We were told that it would be unfortunate if gentlemen were elected to this parliament and then a general dissolution came about as a result of which they were not able to take their seats but were forced to go back for re-election, or in other words to be elected twice before they really became members of parliament. We would have to wait and see how events developed in order to determine whether or not the holding of a by-election or by-elections would provide those who were elected with an opportunity of being introduced to the Speaker and taking their seats in the house.
Mr. Knowles: Purely for the information of the people of Newfoundland and of course not because we here are interested, the Prime Minister might solve this whole problem by telling us the date of the election.
Mr. St. Laurent: If the Prime Minister knew the date of the election, he would be glad to confide it to the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre.
Mr. Fulton: There is one consideration which I feel should be borne in mind and given careful thought in making appointments from Newfoundland to the other house. A number of hon. members have observed— with some degree of deprecation, I take it —that there is in Newfoundland a substantial body of opinion which is opposed, we will say, not to the idea but to the method of confederation. I feel that that fact should be carefully borne in mind when appointments are being made to the Senate. That body of opinion, which we understand is substantiel, is entitled to representation in the six appointments to be made to the other chamber. 1 think we can all take it as a fact that the purpose of the other house is, among other things, to provide representation for all groups of opinion, particularly minority groups, in the Canadian parliament. I would strongly urge that this matter be taken into consideration. Perhaps the Prime Minister would be willing to give us some assurance that that fact would be borne in mind when making those appointments.
Mr. St. Laurent: The only assurance I would care to give the hon. member is that we shall endeavour to take into consideration, in making those appointments, all factors that will tend to bring about a state of satisfaction among the people of Newfoundland.
Mr. Drew: That is not one of the things that are to be referred to the royal commission to find out what will enrich the life of the country, is it?
Mr. St. Laurent: I think there are many things which would enrich the life of the country merely by being omitted from discussion in this house.
Mr. Graydon: That is not all on the one side, either.
Mr. MacInnis: Some of this debate on appointments to the Senate has been in a jocular vein and perhaps some of it has been serious. But if it has done nothing else, it has pointed out the farcical way in which appointments to our Senate are made. Perhaps the debate also offers a good opportunity for this house to consider whether we should not change the way in which such appointments are made? I have been reading editorials in the press from one end of Canada to the other, and what is said about the other place is not particularly complimentary. I was reading recently one of the few books on politics written by a Canadian—"Democratic Government and Politics", by Professor J. A. Correy—and what he says about the Canadian Senate is not particularly complimentary either. After many years as a member of parliament, I find myself in 358 Newfoundland HOUSE OF COMMONS general agreement with him. If we are to have a second house, it should be such a house as to warrant the respect of the Canadian people, and be of some use in the government of Canada. Otherwise we should abolish it.
Mr. Rowe: It is of plenty of use to the government; but that is all the use it is.
Mr. MacNicol: Is a question about appointments to the Senate in order?
The Chairman: I do not think that discussion generally on appointments to the Senate is in order. When the house is in committee of the whole, discussion must be strictly relevant to the clause under consideration.
Mr. Hazen: I should like to support the suggestion made by the hon. member for Kamloops. The Prime Minister has just told us, perhaps jocularly, that the people of Newfoundland do not know just what their political opinions are now, because they have not had an election for so long a time. I would point out to him that at the time of confederation there was a great upheaval in political opinion, and some men who took an active interest in public affairs changed their ideas. Some went one way and some went the other. Some were in favour of confederation and some were against it. I believe it is true that, when the senators were appointed after confederation, they were chosen both from those who opposed confederation and from those who favoured it. The government of that day took care to see that the Senate was represented by both those who favoured confederation and those who opposed it. In Newfoundland today there are people who oppose this union and people who favour it. I think that the example followed at the time of confederation could well be followed today, and that it would have good results in the end.
Mr. MacNicol: I was going to say, Mr. Chairman, that if the present government remains in power—
Mr. Harris (Grey-Bruce): As it will.
Mr. MacNicol: Wait a minute. I know what I am going to say. If it remains in power for another five years, there may be only one party in the other place.
Mr. Rowe: Five years? You mean five months.
Mr. MacNicol: I am taking an arbitrary position. If the government remains in power for another five years, and appointments are continued on the present basis, all from their own party, it will mean that there may be only one party in the other place. The hon. member for Saint John-Albert brought up the matter I had in mind. Right after confederation a bill was introduced. I forget the name of the sponsor, but I have a copy of the original bill at home. There was a suggestion that the government of each province should appoint one half the senators from that province. The Prime Minister nods his head. He is familiar with that suggestion. The government in each province would name one half. of the senators and the federal government would name the other half. In that way the government would avoid what is taking place now. I have forgotten how many Liberal senators and how many Conservative senators there are in the other place. They are so far apart in numbers that the other place has become only a government rubber stamp, with no possibility of the opposition affecting any controversial legislation.
Since the government will name the senators from Newfoundland, I suggest to the Prime Minister that one half be named from supporters of the official opposition and one half from government supporters.
Mr. Brooks: Everybody seems to be giving advice to the government as to whom they should appoint to the Senate. I noticed that three religious denominations were mentioned. I thought that I should mention the military forces of Newfoundland. Yesterday we heard of the splendid record of the navy, the army and the air force of Newfoundland. I remember that after the first world war vacancies in the Senate were filled from the different armed forces. If that practice was good in those days it is good now. I suggest to the Prime Minister that in making these appointments he consider making some of them from the different armed forces. The armed forces are entitled to this consideration and Newfoundland would be a good place to start. It could then be followed out in filling the large number of vacancies that we have in Canada.
