Newfoundland National Convention, 15 January 1947, Debates on Confederation with Canada


January 15, 1947

Report of the Transportation and Communications Committee:[1] Committee of the Whole

Mr. Smallwood Mr. Chairman, before we go into the appendix to the report on posts and telegraphs, there is an item that I think I ought to pass on to the Convention Yesterday we were talking about the subsidy paid by the Department of Posts and Telegraphs for the conveyance of mail, paid to the Railway. At that time I was not informed of the tme situation. I said the amount was $150,000. It was $150,000 from 1934 on. Before that for two or three years it was $217,000 a year, and before that for quite a number of years it was $500,000. Well, on September 1, 1946, a new agreement was made between the Post Office and Railway, setting up an entirely new basis for postal subsidy. Up to that time it was a flat rate of $150,000, but since September 1 the new agreement is, to the Railway 30 cents per mile, and to the coastal boats 50 cents per mile. It works out, as far as the Post Office can estimate it, at about $101,000 a year to the Railway, and to the coastal boats about $92,000. Then, over and above that the Post Office has agreed to pay the Railway a flat amount of$15,000 a year to handle mail in North Sydney and Port-aux-Basques, so that the total would be around $210,000 a year.
We only have the appendix of the report on the posts and telegraphs which consists of a report from the Secretary of the department.
Mr. Job I was just going to allude to the fact that is there not another $100,000 in addition to the $210,000 provided by the Finance Department for the Railway?
Mr. Smallwood We are dealing only with posts and telegraphs, and there is only this $210,000 now from that department. Mr. Cashin says, "Yes, there is another $100,000 paid the Railway by Finance Department." He was former Finance Minister, and is also chairman of the committee for public finance, and I would say that he would be the man to give the answer to that. Mr. Cashin nods his head and says, "Yes, they do pay that extra amount."
[The Assistant Secretary read the report]
Mr. Higgins What is the date of that report of the Secretary of posts and telegraphs?
Mr. Smallwood This is not a report made for us; it is made for the Commission of Government, and the Secretary, when he appeared before us, brought it and read it out, and we asked if there was any objection to our having copies made. It is a report submitted by the department to the government about a year ago. Some of the things mentioned, as things they intend to do, they have since done. They have introduced the ship-to- shore and coast-to-coast radio-telegraph system on the southwest coast. In Gander they have done some of the things they said they were going to do.
Mr. Higgins How do you reconcile the second last sentence in the report, "Up to the present no sums have been allocated for reconstruction work", with Table 3 in the Chadwick-Jones report, where it says $300,000 was allocated 1946-47? Is there any explanation?
Mr. Smallwood The Chadwick-Jones report was prepared about a year ago. This report of the Secretary was probably written a bit after that.
Mr. Higgins That is not an answer to the question. Your information may be perfectly correct and this report may be wrong; but that report stated $300,000 was allocated for reconstruction that is probably incorrect.
Mr. Smallwood You mean the Chadwick-Jones report?
Mr. Higgins Yes.
Mr. Smallwood I think it is in the estimates for the current year, which means that this report by the Secretary is more up to date — $299,000 for the current year. I cannot be responsible for the Chadwick-Jones report.
Mr. Higgins I thought you might.
Mr. Smallwood Only to a limited extent am I responsible for the Chadwick-Jones report.
Mr. Northcott In yesterday's debate there seemed to be a lot of misunderstanding in connection with the smaller post offices in the island. On page 5 of the report you will see, "203 postmasters — salaries paid $80 per year." In these small places there are perhaps ten families. They have a boat once a week. When the boat arrives, these ten families go to the post office and get their mail. On the return trip, the ten families will go and post their mail. That is all the work there is to that post office. Perhaps that person spends one hour in a week in the post office; therefore he or she is fairly well paid. In nine out of ten cases the post office is in the person's home. He or she gets a small rent. That will make a clearer picture. Then 97 postmasters are in places where there are 15 or 20 families; they are getting better salaries, $126—$240 a year. They have no telegraph system; they have about 20 families and weekly mail. And the same thing applies. In the next group, at $240-$500 a year, nine out of ten of these have a money order office and perhaps a telephone. They send only three or four messages a day. It is not necessary for that person to spend all of his or her time in the office. Again this office may be in the home, for which rent is received. Then we find 21 getting $500- $600 a year. There is more work there. The person who is underpaid is the postmaster or postmistress in places like Botwood, Fogo. St. Anthony and Lewisporte. You have in the last place a post office and telegraph office all in one — one person doing three persons' work. The Canadian army is there, the Shell Oil Co. and other businesses. It is a centre. They are in the office from nine in the morning until 12 at night. This group is very much underpaid. If these people were getting $200 a month they would be getting a fair rate of wages.... Again we have 159 mail couriers, these people have long, hard and weary trips, and to them the country owes a great debt of gratitude. Sometimes they travel on hor ses, sometimes on dog teams, and sometimes they have to carry the mail on their backs.
