Newfoundland National Convention, 1 December 1947, Debates on Confederation with Canada


December 1, 1947

Mr. Smallwood I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask His Excellency the Governor in Commission to ask the Government of Canada to state whether, in the event of union and the consequent operation of the Newfoundland railway and steamship system by Canada, it would be the policy of the Government of Canada to continue in their employment all the employees of the system at the time of union, with the rights and privileges with respect to continuity of employment that are accorded to employees of the Canadian National Railways.
Mr. Cashin Mr. Chairman, I should like to bring to the attention of the delegates and to the country an article which appeared in a local newspaper on Saturday last, November 29. It reads as follows and is captioned:
Duplessis is to Challenge Decision by Privy Council
Quebec, November 29: Formal notice has been served upon Ottawa, Newfoundland and the Privy Council that this province apparently does not consider that the judgment rendered by the Council about twenty years ago, taking part of Labrador away from Quebec and awarding it to Newfoundland, constitutes a final settlement of this highly controversial issue. Quebec's newsy premier, Hon. Maurice Duplessis revealed this at a press conference yesterday afternoon, when he referred to the mineral possibilities and probabilities of Ungava, or New Quebec, much of which is located in Labrador.
"This great mineral wealth uncovered is particularly important, and we are pleased to say that two-thirds of this vast territory incontestably is located in the Province of Quebec," said Mr. Duplessis, who then went on to make an unusually important statement, when he declared that "One-third is a territory upon which we consider that we have rights."
He referred to this one-third in question at another point as "One third which was attributed by a judgment of the Privy Council and by the present federal government to the colony of Newfoundland." The whole matter came up when the premier told reporters that he had just received a visit from J. I. Rankin, the managing director of N.A. Timmins, Regd., the Timmins Interests, and those controlling the Hollinger North Shore Exploration Co. Ltd., which firm is doing the mineral exploration and exploitation work in Ungava. Mr. Duplessis goes on, "The first reports of the work which I have just received indicate that tons of unsurpassable mineral wealth was found and this is only the result of the investigation which relatively speaking was a most incomplete one...."
Asked exactly what minerals had been uncovered, the premier replied, "Vast quantities of mineral ore, iron most definitely and I think gold and possibly other minerals too. I did not get detailed information to any extent." He goes on, "The results to date are all the more remarkable and the future possibilities and probabilities extraordinary", he pointed out, "when it is considered that the Hollinger interests are working only a portion of a section of 1,500 square miles out of the entire New Quebec or Ungava Territory, which has an area of more than 311,000 square miles."
Mr. Duplessis recalled that all this vast and exceptionally rich territory of more than 300,000 square miles had remained absolutely unproductive until the National Union assumed office for a second time in 1944....
He terminated his statement by reiterating, "Quebec intends remaining the mistress in her own home and running her own affairs, and with the vast industrial expansion which this province definitely established, you can see how important it is to this province in particular but to Canada as a whole also, that we remain masters in our own house and continue to administer our own affairs.
I cannot say what my fellow delegates may think of this, but to me it seems a most extraordinary statement for the Prime Minister of Quebec to make. Goodness knows, this whole Convention set-up is bewildering enough. The political fog in which our people are enshrouded today is dense enough, without adding to our confusion by the injection of this sort of thing. At the very beginning of these so-called terms from Ottawa, as contained in the Grey Book, we find in section 2 the following: "The province of Newfoundland 900 NATIONAL CONVENTION December 1947 will include the territory of Labrador defined by the award of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in 1927 as Newfoundland territory." There we have a definite, clear-cut statement by the Ottawa government. Yet here we have at the same time the Quebec provincial government, representative, mind you, of approximately one- third of the population of Canada, and representing a political balance of power in the Canadian Parliament, saying that they deny this statement — that they refuse to acknowledge Newfoundland as being the legal owner of this territory, and that they are going to do everything in their power to take it from us. If the circumstances were different, my first impulse would be to ask the Commission government what this whole thing means. But I know that I would be only wasting my time, because they would not tell me. Only a few days ago, they were asked whether we could regard the agreement made between the Government of Great Britain and our own government in 1933 as being at present valid and effective, and if it were to be followed out, and they came back with the reply that in effect it was none of our business. Here we have a solemn agreement made between two governments, whereby we surrendered our sovereignty upon certain specific terms and which provided for the return of our lost political life; and we are told that we should not talk about it, that it is not within the province of us representatives of the Newfoundland people even to discuss it. Using the words of Winston Churchill, "What kind of people do they think we are?" Do they think we are so many children to be trifled with? Do they think we do not know the nature of a contract, and the sacred moral and legal obligations which it entails and which are imposed upon the parties? It seems to me that it is time we ceased to allow ourselves, or our people, to be used for the foolish purposes of this debating society. It is time that we realised that we have greater duties, greater responsibilities, greater obligations than those which have been imposed upon us by this narrow, farcical Convention and its narrower terms of reference. How can we place any dependence, any faith upon any agreement or promise made to us by any government of Canada or, for that matter any other country, when we see an attempt being made, as in this case, to tear these terms of reference to bits before we have even finished reading them?
But the point I wish to make is this: it is impossible for us to blind our eyes to the fact that we are obviously holding discussions with a country a third of whose people openly and brazenly declare they will refuse to honour the terms now before the Chair — who openly tell the world that they are going to spare no effort to rob us of our rich Labrador territory. I ask my fellow delegates: are they prepared to consider doing business on that basis? Are they prepared to discuss terms with a people who have openly shown their unfriendliness — who declare that regardless of all laws, their purpose is to wrest from us that which is ours?
Under the circumstances, if we have respect for ourselves, if we are sincere in our desire to faithfully protect the interests of the people who sent us here, we must seriously consider the matter of throwing this confederation business out of this chamber, and to have no more parley with a people who threaten our well-being — who in effect are set on a campaign to steal away our people's wealth....
We are witnessing a spectacle which has been repeated many times in the history of small countries. It is the old story of the covetous eyes and the greedy hands of bigger and more powerful countries coveting the wealth and the assets of the smaller country. Sometimes the big fellow gets what he wants by political trickery, sometimes he gets it by threats and pressure; and failing these, he takes it by brute force. In our Labrador possession, through the goodness of Providence, we have been given a source of untold wealth, a means by which this country can obtain and hold a continued prosperity. How long, I ask you, do you think this wealth will be ours if we once found ourselves in the hands of the Canadian government? I tell you that it would be only so long as they could rig up the necessary legal machinery to euchre us out of it.
It is all too clear now that the key to this whole mystery is the desire of Canada to take from us our Labrador wealth. It explains everything — baby bonuses, old age pensions and all the rest of it. It is a cheap enough bribe.... I make the statement now, and I am convinced that time will bear me out, that this entire business — referendums, conventions and all the rest of it, has but one main object, and that is a deliberate and preconceived December 1947 NATIONAL CONVENTION 901 plot to rob this country of the unexpected wealth of our Labrador.
Mr. Chairman I do not think you are entitled to express that opinion.
Mr. Cashin I will go further and say that the parties to this plot are the Government of Great Britain, Canada and our own local Commission, and to show how recklessly eager they are to see this plot succeed, we find that they do not hesitate in throwing overboard the agreement of 1933.
Mr. Chairman Unless you can lay the foundation for that statement, I do not think you ought to go that far.