Mr. St. Laurent: I thank hon. members for the advice that is being tendered tonight. I would not have risen even to express my thanks were it not that I find it necessary to differ from the opinion expressed by the hon. member for Davenport. It would be a mistake to have in the other place gentlemen feeling that they had a responsibility to a government of a Canadian province. National unity in Canada demands that all those who form part of the Canadian parliament feel that their responsibility is to the Canadian people as a whole, and that they are not the representatives of any provincial government or any municipality or other local authority. On that point I feel that I have to differ from the hon. gentleman. But I do recognize that FEBRUARY 8, 1949 Newfoundland 359 it is abnormal that there should be, in the event forecast by the hon. member, a Senate composed exclusively of members of one party. That is something which is giving concern not only to hon. members on the other side of the house but to others. I can assure hon. members that we have within our own party serious misgivings about the situation that is apt to occur because of the way in which the Canadian public favours those who are elected to this house.
Mr. Fulton: Your misgivings will be removed at the next general election.
Mr. MacNicol: Can the minister give the name of the sponsor to whom I referred?
Mr. St. Laurent: I do not remember his name.
Mr. MacNicol: It was shortly after confederation.
Mr. Hansell: The Prime Minister has thanked us for some little advice that he may have received from members of the opposition. I should like to put my little finger in the pie and give him some further advice. I appreciate what he has said with respect to the overbalancing of one side of the other place, but there is a way in which it can be overcome. I know that I am not voicing anything new, but from my experience here a feeling has grown upon me that we are in need of some parliamentary and electoral reform. No country remains static. We make progress. We change our ideas and we change the machinery which is used to put over those ideas.
I contend, Mr. Chairman, that the government and this entire house should give some consideration to a change in our parliamentary and electoral machinery and have the gentlemen who sit in the other place elected by common consent of the people of Canada. Personally I see no particular reason why in the other place there should be sitting two apparently separate bodies, one the counterpart of the government side of the house and the other the counterpart of the opposition side. Why cannot that body be a true example of a democratic institution? Let each member act independently and oppose or favour a measure as his experience guides him.
I know it is difficult to put this election idea over to any government which is in power. It is extremely difficult to do that because naturally they like to have the privilege of appointing various distinguished gentlemen to that other place. I am confident every one of us is aware of the fact that in Canada there is a large body of opinion which belittles our parliamentary institutions. I do not know that the hon. member for Vancouver Centre was right when he made the remark which caused so much discussion the other day, but I just wonder how much of that kind of thinking is retained in the public mind. The effectiveness or the ineffectiveness of our parliamentary institutions is the subject of some concern to us and to the people of Canada. We do know that in Canada many people hold the view that the gentlemen who sit in the other place sit there as the result of having been good party supporters in the past, and what they have received is just a juicy political plum.
Mr. Knowles: It is a pretty good old age pension.
Mr. Hansell: A lot of people think that. I am not prepared to say that it is not so.
Mr. MacNicol: You will admit it is a good plum.
The Chairman: Order.
Mr. Hansell: It is a good plum, whether they deserve it or not. I believe the time has come when members of that other place should be elected by the people of Canada.
Mr. Fraser: The Prime Minister and the hon. member for Macleod have mentioned the fact that gentlemen are called to the other place. I was wondering whether the Prime Minister was going to select some ladies for the other place. There are two there now. The women of Canada constitute over 50 per cent of the voting strength of the country. They should also be appointed to the other place.
Mr. Rowe: Many years ago the policy of the party opposite was to reform the Senate— I believe that was some thirty years ago. We were to have Senate reform.
Mr. Garson: We have now.
Mr. Rowe: The Minister of Justice has said that we have it now. It is reformed because nothing has been appointed to it for a number of years except reformers. However, the predecessor of the Prime Minister stated on one occasion, when asking about reforming the Senate, that no one was appointed to the Senate by his government except those who were committed to submit to any reforms the present party might design. Therefore I should like to ask the Prime Minister whether in the appointment of these new senators from Newfoundland he would inflict that obligation upon them which, I understand, has been inflicted upon every senator appointed by his government.
Mr. St. Laurent: I know of no infliction imposed upon any of the members in the other place, nor have I found in their reaction to notification of appointment that they felt that anything was being inflicted upon them.
360 Newfoundland HOUSE OF COMMONS
Mr. Knowles: May I say a further word on this matter, arising out of the section with which we are now dealing. I should like to say first of all that I do not see why our Tory friends to the right are so concerned about the lack of nominal Tories in the Senate. Most of the Liberals who go over there soon become Tories, anyway.
Mr. Mitchell: You have a few Tories yourself.
Mr. Knowles: They are not looking for places in the Senate, though.
Mr. Mitchell: Oh, I don't know about that.
Mr. Fraser: I would hate to see one offered to you.
Mr. Rowe: There will be many over there looking for them now.
Mr. Knowles: The very fact that we are dealing with this subject in the jocular manner which has characterized our discussions in the last half hour or so—
An hon. Member: Speak for yourself.
Mr. Knowles: —suggests the sense of frustration which we feel about this branch of parliamentary government, namely the other place. I think the hon. member for Macleod was hitting the nail on the head when he referred to some disillusionment on the part of people with respect to parliamentary institutions; and that part of that stems from the feeling that we are maintaining an institution which does not fill a proper and necessary place.  
My question, either of the Prime Minister, or of the Minister of National Defence, both of whom were involved in these negotiations, is this: Was there any discussion with the representatives from Newfoundland about possible changes in or reforms of the Senate?
Mr. St. Laurent: To the best of my knowledge the question was not raised.
Mr. Knowles: By neither side?
Mr. St. Laurent: By neither side.
Mr. Knowles: Then I take it that the present government is not concerned with reforming the Senate?
Mr. St. Laurent: Oh, my hon. friend can take what he likes from it, but that does not flow from anything I said. I said, on the contrary, that there were in our party many members who were concerned about a situation which was apt to arise under conditions forecast by the hon. member for Davenport.
Mr. Graydon: Not forecast, no; it was a hypothetical question.