Mr. Vardy I am not so sure that that is, critically speaking, a true picture. I am thinking of a place where there are 600 people and the postal operator is employed there 20 years. He is a family man, his salary is $22 a month, and he gets $2 a month rent for the post office. He collects an average of $100 a month customs duties. I have a message today from a man who is employed around 30 years; his monthly salary is $11.62 including war bonus, and he has four in his fami1y. I think that this Convention must have some sympathy for these people. I know this postmaster to be a capable man. There are at least three communities adjoining that settlement where post offices were taken away, telegraph and telephone poles chopped down, and this office serves 1,200 to 1,500 people. That man is employed full time all the year round and he receives $11.62 a month. I have every sympathy for him....
Mr. Miller Mr. Chairman, I have but few observations to make and shall refrain from any detailed criticism. It appears we have today a worn-out railway and a worn-out telegraph system, and we are coldly advised of this fact by both of these departments. This has happened despite the fact that both the railway and the telegraph system had been building up pre-war in a highly satisfactory manner and indicated an ability to handle our normal needs for a long time. What, then, was the reason for this overburdening and unprofitable business? Plainly, sir, it is because we have just fought a war, we have rendered services beyond our means; whether willingly or unwillingly I don't know, but certainly to a distressing effect in assisting a world interest. Are we then satisfied to receive from that world a graceful thank-you, and leave the matter there? England, the US and Canada, stand together because they must.... Standing together in war they still stand together in peace, but we stood with them in war. Why then are we so quickly forgotten in peace? If I were to answer that question I would say because we work out our deals on "friendly terms" — two words to be careful of in the future of Newfoundland. In a friendly manner we have gone on in the past and accepted things as we found them. We have accepted the word and treatment of old England as final and live January 1947 NATIONAL CONVENTION 261 under it or die under it, if you will. We are deprived of any standing in any international set-up. We must be humble contributors, exploited in any and every way; and so we go on to face the future; so we let ourselves forget the sacrifice made to the railway and telegraph system; to the roads; we let ourselves forget the bases deal; the free interest loans; all consequences of friendly terms. Mr. Chairman, in international politics there is no place for friendly terms, it is a case of dog eat dog.... Is it now time then that we, as a people, cease to condone this policy, and cease to be the good servant?
I hold that we in this Convention, emphatically, man for man, should condemn this treatment and take an aggressive stand; that we should go beyond the Dominions Office, and ask that a delegation from the present Labour government of Great Britain be sent here to study and discuss its findings with the National Convention more particularly in respect to our injustices. I feel that we should not go on alone, since the situation has arisen mainly as a result of the war policy of other countries, and those other countries must assist us to mend the damage. I feel, sir, that we are spending too much time discussing reports which in the long run amount, as my friend Mr. Newell said yesterday, to cutting our garment to suit the cloth, without considering how we can enlarge the cloth. Bigger matters vitally concerning us are being passed by, and time goes on. We have assisted these countries in their problems, we have worked together in war — let us now boldly present our demands in peace.
[In response to a question from Mr. Harrington, Mr. Smallwood gave information concerning telegraph lines built by the American forces]
Mr. Ballam ....I notice that they are going to build a parcel post station out in Comer Brook. I may say that this is very good news for people all over the island. It always seemed ridiculous to us that parcels had to be carted in here to St. John's and then carted back again all over the country....
