Newfoundland National Convention, 7 November 1947, Debates on Confederation with Canada


November 7, 1947

Mr. Chairman Before calling on Major Cashin, with the indulgence of the House, I would like to direct the attention of members to the fact that my attention has been drawn to the second matter on the order paper, which isn't quite correct, and therefore, by and with your indulgence, I would ask the consent of the House that item two be amended so that it will read:
To move that the communication from the Government of Canada be received, and that the Convention resolve itself into a committee of the whole on tomorrow to consider the said communication.
....If you have no objection to that I will put the question.
Mr. Higgins Is it intended to be two separate motions or what?
Mr Chairman It could be two separate motions, but by that change it is immaterial.... One is just that you do now receive, and the other is that on tomorrow the motion will be made to resolve the Convention into a committee of the whole.
Mr. Higgins I suggest that it might be better to have two separate motions in the matter, rather than have this in the double-barrelled form that it is now.
Mr. Bradley I don't see that there could be any particular objection to that change, although I 672 NATIONAL CONVENTION November 1947 don't see the advantage of it.
Mr. Chairman Frankly I am at a loss myself to see why it needs two motions to accomplish what may be embodied into one item.
Mr. Higgins Well, the moving into the committee of the whole, Mr. Chairman, follows on the receiving of this report, does it not?
Mr. Chairman Oh yes, quite.
Mr. Higgins This does both together?
Mr. Chairman Oh no, no. It says that it is a motion that the report be received, but that on the following day a motion will be made. It presupposes two acts, one the motion to resolve the House into committee is subsequent in point of time by 24 hours to the motion to receive the communication.
Mr. Higgins Does that not automatically mean that we go into committee of the whole?
Mr. Chairman No.
Mr. Bradley I can probably clear the matter up. A motion to receive, of course, is one which we must pass, if for no other reason than as a matter of courtesy, not only to a friendly nation, but a member of our own Commonwealth. The motion to refer to a committee tomorrow merely puts it on the order paper for tomorrow. But I want it to be clearly understood by any member of this Convention who does not so understand it, that it is not my intention to continue or to begin any debate upon these terms which have come down from Canada until we have finished the debate on the report which we are now considering, and in the ordinary course of parliamentary procedure on each day I shall move in the proper time that the order for referring this matter to a committee of the whole house be deferred from day to day. I shall do that until this Economic Report has been completed.
Mr. Chairman That should be clear and satisfactory.
Mr. Higgins I have no objection to the report being received at the present time. That was not my intention.
Mr. Chairman I understand that. Are you satisfied now?
Mr. Higgins Provided it is understood that it is merely to receive this report.
Mr. Chairman I will put your minds at rest by assuring you that it is my intention to rule to that effect now....

Report of the Finance Committee: Economic Report[1] Committee of the Whole

Mr. Harrington In speaking to the Economic Report, I will say at the outset that I am by nature somewhat of a pessimist.... However, I have never descended to such depths of despair as certain delegates of this Convention have in recent days, notably the delegates from Bonavista. I'm sure too that there are a great many people in their districts who have much more hope for tomorrow than their representatives here would tend to suggest.
But enough of that. At last we have before us the report on the economic position of Newfoundland. It is a good report, completed in a comparatively short time — two weeks — and it is also a satisfying report, in the conclusions that it draws and the evidence that it supplies to support these conclusions. As was to be expected, the Jeremiahs and the Doubting Thomases have been having their say, searching its pages to find loopholes through which to shoot the arrows of their pessimism and scorn, which tend to discredit the reasonably favourable forecast which the compilers of the report have made.
I say "reasonably favourable", for that's what it is. I think too it is a realistic canvas they have painted, I don't think it is over-optimistic. I don't think it deserves such sweeping denunciations as came from one delegate, who went to the extreme point of stating the report was not worth the paper it was printed on. Iexpect by now, however, most of the country realises that the delegate from Bonavista Centre is merely keeping in character.
Mr. Smallwood Point of order. I would like Mr. Harrington to explain exactly what he means by that, or withdraw the remark.
Mr. Harrington I mean that you have, since this Convention started, been making what you referred to the other day as a "poor mouth", and you never failed in making a "poor mouth", and you did not fail to do it on Tuesday. Does that satisfy you?
Mr. Smallwood No.
Mr. Harrington Well, it will have to do so for now.
Mr. Chairman No, I don't think it will do. Personalities are not going to be permitted. it is not right and proper for one person to engage in debate by indulging in discriminations, and members will please refrain hereafter.
Mr. Harrington There were a few remarks made by the member from Bonavista Centre which were very interesting. He said that past governments had to borrow year after year to pay, amongst other things, the operating losses of the Railway. Later on he declared, again I think with reference to the Railway, that it has cost the people millions in taxes, and then, almost in the next breath observed that the government never did take in enough money in taxes to pay their bills — the government's bills. Mr. Chairman, perhaps unwittingly, that delegate struck at the very root of Newfoundland's trouble in the past. Governments are run, are financed from the taxes that are collected from the people. If these taxes are inadequate, the government must borrow. That is what happened in Newfoundland. People do not like to pay taxes in any country. It is said that Newfoundlanders are traditionally opposed to taxation, even in St. John's — which has had local government for nearly 60 years. But especially outside St. John's, in the thousands of communities where nearly every man is independent, owns his own house, his own boat, his own bit of ground, and where, until recent times, there was and still is no local government, and where taxes of any kind, that is direct taxes, are almost unknown.
Hence, these past governments, whose finance ministers were mentioned by the delegate from Bonavista Centre — the last thing they dared think of was increased taxation. He knows as well as I do that the manifestos of each party that strived for election always promised reduced taxation. That was the vote-getter in Newfoundland; it still gets a few votes in other countries too. Cut down the taxes. But they couldn't cut them all down. So they had to get as much as they could in a way that the people wouldn't feel too much. And that is one of the main reasons why we have a customs tariff that people say is too high. Local industries may have caused some of it by excessive protection, but no one will deny that the attempt by former governments to extract taxes the painless way, the indirect way, had more to do with it than people admit.
But there was a limit to what revenue could be raised from the customs. And so there were deficits and the government had to borrow. And this happened time and again. And apart from the few instances of local government now in existence, the same antipathy to taxation of a direct kind exists. I don't think I'm a bit off the subject when I Speak in this strain. For we cannot keep our heads in the sand forever. In this world the people only get what they pay for, and that applies to governments, and the things that governments nowadays are expected to provide — social services, social security and so on.
Governments will give the people what they demand; but they will charge them extra for each extra benefit. In this respect, and while taxation is the topic, I want to refer to the breakdown of the Economic Report's statement of revenue — that $30 million. We see that the customs returns almost double the income tax figures — and that is a far cry from the budget of 1923, when customs returns were about 15 times as much. So we can see the burden is being shifted, and I hope there will be a gradual decrease in the indirect figures and a gradual increase in the direct tax figures.
But there again, how far can we go? That point interested me so much that when we had a meeting with Commissioner for Finance Wild, I asked him a plain question on it. I asked Mr. Wild, in view of the gradual shifting of the tax burden from indirect to direct, if it was his opinion that the great part of our revenue would or could soon be raised from direct taxation. His reply was a decided "No." And every man here knows why, even if Mr. Wild hadn't outlined why. Direct taxation can be successfully collected from people with fixed incomes, week by week, month by month. A large proportion of our people do not have such incomes. The fishermen are capitalists on a small scale. They are independent, individualistic. It is hard to assess their earnings. They know very little of direct taxation.