Mr. Fleming: At the risk of changing the subject, I should like to draw the attention of the committee to another provision in the group of articles with which the committee is now dealing. Article 6 (3) states:
The chief electoral officer shall have authority to adapt the provisions of The Dominion Elections Act. 1938, to conditions existing in the province of Newfoundland so as to conduct effectually the first election of members to serve in the House of Commons.
Attention has already been directed to the fact that this election cannot take place in any event until after April 1. In view of that circumstance, what justification can there be for vesting, in an appointed official, authority to adapt legislative enactments of this parliament? That seems to me an extraordinary provision. Parliament enacts provisions, and now it is proposed that an appointed official shall be given authority to adapt those legislative provisions to meet the circumstances of Newfoundland.
I suggest there is ample time for parliament to do everything required to adapt the provisions of the elections act to the circumstances to be found in Newfoundland, and that this is a departure which parliament ought not lightly to tolerate, namely the proposal that authority be vested in an appointed official to adapt the legislative enactments of this parliament.
Mr. St. Laurent: The hon. member for Eglinton might do well to read the elections act. He would find in it provisions put there by parliament authorizing the electoral officers to adapt the provisions of the act to special circumstances of individual cases. That was put there by parliament, and has been there for a great many years. Probably it was there when the hon. member was reading the elections act in his university days.
There exist in Newfoundland special circumstances which do not exist in other Canadian provinces. There are provisions for the revision of electoral lists by officials who are called by one name—county or district court judges—in the other Canadian provinces, and these judicial functions are normally performed by an official who goes under another designation in Newfoundland. It is matters of that kind which the chief electoral officer would have to adapt as conditions arose, as he is authorized to make those adaptations under the elections act for the other parts of Canada. That is all there is to it; there is nothing more sinister than that.
Mr. Fleming: If this article contemplates vesting in the elections officer nothing more than the powers he now has under the Dominion Elections Act, is that matter not sufficiently taken care of by the bill introduced yesterday by the Minister of Justice, which would have the effect of applying the FEBRUARY 8, 1949 Newfoundland 361 Dominion Elections Act to Newfoundland as it applies to other parts of Canada? This article certainly suggests on the face of it much more than what I contend is in the elections act, by way of vesting powers in the chief electoral officer.
Mr. St. Laurent: An attempt was made in drafting these terms to satisfy the delegation from Newfoundland, one which in its composition comprised some very distinguished lawyers. In the group there were the law officers of the Canadian government, and the law officers the delegation from Newfoundland brought with them. They suggested it would be advisable to have this provision in there to take care of such differences as conditions might present. And the recommendation made by the law officers accompanying the Newfoundland delegation and those accompanying the Canadian delegation were thought to be unobjectionable, with the result that the clause was inserted. One of the law officers acting for the Newfoundland delegation was the dean of the law school of Dalhousie university. They considered all these matters in detail and made their recommendations. They appeared to the two delegations to be unobjectionable,   and were inserted.
Mr. Timmins: My recollection is that last year when the previous prime minister was speaking to the house, and we were talking on the matter of Senate reform, he informed the house that in respect of later appointments he had made to the Senate there were certain conditions attached—that he had spoken to members to be appointed, and had suggested to them some conditions, and that he would expect them to respect any change or reform that might be made in the Senate, if any reforms or changes were to be made. I say, if there are changes or reforms to be made.
I am sure the Prime Minister is not unmindful, and has knowledge, of what those recommendations or commitments were when they were made, and I should like to have him tell the house whether that same policy is to be followed in the future in making appointments to the Senate from Newfoundland or whether the matter was given any consideration when the discussions took place.
Mr. St. Laurent: The matter was given no consideration when the discussions took place. With respect to conditions imposed upon appointees to the Senate, I must say to the hon. member that I have no knowledge of any having been imposed.
Mr. Rowe: You should have had a caucus before you took office.
Mr. St. Laurent: When my hon. friend sits in my place he may tell the house how things should be done, but in the meantime I am deciding that.
Mr. Rowe: I hope I know more of what my predecessor did than my hon. friend.
Mr. Drew: In view of the caustic nature of some of the remarks of the Prime Minister, may I say that he is not going to decide; this house is going to decide.
Mr. St. Laurent: This house has never in the past, and I hope it will never in the future, decide when, where or why party caucuses should be held.
Mr. Drew: I am not talking about party caucuses.
Mr. St. Laurent: That is the matter the hon. member was referring to.
Mr. Rowe: You may not need any more caucuses; one or two more will be about all you will need.
Mr. Green: May I ask the Prime Minister a question. On the same date that the terms were signed certain statements were given to the Newfoundland delegation some of which seemed to tie in with sections of the terms of union. Can the Prime Minister tell us whether there are to be subsequent agreements between Canada and Newfoundland with regard to some of the questions contained in the statements, or just what is to be done? For example, there is one statement having to do with elections and changes in electoral divisions. Are there to be further agreements dealing with some of these items that were raised by the Newfoundland delegation?  
Mr. St. Laurent: I know of no further agreements. These statements were in respect of matters which it was felt Were not proper to have put into the terms of union which would become the constitution of the new province. We were constantly being told by members of the Newfoundland delegation: Our understanding is such and so. I told them that I did not want them to understand anything that was not going to be brought before the houses of parliament when the terms of union were being confirmed, that everything that they felt had influenced their attitude should be put in the form of statements that could be given to the houses of parliament. We could then assert to the houses of parliament that all that was being undertaken in the form of constitutional obligations was in the terms of union; that in discussing the terms of union we had declared what would be the policy of this government but that that would not bind anyone but ourselves. Nevertheless we felt that it would be unfair 362 Newfoundland HOUSE OF COMMONS to the houses of parliament if we did not make known to them what declarations as to policy we had made during the course of the discussions. It was for that reason that these statements were made up.
Many more things were talked about than are referred to in these statements. We asked the Newfoundland delegation to give us an indication of all the things that they were taking as probable future happenings, and we said that we would put them in the document that we would produce before parliament. We would not ask parliament to make these part of the terms of union but parliament would know what this government intended to do so long as it was the government responsible for the direction of affairs.