Mr. Butt Mr. Chairman, I have not trespassed too much on your time, and now that the cross- firing has practically ceased, this appears to be a good time to sum up my impression of what we have learned so far. As a member of the Transportation and Communications Committee it would not come with good grace from me to be critical of the report.... Having said this it would appear
that I should say no more. However, various interpretations were put on some of the facts and it is on these that I wish to offer a few comments. My reason for doing this is twofold: I would like to clarify my own thinking now that the debates in committee have finished, and I would like to pass on to the public and the other members of the Convention my thoughts, in the hope that they may be of some assistance in helping us all to reach the best possible conclusion when we come to make final decisions.
Since the Convention came into being I have conceived of its work, in broad essentials, as having to discover, first, what our yearly national income is likely to be in the foreseeable future. I visualised our getting out a sort of overall picture of what is likely to be produced yearly for say the next five or ten years — as the amount of wealth which we would have to live on as a people....
[Mr Butt went on to make an estimate of value of fisheries, forestry, agriculture, investment returns, bases, minerals of approximately $65 million]
The total fund, in other words, out of which we all had to get a living at some standard. Now having found that we should, secondly, discover what percent of that yearly income we should devote to government services. Government services are divided into two parts. One part is services that we wish for ourselves and for which we do expect to pay on a specific basis, for example, education. The other part is services which are a combination of service and specific business such as the Railway....
Then there would be our major problem of discovering what form of government would best help us to increase our annual production, and provide for the best distribution of that production. To get the information required for the first two items mentioned we appointed nine committees.... So far three committee reports and one interim report have been presented to the Convention. Two — Forestry and the Interim Fisheries report — dealt with national wealth, and the other two — Education, and Transportation and Communications — dealt with a possible avenue of increasing that national wealth insofar as it referred to the bases deal. The two others, Education was one of pure service, and the Transportation and Communications has dealt with the combination of poor service and
poor business. In these few remarks I propose to touch on the Education Report only, and to review the items discovered under Transportation and Communications The remark on education is this: it has, Ibelieve, been accepted by a majority of us that this one item of government expenditure must be of the order of $3 million — $4 million.[1] That is one item which must go into our second table to be spent on education.
Let us turn now to the report immediately under consideration. In my view we can add certain items to our projected government expenditure table. First of all radio service — $25,000; secondly, posts and telegraphs — $1.5 million- $1.75 million; roads and bridges — $2.5 million $3 million; railway — $12 million-$13 million; Gander and the tourists. On these last mentioned I am unwilling to say what our expenditure will have to be because, as regards Gander. I feel that the position should not be allowed to remain as it is: namely, Newfoundland is giving outside concerns services for which these concerns are only paying an estimated one-half of the cost. We have agreed that this is a matter which will require much more probing before we can say what must go into our expenditure account. Again, on tourists, we will have to make up our minds where we are going and then estimate our expenditure with its counterpart of the estimated return to the total economy. Before leaving this short sum-up, sir, I would ask you to note two things. First, that although the items at present about which we are able to speak definitely are very few, the country ought to know that within the next few weeks as the bulk of the work is done many more items will be added quickly. I say that in fairness to the members of the Convention and because I feel that the public generally would like to know that that is so. And secondly. you will note that I have neglected for the moment the form in which we are to cover the expenditure for these government services — that is to say, how we are going to collect the funds to pay for the services.[2]
As regards broadcasting, Mr. Chairman, I was impressed with the need to get on with the expansion of our present services. In a country such as ours where the people do not live in large centres,
radio was discovered for our benefit. We ought to back those in charge of broadcasting not only with our most helpful criticism, but with the necessary funds to get a full Newfoundland coverage, on the same principle and for the same reasons as we have satisfied ourselves that we ought to push to the limit the purely formal education of the country.
Our discussion of posts and telegraphs appeared to turn on the question of the adequacy of the wages paid to postal employees, and at the same time to an extension of the services. On the question of an equitable distribution of wealth, I have a closed mind. My mind cannot tolerate a general position where wealth is concentrated into the hands of a minority. We should be discovering ways and means of seeing to it that everyone produces and that wealth is shared. Howeverl say frankly that we ought not to go off half-cocked. Whether wages paid in the Department of Posts and Telegraphs are high, low, or fair in relation to other government services, I do not know, because I have not carefully studied the position. How a postal telegraph employee's wages in the various communities compare with the average person's wages I do not know. If the courier to whom Mr. Burry referred is doing a necessary job, and that job takes a great deal of his time and puts him out of production in other spheres, then he should be paid a wage which will put him in as favourable a position as the rest of the people with whom he lives. However, to refer to a $50 a year payment in some cases as a salary of $4 per month, and as shameful, is not necessarily being realistic. For example, a community of fishermen wants a lightkeeper at the approach of their harbour. They cannot afford to pay a man a living wage forjust doing a half-hour's work a day, so they say to someone of their number who lives on the point: "Keep your eye on that light, fix it up if anything happens to put it out on the odd occasion. This will take some of your time away from farming, carpentry, etc, and we'll pay you for that lost time, i.e. $50 a year." This question will come up time and time again before our discussions have finished. It is right that it should. I have offered my comments in the hope that they might be of some value in helping us all to keep a sense of perspective. I repeat, I am all
for the fairest distribution of wealth, but I have to remember that as taxation is increased for ordinary services, the farmer and the fishermen pays.
May I now comment on our work in connection with the Railway.... There is one point which is of particular interest to me, which has not been sufficiently brought out. I put a blunt question to the General Manager like this: "From the point of view of lessened maintenance costs in the future have you got today a better outfit to give service than you have ever had?" His reply was, and I ask the other members of the Committee to hear me out, an unqualified "yes". He went into details on the subject which I am not going to do. Further he was expecting a number of things to "break" favourably over the next few years of operating, so that the costs of our service may be lessened.[1] As Mr. Smallwood said yesterday, the General Manager hopes to see a gradual reduction of the ordinary deficit over the next ten years after we have passed the present period of terrifically high and abnormal costs, particularly materials. To me, looking at the probable costs of government in the forseeable future, this is of the utmost importance. During the next few years, when we have money, we will be able to carry on and pay the high deficits. But after that period when things get back more nearly to normal, there will be a corresponding relief in the form of reduced railway deficit.
I turn for a moment to roads, Mr. Chairman. It is to my mind quite proper that we should have debated the relative merits of trunk versus community roads. As a result of our work I feel that the country has been reminded that there is a direct relationship between the development of the economy, or to repeat Mr. Newell's words, the economic potential of the country and the development of all necessary means of communication and transportation. One point here did not appear to me to be sufficiently brought out. It is the fact that roads themselves, their location, their standard, the method of building them, is of tremendous importance. And further, that there is or should be an economic basis for the standard, the location, and the method of building. For example, if it has been decided that a base depot should be established in a certain locality, it may be proper economy to build a
third-class road leading to it. If however, that area developed, it may be necessary and proper to re-build a road to a necessary standard. Finally, some time later because of the increase in traffic on that road, it may be necessary to put a hard to on it or to build it to a higher standard still.[2] Similarly, in thinking about the merits or demerits of a transinsular bighroad, I have already reduced my thoughts to writing in an article in the Atlantic Guardian, wherein I stated we should have an overall design of a transinsular road but that it should be constructed in sections paralleling the development of these sections. The sections to be developed first should be based on the criterion of their adding to the development of our economy or our total production.
Mr. Chairman, at the moment I have not cleared my own thinking on Gander and the tourist report, and therefore I will reserve my comments to a later date I wish also to say that the time taken by me today has a twofold purpose: to be helpful to the Convention; and to report particularly to that part of Newfoundland which is responsible for my being in the Convention. 1 do hope these purposes have been reasonably fulfilled.
Mr. Miller I find it difficult to reconcile this statement about the excellent condition of the railway. We are told we need seven new locomotives; we are told that due to the increased traffic handled, the main line needs to be re-railed, That will cost $600,000. It cannot be so good. The report goes on to say that the present rails can be cut and used to re-rail the branch lines. If we anticipate laying new branch lines, they cannot be so good either. Further there is no mention of any money to re-rail those branch lines. That, I presume, is an expenditure that has been overlooked.