Newfoundland is synonymous with fish. That shouldn't offend us. But knowing that it is, we should be curious to note that of the $90 million which the Committee estimates for our total earning power, only one-third is expected to accrue from the fishery. And that notwithstanding the fact that there are almost twice as many people 674 NATIONAL CONVENTION November 1947 engaged in the fishing as in the pulp and paper industry, which page 32 gives as 25,000 people with earning power of $50 million. There is something wrong there; not in the report, but in the circumstances which have produced these figures. The answer is, I suppose, in the fact that the countries buying our newsprint are wealthy countries, and those buying our fish are poor and from all accounts will get poorer. The answer is obvious. We must get fish markets in rich countries, and that can only mean the United States, by some kind of reciprocity, a trade agreement which the Committee stresses and to which I will return later.
In connection with the use of the estimated surplus for succeeding years, I find myself in agreement with the delegate from Bonavista Centre on one point only, namely the matter of old age pensions. I don't think we should fall into that state of thinking which suggests we must have surpluses before we can increase the old age pensions and lower the age qualification, and the widows and orphans allowances too. We must write that into our budgets as something we must finance....
Like other speakers, I cannot subscribe to the theory that our continually increasing revenues are due to the war. Anyone who heard Mr. Hollett's capable discussion on that point will agree. And for that matter, even if they were partly caused by that fact, isn't it oppositely true that our expenditures are also high for the same reason, and that a decrease in one will mean a decrease in the other?
I don't think either that this report tries to claim that all is right with the world. But it does show, as well as it can be shown, that things look pretty good for Newfoundland. I grant you that there are genuine cases of hardship in the country. There are lots of men unemployed in St. John's today, besides fishermen in our bays who may not have made a good season. But am I to say Newfoundland is not financially sound and has good prospects because of these facts? It is the job of government to provide avenues of employment for its people, and if there are more hands in St. John's than work to go around, or if the Labrador fishery is failing, then it is up to the government to give the necessary leadership for people affected by these conditions to turn to other sources of industry, or other areas.
Perhaps in connection with the development of the fisheries, some thought might again be given to a scheme successfully tried in Trinity Bay in the 1890s, the Dildo fish hatchery. Who knows but that something along these lines on the Labrador coast might inject new life in the Labrador fishery.
I am no financier, and can offer very little comment on such complicated matters as the servicing of the public debt and sinking funds and so on. But even a blind man can see the wisdom of saving a million dollars, which appears can be easily done by the conversion of the interest-free loan from 3% to 2%. If that is so, and I can take the Committee's word for it, with the evidence given, then it is criminal if advantage is not taken of such a move.
I should like now to refer to the conclusions of the Committee. They state that Newfoundland is a self-supporting country, based on sound economic factors; and that all the evidence available to us indicates that this position of self-support will continue in the foreseeable future. In my opinion the Committee's second conclusion is of far more importance than their first. As the Committee hinted in the winding-up section of the Economic Report, this was a foregone conclusion. Here is their evidence:
(a) The statement of the Secretary of State in the House of Commons, 1945.
(b) The statement of Commissioner Wild to this Convention, 1946.
(c) The statement of Lord Addison to the London delegation, May 1947.
(d) The conclusions of the Finance Committee based on reports of this Convention.
To discuss this first conclusion of the report is merely to labour the obvious. I think it safe to say that the majority of delegates when they came to this Convention had a closed mind on this subject. They believed, I know I did, that the country was then self-supporting, and I feel sure that a great many of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador believed it also. However, while I did not exactly have doubts, I did have a lack of understanding as to just how far this condition of self-support was due to wartime conditions. I confess I was eager for enlightenment on this score, so that even the financial bugbear might be removed from the minds of our people and enable them to make up their minds on the wisdom and November 1947 NATIONAL CONVENTION 675 desirability of resuming control of their own country and its affairs. And while on the few occasions when I spoke my piece I made it quite clear as to what I stood for, self-government for Newfoundlanders, I did so with a mental reservation that my stand in the final hours of this unique assembly would be governed by and was dependent on the final and unquestionable conclusions of the Economic Report.
Which brings me to the second conclusion, "that all the evidence available to us indicates that this position of self-support will continue in the foreseeable future". They have defined the "foreseeable future" as a three-year period, from now to 1950, and have thus gone far beyond the ordinary requirements of any finance minister in the presentation of a budget. But that is as it should be, for our task is somewhat different, and it is as much to instill courage and hope in the many faint hearts in our midst, as to prove to the country and the world in dollars and cents that Newfoundland can afford democracy.
It is this insistence in our terms of reference on the question of self-support that has pilloried us in the eyes of the world as a nation of paupers casting about on all sides for the inevitable handout. The figures listed on page 3 of this report should certainly give the lie to that assertion made so continuously by outsiders as well as the Cassandras in our midst. A people with $80 million in savings, and $100 million worth of life insurance protection, can hardly be considered paupers. And I don't believe for a moment that the merchants own all those savings and life insurance policies.
The Committee's opinion that the mercantile marine branch of the Railway should be separated from the Railway system generally, seems to be a sound one. I am not enough of an authority on shipping to go into this point at length, and will expect to hear more on it from someone like Captain Bailey. I have always felt that Newfoundland should have a mercantile marine. She did have one of the finest, and at one time, I believe, one of the largest for a country of her size and population in the world. There wasn't a port in the civilised world where the White sails and the house flags of Newfoundland vessels did not flash against the blue, year-in and year-out. It could be done again.
The section on Gander airport calls for com ment. I agree with the Committee's observation that, "It is the foreign airlines that profit through the operation of Gander airport, and it is these same airlines which should be made responsible for any deficits that may accrue in operation." Please let no one stand up and rave about the fact that so many Newfoundlanders are getting work at Gander. We are all aware of that. It is a good thing. But the airport cannot run itself. And it costs a lot less for the foreign airlines to run it with Newfoundland help than by importing their own, which would never be allowed anyway. Incidentally, while speaking of Gander, I should like to refer to a statement I made 12 months ago — I can hardly believe it — when the Gander airport section of Transportation Committee's report was being debated. In stressing the point now made again by the Economic Committee, the use of Gander at the expense of Newfoundland, I said in the heat of debate that Gander should have been closed down, if that was the best deal die government could make. That was not to be taken literally, but the intention was to convey my belief that a far better deal could have been made out of which Newfoundlanders would still have received employment, and that in addition, the country would not have to stand the expense of running the airport for the convenience of foreign airlines. The threat of closing down this vast airport would have brought the airlines to our way of thinking soon enough. The implication is, therefore, that no attempt was made to strike a better bargain and the conclusion reached by me is the same as that of the Economic Committee, that the airport was used by the British government for the furtherance of ends in the international field.
The revenues of the country are now approaching the staggering sum of nearly $40 million. Yet for purposes of planning the shape of the foreseeable future, the Economic Committee has chopped that figure ruthlessly down to $30 million. They have estimated that the expenditures can be kept within $25 million, which is $2 million above the figure that Finance Commissioner Wild, who should know, gave this Convention as the irreducible minimum — that is, the figure below which expenditures cannot drop in order to keep up the services now in existence. The Committee estimates an annual surplus of $5 million, out of which various reconstruction and 676 NATIONAL CONVENTION November 1947 other projects can be financed.
The Newfoundland of the foreseeable future is far different from the Newfoundland of recent memory, such as in the years before the sad accident of war changed us from a relatively obscure island to a country of immense strategic importance to three friendly nations, and possibly to a fourth unfriendly one. As the Committee states, the war is over two years and our revenues continue to rise. Some of this may be due to the momentum of war expenditures, but allowing for a gradual recession, it is safe to conclude that it will be some time before the revenue sinks as low as the $30 million provided in the Committee's estimates. Military and air bases are held by the richest and most powerful nation in the modern world, the USA; great airports in Newfoundland and Labrador are under our sovereignty; in Labrador, there is revealed mineral wealth for which the world is clamouring, so that the imagination is staggered by the fabulous prospect of industrial development that is in the offing for our northern dependency.
This then is the Newfoundland that faces the future, be it foreseeable or veiled. I have made no mention of surpluses, or low per capita debts. Neither haveI made any mention of the splendid type of men and women who go to make up this country of Newfoundlanders, or of the forbears from whom they sprang. In 1855 this country was a wilderness, and when those same forbears took over the running of this primitive land, I don't believe for a moment they bit off more than they could chew. In fact, I think it was a great pity that circumstances prevented them from taking a bigger bite, a bite which is in the capacity of their descendants to take, the bite that includes the passing of the Statute of Westminster, by which Newfoundland could for the first time in its history be really independent.
I make this point to underscore the observations made by the Committee on page 27 which refer to the "importance of steps being taken as soon as possible to negotiate with the authorities of the USA, with a view to bringing about a trade agreement which would solve for all time our whole fishery situation". That is the best argument I know for the attainment of the three square meals a day that some delegates have been prone to harp on, no doubt with the sincerest of motives. We had a chance to make such a trade agreement many years ago. It was blocked by outsiders, only because Newfoundland was not completely independent, as she would be today if she could pass the Statute of Westminister. That is what the Economic Committee means when it says, "We are of the definite view that if proper representations were now made, by a properly constituted Government of Newfoundland, that the American government as well as the American people whom we consider fair and just, would certainly seriously consider giving Newfoundland some favourable tariff concessions for our fishery products"....
I cannot close without referring to the final phrases of the report, in which they emphasise the need for faith in ourselves and in our country. Without this faith, this confidence in our ability to work and produce and strive for ourselves and our children, it will go hard with us under any form of government, but hardest of all under a form where the state becomes more and more supreme, and the citizen is left to suffer at its hands any and all the petty tyrannies and vicissitudes that popular representation, no matter how inadequate, can always endeavour to thwart and to correct.
Mr. Reddy Mr. Chairman, I wish to add my word of praise and thanks to the gentlemen who prepared this excellent Economic Report... Briefly, they tell me that at present we owe for loans approximately $60 million. Against this we have our savings, a total of $74 million. Insurance companies owe our policy holders $22 million, in addition to this there are another $3-4 million that people have in their homes, in the sock so to speak, so that our total cash is about $100 million, and then of course we have our other assets.... A businessman who could present such a comparative showing would be considered very well off indeed.
We are asked to try and determine to what extent the war has caused our prosperity. We know that wars bring on scarcity and high prices, and we have been affected like all countries, but it would take an economist of the highest order to go further than this. One expert will say that wars bring prosperity, and another expert will say that prosperity brings on wars, so which is the cause, and which is the effect?
In the early 1930s we had a severe depression, and I know that the depression was worldwide. November 1947 NATIONAL CONVENTION 677 In the USA conditions were very bad. In Canada soup kitchens and bread lines (I know personally) were a very common sight, so that we fared about the same as other countries — and our depression was brought about by economics rather than politics.
The member from Bonavista Centre said a few days ago that if Grand Falls did not start when it did; if the first world war did not happen, and if Buchans and Comer Brook did not start, we would be in a more or less chronic depression. This, by use of the word "if", attempts to demolish all the prosperity that we may have enjoyed in the last 40 years.... No complete solution has been yet found to the problem of ups and downs in business, and a man can be just as hungry in other countries as in Newfoundland. A few people think that our economic security can be found by us ceasing to be Newfoundlanders, but I am told that only once in all time was there a place designed to satisfy man's need. That was the Garden of Eden — and we all know what happened to the Garden of Eden.
In reviewing our economic situation, there are a few fundamentals that I think we should never forget. First, I believe there is no Santa Claus; second, I believe that since the Garden of Eden, man has had to earn his bread by the sweat of his brow; third, I believe you get nothing for nothing, not even baby bonuses....
Mr. Smallwood Sir, I rise to a point of order. This sounds to me perilously like an attack on confederation, which has not come up for debate yet. If we are going to debate it I am prepared, but let's debate it, baby bonuses and all the rest.
Mr. Chairman I can't see the possible connection between baby bonuses and the debate here.
Mr. Hollett I rise to a point of order. I object very strongly to interrupting a speaker when he is speaking. I do think baby bonuses have a lot to do with the economics of the householder, and therefore of the country. If anyone wants to refer to baby bonuses during his discussion I see no reason why any member should be refused. It certainly is an economic question.
Mr. Chairman He has no right to read into that report anything that is not there. He is discussing this report before the Chair, and I ask him to confine his remarks to that, and none of us can go wrong.
Mr. Reddy Fourth, I believe we have to work out our own salvation.
Some gentlemen say that the solution to our problems is in politics. I think our problems are economic, not political; and our economic future depends on our producing more, and finding markets for what we produce. Last year Canada sold us $37 million worth of goods, but bought very little from us. If a businessman were faced with a similar situation he would arrange to change this. He would seek another source for his purchases, and would patronise the man or firm who bought from him. And if some of the gentlemen in this House were as truly sincere to try and improve the economic state of Newfoundland as they say they are, they might during the past six or seven months have directed some of their speeches to this angle of our problems rather than offering their own pet political theories as a solution. That is fundamentally a matter of buying and selling.
The USA is the greatest outlet actually and potentially for our products. Last year I believe she bought $19 million worth of our goods. She is the market for our cod fillets, lobster, salmon, herring, seal skins, cod oil, newsprint, berries, and anything we mind to produce. Is it foolish for me to think or say that our economic welfare lies in the direction of reducing our buying from Canada, who buys practically nothing from us, and spending these dollars in the USA, who will take more from us as we buy more from them? As I said before, it is our economic relations that have to be improved, and with the USA, and by that I don't mean political relations. We are all right as we are, and to me at least, what we want is a closer economic union with the USA, and not a political union with any other country.... What we want is a trade agreement with the USA, which a real patriot, Sir Robert Bond, almost negotiated years ago — only to be blocked and defeated because Canadian business interest suffered. Another truly great Newfoundlander who is in this house today, Hon. R. B. Job, has raised his voice along similar lines only to be drowned out by those who have the answers to all our problems in their own pet political theories.
As I see it, we work or starve. Manna ceased to fall from Heaven thousands of years ago. One gentleman said we have a chronic need of being subsidised, but I don't want or need to be subsidised, and I think the people resent the insinua 678 NATIONAL CONVENTION November 1947 tion that they are paupers. I know that any country with rich soil is a rich country, and our soil is not rich, and it is a handicap. But to compensate, we have the rich seas at our doors, and there we have to look for our needs. As I see it, we have to produce more fish. We think we are a fish country, but for each pound per capita we produce, Iceland produces 30 pounds, so we are not doing nearly as much as we should. Except for the Bank fishery, our shore and Labrador fisheries are carried on about four months in 12, and people just cannot live for 12 months on what they produce in four. Fishing time has to be lengthened. Fishermen have to be equipped so that winter fishing can be carried on, the way it is down now in the Burgeo district. This has to pioneered by great Newfoundlanders like Mr. Job, Mr. Crosbie and Mr. Monroe, the latter gentleman who is already with his fleet of draggers operating all year round on the south coast, and revolutionising the fishery there, making a large area of the Burin Peninsula prosperous. I suggest that in Placentia Bay alone,' the long reach running from Flat Islands almost the whole way down to Sound Island can be fished in the winter by 500 boats of about 15 tons, like those which are used in the winter fishery on the western shore.
It may sound strange to some, but to my mind, in order to make a proper beginning towards making our people more industry conscious, we have to begin in the schools. We need a course in economies with particular regard to Newfoundland, to be taught in every school and in every grade. The course can tell the story and point out the causes of our past reverses It can suggest the remedies, or at least indicate the course along which the solution lies. Scholarships can be set up to encourage the study of this subject, and everything should be done to make our children economics conscious. Our schools should have boys' and girls' brigades, such as Boy Scouts and Girl Guides — even if the government contributed something toward the cost of the little uniforms for the children. I think navigation should be compulsory in all CHE exams, and that an increase in the educational grant to carry this into effect should be made, because it will be an investment that will pay better dividends to Newfoundland than all the rosy pictures that come from the pipedreams of the would-be senators to Ottawa.
Mr. Smallwood Mr. Chairman, a point of order. If this House wants a debate on confederation I am prepared at the drop ofa flag at any moment....
Mr. Chairman I am not prepared. Please take your seats. I will remind members ... that Rule 30 provides "that no member may use offensive and unbecoming words in reference to any member of this Convention." I want to make it clear that any words of this nature will be ruled out of order.
Mr. Reddy Thank you Mr. Chairman, I am not referring to any member.... I believe the Commission of Government started a good thing with the town councils; the only thing wrong with them is that they are far too few. We need more and more of them, because from them will come the men and women legislators of tomorrow.... Yes, more education is essential, and from it will come a consciousness and understanding for the need of great individual effort, and I believe that we are capable and worthy of such a programme, and if we carry out this programme we will be able to deal with our economic problems, so that we will make Newfoundland not only better known to Newfoundlanders but better known the world over. No doubt these thoughts do not appeal to our local Pied Piper who day-in and day-out plays his luring tune. But we are not hypnotized, and will not be lured into the waters of the Cabot Strait because we are not mice, but men.
In viewing the report I think our economic condition is both actually and comparatively very fair, and I fully approve and endorse it. The old saying says, "God helps those who help themselves", and may God help those foolish enough to think that, if we don't help ourselves, Canada or any other country will do it for us.
Mr. Smallwood Mr. Chairman, I rise to a point of order. If you, sir, are willing to be defied in your ruling by Mr. Reddy, I am afraid you will have to be defied by me. If any other member defies you I have the same right.
Mr. Chairman I don't intend to be defied. Mr. Reddy has been brought to order twice, and he persists in going out of order with his parting shot. Political discnminations will not be indulged in at this time, or as long as I am in the Chair....
Mr. Hollett ....I would like to refer to the point of order which was just raised. The member for Burin East referred to Canada. He might just as November 1947 NATIONAL CONVENTION 679 well have referred to New Zealand, or Australia, or Great Britain, or any other place. Is it verboten to speak the name of Canada?
Mr. Chairman Provided he is talking on the Economic Report.
Mr. Hollett Surely he was talking on the Economic Report, Mr. Chairman, in his concluding remarks.
Mr. Chairman That is not an inference I prefer to draw.
Mr. Hollett Well, what I want to know is this: are we not to be allowed to mention the name of Canada?
Mr. Chairman Yes, you may mention any country you like provided there is a necessary connection between the country referred to and the economy of this country.
Mr. Hollett May I ask what was the point of order raised by the member from Bonavista Centre?
Mr. Chairman The point of order, as I understood it, was that the member from Burin East simply referred to Canada, and no more. There was no connection whatever between Canada and the economy of Newfoundland. If he had done that I would have promptly overruled the objection....
Mr. Starkes Mr. Chairman I would like to have your ruling on the action of the junior member of Grand Falls district, Mr. Hollett. When he was addressing this House on the Economic Report, he addressed himself on two or more occasions to the ladies and gentlemen, to the gallery. Would this procedure be correct, or should he address himself to the Chair? In other words, was he out of order?
Mr. Chairman It is rather late in the day... I don't think at this stage I should be asked to make a ruling on it.
Mr. Cashin I don't think that any member would have any objection to Mr. Starkes addressing himself to the ladies in the house!
Mr. Chairman Gentlemen will confine themselves to addressing their remarks to me.
Mr. Hollett I rise to a point of order. Who has the floor?
Mr. Chairman Mr. Starkes.
Mr. Hollett I must request Mr. Starkes to take his seat. I must sometime or other have addressed myself to the ladies and gentlemen of this House. Is he not aware that there are ladies in this House? If he would look here at the stenographer's desk he would see one for sure. But if I did make that error I do apologise to the Chair, sir.
Mr. Chairman I think we might dispose of a lot of this, gentlemen. However hard I may be to look at, I am afraid that's the price you have got to pay for my being here, so you will kindly address your remarks to me.
Mr. Starkes ....Mr. Chairman, I wonder how some of our large mercantile firms on Water Street look at the report. I ask members in their own minds to pick out one of the largest firms on Water Street today. Before the war that firm was selling so many goods and making so much profit. Suddenly the war comes along and that firm's sales start to jump, and they keep on increasing. That firm sells more goods and therefore becomes more prosperous. They pay their clerks and other employees more wages; they do twice as much business as they did before the war, and are therefore two or three times as prosperous. Now if you went to the principals of that firm and asked them one simple question — what has caused this great prosperity that they are now enjoying? — would those principals say that it had nothing to do with the war? Would they say that it all came about from the normal growth of the business? If you go to any of our large fish firms, or to either of our paper mills or mining companies and ask them the same question, what would their answer be? Would any of them say that their present prosperity is not due to the war? Of course they wouldn't. Ask the people who have extra money in the bank, or the people who have taken out extra life insurance in the past few years, won't they tell you right away that they thank the war for it? The commonest saying you hear in Newfoundland when people mention the prosperity we have had, is that the man to thank for it all is Hitler. But when we turn to this Economic Report what do we find? Do we find this report admitting frankly and honestly the present improved conditions of the country are due to the war? No, it does not.
If you turn to page 43, in the second paragraph you will find: "It is yet an obvious fact that our present revenues cannot be something dependent on war boom."
Mr. Cashin Read the whole paragraph, Mr. Starkes.
Mr. Starkes
"There must be some other cause 680 NATIONAL CONVENTION November 1947 — and on examining the matter further we found that a great portion of our present revenue is coming to us because of the growth of our main industries. Now, these industries are wholly peace industries and are not dependent for their prosperity on war conditions. It is clear therefore that we can properly regard our present revenues as being anything but a result of war boom."
Mr. Hollett I insist that he did not state the paragraph at the first:
"Now, making every allowance for the momentum of war expenditures carrying on after the close of hostilities and allowing for the gradual recession of this boom period, it is yet an obvious fact that our present revenues cannot be something dependent on war boom."
Mr. Chairman I have no wish to impede the progress of the House, but if you are going to draw any inference, is it too much to ask that you should quote correctly and in extenso the paragraph to which you ultimately intend to infer? Never mind paraphrasing, because any clause may be capable of several interpretations.
Mr. Starkes On page 43 of the Economic Report it reads thus:
"In this connection we have the following observations to make. in the first place the war has now been over for two years and we find our revenues even greater than our highest war time revenues. Now, making every allowance for the momentum of war expenditures carrying on after the close of hostilities, and allowing for the gradual recession of this boom period, it is yet an obvious fact that our present revenues cannot be something dependent on war boom. There must be some other cause, and on examining the matter further we found that a great portion of our present revenue is coming to us because of the growth of our main industries. Now, these industries are wholly peace industries and are not dependent for their prosperity on war conditions. It is clear therefore that we can properly regard our present revenues as being anything but a result of war boom."
Mr. Chairman Now Mr. Starkes, you are perfectly at liberty to draw any conclusions you may wish.