I have not looked at the terms, but with respect to the electoral boundaries my recollection is that they were told that, after each decennial census, a redistribution bill was introduced and a committee set up to consider the boundaries of each constituency and to make a report to parliament. They were told that with respect to the boundaries of the Newfoundland constituencies that would come about in the regular way.
There were some members who did not want to take the responsibility for those boundaries because they said that they did not know enough about where the lines would run to want them to be permanent boundaries. They were quite satisfied that they be the boundaries for the first election and that somebody else should take the responsibility of saying what should be the boundaries of the constituencies for future elections. They were told that that responsibility would be taken, in the first instance, by the committee of the house that studied the matter and reported to parliament and, ultimately, by parliament when approving or disapproving of the recommendations made by the committee.
Mr. Green: I raised the question because some of the statements are an indication of government policies while others say that further consideration will be given to this or that subject and then agreement will be reached. In reading over the pamphlet it seemed to me that several things had been left in the air, that they have not yet been decided, and apparently are to be dealt with at a later date.
For example, there is the question of responsibility for the Northern Labrador Trading Operations, which is to be the subject of discussions between Canada and Newfoundland, or if necessary the province of Newfoundland. Then reference is made to penitentiaries and the question whether national harbours will be set up in Newfoundland.
What is the intention of the government with respect to these particular items where obviously no conclusion has been reached as yet but on which conclusion is to be reached shortly? Will there be further agreements, or just what does the government plan to do?
Mr. St. Laurent: These are matters which would be determined either by the Canadian government, under its responsibility to the Canadian parliament, or by the government of the island, under its responsibility to the legislature, according to where the jurisdiction may lie.
With respect to penitentiaries, there will have to be an agreement with the province. They were told it was unlikely, that probably it would be undesirable to establish a federal penitentiary in Newfoundland, and that it probably would also be undesirable to bring prisoners convicted by the courts of Newfoundland to the penitentiary at Dorchester because of the inconvenience to their families or friends when visiting them. It was stated that for the start there would be made an arrangement whereby the Canadian government, being responsible for the care and maintenance of those sentenced to terms of two years or more, would undertake to reimburse the government of Newfoundland for caring for these prisoners in the provincial jails.
That is something which will have to be worked out and we would hope to have it worked out in a manner that would be most satisfactory to the people of Newfoundland and to the Canadian people. There is another provision concerning certain boats that are presently owned by the government of Newfoundland.
Mr. Green: Clarenville boats?
Mr. St. Laurent: Yes, Clarenville boats. They are operated in a manner which is conducive to the development of the trade of Newfoundland. They carry relatively small cargoes of fish down to ports they can get into and that large boats carrying heavier cargoes cannot visit, and from those ports they bring back commodities that enter into the trade of Newfoundland. It is a desirable trade for the economy of Newfoundland. It might be very undesirable to attempt to have these boats operated by the Canadian National steamship lines, because then their operation would come under the collective agreements between the steamship lines and the seamen, which might make the operation of these boats so costly that instead of being profitable it would be detrimental to the economy of Newfoundland. There had not been time or opportunity to determine just what would be the most practicable way of continuing the operation of those boats in order to benefit the economy of the island. There a question arose as to whether the FEBRUARY 8, 1949 Newfoundland 363 government of the island could operate boats in international trade, and that was not finally determined. The outcome was, "Well, we all know that we want to have done that which will best contribute to the economy of the island, but at the present time we do not know what that will have to be. We will trust each other and work out something satisfactory in that regard."
Mr. Green: These are more or less loose ends that will have to be tied up as the information becomes available?
Mr. St. Laurent: That is so; just as there is another loose end with respect to public property, for example.
Mr. Knowles: I hesitate to raise a point of order when the Prime Minister is seeking to be helpful in connection with these matters, but would it not be better if we took up these things in relation to the proper clauses?
Mr. Green: The hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre is always very free with his advice to other hon. members as to how we should follow the rules of the house. I brought up this question because in this statement there is one paragraph which deals with elections, and I wanted to know how that was to be tied in with the sections in the terms. I submit that the right hon. Prime Minister is perfectly in order in explaining just how these statements tie in with the terms of union.
Mr. Knowles: Not at all.
Mr. Pearkes: Following the suggestion made by the hon. member for Royal, I strongly urge that, when these appointments are being made, full consideration be given to the ex-servicemen of Newfoundland. I am quite certain the denominational question should not cause any difficulty, because there will have been distinguished ex-servicemen in all three denominations mentioned by the Prime Minister.
Mr. Jaenicke: I am worried about the words "British North America Act, 1867 to 1946," in section 5. I hesitate to say very much because of the statement made a few moments ago by the Prime Minister that some eminent counsel and the law officers of the crown drafted this agreement; but supposing we have an amendment to the British North America Act subsequent to this date, dealing with the representation in the House of Commons and the Senate. Is the Prime Minister satisfied that Newfoundland, the new province, could not take the position that they would not be bound by a subsequent amendment, in view of this wording? Should it not read "1867 and amendments thereto"?
Mr. St. Laurent: This is the official description of the British North America Acts determined by the parliament of the United Kingdom. Each of the amending statutes contains a provision substantially along this line: "This act may be known as the British North America Act, 1946; and this act and the others may be described together as the British North America Acts, 1867 to 1946." The description is always of the original and all those up to the date of the one that is mentioned.
Mr. Jaenicke: I realize that; but supposing we have another amendment, say in 1950 or 1951. Would not Newfoundland then be in a position, if they do not agree with that amendment, to say, "We are not bound by it, because we are only bound by the amendments to the British North America Act up to 1946"?
