Newfoundland National Convention, 21 November 1947, Debates on Confederation with Canada


November 21, 1947

Mr. Chairman Yesterday afternoon, at the request of members, a ten minute recess was taken in order to permit me to contact Mr. Howell, the Secretary of Customs, to request whether or not he was able to appear before the Convention to give members any information which may be required arising out of the Geneva conference. Today I received a letter from Mr. Howell, and I would now ask Capt. Warren if he would read it:
J. B. McEvoy, Esq, K.C., LLB, Chairman, National Convention.
Dear Sir:
I refer to our telephone conversation of yesterday with reference to the request that I should appear before the National Convention sitting in committee of the whole to answer questions relating to the tariff agreements recently concluded at Geneva. I have referred this request to my Commissioner, who instructed me to point out that a comprehensive statement of the agreements insofar as they affect Newfoundland was recently issued by the government. In these circumstances the government would not be willing for me to appear before the Convention. If members desire further information about the agreement, and submit questions in writing, duly endorsed by the Information Committee, I shall be pleased to return answers provided I may properly do so.
I have to point out that it will not be possible to answer questions relating to the negotiations, which were secret.
Faithfully, J. G. Howell, Secretary for Customs.
[Further consideration of the Economic Report was deferred]

Report of the Ottawa Delegation Proposed Arrangements for the Entry of Newfoundland into Confederation Committee of the Whole

Mr. Job Mr. Chairman, I would like to make a few remarks because I think we must all agree that we are not making very good progress under our present method of handling things. Yesterday the progress was distinctly poor, and it seems to me it will continue to be very poor unless some better method of tackling the report is adopted. There are too many interruptions, and too much time is wasted on technicalities. I suggest that better progress would be made if Mr. Smallwood would make a simple, clear statement as to his interpretation of the Ottawa proposals as em November 1947 NATIONAL CONVENTION 803 bodied in the grey pamphlet entitled "Proposed Arrangements for the Entry of Newfoundland into Confederation",[1] with reference to the Black Books when absolutely necessary to clarify his statement. When he has finished this statement, I would recommend very strongly that Mr. Hollett be asked, if he will, to reply, and after he had finished, any members who wish to do so will be permitted to state their views. There can be no doubt that those who favour confederation, of whom there are many thousands in this country, as well as many others who are on the fence as regards any form of government, are anxious to get a clear understanding of the meaning of these interesting documents, and it will be a long time before they will understand the position if we are to continue the disjointed style of debate which took place in this chamber yesterday.... I cannot help thinking that this will facilitate progress, and I make the suggestion for what it is worth.
Mr. Chairman Thank you very much, Mr. Job. Without in any way wishing to place any responsibilities upon Mr. Hollett, I might say that otherwise I think your suggestion is very welcome and very sound. The progress made last evening was terrible to say the least, and I feel that Mr. Hollett should address himself to me as to how he feels, about assuming the responsibilities contained in your suggestion....
Mr. Hollett I think I should speak right away before I become involved in the thing. Let me say that I would refuse to undertake such an arduous task as to reply in one address to the multitudinous things that our friend from Bonavista Centre is going to raise on this issue. Not only do I fail to see how the debate last night was so terrible, but I cannot agree with anybody who would state that.
Mr. Chairman I made the mistake.
Mr. Hollett Oh you, sir! In that case I am sorry, I cannot agree with you.
Mr. Chairman That is your privilege.
Mr. Hollett These things have been brought to us from Canada, and unless we examine them step by step we are not going to get this thing across as Mr. Smallwood wants it. For me, or even Mr. Smallwood, to get up and in one long- winded speech to try and tell our people what we think of these terms of confederation, I am afraid we are not getting to the people; and that is definitely, as Mr. Smallwood has intimated, his whole and sole desire, to get the people acquainted with these terms. I have heard long speeches before, and unfortunately I have made one or two myself and I know they are not the right approach to any matter. Human beings can only grasp one or two, or three or four points at a time to absorb them properly. Therefore to attempt to analyse these two Black Books and these terms from Mackenzie King in one, or two, or three long-winded speeches, I am afraid I don't agree with the idea. If the progress has not been satisfactory we should devise a better case, but I would refuse to take on the burden of proof, if you like, that Mr. Smallwood is wrong.
Mr. Chairman I quite understand that it is a very difficult and arduous responsibility, but in fairness to Mr. Job I think I should correct a misapprehension. As I understand Mr. Job's proposal he is not suggesting that you should reply to Mr. Smallwood in one speech. What he is saying is that the section would be read, that Mr. Smallwood would give his interpretation of it as briefly as possible, only referring to the Black Books as it becomes necessary, and then at the end you, if you so care, could reply. That means you would have the right to reply to every interpretation that Mr. Smallwood may place on every section of the report.
Mr. Hollett As I understood it Mr. Job meant that Mr. Smallwood would go through the whole "shebang", and then I would give a reply, but you say it should be section by section. That's a different thing.
Mr. Job I did mean that Mr. Smallwood would give a general impression of the whole thing first, and then Mr. Hollett would reply in a general way.
Mr. Smallwood All one clause?
Mr. Job Well, no. I have no objection. I would not say one clause. I would take more than one clause. We wasted hours on two clauses that I don't think there is anything in.
Mr. Hollett There's only 23 there, you know.
Mr. Job I still think the public would like to hear what the whole thing means in a general way. Then after Mr. Hollett replies in a general way, you get down to the details, and anyone can come in. I know it's got to be discussed in detail. There are a tremendous number of points. When Mr. 804 NATIONAL CONVENTION November 1947 Smallwood is going through it people can take a note of the points they are going to raise and attack them.
Mr. Chairman Yes, I agree.
Mr. Smallwood I appreciate Mr. Job's main point, namely that the people are entitled to a complete accounting of this document, entitled to understand it; and I appreciate and know that for months past that has been Mr. Job's viewpoint. The difficulty, however, with his main suggestion, is two-fold. First it presupposes that I am able to take this Grey Book, in the light of the two Black Books, and give a running description, all in one piece, of what confederation would mean to Newfoundland. If Mr. Job is agreeable that I should carry out what it has been rumoured I was going to do — speak for three weeks — I am quite agreeable to do it if the Convention wishes ... and if my voice will hold out that long. I am sure my mind will, but I doubt if, at the end of the three weeks, the public would know very much more about confederation than they would at the beginning. Then I have the further doubt that, having done that, Mr. Hollett, or any other one man, would be in a position to take that whole three weeks' speech and in another three weeks dispose of it.
Mr. Chairman ....Mr. Job's suggestion, as I understand it sir, is that you should first make a general statement, that would take you an hour, or an hour and a half, giving only the highlights if you will, and then proceed...
Mr. Smallwood I can't do it. I can only do it by taking it clause by clause. The length of time that will be used by any one clause is entirely a matter for the Convention. It depends on how many members wish to ask questions I will not occupy very much time on a clause.
Mr. Chairman If you feel that it can only be dealt with clause by clause, then I suggest to members that Mr. Job's recommendation is still a very sound one, in the sense that you take the clause, read it if you will, give your interpretation of it as briefly and as simply as possible whereupon you will resume your seat and members can address you on any questions arising out of the clause under discussion. I still think that Mr. Job's recommendation is calculated to help things along.
Mr. Miller Isn't that what we were doing?
Mr. Chairman Well, there was some confusion about it last night.
Mr. Miller If I may be permitted to speak, I disagree very much with Mr. Job's suggestion. We have this report here, sir. Whether last night was a good night for some and a bad night for others it is a matter of indifference. There will be good nights and bad nights for both parties in this I guess, but we have it here and I base my disagreement on this: we represent Newfoundland district by district. No one here represents Newfoundland as a whole, not even Mr. Smallwood, on this matter.
Mr. Chairman That's right.
Mr. Miller It is on that basis that I think it would be something that we would regret later if we restricted the rights of individual members to question. I think also that the first construction put on any section of this or any clause of this document going out over the air, if not corrected, if there is a mistake in it, will make a lasting impression; and I feel that if Mr. Smallwood's statements go unchallenged the people will accept them as such, but if there is something in his statement which may be cleared up, I think right there and then is the time to do it.
Mr. Chairman I am inclined to agree with you.
Mr. Hollett I maintain that that will destroy the whole idea of committee of the whole. The committee of the whole is not for long-winded speeches at all, even though we might have to make them during the discussion; it is only by question and answer and cross-fire that you can get this across to our people. I think it would be a mistake, as Mr. Miller points out. There are 44 members here, and we all have an equal right to question Mr. Smallwood, and anybody else. With all due respect to Mr. Job, and I thank him for the compliment he has paid me, I would not accept that under any conditions, and I think we proceeded beautifully last night, and I think we got somewhere.
Mr. Newell In the early part of this Convention, when reports were brought in here, we took and read them section by section, and had a discussion on each section as we went along.... It did seem to me that we got the meat out of these things. We only departed from that procedure in the last two reports presented here, and these were read in toto at first, and then discussed by sections that had no reference to each other, and I leave it to you whether we got the meat out of November 1947 NATIONAL CONVENTION 805 those or whether we beat the meat out of them. I suggest the original procedure be followed again....
Mr. Chairman I am not saying there is anything wrong with the methods last night, but we did not progress very far. We disposed of two clauses.
Mr. Hollett Mr. Chairman, excuse me, I must take exception to that. There are only about four or five who questioned Mr. Smallwood last night, therefore we must proceed and ask questions which will bring out to our people the answers that we believe should be given. Mr. Smallwood, with all due credit to him, answers as well as any man could answer. Whether they have one cause or not does not matter, they were the truth. If anyone said in this house that last night was wasted then they must blame myself, Mr. Miller, Mr. Penney, and Mr. Higgins.
Mr. Smallwood If we might proceed. Clause 3.[1] "The public services provided from time to time by Canada for the people of Canada generally, will be extended to the people of Newfoundland." The public services provided by the Government of Canada to the people of all nine provinces are very extensive and very elaborate. I would not be able to describe those public services which the Government of Canada provides under two or three hours, so I don't intend even to try to do it. I will give you merely a very bare and bald outline....
[Mr. Smallwood listed federal Services to agriculture]
Mr. Hollett How does that compare with the services given by our own government? Can Mr. Smallwood answer that?....
Mr. Smallwood I think the Government of Newfoundland provides precious little in the way of agricultural services.
Mr. Hollett Do they provide anything in the line of production and marketing service?
Mr. Smallwood None. Well, that's going a long way — they do publish monthly some inadequate returns of farm production and the price of farm produce, but farmers in Newfoundland are all too familiar with the very little service they get from the government in that direction.
Mr. Hollett What do they get in Canada?
Mr. Smallwood In Canada they get this: at the end of every week, the Department of Agriculture would tell you how many bushels of wheat, and all cereals, and root crops are in prospect. That figure changes depending on the crop conditions, and they have a magnificent statistical service, so that every farmer in Canada knows from week to week, and it is broadcast throughout the nation, province by province, and section by section in each province, what the weekly production is likely to be from the beginning of the season until the harvest is all over. Furthermore, every farmer is informed on the radio what are the prevailing wholesale prices for every type of produce, for all the many markets of Canada...
Mr. Hollett Mr. Chairman, that is a very important factor in Canada, which is a farming country. One third of the employed people in Canada are on the land. We are a fishing country; have we any research at all in that connection?
Mr. Smallwood I have not come to fisheries.
Mr. Hollett Never mind, we don't want to know what the wheat prospects are in Saskatchewan, for instance
Mr. Smallwood That is true, but the gentleman asked me to explain what are the agricultural services provided in Canada. That is what I am doing...
Mr. Hollett All right, go ahead.
Mr. Smallwood We have a demonstration farm which I am sorry to say at the moment is helping to break the market for the farmers by selling turnips for $3 a barrel, when the current price that the farmers are asking is $5-$6 a barrel.
Mr. Hollett I bought a barrel of turnips at the door yesterday for $2.50. That man has nothing to do with the experimental farm.
Mr. Smallwood That is perhaps because that farm has broken the market...
Mr. Higgins Why did Mr. Smallwood bring up whether they had broken the price or not? What has it to do with his explanation?
Mr. Chairman He is drawing a comparison, at Mr. Hollett's request, between the so-called or alleged service to Newfoundland, and that which might be made in Canada.
Mr. Hollett It is the importance of getting this across to the people. Mr. Smallwood deliberately gets up and says that the experimental farm has broken the price, and they are selling turnips at $3 a barrel. I answered that by telling our people that a man who has no connection with the experimental farm whatever, who has a farm over 806 NATIONAL CONVENTION November 1947 at St. Phillips, is selling them for $2.50. The point I want the people to know is that the experimental farm did not break the price.
Mr. Smallwood The answer is that the reason that man sold them for $2.50 is because the price began at $5-$6 a barrel, and the farm sold under that, and the price was broken....
Mr. Chairman We have not got a discussion at the moment of the demonstration farm.
[Mr. Smallwood then listed services provided by the departments of Fisheries, Labour, Mines and Resources, National Defence, Health and Welfare, Public Works, Reconstruction and Supply, Trade and Commerce, Transport and Veterans' Affairs]
Mr. Smallwood Now, sir, these in very bald and brief outline are in part the public services provided by the Government of Canada to the people of Canada generally, which under section 3 the Government of Canada says will be extended to the people of Newfoundland. In these Black Books the members may find a tremendous amount of detail describing each of these public services...
Mr. Butt Would you agree that 95% of these services are already paralleled in Newfoundland?
Mr. Smallwood No, I would not agree at all. Not more than 20%.
Mr. Butt Would you care to tell us, how did you get that 20%?
Mr. Smallwood Well, I will not be bound down to 20%, but it's about the last word in absurdity to compare the public services of the little island of Newfoundland with the Dominion of Canada, with its 12 million people. The public services of Canada are such as Newfoundland could not even begin to dream that it could parallel.
Mr. Higgins Even under confederation?
Mr. Smallwood Under confederation, clause 3 says, "The public services provided from time to time by Canada for the people of Canada generally will be extended to the people of Newfoundland". Without confederation they will not be, with confederation they will be.
Mr. Butt Those services are not paralleled?
Mr. Chairman Mr. Butt's question is, "What services are not paralleled?"
Mr. Smallwood All right, I will go through this list again.
Mr. Butt I would like to have Mr. Smallwood point out those services which are not parallel in Newfoundland.
Mr. Chairman What public services they have in Canada that we have not here?
Mr. Butt That we have not got here. And to say it is absurd to compare the services provided by the Newfoundland government is not fair at all. In comparison with those in Canada I think ours are very good in relation to our size, our importance and the importance of the industries, and dealing with the size of the organisation of Canada.
Mr. Smallwood Under the heading of Agriculture, first of all I will name the things that Canada provides for her people and then see whether or not Newfoundland provides it for her people. That is what Mr. Butt wants me to do. Agricultural Science Service — no; Economic Research — no; Experimental Farm Service — half yes and half no.
Mr. Hollett What is the scientific service that Canada provides?
Mr. Smallwood I have got at least a small armful of evidence on that. If you want to go through it I am quite willing, but we will be here till next spring.
Mr. Hollett Don't you know what scientific services they provide?
Mr. Smallwood Of course I do. We were driven to an experimental farm of 350 acres just at the edge of Ottawa, the headquarters demonstration farm. They have them scattered all over the Dominion, experimental stations, health of animal stations...
Mr. Hollett Don't they do that here too?
Mr. Smallwood Of course not. I have raised something like 3,000 pigs, and you are going to tell me I don't know. We have one veterinarian, and he is not a field man, he is in administration. Are we going to say that that provides scientific knowledge as to the prevention of disease?
Mr. Butt There's some away training now. We have only one for the reason that we could not get them.
Mr. Smallwood I am not discussing the reasons, I am discussing what Canada has got as compared with ours.
Mr. Butt I dare say you will find the proportion in Canada just the same.
Mr. Smallwood Maybe and maybe not. Let's get on. Marketing service — we don't get that, farm loans — we don't provide that.
Mr. Hollett Farm Loan Board. Have we nothing in this country analogous to that?
Mr. Smallwood No, nothing.
Mr. Hollett What about the civil re-establishment?
Mr. Smallwood That's military re-establishment. That is a non-agrarian thing.
Mr. Hollett We are not yet a farming country. I put it to you that the civil re-establishment is perfectly analogous to the Farm Loan Board in Canada.
Mr. Smallwood Not at all.... The Farm Loan Board has been in existence for years, and we have nothing analogous to that in Newfoundland.
Mr. Butt What is the Farm Loan Board, please?
Mr. Smallwood Page 84:[1] "The Canadian Farm Loan Board. This Board carries on loaning operations throughout Canada and has a branch office in each province. It makes long term loans to farmers on the security of mortgages on farm land." Now although there are only four lines on that page, we submitted a question bearing on that, and there is a reply to it. Just where to find that I don't know, but if members have the leisure they can find the Canadian government's answer. I pass on.
Mr. Hollett Before you pass on, I want to make that point clear, that this is a fishing country and not a farming country. They have a Farm Loan Board in Canada, but have we a fishery loan, or anything like that for the fishery?
Mr. Smallwood If Mr. Hollett will permit me, I will reply now to Mr. Butt.
Mr. Watton Regarding that question, page 19, volume 2,[2] gives the answer.
Mr. Smallwood Well, page 19, volume 2, if anyone wishes to look it up. Now to continue. Fisheries. Canada provides a coastal patrol service, fish hatcheries and a Fisheries Research Board, we do not. They supply scientific stations for the fisheries, we do not, unless you count the lab. in Maggoty Cove which deals with all kinds of public health and biological research. We do not.
Mr. Higgins Will you please not say Maggoty Cove?
Mr. Smallwood Well I must say Maggoty Cove, it has been Maggoty Cove for 400 years, and it will always be that. We may change Newfoundland into a province, but it will always be Newfoundland, and we will keep our Maggoty Cove.
Labour. Assistance in settling labour disputes — Yes. Facilitation of collective bargaining in industries in which labour is organised — Yes. Financial aid to the provinces for vocational training. We have vocational training for veterans, but for no one else.
Mr. Butt Handicrafts.
Mr. Smallwood Yes, handicrafts a few weeks ago, but no vocational training in civilian life. The government has told us that when the veterans' rehabilitation vocational training scheme is completed they are going to turn the building over for civilian vocational training, but up to now we have not got it.
Employment offices — yes, we have that. Unemployment insurance — no, we have not got that. Newfoundland does not provide unemployment insurance. Provision of life annuities — no. Statistical service — no.
Now to come to Mines and Resources. Lands, parks and forests. Now it is perfectly true that we have a Forestry Division. That Division does not provide any national parks.
Mines and Geology (topographical and geological surveys). We have it. It's an insult to the country, and it's an insult to the Commission of Government that they have not pushed the geological and topographical and hydrographical surveys more than they have done. A country that's crying out to be surveyed, the government has only puttered around. The Government of Canada would provide that.
Mr. Butt Maybe.
Mr. Smallwood Maybe! I will read again section 3. "The public services provided from time to time by Canada for the people of Canada generally will be extended to the people of Newfoundland." There is no maybe about it.... Surveys and Engineering (geodetic service, hydrographic and map service, engineering and construction services and Water Power Bureau). Now as to the Water Power Bureau, for the first time in the history of Newfoundland this very summer, 1947, the Newfoundland government brought in a hydrographic engineer. If you can call one engineer a water-power bureau, Mr. Butt 808 NATIONAL CONVENTION November 1947 is welcome to that description.
Indian Affairs Division — we have no such thing in Newfoundland. (Laughter from Mr. Hollett) There happen to be 300 Indians in Labrador, and many more Eskimos, and I will remind him that in Canada, for the purpose of administration, Indians and Eskimos are all treated as Indians for purely legal reasons. We have many hundreds of them. Mr. Bay Boy may not feel like laughing when I say that the Government of Newfoundland has no such division or department for the welfare of the Indians or Eskimos, of whom there are many hundreds in Labrador.
Mr. Hollett I did not laugh. Now that you have got that off your chest....
Mr. Smallwood I apologise, but I do not apologise to the member who laughed, whoever it may have been.
Mr. Bailey Is it true that we look upon our Indians as not being citizens?
Mr. Smallwood Any Indian in Canada can apply for citizenship. Many prefer not to because they get more benefits by not being citizens. In Newfoundland we never even allowed them to be citizens. Until this National Convention we never even gave them a vote. All we gave them was a bit of dole. Let me pass on.
I will pass National Defence, because obviously we have not got an army, or a navy, or an airforce. National Health and Welfare. Treatment of sick and injured mariners. We may treat them as citizens, but we have no particular scheme for treating sick and injured mariners in Newfoundland as in Canada. We will find out more about that as we go through these discussions. Food and Drug Standards — we have that. Public Health Engineering — I don't think we have much of that.
Mr. Butt It is only a big word.
Mr. Smallwood Oh no, it's more than a big word. Public health engineering means this: a government department that goes into a city or a farm area, or a fishing area, and plans out the actual engineering problems involved in controlling public health, and to prevent all infectious and contagious disease. It is a matter of placing central water supply in places that need it, disposal of sewage, and general public engineering in matters of public health. We have no such department in Newfoundland.
Mr. Butt That's the point I am trying to make all the time. We have no such department, but it can be done and it is done by the government in various departments. According to the standards we have reached in this country we have practically all the things you have mentioned, but they have not got those names, because you have got the very extra big names to handle; but it's the same service.
Mr. Smallwood I will watch that. I will tell you the service and we will see if the Newfoundland government does for the Newfoundland people what the Canadian government does for the Canadian people. I will not say whether they have got a department, or a division, or a board, or a committee; we will just take the function. It is the Government of Canada that does it.
Public Health Engineering. Venereal Disease Control — yes, we have a limited amount of that in Newfoundland. Child and Maternal Hygiene — yes, we have some of that. Industrial Health — we have none of that. Nutrition Service — and thereby hangs a tale.
Mr. Miller On that point of industrial health. Is not that matter being taken care of by the companies concerned?
Mr. Smallwood No.
Mr. Miller Yes.
Mr. Smallwood In part.
Mr. Miller The Buchans Mining Company regularly inspect their mines and workers get time off when the doctor suggests it from the public health angle.
Mr. Smallwood I am glad Mr. Miller raised that point. I, for one Newfoundlander, am not satisfied to leave the health of the workers in bakeries, mills, and mines and other industrial undertakings in the hands of the owners of these plants. Some owners take their responsibility seriously and do fairly good work. But if it could safely be left to the employers in Newfoundland to look after the health of their employees, it could also be left to the employers of Great Britain and the United States, and you would not have any public department in any country protecting the health of the workers in them. We have not got any public department of industrial health.
Mr. Fudge I can assure you that the health of our workmen in the mill or outside, in Corner Brook, is taken care of by that particular company far better than in Sydney. I have seen some of their dumps over there, and around Montreal November 1947 NATIONAL CONVENTION 809 too, so I think we are very well fixed on that part.
Mr. Hollett Mr. Chairman, all that work done by the various countries, isn't it done under the agency of the Public Health and Welfare Act?
Mr. Smallwood It ought to be.
Mr. Butt It is.
Mr. Smallwood It is not. Could someone tell me how many inspectors of the Department of Public Health and Welfare in the month of October, visited the factories of St. John's, and saw how many toilets, rest-rooms and safety devices were provided?... I go further now. If Mr. Jackman were here, I would ask him to tell me what inspection has been made of the mines at Bell Island under the Mines Regulation Act. I would ask Mr. Hollett, who represents Grand Falls, including Buchans, to tell me what government inspector has gone down in the mines under the Mines Regulations Act to inspect the mines. We have no such inspectors in Newfoundland. We have a dead act. There is no enforcement of industrial health. Except insofar as a few individual employers, such as the AND Company, the Buchans Mining Company, and Bowaters and a few here in town, except for these the health and the industrial conditions of employees, and the health conditions of employees, are completely ignored. Now let me go on. I must insist on replying to Mr. Butt.
Mr. Hollett How long is your answer going to take?
Mr. Smallwood I warned Mr. Butt that it would take a little time. I said I would have to read all through it again.
Mr. Chairman I must say that Mr. Butt has provoked the situation when he asked for a comparison of the public services of two nations.
Mr. Hollett May I say one word? When a question is asked Mr. Smallwood, and he apparently gets into difficulty, is it the right technique for him to reply by asking you another question?
Mr. Chairman No.
Mr. Hollett That is what he has been doing for the past five minutes.
Mr. Chairman No, he is comparing the public services which obtain in Canada as against those in Newfoundland. Frankly I do not know whether all this reply is justified or not, because I know nothing about the public services of this country.
Mr. Butt ...I can't give information about all the various departments of government; but I worked for the government for many years, and I know that in relation to our development we have practically all the services that Mr. Smallwood read from this list this afternoon. That's the point, and I don't want it to go over the air that Canada will find this, that, and the other thing, and that we are not doing it for ourselves. When he says we are only doing about 20% of this I just don't believe it, after 18 years working for the government. We have public health inspectors and everything else. I know we have a Public Health Act, and from time to time they say "We are going to enforce this", and they do so. We have meat inspection and all sorts of things.
Mr. Smallwood Does Mr. Butt happen to be aware that there is absolutely no control over the inspection of slaughtered animals for the purpose of preventing sales of diseased meat in this country— one of the most scandalous, dangerous things in any so-called civilised country. The public would be shocked if they knew the manner in which the Government of Newfoundland is failing completely to protect public health in the inspection of locally killed meat (pork and beef), and I would face any butcher or livestock grower in Newfoundland to prove my point. I know what I am talking about. Now I won't delay the House. I will give Mr. Butt his point, I will keep him a bit ahead. If he wants to content himself to believe that even proportionately the Government of Newfoundland provides public services to the people of Newfoundland as Canada does for her people, he is entirely welcome to believe it. If he thinks for a moment that the people of Newfoundland will believe it, then he is welcome to his belief. I say now that if he has been in the government civil service for 18 years, for almost twice 18 years I have made a very close study of public and governmental affairs in this country, and I have travelled throughout the length and breadth of this island, and I know what the public services are in Newfoundland. I know what the government does for the people, few know it better, and anyone who is going to set out to persuade me that the Government of Canada does not provide far better and far more public services for its people than our government does for ours is tackling a job that is going to take him a long time to accomplish.
Mr. Higgins I move that we go on to the next paragraph.
Mr. Smallwood Paragraph 4:[1]
Welfare services presently provided by Canada, and therefore applicable to Newfoundland after union pursuant to clause 3, include the following:
(1) Family allowances, as provided by the Family Allowances Act, 1944 and amendments;
(2) Old age pensions and pensions for the blind, as provided by the Old Age Pensions Act, 1927 and amendments, subject to agreement with the Government of the Province;
(3) Unemployment insurance, as provided by the Unemployment Insurance Act, 1940 and amendments;
(4) Sick mariners' benefits for merchant seamen and fishermen, as provided under the Canada Shipping Act, 1934 and amendments;
(5) Assistance for housing, as provided under the National Housing Act, 1944 and amendments.
Family allowances are the name given to payments of money made each month to the children of Canada. There are in Canada, under the age of 16, 3.5 million children. Every child in Canada under the age of 16 is entitled to receive, every month, a cheque for $5 up to the age of six years. Over the age of six and under ten it is $6 a month for every child. Over ten and under 13 it is $7 a month for every child. Where there are five children or more in family, the amount is reduced on the fifth child by $1. If there are six children $2 is taken off the sixth child...
Mr. Miller I have an idea that Mr. Smallwood is reading from a book which is not official, it is probably nothing better than a magazine. We are not going to accept information from a magazine.
Mr. Smallwood Turn to volume 1, page 92, section 47....[2] This which I was reading is a table showing the family allowances in Canada and showing how they are reduced after the fourth child. This is an official document compiled by National Health and Welfare in Canada and shows family allowances. What are family allowances? Family allowances are regular cash grants made to families towards the maintenance, care, training, education and advancement of children.... Mr. Higgins Cannot we have a more brief explanation than we are getting?
Mr. Smallwood This is not brief enough. It is going to take more than a quarter of an hour to explain this. Mr. Higgins is not going to run this Convention.
Mr. Higgins Mr. Chairman, I have been accused of trying to run this Convention. I asked Mr. Smallwood to be brief. He has been 25 minutes explaining one part of a clause. He has gone through two books and is now attempting to go through another.
Mr. Smallwood Mr. Miller objected to my quoting from a pamphlet which, he said, was not official. I am now quoting from the official pamphlet....
Mr. Higgins The Black Books are only another magazine.
Mr. Smallwood They are part of the holiday Mr. Higgins had in Ottawa.
[Demonstrations from gallery]
Mr. Chairman I want no demonstrations from the gallery. Mr. Higgins went to Ottawa as part of your delegation.
Mr. Smallwood He has said he had a holiday.
Mr. Chairman You are not to say it. I ask you to withdraw it.
Mr. Smallwood I will withdraw it — it went into history anyway.
Mr. Higgins I move the committee rise.
Mr. Smallwood You do not want confederation debated after three month's holiday. You are going to hear the explanation of this document or move the closure motion.
Mr.Higgins The delegation should not have gone to Ottawa in the first place.
Mr. Chairman Whether the delegation should have gone or not is entirely beside the point. The delegation was sent to Ottawa, certain information has been received and the Convention quite frankly decided that information should be discussed in the briefest possible time. I do not want to embarrass you, Mr. Smallwood, but would you endeavour to be as brief as possible.
Mr. Smallwood As brief as possible in justice to the people of Newfoundland. It is the people of Newfoundland we have to think of — not what Mr. Higgins wants. Mr. Higgins is not going to tell me how long or how short I will be in explain November 1947 NATIONAL CONVENTION 811ing these documents.
Mr. Higgins Who are you?
Mr. Smallwood I am I. I am piloting this report and I am going to do it. You would like to throw the whole thing out. I can tell the whole story. If the Convention wants to hear the whole story. I can tell it.
Members Tell it!
Mr. Smallwood The country should know it.
Mr. Burry I represent the district of Labrador. Mr. Higgins represents a district in Newfoundland. Maybe mine is not as important a district but it is my contention that my district has a right to know the contents of these documents. Mr. Higgins has expressed himself to Mr. Smallwood on his explaining this thing more briefly. I would like to say that Mr. Smallwood should have considerable time — not taking too long. This is a very important thing to my district and I think Mr. Smallwood should have some time, even if it should take the whole afternoon.
Mr. Smallwood I want to make another point. There is a lot of talk here about the deplorable condition of Canada; that she is bankrupt; down and out; poverty-stricken. Last year the Government of Canada ended up with a surplus of $360 million. This year for the first five months she has had a surplus of $500 million. Why was it necessary for her to borrow $200-300 million? Because she was poor? No! Canada today is extremely prosperous and because she is prosperous she has to borrow some American dollars. She is buying American goods at the rate of $2 billion a year.... She has not got enough dollars, why? Because she is shipping goods to Europe; she is shipping goods to Britain; keeping Britain alive.... Canada is shipping to all over Europe and Asia and she is not getting paid in American dollars. She is running short of American dollars.... Last year the Canadian government had a surplus of $360 million. Now we come to the guts of it. That is a good parliamentary expression.
Mr. Chairman It is quite expressive.
Mr. Smallwood It has been used in parliaments. I do not want to be mealy-mouthed. If, down in Adam's Cove in the District of Bay de Verde, there are 62 children under 16 years, and if $372 a month is put into Adam's Cove amongst those 62 children, the question is, will the parents of these 62 children in Adam's Cove have to pay any taxes? Will their parents have to pay $372 a month taxes?
Mr. Hollett Of course they will.
Mr. Smallwood They will? Let us take a look at it! If that is so, family allowances are no good.... If there are 270 children in Bay de Verde proper under 16 years, that is $1,620 a month. Will the parents have to give the government $1,620 so that the children can get $1,620? If so, family allowances are no good.... If the parents have to pay it themselves so that the children can have it, then family allowances would be no good; they would be only paying it to themselves. We could have family allowances and no confederation.... All very fine to say family allowances cost $250 million a year. You can take that $250 million and divide it by 12.5 million population; but that is not the way. I will put it another way. There are nine provinces in Canada. Every one has its own government, but one government on top of all, the federal government at Ottawa. Does the federal government say, "In the coming fiscal year in our budget we are going to spend $1.75 billion — now there are nine provinces, divide that into $1.75 billion. That is so much"? That would be stupid. They are not stupid. They do not collect their revenue in equal amounts from every province.... The Province of Ontario pays to the federal government nearly half of all the revenue. Throw Quebec in with it, throw in British Columbia, those are the three rich provinces. Quebec has an area vastly bigger than Ontario in size; has vast water-powers; vast timber resources and great mills, mines and factories, and steel mills — a vast industrial province. In British Columbia there is a vast agricultural province — paradise, the Garden of Eden of this world. No country on the face of the earth can compare with British Columbia.
Mr. Butt Not even Texas.
Mr. Smallwood Not even Texas.
Mr. Hollett How long is it since you have been there?
Mr. Smallwood I have never been there. I have only read about it, read descriptions of it as I have of very many parts of the world. Between the three of them, do you know how much they give the Government of Canada? 89 cents out of every dollar the Government of Canada collects! Write that down, Mr. Hollett; and you, too, Mr. Butt. That is the whole point of my argument 89% of 812 NATIONAL CONVENTION November 1947 the revenue of the Government of Canada comes from the great industries of these provinces...
Mr. Miller If you have three provinces contributing as largely as 89%, we must then suppose the other provinces are very poor provinces; they have not really progressed?
Mr. Smallwood Not progressed as much as British Columbia. They have not got the natural resources; they are not as prosperous as those three provinces, that is right.
Mr. Miller One other point, with regard to your references to Canada's surpluses...
Mr. Smallwood I will not be drawn on that at the moment. I will come back to it. We will finish this other point, this 89%. If my memory is right the population of Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia put together comes to 69% of the population of all Canada. Mr. Hollett said it was 75%. Let us call it 75%; 75% of the population should pay 75% of the taxes; but they pay 89%. What does that mean? That means that the other six provinces, the Maritimes and the three prairie provinces between them pay 11% only of the revenue of the Government of Canada: 11% from six and 89% from three. Why is that? Because of the kind of taxation that the Government of Canada collects. Most of it is corporation tax on big companies and corporations, and income tax. That is where she gets the bulk of her revenue — by taxing the people who have the money to pay. Now what would it mean if we were to become a province? There would be three rich provinces and seven not so rich. Suppose a large firm were to start nine branches.... A year passes on and they get the balance sheet of each branch. They find the only branches that made money were the ones at Grand Falls, Buchans and Corner Brook. The other six are losing money. They might let them run on for another year.... Those six branches have lost money, but the three branches made money. What do they do, if they are businessmen? They close down the six branches.
Mr. Hollett That is what would happen to this province. It would be shutdown.
Mr. Smallwood I am coming to that. They close down the six branches which are not paying, why? Because they are a business concern. They are not in business for fun ... they are interested in the balance sheets. Canada has nine provinces. Do they close down the provinces that do not pay? The Province of Nova Scotia gets more from the federal government than it pays that government.... Six provinces take more money from the government than they give for taxation....
Mr. Hollett I would remind you that 3,000 workers had to migrate from the Maritime Provinces to Ontario and Quebec. Is not that closing it down?
Mr. Smallwood Would to God the men in Fortune Bay could go to other places and find work, or the men in St. Brendan's who are down and out because they cannot sell their squid, if they could go to another part of Newfoundland and find work! If the men in Nova Scotia could not find work there, was it not a grand thing that they could move a little farther on and find work? What is wrong with that?.... I hope you, sir, and the members, will not be too hard on me, that you will not condemn me too harshly; I am enthusiastic about this confederation. I may be wrong. My mind may be muddled. I may be just a poor visionary who imagines all these things. I am sincere. If I get carried away, if I roar and bawl, excuse me if I bawl too much. My feelings do sometimes overcome me, and I apologise to the House. I had my mind made up not to allow anyone to get me worked up this evening; I was going to act quietly and dignified but I forgot.
Mr. Hollett Mr. Smallwood made reference to St. Brendan's: "would to God the men of St. Brendan's could go to some other place in this country and find work". A few days ago Mr. Smallwood made reference to a letter and quoted it here, from a lady whom he knows.
Mr. Smallwood I do not know her.
Mr. Hollett Oh, you do not know her? The letter was something about squid and the privation of the people there. He has again brought up St. Brendan's. I come from the Grand Falls district. Buchans is in my district. I know a good many men in Buchans from St. Brendan's who are working in the mines there, and as a result of the statement made by Mr. Smallwood the other day, I hold in my hand a telegram from five men of St. Brendan's working in the mines at Buchans deeply resenting the insinuations made by Mr. Smallwood against the town of St. Brendan's, and they ask me to acquaint this House of their resentment. I am not going to read this telegram, sir, because you ruled no telegram or letter shall November 1947 NATIONAL CONVENTION 813 be read, and I challenge Mr. Smallwood to read it to the House.
Mr. Smallwood I will read it.
Mr. Hollett You are not allowed. This telegram is signed by five hard-working fishermen of St. Brendan's who are now working in the mines there and earning their living. I say we have places to which men can go if they are not too lazy to do so.
Mr. Smallwood Shame! Scandalous, shameful statement. We have thousands of men in Newfoundland who would give half their arm for a job.
Mr. Hollett Is that a point of order? Sit down! I do not want you to bring up St. Brendan's again. I am representing men from St. Brendan's in Buchans who are disgusted with the statement you made the other day. You read that telegram and you will not sleep this night. That is all I want to say, except one other point. He says in this baby bonus they do not tax the poor; they take it out of the rich. I would like to ask Mr. Smallwood, who make the rich rich? Is it not the miners down in the mines in Buchans? Is it not the fisherman on the Labrador? Is it not the men who fell the trees? Are not these the men who make rich men rich? If you increase taxation to a certain point, beyond saturation point, you are making the poor man a darn sight poorer. That is what you are trying to ram down into our throats, that false doctrine, Mr. Smallwood. I move the adjournment.
Mr. Smallwood I move the adjournment, but first I would say in reply to Mr. Hollett that the rich are made by the poor, and family allowances are the method of getting some of it back from the pockets of the rich into the pockets of the poor again.
Mr. Higgins Before we adjourn and whilst on the matter which Mr. Hollett brought up, we had a frenzied oration from Mr. Smallwood about St. Brendan's the other day. I believe actually while Mr. Smallwood was reading that letter, a gentleman was coming to town from St. Brendan's having made a purchase of squid down there; he paid on account of the squid he purchased $4,500; he had not paid the full amount. I do not know if Mr. Smallwood was deliberately misleading, or whether Mrs. White was pulling his leg. Someone was in error. When you refused to allow him to read the letter, he then gave it as his own knowledge.
Mr. Smallwood No, I did not.
Mr. Chairman I distinctly recall ruling that we were not concerned with expressions of opinion outside the House, but if Mr. Smallwood or any other member was talking about some part of the country from his own actual knowledge of that part, it was perfectly competent for him to do it.
Mr. Higgins Then he gave it as his own knowledge. I remembered and I wrote it down.
Mr. Smallwood Official stenographer?
Mr. Higgins I am not an official stenographer, but if you want to repeat more lies in this House you better get another stenographer to take down what you say yourself.
Mr. Smallwood Speaking on the motion to rise the committee and in reply to Mr. Higgins' innuendo, which I am surprised you did not stop him from saying, that I was deceiving the House, the letter I got was from Mrs. White, a lady whom I do not know. I just passed the information on from the letter to the House. I am happy to know they have sold their squid. I did not know until this moment.
Mr. Higgins I do not know that they have yet.
Mr. Smallwood I did not know it. The squid was there; they could not sell it; could not get any food for it. If conditions have improved since, no one is happier than I am. It happens to be in my district. The people of St. Brendan's have been extremely kind to me.
Mr. Chairman I have had to rise this committee before. I will go further next time. I am not going to tolerate these exchanges. The motion to rise the committee has been before me for the last ten minutes and on account of those verbal exchanges I have not been able to do anything. I am not interested at all in the endeavour of any member to have a parting shot when it is calculated to interfere with the discharge of my duties. If it occurs again the committee will rise and I will not wait for a motion.
[The committee rose and reported progress, and the other items on the order paper were deferred]
Mr. Fogwill I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask His Excellency the Governor in Commission the following questions:
1. What pension (superannuation) rights have the employees of the Newfoundland Railway acquired under Newfoundland law?
2. In the event of the Newfoundland 814 NATIONAL CONVENTION November 1947 Railway's being taken over and operated by the Canadian National Railway system, who will be liable for the payments of pensions paid to employees of the Newfoundland Railway presently retired and receiving pensions?
[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:510. [Volume II is not in The Confederation Debates Collection]
  • [1] Volume II:511. [Volume II is not in The Confederation Debates Collection]
  • [1] The Black Books.
  • [2] The Black Books.
  • 1 Volume II:511. [Volume II is not in The Confederation Debates Collection]
  • [2] The Black Books.

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