Mr. Cashin I make the statement, and I am convinced that time will bear me out.
Mr. Chairman That may be. None of us is omniscient; we cannot say whether time will bear you out or not. You are making a statement of fact. I do not think you are justified in doing that at this time.
Mr. Cashin I want to make it clear that I am not in the least afraid of discussing these so-called Canadian terms, for the simple reason that I am confident that when the people have been shown how worthless they really are, they will feel about them as I do. My principal objection to them is that I see in them only a camouflage, a deceit and a bait that is being used by those who plot against our country, to entrap and destroy us. I will show this Convention, and I will back it with the necessary proof, that this whole thing had its origin several years ago. And when the story is told, it will be a most inglorious one for all parties concerned.
Mr. Chairman, it is not my intention to go further into this matter at the present time. Nor do I intend to make any motion at the moment. My object is simply to impress on delegates the hidden significance of this latest move on the part of the premier of French Canada and to ask my fellow delegates to give the matter their serious consideration. Vigilance, it is said, is the price of safety. Let that then be our watchword.
Mr. Chairman I have read and studied that article, Major Cashin. I cannot help expressing the feeling that for Premier Duplessis it might be good politics; but in my judgement it is pretty bad law. How he or anybody else can depart from a judgement delivered by the Privy Council 20 years ago, I cannot begin to understand.
Mr. Cashin I agree from the legal standpoint, but as I said a few minutes ago, "time will bear me out". You or I may not be here, but you will find if we go into confederation with Canada, that within five years Labrador will be taken from Newfoundland.
Mr. Smallwood I do not know if I am in order in speaking at this moment any more than Major Cashin was in order. If he was in order, I take it I am in order. I do not know what business is before the House. I do not know if there is any motion before the House.
Mr. Chairman There is no motion before the House.
Mr. Smallwood I take it that Major Cashin was out of order and I am equally out of order, not more so.
Mr. Chairman I allowed Major Cashin the latitude of going on; I must allow you the same latitude, out of order or otherwise.
Mr. Smallwood We were all interested on Saturday to read in the Evening Telegram a special despatch from its own correspondent in Quebec; and to read again this morning in the Daily News a Canadian Press despatch about the same matter, but with a significant difference. The story on Saturday said that Duplessis had declared that he had served notice on the governments of Canada and Newfoundland, and on the Privy Council, of intending to make a move to offset the judgement of the Privy Council 20 years ago. Whereas in the Canadian Press despatch in the Daily News not a single word is said about Quebec serving notice on the governments of Canada and Newfoundland and on the Privy Council. We do not know Quebec in this matter. Quebec has nothing to do with it, never did. We never had any dispute with the Province of Quebec.... This is a contemptible, completely contemptible effort, an effort beneath contempt, beyond contempt, to drag a red herring across the trail; to create a stink so heavy, so strong — that is what it is. We in Newfoundland have never had anything to do with the Province of Quebec or the Government of Quebec or the premier of Quebec in the Labrador boundary question.
Mr. Chairman Even if we did, they have been sleeping 20 years on their rights.
Mr. Smallwood ....There was a dispute between the governments of Canada and Newfoundland as to where the boundary of Labrador should lie. There was the dispute. That dispute came up 40 902 NATIONAL CONVENTION December 1947 odd years ago — 50 years ago, in the first place...
Mr. Chairman Do not go into detail.
Mr. Smallwood I am doing this to take the stink, the smear out of it, to put it in its true perspective. It came to the point where it could be submitted to a court.... Finally the governments of Newfoundland and Canada agreed to submit the matter to the highest court in the whole world insofar as the British Empire and the British Commonwealth of Nations is concerned, ... namely the judicial division of the Privy Council itself.... Quebec was not in it; she had nothing to do with it. The Government of Canada engaged its lawyers and the Government of Newfoundland engaged its lawyers. I have read every word of that evidence. The Judicial Committee handed down its verdict 20 years ago. What was the verdict? They could see exactly where the boundary lay in some respects ... but there was one part they could not see where the point was, and they said, "The height of land: find that height of land and you have the boundary." The Government of Canada accepted that verdict. They had no choice...
Mr. Cashin The House knows that just as well as you do.
Mr. Smallwood ....The matter is closed. There is no one on this earth who could reopen it; it is settled, finished and finalised. And now we have it dragged in here, and why? There is an election on in Quebec. He is not an officer of the Government of Canada, this slimy politician, this fascist, this Nazi, this vote-getter. He wants to be reelected, and he has dragged this in as an election tactic. We know all about election tactics, and we are asked by Major Cashin to accept what Mr. Duplessis says as being important when the cold truth of the matter is the Government of Canada says, the Province of Newfoundland will include the territory of Labrador. What territory of Labrador? The territory of Labrador defined by the award of the Judicial Committee. Now this dark, dismal plot that Major Cashin throws at us; we are not surprised, because Major Cashin can see plots where no one else can see them...
Mr. Chairman There is no motion before the Chair. I was prepared to allow Major Cashin the right to express himself on the point, but you are not arguing it before the Privy Council. If you want to comment on it briefly, I will be glad to allow you the right; but as far as I am concerned Mr. Duplessis is wasting his time since the party concerned is the Dominion of Canada, not the Province of Quebec. The only way in which Mr. Duplessis could take over Labrador is by forcibly invading it.... I don't think we ought to waste very much further time on this.
Mr. Smallwood There will be an awful lot of time wasted between now and the referendum about Premier Duplessis and the territory belonging to our government in Labrador. Our people are going to hear an awful lot about this because there has been a grievance there and this is a good time to ventilate it, as has been done so many times in the past by politicians.
Mr. Chairman Newspaper reports are of no concern to me at all. They have no official standing. It is true that I did allow Major Cashin to read it, but from the purely parliamentary standpoint he had no right to refer to it. After all, a newspaper report is simply the reporter's conception of what the thing is. When Major Cashin referred to it I did not know his purpose, but I think I should have allowed him a certain amount of latitude by virtue of the fact that it did headline the Evening Telegram on Saturday afternoon.... I don't think it is incumbent upon you to try to make out an indictment against Premier Duplessis. A lot of us know all about Premier Duplessis. We know his antipathy to English-speaking people, and he would cut off if he could, for no other reason, the entry of Newfoundland, or the United States or any English-speaking body, so as to allow his French-Canadians to have all he thinks they should have. As far as I am concerned, Mr. Smallwood, I don't think there is any point in belabouring the point....
Mr. Smallwood I won't labour the point any more. I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask His Excellency the Governor in Commission to ask the Government of Canada whether the recently published statements of the Hon. Mr. Duplessis — the Honourable Mr. Duplessis...
Mr. Chairman Yes, go on.
Mr. Smallwood God help us, God help us. To ask the Government of Canada whether the recently published statements of the Hon. Mr. Duplessis, Premier of Quebec, on the Labrador boundary, modify in any particular the letter and enclosure of October 29, 1947, of the Right Honourable the Prime Minister of Canada, particularly in clause 2 of the enclosure, which reads December 1947 NATIONAL CONVENTION 903 as follows: "The Province of Newfoundland will include the territory of Labrador, defined by the award of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in 1927 as Newfoundland territory."
Mr. Hollett Mr. Chairman...
Mr. Chairman There is no motion before the Chair, Mr. Hollett.