Mr. St. Laurent: No. That matter was given serious consideration, and a provision was even drafted and considered by the law officers providing that the reference to any act would mean that act or any amendments made or to be made thereto. However, they came to the conclusion that it was unnecessary to have this kind of statement, that the interpretation acts of Canada, Newfoundland and the United Kingdom were sufficient in that regard.
Mr. Cruickshank: I want to ask the Prime Minister one question in regard to this. As I understand it, the new province is to have the same number of members in the other place as we are, though their population is just equal to that of one of our towns. Will they have the same number of parliamentary assistants that we have?
Sections 4, 5 and 6 agreed to.
On section 7—Provtncial constitution.
Mr. Green: This paragraph provides that the constitution of Newfoundland is revived at the date of union and shall continue as the constitution of the province, and so on. Can the Prime Minister tell us how the constitution of Newfoundland will be amended once this union takes place?
Mr. St. Laurent: The constitution of the province of Newfoundland will be subject to amendment by the legislature of Newfoundland under the first subsection of section 92 of the British North America Act. They will have the right to amend their constitution in every respect save in respect of the office of lieutenant governor, just as every other Canadian province has that right.
Mr. Macdonnell (Muskoka-Ontario): How is it the parliament of Canada has power to revive the constitution of Newfoundland? In 364 Newfoundland HOUSE OF COMMONS section 1, under the heading "Union", I read:
On, from, and after the coming into force of these terms . . . Newfoundland shall form part of Canada and shall be a province thereof—
At that stage, when Newfoundland comes in, does it have no constitution? Does it receive its constitution after that? How is it that we, the parliament of Canada, and not the parliament at Westminster, are to revive the constitution which, as I understand it, was derogated from, or whatever the proper expression may be, under the authority of that other parliament?
Mr. St. Laurent: If this were not to be confirmed by a statute of the parliament of the United Kingdom the revival of the constitution of Newfoundland could not be done by the parliament of Canada; it would have to be done by the parliament of the United Kingdom. But it is one of the conditions of this agreement that it does not come into effect or have legal effect until confirmed by an act of the parliament of the United Kingdom.
The delegation from Newfoundland and its law officers insisted that they did not want the province of Newfoundland to get a new constitution out of the union. They wanted to be in the position of the provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, which had constitutions before union and retained all the powers of their constitutions, except those given to the central authority. It was for that reason that the dean of the law school was insistent upon having the constitution revived an instant before union becomes effective. It will be revived only because there will have been enacted an act by the United Kingdom agreeing to this.
Mr. Macdonnell (Muskoka-Ontario): I am still not clear as to why this clause is in here at all. Has it any effect? As I understand the Prime Minister, this would have no effect unless there was an act passed by the parliament at Westminster. What effect has this clause in here?
Mr. St. Laurent: None of these clauses would have any effect except by virtue of an act passed by the parliament of the United Kingdom. The parliament of the United Kingdom is, at the present time, the legislative body having jurisdiction and authority over Newfoundland. You cannot have a marriage merely with the consent of the groom. You have to have the bride agreeing thereto as well. These terms of union have to be agreed to by Canada and they also have to be agreed to by those who are competent and willing to give consent for the other contracting party.
Section agreed to.
  Sections 8 to 16 inclusive agreed to.
On section 17—Education.
Mr. Fulton: I wonder if the Prime Minister would be good enough to explain why it is necessary to make a special provision for education in Newfoundland, and why section 93 of the British North America Act is not sufficient to cover the case if it were made applicable.
Mr. St. Laurent: With respect to education, the situation was different from that which existed at the time of the creation of the two new provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan. At that time, this parliament had control over education in those territories. It could reasonably stipulate it would part with that control, subject only to certain guarantees of the rights of minorities. The delegates from Newfoundland were told we had no control over their educational system at the present time. The authority having legislative jurisdiction at that time, however, could make any provision it wished to make with respect to education. We also told them we had no right to insist upon any guarantee being written into the constitution because they have complete jurisdiction themselves; but if, for the satisfaction of their own people, they felt it was preferable to have a guarantee written into the constitution, we could not object. The matter was discussed back and forth for quite a long time.
The hon. member knows that the sanction of the rights of minorities under section 93 of the British North America Act is an appeal to the governor in council and the enactment by this parliament of remedial legislation. The hon. member knows what difficulties arose out of appeals under that section and out of the attempt to pass remedial legislation some forty years ago. It was felt by the delegation from Newfoundland that it would be more effective to have the clause concerning guarantees drawn in this way so that the legislature would have complete control over education but would not have jurisdiction to do things that would impinge upon the rights of minorities. To do those things would be a denial of jurisdiction.
If an attempt were made to do those things, the recourse is to the courts of law. The courts of law will examine whether or not the thing that is being done is contrary to the guarantee written into this clause. If it is found by the courts of law to be contrary, the courts of law declare it to be void and unconstitutional. It was felt that would be a more effective safeguard than appeal to the governor in council and a requestto the central parliament to pass remedial legislation.
FEBRUARY 8, 1949 Newfoundland 365
Mr. Fulton: I take it, then, one might summarize the effect of this section by saying it has the effect of preserving permanently the status quo in Newfoundland and providing, instead of an appeal to the governor in council against infringement and action by parliament, an appeal to the bench of the Supreme Court of Canada.
Mr. St. Laurent: The ultimate appeal would be to the Supreme Court of Canada. It would be an appeal to the ordinary provincial courts in the first instance, but ultimately there could be an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.
The hon. member says the effect is to fix the status quo for all time, but that is subject to some modification. I understand the schools in Newfoundland are denominational schools, but under the present practice different denominations can amalgamate for a school district. The right to do that is preserved. Moreover, there is a right in the legislature to set up other schools than those which exist at the present time, but it is provided that if they do set up other schools they must not discriminate against the denominational schools in the districts. Such was the desire of the delegates from Newfoundland; and, as the hon. member has indicated, the sanction was to be an appeal to the courts, not an appeal to a political body.