Mr. Starkes The Committee apparently looks around for some other cause, and what is this cause that they give? A normal growth of our industries, they tell us, and I suppose they expect us to believe that Newfoundland would be in the same position as it is now if there had not been any war at all. I for one do not believe that...
Mr. Cashin I rise to a point of order.
Mr. Chairman State your point of order.
Mr. Cashin My point is that Mr. Starkes is trying to convey that at the present time the business that's going on in the country is due to war boom, and I want to prove that it is not.
Mr. Smallwood A point of order. The gentleman has no point of order, he is only trying to get in the debate. Wait until Mr. Starkes finishes.
Mr. Cashin I will sit down when the Chairman tells me to do so, and not you. You cut it out.
Mr. Chairman However members may differ in opinion from any conclusions drawn by Mr. Starkes, I must remind them now that there is no midway between yes and no. Therefore in reserving to Mr. Starkes the right to draw his conclusions, however erroneous, or ridiculous or foolish in the judgement of any of the members they may be, members will please remember that I am reserving to them the same right. I cannot have that right breached at this time, or at any time. Will you please go ahead, Mr. Starkes.
Mr. Starkes I for one do not believe that, and the people of this country do not believe it, for they know different. We might as well face the truth that Newfoundland was in a very poor state up to the day the war broke out. Tens of thousands of our people were on the dole all the years from 1930 to 1940. Then the war came and prosperity with it. Now the war is gradually passing away and in another two or three years it might be that its biggest effects will come to an end. Will the government be raking in the millions of revenue that it is taking in today? Where will the government get the $30 million a year that this report says it will get?.... Why should we be so anxious to bluff ourselves, to build up a house of cards that would collapse at the very first icy blast of depression? For some of our people this first icy breath of depression has already come.
Mr. Chairman, I am sure no member will disagree when I say that our present prosperity has been brought about by war. Therefore, according to our terms of reference, we should be November 1947 NATIONAL CONVENTION 681 very careful and govern ourselves accordingly. Let us look at the revenue.... I would like to ask every member, in their opinion do they think this extremely high revenue was brought about by the hundreds of millions of dollars flowing into this country during the war period from America, Canada and the United Kingdom, or was it brought about by new industries started during the same period? If it was brought about by the influx of foreign money into the country on account of war, I think I feel justified in estimating our revenue under normal conditions, that would be 1939-40, 1938-39 and farther back. The highest revenue then was $12.5 million At the present time we are receiving a revenue of around $10 million coming into the Assessor's Department. I can well remember the time when the earning power of this country under normal conditions would not bring in near this figure. In this report, on page 33, this Committee estimates the revenue as $9 million per year from the Assessor's Department for the next three years. In my opinion it might average half that amount, and I say this because the people who are the producers, the fishermen and the loggers, with others, find their earning power reduced, and in lots of cases to a minimum I can't agree with this estimated revenue for the next three years. There was a time during the war when fishermen, with their representatives, could sit around a table with the fish exporters, talk over and mutually agree on a reasonable price of fish to be paid to the fishermen, before the fishermen would think of catching a quintal from the water. That privilege we enjoyed during the war years. In my opinion it has lately disappeared.... I am also given to understand that there are considerable quantities of fish to which nobody can give a correct estimate of value. There are quantities of fish sent in here to be stored pending prospects of selling it sometime and at a price which nobody knows.... It not only applies to codfish. Last year lobster sold for as high as $58, and in some cases $60 per case What do we find this year? Why, it is being retailed right here in St. John's for less than 60 cents per pound tin, while last year it was retailed for as high as $1.20 per tin. In other words the value is less than half.
I wonder, can the chairman tell this House the amount of war savings certificates cashed in during the past six months, the amount of money drawn from savings in the banks during the past six months? These are not mere estimates, they are the facts, and let us be like men and face the situation. This position, I am sure, can be better judged by the fishermen who are at a loss to know what their fish is going to realise, as well as by the merchant who supplies them, and who is taking in the fish as payment against their account.
The paper industry and the forest products. The Committee has taken into account the assurance of increased value. I am at a loss to see how this can be done when we all feel sure that there is very little hope. It is true that at the present time a large programme of expansion involving the expenditure of $10 million or more is being pushed forward at Corner Brook, but we want to remember the conditions and world affairs at the present time, and that almost anything can happen overnight. Look at the lumber situation today. Six months ago one could sell rough lumber for as high as $60, and in some cases $70 per thousand What is it today? Go along Water Street, and they will tell you today's price, and in some cases you can't even get a buyer at any price.... We notice that the company at Grand Falls had under serious consideration the further expansion of their industry in the Exploits River valley. However, this expansion has been postponed. The fact that at least some evidence of doubt exists in the minds of the AND Co. should make us think. Last year there was a shortage of wood. What caused that shortage to some extent was the scarcity of men. The scarcity of men for the woods was due to the fish last year being a fair price, but this year there is a different side to the picture, and I understand that practically all the camps are filled. But very soon quite a few of the camps will have their quota of wood for the season, and the men will be returning to their homes with very little work to do. In view of the fact that last year we paid out over $1 million in relief, this year I am afraid there will be considerably more needed to supply the demand.
If the producers, the fishermen and the loggers, cannot get reasonable returns for their work, how can we expect this country to prosper? We must admit that we have to export to live, and to export we must produce, and if our men cannot produce at a reasonable profit I cannot see for the 682 NATIONAL CONVENTION November 1947 life of me how the people in this country, who are not actual producers, can expect anywhere near the returns which were coming in during the prosperous years of war.
I think it was the member for Grand Falls, Mr. Hollett, who made the remark that one person on relief received $11 per month in St. John's, and two persons received $20.80 per month. I am repeating this to remind this House and the country at large what is being paid as relief in St. John's, so that they in turn who have to seek relief, through no cause of their own, in the outports, will have an idea of what to expect themselves. I wonder, did the Committee get a scale of relief that is to be paid out this winter?
Mr. Cashin No.
Mr. Starkes How many good, hard-working Newfoundlanders are on the dole already? Let us not blind ourselves to the fact that thousands of our people already feel the pinch of hard times. How many more will have to go on the dole this winter and next spring? It is all very well to build up a bright optimistic picture, but what the people want is a truthful picture. The people are not going to thank us for trying to pretend that everything is all right without a shadow on the road ahead. There are some things in Newfoundland today which give us cause for satisfaction, and there are things which give us cause for worry. Let us see the whole truth. If we play politics and refuse to face the truth about our country, the people themselves will know what to do when they come to vote in the referendum. I have listened to a very rosy picture that has been painted of our economic future, which appears to have very little in the way of a solid foundation. I would remind you that the house that was built on sand disappeared when the storm came.
Mr. Hollett Mr. Chairman, in connection with the statement made by the last speaker, there are one or two figures I would like to quote. The last speaker was trying to insinuate that the economy is a wartime economy. I refer you to the figures in the Finance Report with regard to the exports of iron ore, and the value thereof. I quote you the figures:*
....Here we have two after the war years where the value of iron ore has doubled practically. Is that a wartime boom? 1 refer you to the figures in reference to the export of concentrates from Buchans:**
I refer you to the figures with regard to the November 1947 NATIONAL CONVENTION 683 exports of newsprint:*
Is that a wartime boom? I think not. Now I refer you to the fisheries. Salt cod, the much despised salt cod — I grant you that any man who has to live by catching and selling salt cod is bound to have a rough time going through this life. We are Newfoundlanders, and most of us got raised on salt cod but I do realise, especially after hearing Mr. Vincent' remarks yesterday, that the people of the northeast coast at this particular time are going through a good bit of hardship, a strenuous time — not because they could not catch the fish. If they had gotten it they would have got good money. The fish did not come in. If there is no fish there, or it does not come in, and there is no ore there, and no newsprint there we will have to leave the country.**
Now how any man can get to his feet and try to prove to you that the economy upon which the Finance Committee based their report is a wartime boom, I fail to see how he arrived at that conclusion. These are facts, and I want to draw them to the attention of this House. I am not talking to the people outside.