Mr. Hollett I was about to give notice of question, but I wanted to say a few words about the question that has been raised
Mr. Chairman I am not going to listen to much more on it, Mr. Hollett. It is decidedly out of order, although I did allow Mr. Cashin to quote from a newspaper, which I am not bound to recognise at all. I am not bound to take notice of any newspaper reports or anything which is apparently or allegedly happening in Canada or anywhere else, but if you are going to be brief, I suppose...
Mr. Hollett I will be very brief, sir. I too was very much perturbed when I saw the Telegram on Saturday.... I immediately prepared a question to be laid on the table. There is just one other thing that I want to draw to the attention of this House, and that is the British North America Act, 1871, which reads as follows: "Alteration of Limits of Province", section III: "The Parliament of Canada may from time to time with the consent of the Legislature of any Province of the said Dominion, increase, diminish, or otherwise alter the limits of such Province, upon such terms and conditions as may be agreed to by the said Legislature; and may, with the like consent, make provision respecting the effect and operation of any such increase or diminution or alteration of territory in relation to any province effected thereby." Which simply means this: if we become a province of the Dominion of Canada, the Canadian government could alter the limits of the Newfoundland...
Mr. Chairman I know that.
Mr. Hollett The Canadian government could alter the limits of the Newfoundland province with the consent of the Newfoundland legislature.
Mr. Chairman I prefer to put it this way, and it is the way I was always taught to put it: that the areas that any province might bring with it into confederation cannot in any way be abrogated or taken away by the Parliament of Canada, except by and with the express consent of the legislature.
Mr. Hollett That is exactly what I said, and I just want to add one further remark before I put my question, and that is this: having studied very carefully the two Black Books which have been brought back by the delegation to Canada, I foresee that within the next eight years the finances of this country will be in such a rotten state that the legislature of Newfoundland will be prepared to make any change in the limitation of the province. Now this is the question which I wish to lay on the table:
Whereas certain statements have appeared in the press of this country, as well as in the press of the Province of Quebec, to the effect that the premier of Quebec has served formal notice upon the Government of Newfoundland that the province of Quebec does not consider that the judgement of the Privy Council in 1927 relative to the boundary between Quebec-Labrador and Newfoundland-Labrador is the final settlement of this issue, and whereas such statements may have a considerable bearing upon the deliberations and recommendations to be made by this National Convention, I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask the Commission of Government to lay on the table a factual statement as to whether such formal notice from the Quebec government has been or has not received by the said Commission of Government.

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

Mr. Smallwood Mr. Chairman, when we rose on Friday we were at clause 22. I had got about half way through my explanation of the clause when the House rose, and so I do not intend now to take very much time although, as I said then, this is the most important clause in the entire document. It is no harm to read it again, sir?
Mr. Chairman I think it would be very advisable.
Mr. Smallwood Clause 22, Economic Survey.
Should the government of the province institute an economic survey of New 904 NATIONAL CONVENTION December 1947 foundland with a view to determining what resources may profitably be developed and what new industries may be established or existing industries expanded, the Government of Canada will make available the services of technical personnel and agencies to assist in the work.
As soon as may be practicable after union the Government of Canada will make a special effort to collect and make available statistical and scientific data about the natural resources and economy of Newfoundland, in order to bring such information up to the standard attained for existing provinces.
There is a story behind that clause, which the members no doubt might like to hear. We had got fairly well along in our talks when I raised what I thought was a matter of fundamental importance to Newfoundland. I said, "Mr. St. Laurent, as long as I remember I have been hearing a certain phrase used by people, and that is about opening the country up — opening up Newfoundland. That is a sort of old-fashioned, homely way of saying that we would like to have Newfoundland developed — expanded and developed. Now", I said, "what would confederation do to open up Newfoundland, to open up her resources, to develop her resources and expand her economy?" I did not get very far at that first meeting. One member only of the conference supported me, and that was the Hon. Brooke Claxton. I said it again, and still did not get very far, but at the third one they agreed to insert a clause covering the situation, and that clause is here: the Government of Canada would provide the services of technical personnel and agencies to assist in the work. In what work? In the work of making an economic survey of Newfoundland to see what resources may be developed, and what new industries may be established, or existing industries expanded, and then it says: "As soon as may be practicable after union the Government of Canada will make a special effort to collect and make available statistical and scientific data about the natural resources and economy of Newfoundland, in order to bring such information up to the standard attained for existing provinces." Wherever in these terms the word "Newfoundland" occurs, that word includes Labrador, so that an economic survey of Newfoundland means an economic survey of Newfoundland and Newfoundland-Labrador, and that kind of survey is going to take many millions of dollars to conduct. It cannot be done, you cannot scour and scrape the island of Newfoundland and the 100,000 square miles we own down there in Labrador, for minerals and water- powers and timber and other natural resources without it taking several years and many millions of dollars. And that, not family allowances, important as they are, not old age pensions, not the various social security payments that will come into Newfoundland, and not the subsidies that will be paid to the government of the province of Newfoundland. not these things, but this clause — the economic survey of Newfoundland — is in my opinion the most important thing in this entire document.
Mr. Hollett Mr. Chairman, I would like to make a few comments with regard to that particular section. The first thing I notice is the phrase "Should the government of the province institute an economic survey" — "should they". It is problematical. I go on further: "As soon as may be practicable" — God only knows when that will be — "As soon as may be practicable after union the Government of Canada will make a special effort to collect and make available statistical and scientific data about the natural resources and economy of Newfoundland, in order to bring such information up to the standard attained for existing provinces." Now, I ask members to fix in their minds the provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island. They are existing provinces. they have been there, most of them, for 70 years. I wonder if Mr. Smallwood could tell me if this economic survey, which is the standard for all the provinces in Canada, has in any way affected the prosperity or otherwise of, say, Prince Edward Island. Usually, if you improve the economy of a country the population of that country increases. Take Prince Edward Island — the population has hovered around 90,000 for the last 70 years.
One more point, we have had economists in this country galore. We have had people prospecting for ore. All the wood we have is now being exploited, we are catching as much fish as we can. Did these Ottawa people indicate what other prospects there might be in this country ... ? I just raise the point because I don't want anyone December 1947 NATIONAL CONVENTION 905 to hold out a hope that should the Canadian government decide to make an economic survey they would do it as soon as practicable. I wonder if Mr. Smallwood will say a word on that?