Mr. Kidd: May I direct a question to the right hon. the Prime Minister? It has to do with the education of veterans. I notice that veterans affairs comes under section 38, but I do not see the word "education" mentioned in section 38, so I am taking this opportunity of asking my question. The Prime Minister may be familiar with the educational system in Newfoundland. There are no universities in Newfoundland and a student wishing to receive advanced education, after receiving first or second year college, has to go to Dalhousie, McGill, Queen's or varsity. The student finishes his education and takes his degree there. The result has been that a great many Newfoundlanders who came to Canada for their education remained in Canada. There were those, of course, who had to go back because of some business association in the island. I may say that Canada has benefited during the past thirty or forty years from the large number of Newfoundlanders who have remained here upon completion of their education.
  In the universities at the present time we have the veterans of world war II. Will the veterans who are attending university today, and those who come in next year, receive' the same grants? My question might be directed through you, Mr. Chairman, to the Minister of Veterans Affairs. I know this matter has been taken up, and that the student veterans in university today get $60 and $80. I have in mind particularly the veteran who today is taking a medical course, who has perhaps another three or four years ahead of him—it is a long course—and whose money is running out.
Mr. Gregg: As my hon. friend said, that matter properly comes under section 38, paragraph (f). Perhaps I am out of order but I think I can answer the question quite briefly. Paragraph (f) reads:
Sections six, seven and eight of the Veterans Rehabilitation Act will be extended to Newfoundland veterans of the second world war who have not received similar benefits from the government of any country other than Canada.
University education comes under section 8. In such a case as that referred to by my hon. friend, completion of the veteran's education would be provided for by my department in exactly the same way as though he had been a Canadian veteran.
Mr. Dickey: On this section on education I should like to say just a word. Many tributes were paid in this house yesterday to the various groups and influences which, down through the years, have contributed to the drawing together of the old colony of Newfoundland and this country.
I think one of the strongest and most important of those influences, which was not mentioned, is the number of young men and young women of Newfoundland who, through the years, have come to the universities and colleges of eastern Canada for the purpose of completing their education, and I refer particularly to the colleges and universities of Nova Scotia. It has been a delight to those institutions to have these welcome visitors who have made so signal a contribution to their academic life. When speaking a few minutes ago, one hon. member referred to the fact that, of those Newfoundland young people who came to Canada to complete their education, a great many stayed in Canada. Happily that has not been true in every case. Perhaps indicative of the importance of the bearing this has on the happy subject we are discussing tonight is the fact that four out of the six Newfoundland delegates, who came here to discuss with the representatives of the government of Canada the terms of union which we are here discussing, were graduates of the law school of Dalhousie university. I am sure we all hope that the young men and young women of the new province will continue to come and pursue their studies at the eastern Canadian universities to which their' fathers and mothers came in their day. Along with a widespread and, I hope, important development in the 366 Newfoundland HOUSE OF COMMONS educational life of the new province itself, will be the backing and the help of the existing institutions which have contributed in great measure to the professional and cultural life of Newfoundland down through the years.
Mr. Timmins: I do not think it would be inappropriate to say that a good number of the young men from Newfoundland have found their way up to Ontario to seek their education. The   Secretary of State for External Affairs will bear me out when I say that he and I, as students at Victoria college in Toronto, had with us many young men from Newfoundland, a good number of whom have become professors in Canadian universities. One of them was also a delegate who came from Newfoundland to consult with our officials and our Prime Minister in respect of this act of union. We have welcomed many in the past, and I think that in the future we will welcome more and more of these young men to our various universities, particularly those in Ontario.
Mr. Bentley: I should like to ask the Prime Minister whether consideration has been given to certain things. When speaking on second reading of the bill this afternoon, the leader of the opposition pointed out, in connection with oleomargarine, that there was embodied in this agreement a certain term which, while it may not be operative now, since time and circumstances have removed the need for it at the present time, is nevertheless there for future consideration by anyone who may feel that he may want to take advantage of it. In this section the same thing happens.
The Prime Minister has said that the terms of the Newfoundland delegation with regard to their educational system were something they themselves wanted, and that the Canadian delegation agreed to them because the Newfoundland delegation wanted them. That means that there is a departure from the regular practices under the British North America Act in that the new province of Newfoundland, when union takes place, will not need to appeal to His Excellency the Governor General—or to the lieutenant governor, I presume, in the case of a province —for any changes in connection with the agreement. That may be all right. Traditionally, Newfoundland undoubtedly wants that. They are accustomed to it. But did the Canadian delegates consider seriously the pOSsibility that if this becomes part of the agreement by consent of Canada, then in the future some other provinces which may wish to adopt this particular procedure may possibly put up a strenuous fight, and that we shall find our whole Canadian system of education altered to suit that of Newfoundland? Was that possibility considered when the matter was under discussion?
Mr. St. Laurent: I do not think this term can have any effect on the educational system in Newfoundland or in Canada. It is a modification of the guarantees of minority rights set out in the original British North America Act. In the acts which created the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan there were made for those two provinces special provisions which were somewhat ditferent from the terms set out in the original British North America Act. The hon. member suggests the possibility of some province wishing to have these or similar terms instead of having the terms that are now in the British North America Act. I do not know how an an amendment of that kind could be brought about. I think it would be a relief to all of us in Canada if these matters could be dealt with by the courts of justice whenever there was any feeling that a minority right had been violated, instead of being dealt with by means of an appeal to a political body. The experience of the Canadian public with respect to appeals that have been taken under section 93 of the British North America Act is really an unhappy one. It has created disunion, and whatever disposition was made by the governor in council, there was a large section disappointed and dissatisfied with the decision. They are apt to consider that the decision is not really a judicial but a political one. In these matters where there are to be constitutional safeguards it is better to have them sanctioned by judicial decisions than by decisions which many people feel are more of a political than of a judicial character.
Mr. Bentley: The Prime Minister has tacitly agreed that what I suggested might happen could happen and would be desirable. If a province wished to adopt this particular principle or practice, any changes in educational matters would not be subject to a legislative body.