Mr. Smallwood Mr. Chairman, these facts that Mr. Hollett has stated are indeed facts. The explanation of them is the war — that and nothing else. The position is this: base metals, all primary products, including wheat and all cereals, fish and all materials entering into industry, and par ticularly into building and construction, have shot Skyward in price and in demand. During the war no constmction went on - all construction stopped, I mean all dwelling houses and commercial structures stopped. In Britain and Europe it was true indeed very spectacularly... In addition to that price ceilings kept all prices down throughout North America — except Newfoundland, here we are the suckers, and prices mount sky high here As Mr. Keough said, the cost of living enquiry was $30 million and two years too late. But on the North American continent they put ceilings on, in addition to which there were tremendous shortages of everything, and all their activity went into war production. The result was that millions of people saved up money out of their wages that they could not spend — nothing to spend it on, shortages of everything. Even here in Newfoundland we felt something of the shortages, but nothing like on the continent. The result was that many billions of dollars were accumulated in the pockets of the people. And now there is a great backlog of purchasing power, and as fast as industry can turn out washing machines, vacuum cleaners, motor cars, trucks, locomotives, steamships — everything that is based on steam, which is based on iron ore — it is bought. They can't turn it out fast enough. Why? Because this great backlog of earning created by the war is now being spent. So therefore we sell our iron ore, and we sell our 684 NATIONAL CONVENTION November 1947 newsprint. There is a world shortage of newsprint that is going to last two or three years. Beyond that no one can prophesy. There is a shortage of everything, and a tremendous demand for it, and the price has gone up, all due to the war, not due to the normal growth of our industries. Let's face the truth for once. This boom, which is still on in Newfoundland, begins to have some holes appearing in it just now, but it is still on... It will last another two or three years. No one knows. This boom is directly and entirely and exclusively the result of the war, and who is foolish enough not to believe it? Of course Bell Island is as prosperous as she is today because of the war. Our fisheries are commanding the price they do because of the war.... Our paper is commanding the price it does because of the war. Are we blind, or are we trying to kid ourselves? Any fisherman in Newfoundland, in Bonavista Bay knows it. Any common, ordinary man in the island knows it is all because of the war. The same thing applies to the United States and to Canada. Europe can't buy because she has not the money to buy. Canada is paying it into Europe, and USA is paying it into Europe, and Newfoundland is paying it into Europe (or would be if they had the dollars to pay for it). Europe has been levelled off by the bombs, and the demand is there and is insatiable, and will continue for the next two or three years. That's why, and who is going to tell me that is not the result of the war? What kind of trash and nonsense is that?
Mr. Higgins I wonder if Mr. Smallwood will agree that the present high revenue of Newfoundland will continue then for at least three more years?
Mr. Smallwood My answer to that is that it may continue for six years, it may continue for one year. Mr. Higgins did not know, Major Cashin does not know, I don't know, when all the economists of the world are wondering just this. Let me tell you something. During the war installment buying came practically to an end... Why? So much cash. Already in the United States, already in Canada installment buying is back again... What does that mean? It means that great backlog of money saved up during the war is beginning to peter out, and what the economists are wondering is, are we due for another 1929 in the States? Every statesman in Great Britain is worried about it. Prices are gone mad in the States. All controls are off, no more ceilings on prices. They are soaring to new heights every day. How long can it last before the bottom drops out of it? My answer to Mr. Higgins is: how can we expect to make these swollen wartime revenues, which are very high, give the government nearly $40 million? We are wondering if we are awake or asleep. $40 million! I remember when the whole revenue of the Government of Newfoundland was only $7 million for the whole year, and $5 million of that was to pay the interest of the debt. That left $2 million for everything. How long ago was that? 1932. So this year it is $40 million, and maybe next year it will be $100 million. Some miracle may happen. But on the other hand next year it may be only $30 million, and the next year $20 million.
Eight years ago Labrador fish was only worth $3 a quintal. I don't say it will come down to $3 again — it is $10 or $11 now, but it may be anywhere between $3 and $11. If that happens where will you get your $8 or $9 million from the Assessor's Depanment?.... Where will you get your $30 million then?.... In reply to Mr. Hollett, however we may differ in what we think and the forms of government we desire, let us not, in this hard-headed practical matter, fool ourselves into trying to blink it out of sight that these revenues we have today are not caused by the war boom. Trash and nonsense.
Mr. Hollett Trash and nonsense. Does the member for Bonavista Centre think that he is giving us some information with all that bawling that he is getting on with there?
Mr. Smallwood I hope so.
Mr. Hollett We still remember the same years that he talks about. We are not so ancient that some of the rest of us do not remember them too, and we are not fools enough to think that the economy of the country is not still benefitted by the war. Sure, we know, and we don't want to have anybody get up and bawl our ear-drums out to tell us about it. We lived through it too.
Mr. Smallwood Change it.
Mr. Hollett You keep quiet while I'm talking... Mr. Chairman, I fail to see why, when a man makes a statement, somebody has to get up and thunder and roar for 15 or 20 minutes to answer a simple little question. I am not so stupid that I don't want all that, you know, and I am sure the people of this Convention are not so stupid that November 1947 NATIONAL CONVENTION 685 they don't want all this bawling and roaring, causing them a lot more pain and misery than the honourable member from Bonavista Centre. I hope that when he gets up again to answer a simple question he will not think that we are all fools, and that everything else except that which the member from Bonavista says is all tommyrot. I know all about the war; I was in one, and sent 1,000 men to this one. A lot of them did not come back to this country which they loved. And they, and those that came back, what would they say to me if I got up here every five or ten minutes of the day and damned this country which gave them birth, for which they fought and for which they died, and in which today their mothers and fathers are weeping? What would they say if I got up there today and damned their native land simply to answer a question? Thank you, sir.
Mr. Butt Mr. Chairman, I have no desire in the world to play on words in an honest effort to find out the truth of Newfoundland's position. One or two things did arise out of the last speech but one, to which I would like to refer. I entirely agree with what the member from Bonavista Centre said if he is basing everything on a monied economy. There is, however, another side to the picture; that we ought to look for real wealth in the community as distinguished from mere money wealth. We know that because of the war a great deal of the real wealth of the neighbouring continent has been torn up and destroyed, thereby creating in other parts of the world real wealth which was not real wealth until it was begun to be exploited and used. For example the Labrador iron. Just because the world has used its resources in certain parts of the world, its iron ore, the value of the Labrador increases because it represents real wealth. Money is only a measure of real wealth, and I have no doubt that after we get over this crazy spending brought about by the backing up of surpluses in private hands and government hands, or whoever it may be, that we will come back to a more normal position, but just because America and Canada and other parts of the world have turned up some of their real wealth in the form of their natural resources, Newfoundland has become that much richer if we exploit it. For example, iron ore. Everything has been brought out here to show that the United States' position is entirely different from what it was some years ago, and that makes the Labrador position and our wealth in the future that much better. The same is true in our timber resources. The same may or may not be true in the distant future in our fish resources, and of course, as far as agriculture is concerned that depends entirely upon how we use the land which God has given us.
I want to interject just one other word. When we were discussing this war economy and our peacetime industries we ought to draw a distinction which is drawn by every economist. Whatever causes this prosperity, and I have no doubt and I agree entirely with Mr. Smallwood that it was caused by the war, that it was due to the war, and after the war is over there is set up a peace economy, and that peace economy depends to a large extent upon what has happened because of the war. Nevertheless, it is and cannot be anything else but a peace economy. Now I have no desire to bring other countries into this picture, but I think that the Canadian industrial position after the last war, because of the last war, got a tremendous boom. Part of that industrial boom is carried on to peacetime. That is the position I think that Newfoundland is in at the present time. So therefore there is not much point in seeing what actually happened, whether we are now in a wartime economy or not. The point is that arising out of the war we have a much better peacetime economy than we have ever had in the past.
[The committee rose and reported progress]
Mr. Higgins Mr. Chairman, I want to give notice of motion, sir. I give notice that I will on tomorrow move the following resolution:
Whereas a Royal Commission was appointed by His Majesty's warrant dated February 7, 1933, to examine into the future of Newfoundland;
And Whereas the said Royal Commission made a report and in this report recommended that the existing form of government, namely responsible government, be suspended until such time as the Island became self-supporting, when responsible government on request from the people of Newfoundland would be restored;
And Whereas in 1934 the Legislative Council and Assembly in a Joint Address to His Majesty the King requested that the Letters Patent under the Great Seal at Westminster, dated March 28, 1876, and the 686 NATIONAL CONVENTION November 1947 Letters Patent under the Great Seal at Westminster, dated July 17, 1905, be suspended and new Letters Patent be issued, which would provide for the administration of the Island until such time as it became self-supporting again on the basis of the recommendations in the report of the Royal Commission;
And Whereas as a result of this Joint Address, new Letters Patent under the Great Seal at Westminster were issued on January 30, 1934, by virtue of the provisions of an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland entitled "The Newfoundland Act, 1933" which said Act provided for the administration of Newfoundland during the period whilst the operation of the former Letters Patent was suspended;
And Whereas it is the opinion of this Convention that Newfoundland is now self- supporting;
Be It Therefore Resolved that this Convention recommend to the United Kingdom government that the wishes of the people of Newfoundland should be ascertained at the earliest moment as to whether it is their desire that Responsible Government be restored.
That, sir, is not going to be brought up as a motion until the Report of the Economic Committee has been fully discussed
Mr. Smallwood Point of order. Is it in order to debate forms of government before the report of the Ottawa delegation and the communication received yesterday from the Government of Canada are received and debated?
Mr. Chairman At the moment the position is that this is merely a notice of motion, and I am only going to deal with the order paper as is. The motion which I will now call on Mr. Bradley to move is that the communication from the government at Ottawa be received. I only propose to deal with that, and I propose to deal with first things first.
Mr. Bradley Mr. Chairman, I think that earlier in the afternoon I made quite an explanation of my views upon how this question should be treated, which makes it unnecessary for me to deal with this matter at any length, so I don't propose to enlarge upon it at all. I move the resolution today.
Mr. Chairman The motion is that the communication from the Government of Canada be received.
Mr. Bradley I thought that they would be taken together, but if you wish to divide them I will move that the communication be received
Mr. Chairman The motion before me now is that the communication from the Government of Canada be received, and that the Convention resolve itself into a committee of the whole on tomorrow.
Mr. Bradley Yes.
Mr. Chairman That would mean that it would be made tomorrow.
Mr. Bradley No, it would be made now. This is a motion that the committee do resolve itself tomorrow. It is a determination to deal with it by committee.
Mr. Higgins That was not the ruling you gave today, sir.
Mr. Chairman I would prefer it if you would divide your motion into two parts, one that the report be received, and then secondly you can defer your motion to move the Convention into a committee of the whole, or let your motion stand over.
Mr. Bradley It does not make any difference to me, sir.
Mr. Chairman It would save me considerable embarrassment here, in view particularly of the assurance I gave members already this afternoon.
Mr. Smallwood I second that motion.
Mr. Chairman The motion is that the Report of the Ottawa Delegation be received.
Mr. Smallwood Yes, sir.
Mr. Higgins I don't want to embarrass you, sir, but that is not actually the motion we have. We have a complete motion. If Mr. Bradley wants to change it now he should do it by giving notice of motion and bringing it up at the next session.
Mr. Chairman In fairness to the House and to Mr. Bradley, my interpretation of this motion when my attention was first drawn to it, rightly or wrongly, was that the motion was of a double- barrelled nature. That is to say that the House would be asked to receive the report this afternoon, and then on the following session, whether it is tomorrow or on any subsequent day, that the motion to resolve the House into a committee of the whole would be made. What I understood, the inference I drew, was that there would be two November 1947 NATIONAL CONVENTION 687 motions, and that the second motion would be subsequent in point of time to the motion that the report be received, and it was upon that understanding, or misunderstanding as the case may be, that I was induced to give the opinions I did earlier in the afternoon.
Mr. Bradley Well, Mr. Chairman, any procedure that you choose to select will be satisfactory to me. My motion as it stands is in the nature of a double motion. If it is adopted as it stands then tomorrow afternoon my motion will be to defer the other, because I don't propose to introduce the question of that communication from Ottawa until the Economic Report has been dealt with. I don' t know why there should be so much difficulty in getting this thing straightened out. Is there any object, any adequate object, in dealing with tiny meticulous technicalities on a question of this kind? I can't see it. One would think we were discussing an intricate point of law upon which millions of dollars depended. All we want is to get this matter before the Convention at the proper time. Definitely we ought to receive it at the earliest possible moment, and if the two motions are taken together, as the order stands, it simply means that tomorrow afternoon, when the order is read, I shall move that it be deferred, and the same thing on the next day, if the Economic Report has not been finalised, and on the next day, and until we have finished the Economic Report. It does not make any difference as far as I can see — any method of doing it so long as we get there.
Mr. Chairman You are definitely going to do that, so that I won't misunderstand you. The motion in its present form is calculated merely to have the report received at this time?
Mr. Bradley Yes, and it will be received and will be on the order paper tomorrow. When it is read tomorrow, instead of moving the House into a committee of the whole I will move that the order be deferred.
Mr. Chairman You undertake to do that?
Mr. Bradley Yes, of course.
Mr. Higgins I still must object, and contend that it has got to be two separate motions as far as I am concerned. It has to be a motion to receive, and a separate motion to resolve into a committee of the whole.
Mr. Smallwood Would Mr. Higgins state his reasons for doing that?
Mr. Higgins My reasons are my own business.
Mr. Hollett I don't want to be meticulous over this matter at all, but there seems to be a difference of opinion about it. With Mr. Bradley's consent, he could delete all words after "received" in this motion, and if Mr. Bradley would consent, then tomorrow he would bring in notice of motion covering the second part of that, because undoubtedly the Economic Report will not be finished tomorrow.
Mr. Bradley No sir, I will not, and my reason is this, that it is apparent that there is room for suspicion. There is an effort being made to deprive that motion of priority, and I don't propose to allow that to happen.
Mr. Higgins There was nothing in my mind like that. I am not trying to oppose the motion from any ulterior motive.
Mr. Chairman Why can't we arrive at a sensible solution whereby the motion of Mr. Bradley's to resolve the House into a committee of the whole will come next after the business that is presently before the Chair, that is to say the Economic Report. Now when I receive this notice of motion this must go on in due course.
Mr. Higgins You made a ruling this afternoon whereby the motion we were going to pass today would be that the report be received.
Mr. Chairman No attempt to resolve the House into a committee of the whole, I said that. All the House would be asked to do would be to receive the report. I did not say that notice of motion to resolve the House into a committee of the whole would not arrive at the order paper.
Mr. Higgins I think, to avoid all difficulty, if Mr. Bradley would make two separate motions, there would be no objections to that.
Mr. Bradley In view of what has happened I will not. I will let the motion stand as it is.
Mr. Higgins Well, we might have an amendment in that case, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Bradley You can do as you please.
Mr. Hollett I can assure you that nothing was ever further from my mind tha anything as suggested by Mr. Higgins — to have any ulterior motive whatsoever. I take it this way, that certainly, out of courtesy to His Excellency the Governor, and out of courtesy to the Prime Minister of a neighbouring country, the Dominion of Canada, we ought to pass this afternoon a motion to receive this document; but when it comes to 688 NATIONAL CONVENTION November 1947 the other part, of putting it on the order paper, the point that I had in mind was that there may be some little discussion as to what particular time it should come before the House. I am not speaking for myself. This matter, which is a very important one.... but in my mind there is a question as to whether or not the discussion on that document should come immediately after the discussion on the Economic Report, or whether it should come up when we go into the matter of forms of government. Now that's the only thought that I had in mind. There is absolutely no question whatever of any ulterior motive whatsoever.
Mr. Chairman Thank you very much, but what the House does on any of these motions is something, of course, I have yet to ascertain; but in fairness to Mr. Bradley I have to point out that if the suggestion made by Mr. Higgins were taken it obviously follows that his motion loses the priority it now has. It was designed by him to follow on the conclusion and termination of the debate on the Economic Report. Now what you do about it of course when it comes before you is something I make no comment on. I am in the position now where I cannot, at this time, permit the motion which is presently on the order paper to be side-tracked by some other business which is not yet before the House. It is open to the interpretation, Mr. Higgins, although I am quite sure that that's the last thing you had in mind.
Mr. Higgins I can give you my assurance that I will not insist on precedence over Mr. Bradley's motion. He definitely can have precedence as far as I am concerned in debating the motion.
Mr. Chairman Can't you have the thing set tled?
Mr. Higgins No, sir. I will move an amendment in that case.
Mr. Bradley Very well, we will have a showdown.
Mr. Higgins I would like to move that the motion be amended. I would like to move that all words following "be received" in the second line be deleted, and the amendment is then that we move that the communication from the Government of Canada be received.
Mr. Crosbie I will second that amendment.
Mr. Bradley Mr. Chairman, we will see just where we are on this matter now. I have made a motion which is double-barrelled in its nature. It is a motion to receive this communication, and to make provision for its discussion. The motion is obviously one that is clearly in order.
Mr. Chairman The motion is clearly in order.
Mr. Bradley I don't know whether there is a suspicion in the minds of any of those gentlemen who object to it in its present form that it is my intention to attempt to slide the discussion of this communication from the Canadian government in the middle, as it were, of the discussion upon the Economic Report. I have been accused of dishonesty in this House before, and I am prepared to contemplate the possibility of a similar charge again. I gave a distinct understanding this afternoon that I had no intention whatever of trying to supersede the discussion fo the Economic Report. My resolution was to receive this communication and to move the House into a committee of the whole on tomorrow. If that motion had carried, and maybe it will, I don't know, the position would be that we would have received the communication, and there would appear on tomorrow's order paper an order to the effect that I would move the House into a committee of the whole.... If that motion is not carried in its present form, then I have to give notice of another motion, which clearly will bring my motion behind the motion of Mr. Higgins in point of time. He immediately acquires precedence.
Mr. Chairman Yes, that's clear.
Mr. Higgins I said I would give it precedence.
Mr. Bradley These are the rules of the House, and I cannot see any reason in the world why you should take that position unless you have some ulterior motive.
Mr. Higgins I rise to a point of order. I have no ulterior motive.
Mr. Bradley I don't know whether you have or not.
Mr. Higgins Any suggestion made by you is entirely out of order.
Mr. Bradley I have not made any suggestion at all. I said I can see no reason. Maybe I am too thick-headed to see it.
Mr. Higgins We should at least confine ourselves to this motion.
Mr. Chairman No, no. The amendment is proposed by you, and it is Mr. Bradley's right to speak to the amendment.
Mr. Bradley There has been no explanation November 1947 NATIONAL CONVENTION 689 given this House, no adequate reason, why my motion should be split in two and part of it deducted. There is every reason why it should stand as it is. In the ordinary course of events it is now suggested that it should be split. For what purpose? What valuable object can be obtained by splitting it? If I can be shown that I will agree, but not if there has been no effort to show that there is adequate reason for it, and I do not propose to allow it to be pushed aside in that manner. If that sort of thing is going to be done, and in view of happenings in this House and out of it, and around it, during the past few days, we are justified in suspecting pretty near anything. If there is going to be anything of that sort done here the cards are coming out on the table.
Mr. Higgins I rise to a point of order. If my friend Mr. Bradley is making any happenings in this House or out of it in the past few days into the form of a motion he has put up, I would like to know about it. I think it is entirely out of order.
Mr. Bradley I am not making any personal reflections upon you or upon anyone else, but I am saying there is no reason in the world why this motion cannot come before this House, or why that motion should be split. None. And yet we are asked to split it. What for? Incidentally there is another motion coming in here which, if it is split, would give precedence over a portion of my motion.
Mr. Chairman Except that in fairness to Mr. Higgins he has undertaken to give your notice precedence. I would take and give your notice of motion priority to his. He has definitely stated that he would not want to go ahead of you in this matter.
Mr. Bradley Mr. Chairman, a majority of this House can supersede this House or the Steering Committee, and I don't know what a majority of this House is going to do, but I am going to find out now.
Mr. Smallwood Hear, hear!
Mr. Chairman The original motion is: "To move that the communication from the Government be received, and that the Convention resolve itself into a committee of the whole on tomorrow to consider the said communication." To this an amendment has been moved and seconded, that all the words following the word "received" should be deleted. 50 that the amendment means to move that the communication from the Government of Canada be received. Are you ready for the amendment?.... Will all the members in favour of the amendment please rise — 21. Will all those against the amendment please rise — 15. The amendment is carried on a vote of 21 — 15.... Now I have to put the motion in its amended form, so that if there is any other member who desires to address himself on it he can do it. The motion in its amended from now is: "To move that the communication from the Government be received." That is the motion as amended. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion as amended? Are you ready for the question? Carried.
Mr. Bradley Now Mr. Chairman, we shall see what happens.
[The Convention adjourned]


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: Gordon Lyall.

Notes de bas de page:

  • [1] Volume II:425. [Volume II is not in The Confederation Debates Collection]
  • *
    Year Value in Dollars
    1940-1941 $ 3,558,998 (The war is well on now)
    1941-1942 2,918,128
    1942-1943 1,777,965 (The war is still on)
    1943-1944 2,019,695
    1944-1945 1,474,346 (And the war fades to the finish)
    1945-1946 3,051,630 (The war is over)
    1946-1947 3,100,000
  • **
    Year Value in Dollars
    1940-1941 $ 4,009638 (The war has just started)
    1941-1942 3,720,006
    1942-1943 3,224,608
    1943-1944 4,189,186
    1944-1945 4,091,898 (These are facts you know, yet the war is over)
    1945-1946 5,375,903 (Is that a wartime boom?)
  • *
    Year Value in Dollars
    1940-1941 $16,314,379
    1941-1942 16,970,702
    1942-1943 10,335,141
    1943-1944 12,737,862
    1944-1945 16,584,578 (The war is over)
    1945-1946 20,653,403
  • **
    Year Value in Dollars
    1940-1941 nearly $ 10,000,000
    1941-1942 12,000,000
    1942-1943 12,000,000
    1943-1944 it jumped to 18,000,000
    1944-1945 21,000,000 (The war is over)
    1945-1946 29,000,000

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