Mr. Smallwood Mr. Hollett is, whether intentionally or unintentionally, confusing the two paragraphs; the first paragraph deals with an economic survey, and the second paragraph deals only with a special effort of the Government of Canada to collect and make available scientific data. It is that which is to be done as soon as practicable after union. The other thing is done when the provincial government institutes the survey. The reason is this: ... that if it were not left to the Government of Newfoundland to institute and initiate the economic survey, and the Government of Canada stepped in on its own, immediately what we would be hearing would be, "Oh, I see, so without a by your leave the Government of Canada is going to walk in and begin surveying your resources". Should the government of the province start it, then the Government of Canada will step in and do the job, so that no one can say they will ride in here roughshod, or without permission. It's up to the Government of Newfoundland.... The other point is as to Prince Edward Island. We have said a lot about PEI in the Convention in the last few days. Is there any need for me to say once more that PEI, although it is a province, is a little island of 2,000 square miles, one-twentieth the size of the island of Newfoundland. It is only a large farm. It has no industries, no natural resources apart from the soil and the fish in the water. It has no minerals, no oil, no timber, has no natural resources except its very fine soil and the fish surrounding its coast. Therefore, what happens is this: a man who had a farm in PEI of 50 acres 30 or 40 years ago, inherited it from his father who had owned 300 acres, and the various sons took 50 acres each. Now he is married and has sons, and there is not enough land for four or five sons to live on, so what happens is the oldest sons stay on, and the younger ones have to get off. When the population grows to the point where the land cannot support them, they emigrate to other parts of Canada, and a good thing it is that they have other parts to immigrate to. Let's hear no more about this tiny little Island of Prince Edward's.... Now one other point Mr. Hollett raised on this clause. Take the second paragraph: "As soon as may be practicable after union". Any member of the Convention, or any member of the public may care to think that the Government of Canada is just putting up a big bluff, only a cod, that they are a crowd of cheapskates who are trying to bluff this country; if anyone wishes to believe that he has a perfect right to believe it. If Mr. Hollett wishes to believe it, he has a perfect right to, and if he says that the words, "As soon as practicable after union the Government of Canada will do such and such" are not worth the paper they are written on, he is entitled so to believe.
Mr. Hollett What do you think?
Mr. Smallwood I am convinced of this, and it seems to me a very reasonable belief: Newfoundland as a province of Canada is either going to be a drag on the Dominion of Canada, or she is going to pay her way. One or the other. Which would Canada want?... She would want to step in and give us a lifting hand that would help us stand on our own feet and be independent financially and otherwise. That is what I believe.
Mr. Hollett I only asked you a question.
Mr. Smallwood Well that's my answer, and I stand by it.
Mr. Higgins I would like to make a short comment on that paragraph, particularly with respect to the first part. I am a little disappointed in the wording, and in the interpretation that we were given in Ottawa, and the interpretation that Mr. Smallwood has given today. In reading the first part of the first paragraph, it is clearly stated that should the Government of Newfoundland institute an economic survey and request the Government of Canada, then the latter will make available technical personnel or agencies to assist in the work. It does not say, as I was led to believe, that the Government of Canada would pay for the work. It merely says to assist in the work. Now how much assistance it is going to be, and who is going to pay for it, is questionable — very questionable. They may merely provide the personnel and the agencies, and we will have to pay for it. That is the meaning of the paragraph, and I would challenge Mr. Smallwood to interpret it otherwise.
Mr. Smallwood I will very gladly do that. If Mr. Higgins can point to one single solitary case in the 80 years of Canadian history where the federal government surveyed a province and charged that province for doing it...
Mr. Chairman That is not the point. The point is...
Mr. Smallwood Charged for the services of its personnel that it loaned to that province.
Mr. Chairman The point taken by Mr. Higgins arises out of his interpretation of the expression "The Government of Canada will make available the services of technical personnel and agencies to assist in the, work." It is not a case of what they have done in the past for other provinces. The question that Mr. Higgins has directed is the interpretation to be placed upon the phrase that I have just read, and he says it is an open question as to how much technical personnel and agencies are to be provided by the Dominion government, and if and when provided, by whom and to what extent the services are to be paid.
Mr. Smallwood It was to that point exactly that I was addressing myself, and I said in reply, would Mr. Higgins show me one case in the 80 years of confederation, where the Government of Canada has conducted any survey of minerals or water-powerm or fish or soil, for any province and charged that province for doing it?
Mr. Higgins That is not the point, it is not what they did in the past.
Mr. Smallwood That's exactly what it is.... ls it its practice, when it does work for various provinces, to charge the provinces for doing it?
Mr. Chairman What the Dominion has done for the provinces in similar circumstances, insofar as a uniform policy may be found, may assist in the interpretation of this clause, but has no direct bearing upon an interpretation of the phrase.
Mr. Higgins We don't know officially what has been done by the Dominion.
Mr. Chairman Well, that's another matter.
Mr. Smallwood You don't want me to take up the Black Book and read again the technological and scientific services of the Government of Canada... There they are, we read them out the other day, these great federal departments employing thousands of men, expert technical men at work all the year around. Where do they work? Throughout the provinces of Canada doing this survey work. They do not charge any provincial government for the work they do. It is borne in full by the Government of Canada, and there is no reason in the world to suppose that in doing that kind of survey in Newfoundland they are going to charge for it. Where did that suggestion come from? Mr. Higgins said, "How do we know but they will charge us for it?"
Mr. Chairman No. Mr. Higgins is asking. Now is your reply this: that the nature and extent of the services to be rendered by the Government of Canada under the concluding words of the first paragraph of clause 22. Mr. Smallwood, has to be resolved in the light of the technical and other services which were mimeographed by you the other day, and delivered to members of the House?
Mr. Smallwood In part, sir, because remember that that list is merely the names of the divisions, it is not a description of their work, It is merely a pan list ofthe various departments of the Government of Canada.
Mr. Chairman Let me go further then, as detailed in the Black Book.
Mr. Smallwood Yes sir, and applied in Newfoundland with particular pressure in point of time. These great federal departments of Canada have come to Newfoundland to scour the island and scour Labrador in an effort...
Mr. Higgins Mr. Chairman, I don't want to interrupt...
Mr. Smallwood Well, Mr. Higgins had better not interrupt, unless he is on a point of order or privilege.
Mr. Higgins Well, l am on a point of order. I am asking for the interpretation of the paragraph. I am not asking for an oration on the services provided by the Government of Canada. How do you sir, interpret the wording of that section?
Mr. Chairman It might not mean very much and it might mean a great deal. Perhaps at this time, Mr. Smallwood, however embarrassing it might be, I will allow you to refer to the details as given in the Black Book, and to which I now direct your attention.
Mr. Smallwood I thank you for permission to do that. In doing that, in view of the discussion we had earlier today, and in view of the time, to spare the House and the country the ordeal of reading a description of these great federal departments...
Mr. Chairman You might take a midway position, Mr. Higgins has addressed himself to me, but I am afraid I cannot do anything without the assistance of somebody.
Mr. Higgins It is only the wording, the inter December 1947 NATIONAL CONVENTION 907 pretation, I am asking you.
Mr. Chairman The nature and extent of the services envisaged by the phrase is in question, and for that I would refer you to the volume of the Black Book where this is referred to.
Mr. Higgins I ask you again how you interpret the words "to assist in the work." Does it mean to complete the work or merely to assist in the work?
Mr. Chairman I construe this clause to mean that the work envisaged and contemplated by the section in question will be facilitated by the Government of Canada by providing the technical personnel and agents. I constnte the word "agents" to mean technical personnel and technical agents to assist. How I constme that is this: there is a certainjob to be done which will require certain technical advice and technical skill, that technical personnel will be provided by the Government of Canada.
Mr. Higgins Should not the word "assist" be left out?
Mr. Chairman No. If, for example, you are going to build a paper mill tomorrow, you may have 15,000 employees; but of that number, only maybe 5% or 10% provide the technical help and assistance. I regard this as meaning pretty well the same thing. They will provide the technical help and assistance.
Mr. Higgins The province will have to provide the other services?
Mr. Chairman I think it is merely an undertaking on the part of the Canadian government to facilitate, not to "do", by providing the technical personnel and assistance to bring about the completion of the work; the rest and residue falls on the province, That is my interpretation for what it is worth.