Mr. St. Laurent: No; all changes, under this section, have to be made by the legislative body of Newfoundland, but if the legislative body of Newfoundland attempted to do something that violated a minority right, instead of having a political body decide the question whether or not there was a violation, that question would be decided by a judicial body. It is the same in the other provinces. There are guarantees of minority rights. But when there is a contention that they have been violated, instead of going to the courts to determine whether that is so or not the matter is taken to the governor in council; and, whatever he decides, many feel that his FEBRUARY 8, 1949 Newfoundland 367 decision is more apt to be a political decision than a judicial decision.
Mr. Knight: Was any arrangement made in regard to federal grants in aid of education? Was there any discussion in regard to that?
Mr. St. Laurent: There was no discussion on federal grants in aid of education other than the provision made for the extension to the people of Newfoundland of the legislation relating to veterans. The transitional grants provided were fixed after all the requirements of the public services of the province had been considered. There was no special portion allotted for education, but the over-all picture was studied to arrive at a figure that, in the opinion of those who were making the agreement, would make it a workable agreement.
Mr. Knight: I was thinking in particular of the vocational grants now given to technical schools in the other provinces and derived from dominion funds. Was anything done about that? Will these same grants be available?
Mr. St. Laurent: Yes. We attempted to draw this agreement in such a manner that the citizens of Newfoundland would become full Canadian citizens in every respect of rights and obligations.
Section agreed to.
On section 18—Continuation of laws.
Mr. Cruickshank: Am I to understand that   any laws enacted here will be binding, or can they be appealed and abolished as was done in the case of oleomargarine by the supreme court after sixty-seven years?
Mr. St. Laurent: The hon. member uses language which does not perhaps accurately describe what the supreme court did. The supreme court did not abolish the law. The supreme court decided that those who passed the law had no right to do so and that it had never been any good.
Mr. Cruickshank: What about my question? Am I assured by the Prime Minister that this law is good and that they cannot abolish it?
Mr. St. Laurent: To the best of my knowledge, and to the best of the knowledge of the legal experts who were accompanying both delegations, it is good. It is something within their jurisdiction. Beyond that I cannot go. The hon. member knows that it is not only with respect to oleomargarine that the courts have found that after a long period something that was looked upon as valid law was not so. Perhaps he remembers what happened to the so-called Lemieux act dealing with industrial disputes. It had been applied for a good many years in a manner which the Canadian public thought was satisfactory, and all at once the privy council said that those who passed that law went beyond their jurisdiction and it was not binding on anybody.
Mr. Timmins: Will the Prime Minister make a short statement in respect to the meaning of this particular section, having regard to the following subsection:
(1) Subject to these terms, all laws enforced in Newfoundland at or immediately prior to the date of union shall continue therein as if the union had not been made . . .
(2) Statutes of the parliament of Canada in force at the date of union. or any part thereof, shall come into force in the province of Newfoundland on a day or days to be fixed . . .
I presume that means that the criminal law of Canada will probably come into force immediately after the passing of the act of union. I should like to know whether the criminal law of Canada will immediately supersede the criminal law of Newfoundland, or just what the situation is to be.
Mr. St. Laurent: No, Mr. Chairman. This section was drawn precisely for the purpose of not having the criminal law, among others, come into force immediately, because we were informed that it would be embarrassing to administer the criminal law of Canada until arrangements had been made to provide the proper machinery, and that therefore it would be preferable to have a provision that these general laws of Canada could from time to time be put into force in the province as machinery to administer them had been previously provided; and that pending that time the laws in force at the time of union would continue.
In Quebec at the present time there is a civil code which came into force in 1866, and which contains provisions that the parliament of Canada would have the right to amend or repeal. But it has not yet been seen fit to do that. The legislature of Quebec would not have the right to enact that kind of legislation, but it does apply as a part of the legislation of Quebec until such time as parliament sees fit to deal with it. It will be the same with respect to Newfoundland. They have a certain body of laws which will continue to be applied until by proclamation it is stated that the present laws of the dominion in that regard will be substituted for those that exist in the province. or course it is not intended that it will take very long. It is intended to be merely a transitional measure to bring progressively into force those Canadian laws under conditions which will not prove to be embarrassing; and it is perhaps because there were on the delegation 368 Newfoundland HOUSE OF COMMONS those distinguished lawyers, graduates of Toronto and Dalhousie, that a section such as this was very carefully considered. We were told that it would be embarrassing to them in the administration of criminal justice to jump right away from a common law system to the code; that they were not going to take the trouble of learning our code and our procedure until they were sure that they were going to have to apply it; and that it would take them some little time after they became sure that the union was going to be realized to put themselves in a position properly to administer the provisions of the Criminal Code of Canada.
Mr. Hackett: Will the Prime Minister say to what extent the judgments of the Supreme Court of Canada and of the privy council, in so far as they bear upon the relationship between the provinces and the dominion, would find application to the new relationship about to be established between Newfoundland and the dominion?
Mr. St. Laurent: The only answer I can make is that it was assumed by delegates on both sides that the Canadian constitution as it applies in fact to the other Canadian provinces would apply to Newfoundland after the union.
Mr. Hackett: Is there any enactment to that effect? Is there anything that would warrant that statement?—and I hope the Prime Minister will not think I am unduly inquisitive.
Mr. St. Laurent: It was felt that section 3 would have that effect. And then, as the Statute of Westminster is not one of the British North America Acts, and the decisions which may be given with respect to the Statute of Westminster do not affect the British North America Acts, and vice versa, it was felt there should be a special declaration as to the manner in which the Statute of Westminster would apply to Newfoundland. That was provided in section 48. From and after the date of union it will apply to the province of Newfoundland as it applies to the other provinces of Canada.