Mr. Smallwood There is another item that ought to be added to the cost of re-railing. Mr. Russell's estimate is $600,000 for six years — $3.6 million to re-rail the main line. To that has to be added another $1 million to cover labour and other incidental expenses in connection with the re-railing; which would make a total of over $4.5 million, and as I remarked before, there are those who contend that it will be extremely unlikely to re-rail the main line at an overall cost of
$4.5 million.... It is true that Mr. Russell told us that the railway is in a fairly good condition, basically. When the railway was built, the contractors were paid by the mile, and they were not too particular about how they built it. For instance a lot of culverts were built of wood, and the wood rotted and had to be replaced. Now it is true, in recent years they have replaced a number of those with concrete culverts. A certain amount of ballasting was done. In other respects the railway is in better condition than it has been for years. But the main line has to be re-railed. That will call for a better roadbed. That will run into money. How much is any man's guess. They have to buy seven new locomotives, and a lot of new rolling stock. If the railway were good, they would not have to re-rail the line, buy locomotives and buy rolling stock. But when the Committee visited the Railway and spent an afternoon with Mr. Ryan, that matter was raised. It was admitted that at the end of World War I they had a completely worn-out railway. There were lives lost and people maimed on account of the condition of the railway, because of the traffic it had to carry, and which no one anticipated it would carry. The question was put to Mr. Ryan, "The railway has been called upon to carry tremendous amount of traffic during the war years, is it now as worn-out as it was at the end of the last war?" He said, "No, it is distinctly better now than at the end of the last war." Because, he told us, during the war years they did spend some money on the roadbed, and some money on rolling stock and some on general upkeep.... It is better than it was but is far from being perfect and a lot of money has to be spent to make it ordinarily efficient and workable.
Mr. Hollett Mr. Smallwood said something about not congratulating ourselves on the condition of the railway. It seemed to me he was pleased with the condition of the railway. Mr. Smallwood said that at the end of World War I we had an absolutely worn-out railway, would he tell me what the government has done in regard to that?
Mr. Smallwood When the railway was worn- out, it was owned by the Reids. The Reids kept coming to the government with this, that and the other proposition and finally the government had to step in. They appointed a Railway Commission and they brought in railway experts. The
upshot was that in 1923 the government bought out the railway from the Reids.
Mr. Hollett What did they do with the railway?
Mr. Smallwood When the government bought it, they re-railed the whole line.
There are always improvements going on. For a small country, it is a mighty system. Naturally, capital expenditure has had to be made — stations, sheds built and re-built, as regularly as clockwork.
Mr. Miller I think the point is now very clear that the management of the Railway in the lean years did a good job. When war came along we had a railway system which might have carried on for a long period to serve our needs, but an excessive burden was thrown on it ... I cannot be reconciled to the fact the Newfoundland should be saddled with an expenditure on a railway which helped fight a war, beyond our means. Someone else should pay.
Mr. Hollett What I cannot understand is, one statement says the railway is worn out, and another says it is in better condition than ever.
Mr. Butt Basically, it is in a better condition. They have put in new culverts; done a lot of ballasting; taken off curves; have built new sheds which will last for long periods; have put gravity feed in the water system. Basically the railway has an outfit better than before....
Mr. Hollett I wish to draw attention to this particular report. You will note that everything we have in this country is absolutely worn out and should be scrapped. It is tragic. We have to throw the postal telegraphs in the Narrows and get in a new system. The railway has to be re-railed. Everything this report touches has to be scrapped. That is an important thing to remember when we are discussing forms of government. What particular form of government is able to afford that? When we come to sum up, we will have to bear that in mind.
Mr. Job Are we now discussing the report, not only on posts and telegraphs, but the general report?
Mr. Chairman Yes.
Mr. Job We have not had any general picture of what all these six items are going to cost the country. As a member of the Finance Committee, I may say we are rather interested in finding out what that is.... I take it from this report that the Finance Committee will have to estimate a rise
on expenditure of $3.5 million from a revenue point of view. They do help the primary industries. The railway system and roads and bridges help the fisheries and they help forestry. But they are not, in themselves, revenue producers, and I cannot feel there is much advantage in debating this report until we have had the other side of the picture. People have talked about the irreducible minimum of expenditure to carry along these services; but I think the irreducible expenditures will eventually be governed by the maximum revenues....
There is one other matter to which I would like to refer. Mr. Smallwood replied to a question in connection with duty on plates for the repair of ships. The duty is refundable on foreign ships, but it is not refundable on our own ships. I take it that applies to the Railway — the ships run by the Railway?
Mr. Smallwood Not local ships.
Mr. Job They presumably pay duty and it consequently increases the cost of operation. It is the same with our local mercantile marine. I do not know how we are going to expect to compete with other people in working up a mercantile marine when that condition exists. The Railway itself is the largest employer of mercantile marine at the present time. I suppose one of these days we will again be sending all our produce abroad in foreign ships, because they are operating more cheaply, and it is not right that these duties are charged against our own ships when they have to compete with these ships. Ninety percent of our fish was shipped, in previous years, in Norwegian ships and they gave very good service. It is a sad thing being a naval people that we cannot work up a good mercantile marine of our own and run our own ships. Things like this question of duty have something to do with it.
Mr. Smallwood It is a pleasure indeed to find myself in such complete agreement with Mr. Job. Anything charged in the repair of local vessels on the Newfoundland Dock is an imposition, a burden on local shipping. As a free trader, an anti- protectionist I would say that all our productive industries should be exempted from customs duty.... I would say sweep out the customs duty, have free trade, and do away with this protection. If our local mercantile marine has got to compete with any other merchant marine, then it is necessary to reduce the costs of operation. The same
thing applies to fish. We are competing today with Canada, Iceland, and Norway in the marketing of fish. That job is made hard for us because the fishing industry is paying customs duty. Let's wipe out those duties and lower the cost of producing fish, while we are wiping out the cost of repairs on the dock by wiping out duties altogether.
Mr. Ashbourne 1 don't see why these ships coming into Newfoundland and using our dock should not pay the duty on the stuff that goes into them. Does anybody think these ships would ever come here if they did not have to pay? Why should our own ships have to pay it, and foreign ships get a rebate of duty? 1 must say I feel very strongly about the matter, and while discussing the dockyard I would like to ask Mr. Smallwood the number of people on the payroll.... Now it may be that you have not that at hand, butI would certainly like to know how many people are on that payroll with over $1 million....
Mr. Smallwood I could give the official explanation, not meaning that I agree with it all. If Mr. Ashboume had a vessel and she needed repairs, and he decided to repair her down in Twillingate and he had to use materials for those repairs he would get no rebate of the duty on the material, and the government takes the stand that whether that is done by himself in Twillingate or done for him at the docks in St. John's, it is the same situation as far as customs duty is concerned. In other words, all the local merchant marine pays duty on certain things used in the repair and operation of their ships. Now why should any difference be made for foreign ships going on the dock? Their answer is that by charging duty on material used to repair a local vessel on the dock they are only doing what that vessel has to do if it is repaired anywhere else in the country, but in getting a ship from outside they are getting something new, and they have to be in a position to compete with other docks, and for that reason the duty is paid back. That's clear to me, not saying that I agree with it, but I can certainly see that if you going to have duty on the local you must have it off on the foreign or you will not get any foreign ships to do. It's probably a bit cheaper for a man having a local ship repaired on the dock, because it reduces the overhead, therefore making it a little cheaper for local vessels.
Mr. Job I think I sat down a little too quickly, before I had a chance to congratulate the Committee on their report, because they have taken a tremendous amount of trouble and done an enormous amount of work. The Railway is a great asset to the country, and I always think that one of the great assets on our Railway is the personnel. I don't know any place (although I have done a lot of travelling) where they make people as much at home as on our railway, and I think it is due to the courtesy of the officials from top to bottom. I have heard that same expression from people outside the country who have travelled on the railway. They seem to get a more personal touch, and it is an asset with a view to our possible future tourist policy.
Mr. Smallwood It's our natural Newfoundland courtesy, I think. We have all got it, but it only shows up when we are in contact with outsiders. When we are alone, God only knows what we will say to each other, but to outsiders we are a very charming and polite people.
Mr. Bailey I think it will be found that in all parts of the world outside ships in foreign shipyards pay no duty.... A man who goes to sea, once he is outside the three mile limit does not pay any duty, but when he is in port he pays duty. That has been something that has grown up throughout maritime history.... I took the question up with Mr. Russell, and he says it is impossible for us to compete with the docks in New York and other large docks throughout the world, so I don't think we can censure the government for doing what is an old custom.... We are not in a position, and very few countries in the world are in the position, to compete with the United States. Ships come from all parts of the world to be dry-docked in the United States. If we were in a position to have more ships come here, there would be more surplus for the docks. But we went into itextensively with Mr. Russell and apparently we are not able to compete with the large docks in the world. The only thing we get here is an emergency job or a local job.
Mr. Vardy I feel the most serious aspect of this matter is the fact that by us paying duty on our local jobs, and foreign ships getting that duty free, it prevents our local ships from competing. The whole answer is that Newfoundlanders usually treat outsiders better than their own. Early in 1940 I was in Oakland, California, with
the old Queen of the Pacific, and there was never any question of getting a rebate on any of the plating we used at the dry dock, and I don't think any Newfoundland ship could go to any dock in the world and get a rebate of duty. Usually any foreigners coming to Newfoundland get these special concessions, and I don't believe they are entitled to it. I never heard of a boat coming to Newfoundland because of the special concessions, they only come to Newfoundland because they are forced here because of weather conditions, or because they become disabled....
Mr. Reddy I would feel remiss if I let this occasion pass without deploring the awful conditions of first class travel on the Home in Placentia Bay. Time and time again she has left Placentia with 120 passengers —- sleeping on deck, and in lifeboats, and every conceivable part of the ship, food in a deplorable condition, almost beyond description. The Railway is at last going to replace the Home with a new boat, and this very good news. If the railway is in such a deplorable condition due to the war, I think, as Mr. Miller suggested, that we should ask those foreign powers which militarily used Newfoundland for some compensation to help us out in making our railway a better service to our country.
Mr. Smallwood Mr. Chairman, if there are no other cements it is getting up around the time to adjourn. This completes all we have of our report, but, as the House knows, we have asked Mr. Neill to appear before the Convention and give us further information on Gander, and it may consequently be necessary to bring in a supplementary report on Gander....
Mr. Hillier Since Mr. Reddy has raised the point of deplorable conditions on the Home, I would like to say that I agree with him. The ship's company have given their best to make the passengers comfortable as far as possible. It is a deplorable state of affairs not to have better accommodations, but I can't see how it can be avoided at the present time. I know I have felt bad to have to walk down and say, "We can't take any more, we have no room for them." It is very uncomfortalbe for women and children lying around on the seats and chairs, etc. I do really hope that it will be better, not only in that connection, but by the time we finish our work here maybe you will see a ray of sunshine which at the present time is not apparent.
Mr. Smallwood I was wondering the past few weeks what the four members from Placentia Bay were looking so happy about. I think it may be because these four gentlemen have succeeded in getting a whole lot of things for Placentia Bay. They are getting a new boat, and a new bait depot, and a new cottage hospital, so that must be why they are so happy. They have even got roads, a
couple of million dollars will be spent on them Mr. Chairman, I move that the committee rise, report progress and ask leave to sit again.
[The committee of the whole rose and reported progress. The Convention received and adapted the report of the Committee on Transportation and Communications, and adjourned until the call of the Chair]


Newfoundland. The Newfoundland National Convention, 1946-1948 Vol 1: Debates. Edited by J.K. Hiller and M.F. Harrington Montreal: Memorial University of Newfoundland by McGill-Queen's University Press, 1995).



Selection of input documents and completion of metadata: Martin Holmes.

Notes de bas de page:

  • [1] Volume II:75. [Volume II is not in The Confederation Debates Collection]
  • [1] The following section is taken from the recording of the proceedings.
  • [2] The section taken from the recording ends here.
  • [1] The following section IS taken from the recording of the proceedings.
  • The section taken from the recording ends here.

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