Mr. Smallwood Here are some of the things the Government of Canada does...
Mr. Higgins Could we not ask the government a straight question?
Mr. Smallwood He is quite welcome to do that. I am about to read, at your request, sir, a description of some of the things the Government of Canada does.
Mr. Chairman I was asked a question about the nature of the technical services, if the answer is in the Black Book, you may read it.
[Mr. Smallwood then read sections of the Black Book, Volume I, dealing with the Canadian departments of Mines and Resources and Public Works]
Mr. Bailey ...After this survey is carried out, what is to be done then? Our people. even the most ardent confederates, are looking forward in terms of dollars and cents; what our people want to know is how quick can all those scientific terms be turned into cash.
Mr. Chairman I do not think anyone alive can answer that.
Mr. Bailey I do not believe that if we went into confederation all those scientific terms would bring one barrel of flour into the pantry or one piece of pork into the barrel. To my mind that is not worth the paper it is written on.
Mr. Chairman The clause simply says they undertake to conduct an economic survey with the idea of determining the resources that may be properly developed and to provide, if you will, the necessary technical help and assistance in determination of that. The establishment of industry after that takes place is something entirely different, depending on world conditions, the ability to raise money and other factors.
Mr. Bailey We have been referring to PEI pretty often recently. I believe the population of that Island when they went into confederation was 110,000, and today it is 92,000.
Mr. Smallwood 94,000.
Mr. Bailey I wonder why the people cannot get as good a living there now as they got 70 or 80 years ago. I have here a quotation from the Department of Reconstruction of Prince Edward Island where it gives the wage earnings. 1 think our people should know of it. In the borough of Queens, 4,045 wage earners. average yearly earnings each, $720. County of Kings, 1,41l wage earners, average earnings $419. The point I want to press home is that apparently confederation has not increased wage earnings on the Island. Take the fishermen and loggers and average it up, very few people in Newfoundland, except those unfortunate enough to have a bad voyage, make below $419. I know on our part of the coast the ships' wages for four months in Bay de Verde and Grates Cove is somewhere around $300, and the same thing applies to many ships that go to the Labrador.
Mr. Chairman You are as far from the point as the sun is from the earth. We are debating section 22. You are telling us about PEI. What possible 908 NATIONAL CONVENTION December 1947 connection is there between that and section 22?
Mr. Bailey Mr. Smallwood brought up the matter of PEI.
Mr. Chairman You have gone astray from the point. PEI entered into the picture in connection with communications under section 4.
Mr. Hollett On that point, we were talking about the surveys of the natural resources of the province. I take it the whole standard of any country or any province will depend on the amount of natural resources?
Mr. Chairman And the development which takes place.
Mr. Hollett And the living standard. For instance, the salaries of teachers would depend on the natural resources of the country. I put it to you that with all these surveys that have been made, say in PEI, they have not yet been able to raise the salaries of their teachers to the standard which we have in Newfoundland now. I was wondering if that was why the delegation to Ottawa cut $500,000 off the amount of the teachers, so that we could get down to the standard of Prince Edward Island. We are talking about natural resources. We must relate everything else to these natural resources.
Mr. Chairman Did I understand you to make the statement that the educational standard, the salaries of teachers generally in eastern Canada, are lower than Newfoundland?
Mr. Hollett The salaries of teachers in PEI are very much lower than they are in Newfoundland. If you wish me to prove it, I can.
Mr. Chairman I am not interested in the difficulties of the teaching profession in PEI; I am interested in PEI only insofar as it may have a bearing on the correct interpretation of section 22 which is now before the Chair.
Mr. Hollett This economic survey which we are to get from the experts of Canada is not likely to tend to raise the standard of living of our people, if we are to judge by the provinces now existing in Canada.
Mr. Chairman I quite agree with that. The point is this, industrially this country may have great potentialities. Mr. Smallwood tells us PEI never had any.
Mr. Hollett Did Mr. Smallwood say PEI never had any?
Mr. Chairman I understood him to say it should be regarded as a million dollar farm.
Mr. Smallwood I did not say PEI had no industry; I said there were no natural resources except soil and fish
Mr. Hollett Before Prince Edward Island went into confederation she was one of the richest little countries in the world. She had a huge ship-building industry; a good deal of forestry: good fishing; a splendid farming trade with the USA — the most prosperous little country on the Atlantic seaboard
Mr. Smallwood Mr. Bailey said, and I am paraphrasing him, this survey, those experts scouring the island to find out what we have in the way of natural resources, would that put a piece of pork in the barrel? Would that create work and employment? Surely the answer is simple. How long back in his life can Mr. Bailey remember hearing stories of our inexhaustible wealth, our vast natural resources? And it is only this year, 1947, that any government in Newfoundland's history has ever brought in a man to begin to measure how much water-power we have; there is no known check of our minerals; no known check of our timber resources.... It is time we found out just what we have got. When we have found it out, will that put an extra pound of pork in the barrel? Yes, for this reason. We have gone beyond the day when someone could start a little company with $10,000 or $15,000, get a grant of a piece of land supposed to contain a mine, and then go out and sell the mine for a million dollars. Today you have to know exactly what you have before capital will show any interest. Let someone show what Newfoundland has, and if we are a province of Canada, and it is found out officially, definite data can be printed and published as to what we have, and there is capital in Canada, the United States and even in Britain to capitalise every last little ounce of the natural resources we have. That is why we need this economic survey. Let us find out what resources we have here....
Mr. Cashin In connection with mining in Canada, Mr. Smallwood, was it through the efforts of the Canadian government that the outstanding gold mines of Canada were brought about?
Mr. Smallwood I will answer in my own way. I will not answer "yes" or "no". I will not be forced into it.
Mr. Cashin Let us take the Lakeshore. That was December 1947 NATIONAL CONVENTION 909 discovered by Harry Oakes, a gold mining prospector who came up from the States many years ago. He prospected in Alaska, came into Ontario and what happened? He was trying to beat his way from Toronto to Montreal and was thrown off the train by the conductor. He fell in with a Chinaman and he discovered the Lakeshore. That is one of them. It was the pioneers in Canada who discovered its wealth. The government probably assisted them later on. They did it here. They do it everywhere. Let us look at Hollinger mine — the one that is owned by Timmins. What happened? Hollinger controls probably the biggest gold mine in the world, founded by Benny Hollinger, staked by McMartin. The government had nothing to do with that. As far as mining is concerned, you have to have the pioneer spirit, the men to go out in the wilds. Someone went to the Labrador and found the ore, the government did not find it. The same thing applies to forestry. The government did not know what timber was on Crown lands. They give us some idea.
Mr. Smallwood It was only a guess.
Mr. Cashin In Canada they do not know what they have.
Mr. Smallwood Yes, they do.
Mr. Cashin Go down to Quebec, and they cannot tell you, or to British Columbia. In Vancouver, I was there 40 years ago, they do not know what they have there yet. It is being discovered every day.... As far as the Government of Canada coming down here is concerned, our people have to do it themselves. We have to get over the idea, whether we have confederation, or under Commission government or under responsible government or any other form of government, that if we are not prepared to pioneer and work ourselves, no government is going to feed us. Someone has to pay for it and it is generally the taxpayer. Whilst we appreciate the Canadian government's proposals — that is why I have sympathy with Mr. Smallwood here and it is unusual for me to say that — he is acting on behalf of the Canadian government. He is telling us what the Canadian government says — he has no more idea than I have....