It was felt that having section 3, which refers to the British North America Acts, that included not only British North America Acts but those acts as the courts have construed them to be; and that section 48, adding to it the Statute of Westminster, would give the new province exactly the same status as the other Canadian provinces.
Mr. Jaenicke: Will the Prime Minister tell us whether Newfoundland has a divorce law?
Mr. St. Laurent: Newfoundland has no divorce law; and we were informed that there were, I believe, three persons who claimed to be divorced because they had gone to other jurisdictions and there obtained decrees. But there seemed to be some doubt as to whether those divorces were divorces which should be recognized. And of course that would depend upon whether there had been really a change of domicile before the divorce decrees were granted.
Mr. Pearkes: Will there be any change in the laws in force on those portions of the ocean between Canada and Newfoundland? In other words, will there be any extension of the extraterritorial waters, now that Newfoundland will become part of Canada— because I believe it is customary that when a portion of the ocean is nearly surrounded by a country, that water is declared a territorial water.
Mr. St. Laurent: We intend to contend, and hope to be able to get acquiescence in the contention that the waters west of Newfoundland constituting the gulf of St. Lawrence shall become an inland sea. We hope that, with Newfoundland as a part of Canadian territory, the gulf of St. Lawrence west of Newfoundland will all become territorial waters of Canada, whereas before there would be only the usual off-shore portion that would thus become part of the territorial waters. Of course that is a matter which is not governed by statutes; it is governed by the comity of nations. It is our intention to assert that position and it is our hope that it will be recognized as a valid contention.
Section agreed to.
On section 19—Supply.
Mr. Cruickshank: I am sorry to say I was not here at the time representation in parliament was being discussed, but I believe I am in order in discussing that matter on this subject of supply—because it provides the money.
Mr. Knowles: Move an amendment.
Mr. Cruickshank: I wish I could. Do I understand seriously that 320,000 people are to have seven members representing them in the House of Commons, while they are to have six appointed—and parliamentary language does not permit me to say where. In British Columbia we have one city, the city of Vancouver, with 350,000 people—
An hon. Member: Order.
Mr. Cruickshank: "Order"—my foot. I do not think they are serious about this bill. Are there to be seven members elected by the people of Newfoundland, and six appointed to the other place—and by I don't know whom? It does not make sense, and I object seriously to it.          
FEBRUARY 8, 1949 Newfoundland 369
I cannot move an amendment. I am in favour of having a tenth province, but I am definitely not in favour of moving six from one graveyard to another—over there—particularly when British Columbia is limited to its present number, six.
Mr. Abbott: Carried.
Mr. Cruickshank: No. And I presume with those seven members, and six appointed to the other place, if we were to carry this through to its logical conclusion, that would mean three and a half parliamentary assistants.
Mr. MacNicol: Too many of those now.
Mr. Cruickshank: So far as I am concerned, through you to the Prime Minister, Mr. Chairman, I strenuously object to the six members not elected from this population.
Mr. St. Laurent: Unfortunately the objection comes a little too late, because the provision for six members in the other place, in the event of Newfoundland's joining Canada, was enacted some thirty-three or thirty-four years ago. It was enacted at the same time as the provision was made that representation in this chamber should never fall below the number of members to which it was entitled in the Senate. It is for that reason that the province of Prince Edward Island is still entitled to four members in the House of Commons, although the quotient of representation for the rest of Canada would be something of the order of fifty odd thousand per member.
Mr. Cruickshank: Does not the Prime Minister think that right in this parliament we enacted an amendment whereby we did exactly the opposite to what he is stating? We are changing our redistribution at the present time. Quebec is getting more than she had before; and some of the other provinces will have more.
I am afraid the Prime Minister's argument does not hold good at all. This will mean six people we will have to look after in that little island over there—and a certain parliamentary assistant made a speech here not so long ago along the very lines I am following. If Prince Edward Island, with a handful of population, is entitled to four senators, then surely to goodness British Columbia is entitled to more than six. Surely we are entitled to more than that, when one of our larger centres has a greater population than either of these districts I have mentioned— including the new province entering confederation. I do not think the Prime Minister's argument holds good at all.
Mr. Gibson (Comox-Albemi): What the hon. member for Fraser Valley has said must bring closely to the attention of the Prime Minister the very urgent need for reform in the Senate, which was so often promised by his illustrious predecessor. It does seem fantastic that the maritime provinces—
Mr. Knowles: Where have you fellows been all night?
Mr. Gibson (Comox-Albemi): I thought you were interested in the reform of the Senate?
Mr. Knowles: On a point of order, we discussed this matter for an hour.
Mr. Gibson (Comox-Alberni): After all, in the maritime provinces, producing about the same amount of fish as British Columbia does, there will be 30 senators; yet we have only six senators. I can assure the committee that there are as many indigent politicians in British Columbia as there are in the maritime provinces.
Section agreed to.
Sections 20 and 21 agreed to.
On section 22—Fisheries.
Mr. Knowles: I wonder if the Minister of Fisheries would make some comment on the sections having to do with fisheries? This is one of the subjects connected with the coming into confederation of Newfoundland about which I have been reading and I have found it rather interesting, in fact almost intriguing. Such documents as I have read would seem to suggest that Newfoundland may be ahead of Canada in her legislative provisions for the marketing of fish. I understand that Newfoundland is to have the right to continue for another five years the arrangements that she now has. May I inquire whether the Department of Fisheries and the government generally will be considering the methods employed in Newfoundland with the possibility, should it be found that theirs are better than ours, of changing the Canadian laws.
Mr. Mayhew: I do not know whether you wish to call it eleven o'clock, but it will take longer than five minutes for me to give an adequate answer.
Mr. St. Laurent: Perhaps if the explanation will extend beyond eleven o'clock it might suit the convenience of hon. members if I moved that the committee rise, report progress and ask leave to sit again.
Section stands.
Progress reported.


Canada. House of Commons Debates, 1875-1949. Provided by the Library of Parliament.



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