Mr. Chairman That is not quite fair.
Mr. Cashin If I am unfair, that is the unfortunate position he is in; he is answering questions on behalf of the Canadian government.
Mr. Chairman He has been repeatedly under fire answering questions and giving interpretations. He has given interpretations as best he can; you may or may not accept his interpretations but that does not alter the fact that he gives an honest interpretation and in many cases he has been supported. For example, if I am in a courtroom giving an interpretation of some act, it is not fair to say I am the lawful agent of that legislature because I am giving an interpretation.
Mr. Cashin We are wasting a lot of time. The same thing has applied to every chairman of every committee; he automatically became a minister of the Crown.
Mr. Chairman Which is highly improper.
Mr. Cashin As chairman of the Finance Committee, I became finance minister overnight; same thing with the Economic Report and the other reports. We had questions fired at us, all of us.
Mr. Chairman You have been chairman of two reports since I have occupied this office, and I agree with what you say. But I suggest it is not only highly improper, but highly unfair. If you as a minister of the Crown had access to the information required, then there would be every reason to ask those questions.
Mr. Cashin That is why I say we are wasting a lot of time and not trying to finish up. I am not trying to close off the debate. We know the Canadian government may or may not come down; they have not given us any undertaking they will. It is not in the terms.
Mr. Smallwood They say that automatically they will come, if we go into confederation.
Mr. Chairman I would like to repeat that the procedure employed by Mr. Smallwood was ordained by this House before we went into committee of the whole at all. He was a member of the Ottawa delegation. He has been requested, and it becomes his duty while he remains as he is, to read and interpret the clause, and to answer any questions on the clause. It is the right of members to be satisfied or dissatisfied with his interpretation or any answers on questions addressed to him arising out of his interpretation. But I do not think, in fairness to him, it is fair to say because he is simply discharging a duty. he is acting as an agent....
Mr. Bailey Mr. Chairman, in regards to this fairness probably I did not make myself clear.... 910 NATIONAL CONVENTION December 1947 We don't want to put a fancy picture before our people of what is going to be, because our people are looking to this.
Mr. Chairman It is not a question of a fancy picture at all. It is important or relatively unimportant as far as members are concerned, and every man is entitled to draw his own conclusions. Mr. Smallwood thinks it is important, other members think otherwise, and I am not prepared to say who is right and who is wrong.
Mr. Bailey Mr. Chairman, I think it is important. If we were in a position tomorrow to spend $50 million on the survey of this country, I think it would be one of the most important things in our history.... If we got the money, go ahead, but let our people understand that it is the province that would be going ahead, and these people are going to help. Now if the federal government promised to come down here and put in a survey, then we know what we are talking about.
Mr. Smallwood That's what it is.
Mr. Bailey I don't see it. I don't see where the federal government is going to pay a dollar on this...
Mr. Chairman There is no point in arguing it. It is a question of interpretation...
Mr. Bailey If they intend to do it why don't they say, "We will bear the cost"?
Mr. Chairman Well, they do say it, in my opinion; but you are entitled to your own opinion.
[The reporter was unable to record the next passage of the debate, since the Chairman, Mr. Bailey and Mr. Smallwood were all talking at once.]
Mr. Smallwood ....There is one simple little thing Canada could do, and if we could afford it we could do it for ourselves, and that's this survey that Mr. Bailey spoke about. And this method which I have never heard of before, of two ships with a wire strung between them, scraping the bottom with other wires, and showing where the shoals and fishing grounds are; that might be worth untold millions of dollars to Newfoundland. I am sure that Mr. Bailey will agree with that. That is included in this economic survey.
Mr. Hollett That has been done long ago. I don't believe there is a fisherman who does not know where every shoal that exists is situated.
Mr. Smallwood Within three miles, or four miles.
Mr. Hollett Yes, and including the Grand Banks.
Mr. Smallwood Well, Captain Bailey knows.
Mr. Hollett I am not sure that Captain Bailey knows much about deep-sea fishing around Newfoundland. The only reason I am saying a few words on this clause is this: Mr. Smallwood said that in his opinion this was the most important section in this Grey Book, and I want to point out that survey has been in operation in Canada for 70 or less years, and we know the results in Canada. What can we expect from this idea of confederation if this is the most important section? lf nothing better has been done in PEI if you like, or Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, if nothing better has restulted from these surveys, then why is this the most important section in this book?
Mr. Chairman It is the most important section because Mr. Smallwood says so, but it may have no importance at all so far as you or I are concerned.
Mr. Butt On the question of an economic survey, I certainly agree with Mr. Smallwood. What I was trying to find out from reading section 22 is how far the public services of Canada would be of assistance in bringing about a proper economic and financial survey of Newfoundland as well.
Mr. Smallwood They don't mention a financial survey.
Mr. Butt No, I know they don't, but I think that is something necessary to be done. I raised some doubt the time before when the public services sections were read, those public services which would apply to Newfoundland. I am sorry this debate came up this afternoon because I have been making a survey of these services, and this afternoon I am only going to refer to one section, and that comes under the Public Health and Welfare Department. There are 17 services enumerated there. Four of those are treated here separately, all of them relating to financial benefits of one kind or other. They are: the treatment of sick and injured mariners; old age pensions; pensions for the blind; family allowances. Eight of these services are purely consulting services. Eight of them. The balance are like this: food and drug standards; investigation and research; industrial health; national physical fitness programme.
Now the point that I would like to make, and December 1947 NATIONAL CONVENTION 911 I would like to see this gone into very carefully, is this: ... that out of these 17 services, four are referred to here because they will affect the province in a financial way. Eight of them are, as the Director of Medical Services knows, consulting services. We have never been refused any information of any kind that any of the civil service departments wanted from the Dominion government at any time, and that service is available to Newfoundland. I make this as a flat statement, and if anyone can correct that, then I will apologise, but I think I am on fairly safe ground, because I have made a fairly reliable survey of it.
Now, Mr. Smallwood wanted to know whether the province had paid anything under any one of these services. The National Physical Fitness Programme. There is some incongruity in talking of a physical fitness programme when we are talking about an economic survey, but I am giving this as an example. You will find on page 93 of the Black Book:
The National Physical Fitness Programme provides for the establishment of a National Council on Physical Fitness, on which the provincial governments have representatives. Financial assistance is given to any province that has signed an agreement with the Dominion Government as provided in the Act. Within the limits of the National Physical Fitness Fund, set up in the consolidated Revenue Fund for the purpose, the Dominion Government undertakes to pay one dollar for every dollar a province spends on its program ... etc., etc.
Now this is one case in which the Dominion government only assists in carrying out one of the services mentioned, and what is worrying me is just how far these public services, and this particular survey, will mean something to Newfoundland. I believe that we will make progress by the things which are found, as Major Cashin has pointed out, and by the things which are deliberately organised by a government or by a great concern; but I express this as a matter of opinion. Having said that I believe firmly in an economic survey, I question if that survey of Newfoundland should not be done by people partly from Newfoundland, Canada, the United States, one at least from New Zealand, and from the Scandinavian countries. In that way I think we would get a much better idea of the economic potentialities of Newfoundland than by having it done by the ordinary administrative servants of the Dominion of Canada.
Mr. Chairman If it is the pleasure of the House we shall proceed to read the next section.
Mr. Smallwood Clause 23 — General.
Suitable provision will be made in the formal instrument of union or in other appropriate legislation for the following:
(1) The extension of Canadian citizenship to the people of Newfoundland;
(2) The continuation of Newfoundland laws, courts, commissions, authorities, etc., until altered by the appropriate authority:
(3) The first constitution of the Province of Newfoundland, in accordance with the wishes of the appropriate Newfoundland authorities and subject to the provisions of the British North America Acts, 1867 to 1946, which are applicable to provincial constitutions generally;
(4) The retention by Newfoundland of its natural resources on the same basis as other provinces;
(5) The application to the Province of Newfoundland of the British North America Acts, 1867 to 1946 (except as otherwise provided in the terms of union), and of the federal laws of Canada.
Sir, on these five paragraphs I have not much to say. The extension of Canadian citizenship to the people of Newfoundland is not a matter of utmost importance. You know the very recent trend within the British Commonwealth. The people of Australia are becoming Australian citizens, of South Africa, South African citizens, and of Canada, Canadian citizens. One of the reasons is that up to now we have all been British subjects. Of course we have been and we will always be British subjects; but in addition we become citizens of England, or Canada, or Australia; citizens of the dominion in which we live.
On the second one, Newfoundland laws, courts, etc. .... I don't think that there is anything much that calls for comment in that.
"The first constitution of the Province of Newfoundland, in accordance with the wishes of the appropriate Newfoundland authorities...applicable to provincial constitutions generally." Now on that I think I ought to point out that the 912 NATIONAL CONVENTION December 1947 constitution of a province is a matter for that province. We often hear the question, "Under confederation, how many members would Newfoundland elect to the House of Assembly?" You often hear the question, "Would there be two houses?" "Would it be 'bicameral', or 'unicameral'?" "Would there be a lower house and an upper house?" Then again you often hear, "How many districts would there be?" All these matters are in the provincial constitution of Newfoundland if we become a province, and we are the masters. We decide for ourselves whether our general elections shall be every four years, or five or six; whether our House of Assembly shall consist of 15 members of 50, or anything between. We decide whether we shall have an upper house or just an elected house. All these matters are our own business.... The only thing is that those portions of the BNA Act which are common to the provinces generally would also be common to the Province of Newfoundland.
On no. 4 there is not much to say. Newfoundland would hold on to its own natural resources. On no.5, the BNA Act would apply to Newfoundland as it does to all provinces, except that there are certain places in these terms where we are exempted from particular provisions of the act....
Mr. Cashin "The extension of Canadian citizenship to the people of Newfoundland." I take it now we change our name from Newfoundlanders to Canadians.
Mr. Smallwood No, no, any more than the people of Prince Edward Island will ever cease to be Islanders. The people of Nova Scotia are Canadians, yes, but also Nova Scotians. We will always be Newfoundlanders, not only in name but in truth, even if we are Canadians.
Mr. Cashin We have several agreements with various corporations. For instance we have one agreement with the Newfoundland-Labrador Mining and Development and Exploration Company, which states that Newfoundlanders will be given preference in employment. The same applies at Corner Brook and Grand Falls, Buchans, etc. Once we become a province of Canada there is nothing to stop what we call, at the present time, a Canadian coming in and getting work there just on the same basis as a Newfoundlander. Would there?
Mr. Smallwood Yes, the contracts made be tween the Government of Newfoundland and any corporations bearing on taxation, or bearing on conditions under which they were given any concessions or contracts, those would stand. Even Bowaters will still only pay $150,000 a year income tax, although other corporations will pay according to the Canadian corporation income tax. Any contracts which the Newfoundland government has made up to the moment we become a province will stand.
Mr. Cashin I quite appreciate that question of taxation, but in connection with those who are to be employed — there is nothing in here to say it will apply.
Mr. Chairman No. but under Section 92...
Mr. Cashin But if I am living in Quebec there is nothing to stop me from going up in Ontario, and I have just as much right to get a job up there as any fellow that lives in Toronto.
Mr. Chairman Certainly.
Mr. Cashin Well, there would be nothing to prevent a man who lived in the Newfoundland end of Labrador now, even though we have legislation to give Newfoundlanders preference for the work that's there. When we become a province of Canada men from British Columbia for that matter, can come in on our own bases.
Mr. Smallwood No ... Newfoundlanders had a government since 1825. Ever since then Newfoundland has had a government under various forms. We have one now, and we will have one up to the day we become a province, if we become a province. These various governments have made various contracts, and these contracts stand. If you like to put a question to the Government of Canada, and are not prepared to take my word, put a question to the Government of Canada. That will settle it.
Mr. Chairman Major Cashin's point is whether or not there are any immigration restrictions between provinces.
Mr. Smallwood Immigration is a concurrent jurisdiction. It is both federal and provincial. It is concurrent.
Mr. Cashin There's nothing to stop me, if I am living in Montreal, from going to British Columbia if I want to.
Mr. Smallwood Well no, there is not, but there could be. It is concurrent.
Mr. Cashin "The continuation of Newfoundland laws...until altered by the appropriate December 1947 NATIONAL CONVENTION 913 authority." Who is that going to be?
Mr. Smallwood How could the Government of Canada say that?.... That's for us to determine, not them. They can't name the authority.
Mr. Cashin Well, who are we going to name? That's up to the future government.
Mr. Smallwood The government that you and I are going to be in next year together.
Mr. Cashin You mean the provincial government.
Mr. Chairman The constitution of courts both civil and criminal, and the regulation of civil procedure is a matter entirely for the province, but the matter of criminal law, which is reflected in the criminal code of Canada is decided by the federal government.
Mr. Cashin I must apologise, Mr. Chairman. I was not there the first couple of days that this thing was being discussed, but assuming that tomorrow Newfoundland voted to go into confederation who is going to finalise that deal?
Mr. Smallwood We mean to do that.
Mr. Cashin Who is going to finalise it, is it the British government, or who is it? I want to know.
Mr. Smallwood I am itching to answer that, but I won't. It is getting a little late, and we have another clause. We have to go back to veterans and merchant seamen, you see, and we should finish that, it is only a matter of reading it. But this matter that Major Cashin raises did come up and we had quite a little discussion on it here on the second or third day. He was not in the House. I would suggest that he hold that over until we come to it. We will come back to it again. It is a very interesting subject and quite important, and we should come back to it again.
Mr. Jackman Would the Quebec fishermen be permitted to fish on the French Shore or Labrador?
Mr. Smallwood That is a matter for future decision. Immigration is concurrent. Both the federal government and each provincial government has ideas on that. We would be a province, with a provincial government. That provincial government would have authority for that.
Mr. Fudge Getting back to those contracts which Mr. Smallwood refers to, namely Bowaters, which he claims pays $150,000 a year in taxes, which is correct we are told. This will not be changed. I presume that many other contracts that exist at the present time, if we should go into confederation, will also not be changed. That is what I understood him to say. Then isn't it reasonable to assume that the contracts made on behalf of the British government and the Americans in connection with their bases will remain also?
Mr. Chairman You are getting into very deep water there, Mr. Fudge.
Mr. Fudge Well, if one is a contract so is the other.
Mr. Chairman It all depends, I don't want to express an opinion on that.
Mr. Hollett I did not hear quite what Mr. Fudge said. I gathered it was something about the bases deal. Is that right?
Mr. Fudge ....Mr. Smallwood tells us the Bowater contract would remain the same if we went into confederation, and the point I raised was that I presume the contracts made between the British government for the base deals with the United States would remain also. It's a contract.
Mr. Hollett That is a very important point, and one I was going to raise myself.
Mr. Chairman For whom? You are raising the point to be dealt with by whom?
Mr. Hollett The point is this: the British government signed a contract.
Mr. Chairman I am not interested in that at all. It is not competent for this House to even deal with it. The whole thing is ultra vires, and I don't want to hear anything about it.
Mr. Hollett Mr. Chairman, I shall mention something which is not ultra vires, which is a letter written by Winston Churchill in which he stated...
Mr. Chairman In connection with what?
Mr. Hollett With parts of this country.
Mr. Chairman You are not to mention it.
Mr. Hollett But it is my country.
Mr. Chairman I am ruling on a point of law, and there is no appeal from this Chair on a point of law, and I rule that the terms of the Convention Act do not require us to go into that, and I defy anybody in this chamber or out of it, anybody in this country, to show me anything in section 3, which defines and sets forth your duty, which allows you to review these base deals. Show me how it becomes intra vires to this House, and I will allow you to go on with it.
Mr. Hollett I must take exception, if you don't mind.
Mr. Chairman There is no debate on this point. I am not ruling on a question of procedure, I am ruling on a point of law.
Mr. Hollett Mr. Chairman, I did not ask you to rule on a point of law.
Mr. Chairman I have ruled this as being ultra vires, and I hope I won't have to do it again.
Mr. Cashin There is a point of law here. Coming back to the Labrador Exploration thing again. It says the company shall employ Newfoundland workmen, provided they shall be available. If Newfoundland enters union with Canada, and Newfoundlanders become Canadians, does this point stand in law?
Mr. Chairman To whom do you address this question?
Mr. Cashin To the House.
Mr. Chairman If the House ... of course, I am not going to be here when you decide it. I am not prepared to recognise this House as a court of judicature, or having any jurisdiction whatever to pronounce upon a point of law. Why the whole thing is becoming absurd — too ridiculous for anything.
Mr. Hollett You just decided on a point of law.
Mr. Chairman I decided this point of law: it is for me to decide as a Chairman whether any man is intra vires or ultra vires.... I am not sitting here as a senior partner of McEvoy and Lewis, I am sitting here as Chairman of this Convention.
Mr. Cashin Well, I will ask Mr. Smallwood. Does this proviso stand in law?
Mr. Smallwood I am not a lawyer, and it is a bit ridiculous for me to give an opinion on a matter of law, but I will give you an opinion for what it is worth — a cent and a half, and the cent is plugged. It is not even worth a cent and a half, but I will say this: the contracts we have with corporations stand.
Mr. Cashin Yes, as far as the corporations are concerned.
Mr. Smallwood No, as far as the Government of Newfoundland is concerned.
Mr. Cashin Well, Mr. Chairman. in order to get an answer to this question I will have to address a question to the Department of Justice.
Mr. Chairman I am afraid you will. That is the proper procedure.
Mr. Cashin Excuse me, Mr. Chairman. I will probably be told it is none of my business.
Mr. Chairman I am sorry. I don't defend the Department of Justice. I am not the Department of Justice. If you will table your question we will endeavour to have it answered.
Mr. Smallwood Mr. Chairman, it is now 5.30, and if the House has indulgence enough we could finish this final clause. Would that be all right?
Mr. Reddy Regarding Labrador. If Newfoundland-Labrador develops into such a great mine as we think it will be, is there anything to prevent Newfoundland being flooded by French Canadians, taking the work from Newfoundlanders?
Mr. Smallwood We just answered that question twice, once to Mr. Cashin and once to Mr. Jackman. If Mr. Reddy does not agree with my answer I can't help it. The answer is, "No".
Mr. Reddy That is not true. There is nothing in God's world to prevent French Canadians from entering Labrador if there is work there, if we become a province of Canada.
Mr. Smallwood Would Mr. Reddy be kind enough to give his reasons. That's a very categorical statement.... Mr. Reddy says there is nothing to stop the French Canadians, millions of them, from flocking into Labrador if we become a province. He ought to have some reason for that statement.
Mr. Reddy Mr. Chairman, is there anything to prevent a man from Sydney going to work in Saskatchewan?
Mr. Chairman I have no knowledge of it myself.
Mr. Reddy Well then, why can't they come in here? It will be all the same if we become a province.
Mr. Chairman Your opinion is predicated upon the ease with which people can move from one province to another now, so that if we become a province you said...
Mr. Cashin I have been in every province in Canada, from the Atlantic to the Pacific and there is no bar on the borderline, anyone can go right through. I have been from Vancouver Island to Newfoundland, not once but many times. They never even question it.
Mr. Smallwood But here you are up against the position where Newfoundland, as a province, enters with its contracts made with corporations, including the Labrador Mining and Exploration Company. That contract either stands or it does not. Now, why not direct a question to the December 1947 NATIONAL CONVENTION 915 Government of Canada?
Mr. Chairman I have had to rule my friend Mr. Hollett out of order, and I have had to do the same thing with Major Cashin, but you are getting pretty far afield now, as to whether or not, for example, Bowaters or the AND Company would have the right to take in residents from some part of Canada in lieu of Newfoundlanders, bearing in mind the fact that in becoming the tenth province Newfoundland becomes a part of Canada. I want to say ... that we are getting very far afield.
Mr. Cashin It is a very important point.
Mr. Chairman This Convention should not be improperly placed in the position where it has to make pronouncements upon far-reaching points of law, or where I am called upon to express an opinion upon a point of law; which I don't have to do, except insofar as it concerns the interpretation of the Convention Act.... I think, Major Cashin, the point by you is well taken, that is, address your questions on legal points to the Department of Justice in this country or in Canada, consistent with our practice in submitting various other questions to various other departments of government.
Mr. Fudge ....As far as this employment of French Canadians on the Labrador — I have asked in a good many cases, where we have signed agreements with employers, that preference be given to people who reside in the area. However, before we get the number of employees required, people from all over the island have flocked in and have been hired. Similarly, if there is work down there, the Canadians will have their men there before we get the message. It is a waste of time to discuss it.
Mr. Chairman To get a clear-cut answer to the questions raised by Major Cashin, which I consider to be of far-reaching importance, the only thing to do is to address a series of questions calculated to determine whether there are existing contracts, and whether Newfoundlanders are to be employed in the event of the constitutional status of the country being altered.
Mr. Miller If we take measures to keep these workmen out of Labrador, it would be a poor basis to start off on. All the other provinces might set up laws to keep Newfoundlanders out of the other parts of Canada. If we start out by saying, "You cannot work in our province — keep out". they can put up a poster in any other province to the same effect.
Mr. Chairman Discrimination almost invariably and inevitably provokes retaliation.
Mr. Bailey I do not believe any law or anything else can keep them out. If we have confederation, we are Canadians and they are Canadians.
Mr. Chairman In view of the fact that Major Cashin is going to table a question on that point, we are putting the cart before the horse.
[The committee rose and reported progress, and 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.

Personnes participantes: