Newfoundland National Convention, 12 January 1948, Debates on Confederation with Canada


January 12, 1948

Mr. Chairman Order please. Major Cashin?
Mr. Cashin Mr. Chairman, I move that the first item on the order paper be deferred, and draw your attention, and the attention of the House to the fact that a couple of questions have not been answered — one I asked on Friday last in connection with the Savings Bank, and another one asked on November 24. Part of it has been answered; and another part has not been answered, that is the part relative to the Bank of Canada. I am very anxious that we be either denied such an answer or given one, because as I said on Friday, these two particular matters are of the utmost importance, one part on the Newfoundland Savings Bank, and the other part on the Bank of Canada. Our whole discussion rests, in my opinion, on these two matters. I would like to have the Secretary ask the government whether we are going to get these answers or not.
Mr. Chairman With regard to your question about the Savings Bank, Major Cashin, I am afraid I will have to assume responsibility because for some unexplainable reason it escaped my attention until this afternoon. It was tabled Friday, and I missed it, and it was not until this afternoon that my attention was drawn to it. Immediately after I called a meeting of the Information Committee, and it will go forward to the government this afternoon; but its delay is my fault.
Mr. Cashin I know we will get it Tuesday or Wednesday, or we should get it, but the other is of the utmost importance, and our request has been absolutely ignored. It was asked on November 24, and today is January 12, and we have not received any reply. We have received replies to other questions regarding Canadian financial matters, but this particular one has been ignored so far....
Mr. Chairman And your request is that a supplementary application be directed immediately to the Governor in Commission?
Mr. Cashin That the Secretary would communicate with the Government in Commission, that is Mr. Carew I take it, the Secretary of the Commission government, and ask him what has been done about these two questions. All he has to do is phone him and find out.
Mr. Chairman Yes, we will have that attended to immediately. The motion is that order one on the order paper be deferred. Is the Convention ready for the question?
[The motion carried]
Mr. Smallwood Mr. Chairman, I will move that motion, but in doing so I would like to get a little information. The debate on these confederation terms is coming rapidly to an end, it will come to an end this week, and I take it that a number of members in the Convention desire to speak, and I am wondering just what is the right method, and the best method, of deciding who may and who may not speak. Now I took particular notice of the fact that when Major Cashin gave a nod to Mr. Fogwill, he got up to speak, and when Major Cashin gave a nod to Mr. Higgins, Mr. Higgins got up and spoke.
Mr. Cashin I rise to a point of order. I never gave any nod to Mr. Fogwill.
Mr. Smallwood You will pardon me, but I saw him give a nod to Mr. Fogwill, and also to Mr. Higgins. Now what I want to know is this, to whom is the next nod to be given, after Mr. Higgins finishes? Is Mr. Cashin to give the nod, or Mr. Higgins? If Mr. Butt, for example, is to follow Mr. Higgins, will he wait till Mr. Higgins gives the nod, or will he watch Major Cashin to get the nod from him. Well, sir, would he get it from you? Who is Chairman here? Who decides, and who does not?
Mr. Higgins I rise to a point of order. This is entirely immaterial in every way. Mr. Smallwood has no reason under heaven to make such an assertion. It is entirely improper for him to do so, and as far as Major Cashin giving me a nod, if he did I did not see it, and as far as I know he did not give me a nod.... There is no giving nods around here. As far as I am concerned there's no giving nods to people. Mr. Smallwood has been giving nods himself a long time now. We will give our own nods.
Mr. Chairman The position, as far as I am concerned is just simply this: that the person who catches my eye gets the floor. I am not supposed to see anything else, and I don't see anything else.... All I can simply say is this: that as far as I know the person who first got my eye was the person who got the floor, except on one occasion when Major Cashin and you occupied the floor simultaneously, and in that particular instance I feel, Mr. Smallwood, that you have no reason to 1100 NATIONAL CONVENTION January 1948 be aggrieved, because if I remember rightly, I gave you priority over Major Cashin.
Mr. Smallwood I was speaking now of the debate in the last few days, and for the next few days. I was just anxious that any member deciding to speak should get the chance to speak without receiving a nod from anyone except from you as Chairman. I move the house into committee.
Mr. Cashin Before the House goes into committee of the whole, in connection with this nodding business, as Mr. Higgins said, Mr. Smallwood has been nodding his head ever since this confederation issue was brought in here. It's been most atrocious what has been happening. Mr. Smallwood introduced this matter into the House, and after every delegate has spoken, instead of waiting until everyone who had anything to say has finished, and then replying right away, Mr. Smallwood has been up contradicting him, and consequently this debate has gone on too long. It could have been over before now but for Mr. Smallwood, I think that's quite patent to all.
Mr. Chairman It is quite patent. As a matter of fact on that point standing order 572 puts the position thus: "The main difference between proceedings of the Committee and that of the House is that in the former the member is able to speak more than once in order that the details of the question or bill may be given the most minute examination, or as is commonly expressed, to have more freedom of speech, and that argument may be used pro et contra, so that this unrestricted right of debate is not taken advantage of to any great extent."
Mr. Cashin In other words it should not take a half hour to say "yes" or "no".
Mr. Chairman If members are not prepared to do so of their own accord they should be compelled to abide by the rules of debate. In this particular instance ... all I can say, Mr. Smallwood, is that before I put the closure motion I will endeavour to see that you get the opportunity of replying once. Beyond that I am not prepared to go. Nor will I give you any guarantee, or any other member, that he will be permitted to address the Chair at any time because naturally the person to whom I must give the floor is the person who catches my eye, whether he is nodded, or prompted or prodded into doing it by anyone else.
Mr. Cashin Mr. Chairman, I would like to draw to your attention the fact that we have night sessions this week.
Mr. Chairman It is my intention, by and with the permission of the House, and if we have a quorum, to hold sessions on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings as previously agreed.
Mr. Fogwill Mr. Chairman, I have not got the nod from anyone, I was permitted to speak by you.
Mr. Chairman Not permitted by me to speak, Mr. Fogwill, it was your right to address the Chair. The Chair recognised you, and as far as I am concerned you were rightly entitled to the floor, or you would not have got the floor.
Mr. Fogwill Thank you. I got the floor when I rose to my feet. As far as this getting the nod, which Mr. Smallwood has accused someone of giving to me, I think the person who made the accusation is only trying to make political capital out of it.
Mr. Butt Mr. Chairman, I rise to a point of privilege.
Mr. Chairman Please state your point.
Mr. Butt I want to refer to what Mr. Smallwood just said. There is an implication behind it, that someone nods to me, and then I speak. Nobody in this house or out of it nods to me. The only person who nods to me is my wife as far as I know, and when she does, I move! But in the sense in which Mr. Smallwood has used it, it is absolutely untrue. Further than that it is a wonder that I have had the patience that I have been able to muster the past few weeks. I butted in once and made a comment and quoted two authorities. The reply I got was, "All the economists in the world will look upon that as a childish idea." I pointed out on another occasion that a thing was mandatory, and what comment did I get? "Trash and nonsense." The only thing I can see is that I must have been nodding at that time, or there would have been hell to pay!
Mr. Chairman I am not concerned with the motive or motives which prompt members into occupying the floor. That is a matter for their sole concern. I am simply concerned with one thing, to insure that a member shall occupy the floor at the time he is fairly entitled to it, and beyond that I am not going. Therefore it is only a waste of time to draw my attention to suggested motives upon which I, for obvious reasons, can make no pronouncement. I am simply concerned with enforcing the rules of debate....

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

Mr. Higgins Will you give me the nod, sir?
Mr. Chairman You moved the adjournment, Mr. Higgins, so you have the floor.
Mr. Higgins Thank you, sir. Before adjournment on Friday, I had been elaborating at some length on the value of our strategical, geographical position, and its particular value to the two countries immediately adjoining us, the United States and Canada. I am going to go on from there.
I stated that Canada is as yet, politically, an immature country. It is only slowly realising its own individuality. It is not therefore to be expected that it would have as clear-cut a policy as has the United States. Until June, 1940 it was impossible to secure much attention to arguments urging that Canada should assume responsibility for Newfoundland; it was too remote for the average Canadian to know much about, and since it was part of the Empire, there was no need to worry about it. Canada's failure to take any part in the effort taken in 1933 to put this country on its feet springs in a large measure from this cause. So too, in the American bases deal. A nation conscious of itself and jealous for its future would have been ready to undertake the complete job in Newfoundland, rather than to have even the friendliest of neutrals do it, with political results still to be determined. Things were moving quickly in the summer of 1940, and there was a suggestion of panic about. But even so, the grant by Great Britain of what is virtually territorial sovereignty in an island adjacent to Canada, which was once close to entering the Canadian confederation, and which administers an important area of the continent (Labrador) that had been handed over to it by Canada's acquiescence in a decision of arbitration (1927) largely because it was all in the family, was a rather extraordinary proceeding. It was only to be defended because of the exigencies of the moment, and because it was felt at the time that the United States was also one of the family. The Canadian government has since attempted to recover the situation by the protocol it secured to the bases agreement of 1941. Paragraph 1 of this protocol is as follows: "It is recognised that the defence, and as such is a matter of special concern to the Canadian Government".
I wish at this time to draw your attention to the answer received by Mr. Hollett to this question submitted on December 2. The question was as follows:
I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask His Excellency the Governor of Newfoundland to seek clarification from the Government of the United Kingdom for the benefit of this Convention on the following point: that is to say, that whereas under the Lease Bases Agreement 1941, it was stipulated that upon the resumption by Newfoundland of the constitutional status held by it prior to the 16th February, 1934, the contracting parties to said agreement would be the Government of the United States of America and the Government of Newfoundland.
Now, therefore, what would the position should Newfoundland enter into confederation with Canada?
Would the contracting parties under said agreement be the Government of the United States of America, and the provincial government of Newfoundland, or otherwise? And if otherwise, to inform this Convention as to the real position which will exist.
To which he received the following reply:
It is assumed that the question is based on the text of notes exchanged between Mr. Churchill and Mr. Winant at the time of the signature of the Leased Bases Agreement of 1941 (Cmd. 6259). It was then agreed between the United Kingdom and United States governments that "upon resumption by Newfoundland of the constitutional status held by it prior to February 16, 1934, the words 'the Government of the United Kingdom' wherever they occur in relation to a provision applicable to Newfoundland in the said agreement shall be taken to mean, so far as Newfoundland is concerned, the Government of Newfoundland, and the agreement shall then be construed accordingly". The wording of this note did not cover the position which would arise in the event of Newfoundland entering into confederation, but in 1102 NATIONAL CONVENTION January 1948 that event the present function of the United Kingdom Government in relation to Newfoundland under the terms of the agreement would devolve upon the Government of Canada.
By confederation Canada is again attempting to recover the situation in which it finds itself as a result of the grant of the United States bases, and as you will appreciate fully, by confederation the Canadian government takes the place of the United Kingdom government in its dealings with the United States arising out of the bases deal. Canada further attempted to repair the damage done by the grant of sovereignty of part of Newfoundland to the United States, by the appointment of Mr. Charles Burchell K.C. as High Commissioner to Newfoundland, constituting the first political or diplomatic connection Canada has had with the island. This office is being continued and we still have here a High Commissioner for Canada, as well as a Trade Commissioner. One of Mr. Burchell's first acts was the securing of a 99-year lease to the areas at Goose Bay, and in the same year, 1941, the title to the land required for the airport at Torbay. I will say, in fairness to Mr. Burchell, that the leased land at Labrador is under an entirely different agreement than this bases lease... As far as Goose Bay is concerned Newfoundland customs duties apply, and I think we have to thank Mr. Burchell for that. Gentlemen, that is the position of the strategic importance of Newfoundland.
Mr. Smallwood Point of order. Is it in order for a member of this Convention instead of in a speech, offering his own words, to copy words out of a book and read them as though they were his own? Because I have here in front of me the very book from which Mr. Higgins in his speech was quoting word for word, without saying he was quoting from a book, without naming the author as he did on Friday. I can quote the words from page 488, in a book by Mr. MacKay[1].... The point of order, sir, is this: is Mr. Higgins permitted to parade in the verbal clothing of another man, without telling the house and the country that what he is doing is using another man's words as his own speech?
Mr. Higgins May I go on, sir?
Mr. Chairman Just a moment, Mr. Higgins, please. The fact that Mr. Higgins used language identical, or substantially identical, with that employed by Dr. MacKay may be sheer coincidence, or it may be plagiarism. I do not know, and I don't think I should be called upon to decide.
Mr. Higgins There need be no doubt.
Mr. Chairman Except this, that if you are quoting the language of somebody else, Mr. Higgins, it would be your duty to quote it so that I can rule whether it is in order.
Mr. Higgins I did not quote it exactly, but I did use some extracts, sir.
I am not prepared to say that such a union would not be a good thing for Newfoundland, but I do say that before Newfoundland should decide on such a union the matter would have to be much more thoroughly investigated than it has been up to the present time. I believe the delegation that went to Ottawa has gone a long way in its exploratory talks, but I am far from convinced that it has gone sufficiently far, or was sufficiently competent to make a recommendation to the people that federal union with Canada is the best solution for Newfoundland. I say that quite sincerely, because if I was convinced that confederation was the best solution for Newfoundland, no matter what my personal feeling would be, I would vote for it. At the present time all I can say is that it has sufficient promise to bear further investigation. Now as I said earlier, and at the expense of repetition,
1. The union of Canada and Newfoundland appears to have prospects of good for Newfoundland.
2. Unless and until the idea has been given a full and careful exploration by a competent body, it would not be wise to make a decision to have federal union.
3. The only way that this matter should be accomplished is by an elected government having full powers, and with all the assistance, both technical and clerical, necessary for such an important matter.
I have given this whole idea very careful consideration, as I know all you gentlemen here have, and I am honestly and sincerely convinced that the best interests of Newfoundland require January 1948 NATIONAL CONVENTION 1103 that an elected government of Newfoundlanders, pledged to undertake this investigation into confederation, is the only proper solution of the confederation issue. That is my advice to those of you who feel that confederation is the best solution for Newfoundland. However, I want to say quite emphatically, that I am far from convinced that we can't do a better job running our own affairs. You hear the oft-repeated question, "Oh, we have not the men, where are we going to get the leaders?" That is nothing else but pure poppycock. The more contacts I have had with people outside Newfoundland, the more it makes me realise that we have in this country ample material to provide the type of men to do the job properly. Remember, if we had federal union with Canada, we would have to provide the men to go to Ottawa, and to man the provincial parliament here, and if we have to get that number of men, surely we can get the number of men required to run responsible government. I see no reason at all why we have to enter confederation. We are self-supporting at the present time, we all admit that, and it is up to us as a people to continue to be self-supporting. We have been told that under confederation there would be great advantages to Newfoundland. That may be so, but you gentlemen are old enough to know that you never get something for nothing, and that for this country to continue its present standard of living, and to increase that standard, is dependent primarily on the resources of the country itself. That is one inescapable fact. If our own resources are unable to produce a good livelihood for the people of Newfoundland, then no form of government is going to do so. That is one basic fact that nobody can dispute, nobody in this Convention or out of it. It may be true that some of our services would be improved, but essentially the country itself must provide for the people of the country, and all over the world today you have people fighting for the right to govern themselves. Here in Newfoundland some of us are fighting against the right to govern ourselves. What manner of people are we at all? Have we lost the courage of our forefathers, have we forgotten the value of our country? Do we want to be pensioners, to live off the charity of some other country? Someone has to provide a living for us, and this at a time when our country is in the strongest position it has ever been. To my card playing friends I say we are sitting with a pat hand, and people want us to throw in the hand and get a new deal. What absolute nonsense! Gentlemen, it would be the worst form of madness, and the most arrant cowardice on the part of the people of this country if we don't agree to assume our own rightful obligation of governing ourselves. I don't believe the fact can be repeated too often that the arrangements made with the British government, by the inauguration of the Commission government, was that responsible government would be restored to Newfoundland when we were self-supporting, and upon request of the Newfoundland people. Is this not the first step? With all my heart and mind I recommend you to the adoption of that course.
Once again I would refer you back to that Atlantic Charter signed August 12, 1941, by the Prime Minister of Great Britain, at that time Winston Churchill, and the President of the United States, the late Franklin D. Roosevelt. Quoting that paragraph: "They respect the right of a people to choose the form of government under which they live, and they wish to see sovereign rights and self-government restored to those who have been forcibly deprived of them." Well, if we have not been forcibly deprived of self-government, we went very close to that particular point. There is an old Latin tag that I remember, "Wrong is done by force or fraud". If we did not lose our government by force we lost it by the wrong of fraud.
I would have you consider, in closing, an article by the late Sir William Allardyce, who was Governor of Newfoundland in 1924, an article which is pertinent today:
Those who know Newfoundland well believe that she has a great future ahead of her. It is a land of wonderful possibilities and undeveloped resources. The story of the colony is a thrilling record of hardships endured, dangers defied, difficulties overcome, and if the present generation will only to themselves be true the Newfoundland of the future will not only be the oldest jewel in the Empire's coronet, but will be one of the most brilliant.
And so Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of this National Convention, I say to you in the words of George Washington at the Constitutional Convention at Philadelphia in 1787: "Let us raise a 1104 NATIONAL CONVENTION January 1948 standard to which the wise and honest can repair. The rest is in the hands of God." (Applause)
Mr. Bailey Mr. Chairman, in Mr. Smallwood's reply to Mr. Hollett's speech of some time ago, I don't seem to agree with him. As regards the budget he said: as regards municipal and provincial taxation ... but. before proceeding with this question there is one thing I would like to bring before the Convention. See Black Book, Volume 1, page 115:
Federal Taxation. The federal government has authority under the British North America Act to levy direct taxes, and sole authority to levy indirect taxes. At the time of confederation the former field of taxation was quite unimportant, but the introduction of the income tax in 1917 greatly increased its importance as a source of revenue, until today the federal government collects about 30% more revenue through direct taxation than through indirect.
I don't know what you think about that, but it appears to me that that is the official lie of official liars, or something like that. You will find out from 1946 and 1947 the direct taxes of Canada were $1,155,000,000, and the indirect were $1,045,000,000. Where does the 30% come in? There's another answer to this question. I made a statement standing here over a year ago that we were signed, sealed and delivered, and that a 5 cent stamp or a taxi fare could bring the terms into this house.
If we will go back to 1946-47 we will find that the direct taxes of Canada were $1,436,000,000, and the indirect were $1,122,000,000. I have the lot, the 1945-46 taxes were $1,453,373,000, and indirect $821,485,000. I will skip the others, and we will go back to 1942-43, and we find that the direct taxes of Canada were $1,378,000,000, while the indirect taxes were $758,677,000. Now I don't know much about percentages, when the time was for me to learn percentages, I was given a haul hook to try to get a few logs out of the woods so that I could eat, but there is the position. This summer, when the Ottawa delegation came back, mention was made of the lot of work they had done, and the amount of stuff they brought back; but if the Black Book is right on the 30% business, it goes a lot further back because the difference of $110 million today between the two don't work out together. I am not going to say any more, but I am going to leave it to you gentlemen here. I think you have got savvy enough to remember this: that this was got ready for us, and the whole thing was worked out so that we would fall right into the trap. Now I am going to quote Prime Minister Winston Churchill: "I wonder what manner of men they think we are". Is it possible that they can push that stuff in print and shove it down our throats and expect us to believe it? I said it here to my own men who believe in responsible government, that it was preposterous, and it could not be, but it was and is so.
Now referring back to our first subject — taxes that our sister provinces are paying today (if we become a sister province) — that is something that I have been trying to get a hold of, so that I could tell the people of this country the kind of taxes we are going to get up against when we change over from what we are today. Now don't think I am against the kind of taxes they have in Canada. One thing we found out since we came here is that the economy of our country is around $80 million. I don't think it is any more, and I firmly believe that if our economy were doubled to $160 million, I would consider this confederation very quick, because I think their form of taxation could be worked on the people, and the service that it calls for could be given to the people today.
We were brought in here and, as it were, the confederation issue was thrown into our lap — everything that would make us understand, a generation of men without a big lot of schooling, everything should be put before us so that we could understand the system of confederation and what it means. Instead of that we have got up and painted a rosy picture of "marching up to Zion" — everything all right. The poor people don't know anything more about confederation today than when we came in here. I have been trying to get it ever since I came in, and thank God I have got it. This is confederation.
Mr. Chairman, I shall have to refer to localities in Newfoundland in comparison with localities in Canada, to bring my point out, and I hope in this way to establish a foundation for what I am trying to bring before the house. It has been said that we can run this province on so much per head, $43 per capita. This leaves me in a fault... Let us review the situation like we should. This island today is 42,742 square miles, I believe, and January 1948 NATIONAL CONVENTION 1105 Labrador 110,000, and we have to spend money on that too now, with the work started and not finished; we are going to do this on $14 million when it is costing us today $30 million. I am not including today what Canada is going to take over. What is left to us will cost us $30 million. What is wrong with everything? I can't remember Mr. Smallwood, or any other Newfoundlander having any experience in provincial or municipal taxation or spending, so I must look for it in those provinces that have had it for nearly 100 years, and no doubt through trial and error have found out the best way to apply it in the way that will cost the taxpayer the least taxes. So in looking through the assessment I find that in many provinces their social service is on a much higher scale than ours, and the provinces are paying twice the amount of money which Mr. Smallwood is budgeting for, and it does not make sense to me, for we must face this question in the Grey Book which says that within eight years a royal commission will be set up, and the question will be gone into.
I think before we consider the question of confederation at all we should have gone into this and thrashed it out thoroughly. That would have been the first step, to get the laws of Canada, their assessment, their taxation, and it should have been gone into so that we would know what is before us in the future. One thing we should have had was this information, and before our people vote they too should have it, but it is the last thing that the powers that be intend that we should have, so we are faltering along without it. Mr. Smallwood made great capital out of belittling the assistance of the municipal councils in those provinces, but to look at it from a common sense point of view, and see what part they play in the everyday life of our Canadian neighbours, I want the people to know that in the provinces they play a leading part. They are well governed, and without this form we cannot have good government, I only wish our economic system could stand it, and if I were a praying man I would pray that day would soon come when we could go into it in a big way and benefit from it.
First they would educate our people how to govern wisely, give them a sense of responsibility, for it is the greatest curse of our government in Newfoundland which would be removed — the curse of one body collecting the taxes and another body spending it. People would learn that the taxes were coming out of their own pocket, and would realise that they were not to be frittered away. And last but not least, we would demand that the taxes be spent for the good of the community, and consequently everything would be better off for it.
These are my convictions. So you see that although I believe in all there is, yet it is those terms, taxes and trade that makes me the anticonfederate I am. Now if we had an income to pay these taxes without undue hardship, and if we had a domestic market in Canada for our products whereby we could fill our stomachs with Canadian flour and grain feed for our animals, then you can pin the maple leaf on my arm right away.
Mr. Harrington Sir, I begin by referring to a reply made by Mr. Bradley, member for Bonavista East, at one time Chairman of this Convention, and also of the Ottawa delegation, to a speech made by the Prime Minister of Canada at the first meeting of the Newfoundland and Canada delegations at Ottawa, on June 25, 1947. I want to quote:
It was a great dream that the founders of this Canadian union had 80 years ago, when they foresaw on the northern half of this continent a vast British nation stretching from St. John's to Victoria. Two of our own Newfoundlanders shared that dream and did what they could to give it birth — Sir Frederic Carter and Sir Ambrose Shea, who will go down in history as two of the Fathers of Confederation. Newfoundland did not elect to enter the new union at that time, but when we remember that the union itself was very new, and was not all understood by our people, and the more important fact that Newfoundland did not then enjoy a democratic franchise or the secret ballot, it is easy to understand why that first invitation to Newfoundland to enter the partnership was rejected. The other rejection was not made by the Newfoundland people, for it was not submitted to them. That was the occasion, in 1895, when your Dominion was administered by the government headed by Sir Mackenzie Bowell. The failure of that attempt at federal union of the two countries was due largely to the hurried nature of the 1106 NATIONAL CONVENTION January 1948 explorations and conversations between the parties, for the conference of 1895 occupied a mere 12 days. I believe I can say that if the present discussions come to nothing in the end by way of effecting federal union between us, it will not arise from any repetition of the inadequate explorations of '95 or from the undemocratic franchise of '69. We of this delegation believe it to be our plain duty to Newfoundland to make as thorough an investigation of this whole question as your cooperation and forbearance will permit.
I am sorry Mr. Bradley is not here today; I thought he would be by now, but I think it is quite in order that, as we draw near to the end of this discussion on this great issue which has shaken this country and its people to their depths on two occasions in our history, as referred to by Mr. Bradley, that we should do well to have our minds refreshed just a little on the two crises in question — the election of '69, and the negotiations of 1895.
Before the Christmas recess, Mr. Hollett, in a masterly way I thought, summed up the history of the Canadian confederation from its beginning with the Quebec resolutions of 1864 down to the failure of the Dominion-provincial conference a few years ago, which was held as an outcome of a famous royal commission. When the British North America Act providing for the confederation of the British North American colonies was drawn up, there was a clause in it, and it is still in it, that allowed for Newfoundland's entry into the union. Newfoundland representatives attended the Quebec conference of 1864, when the framework of the union was set up. Mr., afterwards Sir Frederic Carter and Sir Ambrose Shea, were members of a government which was favourably inclined to the entry of Newfoundland into confederation. Out of this Quebec conference terms were drawn up as a fair and equitable basis under which Newfoundland and the other colonies might confederate. Quebec, Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia did confederate in 1867. Newfoundland was next to consider the scheme, which was submitted to the electorate in November of 1869, and turned down. Manitoba, with a population of a thousand whites and many thousands of half-breeds, British Indians, was admitted in 1870, British Columbia in 1871. Prince Edward Island held aloof till 1873, though a provision for her entry was written into the British North America Act. Alberta and Saskatchewan were made provinces in 1905, and it is to be noted that at the time of the Quebec resolutions these provinces were only vast unpopulated wildernesses.
Now let's consider first the position of Newfoundland in relation to the other British colonies of North America in those far-off days. In 1864 all those colonies were much of a muchness, but Newfoundland was in a unique position, as she has been all through her history. Nova Scotia and the others were flourishing colonies under the system of responsible government, which they had had for several years. Previous to this event, Mr. Chairman, Newfoundland was still feeling her oats as far as her problems were concerned. She had only won responsible government in 1855, nine years before; she had only been granted a representative form of government some 32 years before, while colonies like Nova Scotia and the rest of them had been enjoying such institutions for several generations, far back into the previous century.
The history of Newfoundland up to that time had been one of repression by the mother country. The story of retarded colonisation is so well known now to all of us, or should be, that there is no need to labour it, but while Newfoundlanders were loyal to the mother country they still could not forget the wrong that was done them, and just ten years before, when the French had been given concessions on their coast, a great outcry had been raised, and there was some talk of joining the United States. Imperial influence was a touchy point with Newfoundlanders, especially when it impinged on their independence so hard bought and so recently gained, and they were jealous of it, and they chose their individualism, and on that rock confederation foundered in 1869. There was too much suggestion of doing what Britain wanted about the whole matter in Newfoundlanders' eyes, half of whom at that time were Irish, and full of the wrongs of Ireland. To show you what I mean: from the time of the Quebec resolutions, beginning with the British North America Act, it was no secret that the British government wanted a confederation of the North American colonies. Major Cashin referred briefly to that the other day. That was the whole idea of the Quebec January 1948 NATIONAL CONVENTION 1107 resolutions. It was to bear out the old adage that "in unity there is strength", which is not always so, especially when the union is made up of groups and forces fundamentally diverse and opposite. The Government of Newfoundland in 1867, at the time of confederation was, strange to say, a merchant government. It was led by Mr. Carter, who was strongly pro-confederate. It was enthusiastic about the proposals submitted, and which, considering the gap in time, are amazingly similar to those of the 1895 negotiations and the proposed arrangements before us today. That government was ready to consummate the arrangements as had been done in the other colonies, and which in the case of Nova Scotia almost provoked a rebellion. But a strong opposition in the Newfoundland government of this time fought this move, and amongst other objections were:
1. Under union with Canada the people of Newfoundland would surrender to a large extent the power of self-government conferred on them by the constitutions of 1832 and 1855.
2. Amongst other rights that would be surrendered was the all-important one of taxation. Under the BNA Act the Dominion government claimed the right which they had by law to raise money within the limits of the Dominion by any method or system of taxation.
Those objections, amongst others, were made in an amendment to the confederation resolution moved in this very chamber on the 5 March, 1869. The opposition members strongly urged that the government should not make any final irrevocable commitments on the question till it had been submitted to the electorate in a general election. Well, that course was adopted, and in November, 1869, the election was held. It was a bitter campaign, but not more so than many that have been fought in Canada on the same question, and even less so than those that have been fought in other countries on less fundamental issues. Charges and counter-charges were the order of the day, as they have been in every election campaign, and will be, but the money and influence of the many powerful merchants of the time, who were supporters of confederation, could not cope with the dynamism and energy of Charles Fox Bennett, who was leader of the opposition. It was a typical election of the time, and no holds were barred on either side. Of the four newspapers of the period, three were confederate and one was neutral, so it cannot be said that the people were misled in this regard. Neither is it fair to state, as Mr. Bradley stated, that Newfoundland did not enjoy a democratic franchise, or a secret ballot. Newfoundland enjoyed a franchise as democratic, and to the same degree as the other colonies.
As for the secret ballot, Mr. Bradley surely must have known that in 1869 the secret ballot was unheard of in this part of the world, and not only in North America but in Great Britain as well. The secret ballot, as you know, was an Australian invention, first used in that country in 1856, and the secret ballot is still referred to as the Australian ballot. Around the process of polling great parliamentary fights were waged in the 19th century, and the issue at stake was always to seek the freedom of the voter from outside influences, and honesty in the counting of the votes. Every election was a time of underground pressure and interest. One authority says, "Social and economic interest in more or less organised form, disturbing constitutional symmetry and advocating its equity, threats, intimidation, terrorisation and victimisation of the most diverse kinds became operative, and in their obvious indiscrete forms are forbidden by law everywhere." The 19th century stage relied exclusively upon political parties for their choice of candidates, and even in many countries for other electoral services and the distribution of ballot papers. The result of these tendencies in the United States was the party boss, the plugging of nominating conventions with party heelers, the padding of electoral lists with the names of people who were dead or non-existent, and the stuffin g of ballot boxes with illegal votes.
Now these, Mr. Chairman, as you know, were exercises of the parliamentary system which have been largely eradicated today in democratic countries, but they were practiced in the last century, when the parliamentary system was in use in Newfoundland. The election of 1869, in which the confederate party was annihilated, was conducted in conformity with similar elections everywhere in the Anglo-Saxon world, including Canada. The assertion made in the speech at the opening of the Ottawa conference last summer, that the main reason for Newfoundland's failure to enter confederation in 1869 was due to the 1108 NATIONAL CONVENTION January 1948 undemocratic franchise and the absence of the secret ballot, is hardly fair. It displays an ignorance not only of Newfoundland, but of world history. South Australia's introduction of the secret ballot in 1856 did not mean its immediate application to the rest of the world. England herself, with her parliamentary government, was without it until three years after the 1869 election, and it was introduced into Britain in all parliamentary and municipal elections by the Ballot Act of 1872, when it spread to America, while up to 1884 the general practice in the United States was open voting. After the presidential elections of that year the Australian ballot system was extensively adopted. Now I think these things are relevant to the discussion, otherwise I would not have gone to the trouble I did during the Christmas recess, to study and read on this matter. If Mr. Smallwood is interested in my sources, the Encyclopedia Britannica is one of them.
In that election of 1869, nine confederates were returned and 21 anti.
Mr. Smallwood Ten.
Mr. Harrington Ten, was it? All right, one more, in the House of Assembly of 30.[1] The confederate papers of the day screamed about unfair methods used by their opponents to gain their seats, but it is a significant fact that Newfoundland history was made not by confederates against anticonfederates, but by anticonfederates against confederates, for in the district of Burin, Carter and Evans, confederates, were elected by a matter of a few votes over LeMessurier and Woods, antis, and a celebrated case arose in 1870 when the Assembly opened, with a question of who had actually been elected. When the hue and cry died down, Carter and Evans were sustained. You can be sure, Mr. Chairman, that if the confederates had any reasonable ground for suspicion that they had been manoeuvered out of election by unfair practices, they would be the first to raise a howl in every district, but as I said, the only side which did have good grounds for suspicion of unfair practices was the anticonfederate side.
Now if there is any doubt in our minds that Britain was pushing confederation in 1869 and that that fact helped to wreck confederation plans, here is a little more evidence. On August 25, 1869, nearly three months before that elec tion, the following despatch was received by the Governor in connection with the terms of the proposed union, which had been communicated to the House of Assembly with, as far as I can learn, none of the ostentatious and rather silly theatricals which accompanied the reception of the proposals now under discussion. The despatches were from Lord Granville, Secretary of State for the Colonies, and said: "I have expressed the hope that nothing will occur in Newfoundland to delay the measures from which I confidently anticipate advantages to the Dominion Government and to the Colony." A second despatch, sent to the Governor-General of Canada, said in part: "I believe it is in the interest of the whole of the British North American Colonies that they should be united under one government, and Her Majesty's Government watches with much interest the successive steps that are being taken towards the accomplishment of this great end." That was before the election was held. And after it was held, when the anticonfederate House of Assembly was opened on February 3, 1870, Governor Hill, in his opening speech said, amongst other things, with reference to the question of confederation, "The views of an enlightened British statesman, and one of the highest authorities on colonial affairs need no endorsement from me, for it is quite clear that the current of opinion and events has strongly set in towards union, and I firmly trust that nothing will occur to check, turn or defraud Newfoundland from gliding onward, and that the advance already made may be continued until the Colony joins the Dominion, thus completing the great end so anxiously desired by the Imperial Government." The address in reply, amongst other things, said, with reference to that paragraph in the Governor's speech just quoted, "The subject of the union of this colony with the Dominion of Canada has been largely discussed both within and without this House for several years past, and the result has been a settled conviction in the minds of the people that such union would not be conducive to their essential interests, a conclusion which has manifested itself at the general election by the return of an overwhelming majority of representatives in opposition to that measure. Firm in their adherence to the fortunes of the mother country the people of New January 1948 NATIONAL CONVENTION 1109 foundland shrink from the idea of linking their destinies with a Dominion, in the future of which they can at present see nothing to inspire hope, but much to create apprehension". Now that last sentence is important, very important.
Those who try to claim that the people of Newfoundland in 1869 held aloof from confederation only because they fell for a tissue of lies must be shown, like everybody else, that there was far more to the reputation of the Carter government than the fears of sending their sons away to bleach their bones on the desert sands of Canada. Undoubtedly there was exaggeration on both sides. There always is and always has been in election campaigns, as I have pointed out, but let us consider the nature of the times. The North American continent was still shaken by the effects of the civil war in the United States, and all sorts of subversive movement was afoot in that country and in Canada. "The Province of Nova Scotia, one of the four which had been inveigled into adopting the resolution, was regretting it already ..." says one author, "so much so that on the 22nd of February, 1868, the House of Assembly of Nova Scotia sent an address to the British Crown, declaring that the Province was adverse to the measure of Union, and, on an unsatisfactory reply being received on the 4th of June the Executive Council sent a further despatch in which they threatened the possibility of the Province not only leaving Confederation, but seceding from the British Empire as well, observing that there was no change in their political relations which they would not prefer to their present place in the Confederation". That was Nova Scotia's attitude on confederation in 1868.
Prince Edward Island's attitude was plain — she would stay out. As for British Columbia, as late as March, 1870, a few months after the '69 election, a speech delivered in the Legislative Council said, "The people of this colony have, generally speaking, no love for Canada. They care, as a rule, little or nothing about the creation of another empire, kingdom or republic. They care little about the distinctions between the forms of government of Canada and the United States". And in that connection, Professor Walter Sage declared in 1945 that, "In the colonial war, and even for a time before confederation, Canadians were unpopular. They were known as North American Chinamen — a tribute to their thrift. They send their money home and do not spend it so freely as do the open-handed Americans."
I mentioned too the subversive movements in the United States and Canada, among which was the famous Fenian organisation made up of Irishmen driven from their homeland, and who were determined to take a blow at England whenever and wherever they could. In 1866 they made an unsuccessful invasion of Canada, a raid it was, and fought in 1870 from the United States, being joined by their compatriots in Canada, and in addition to this movement there was a famous uprising of the Métis, the French-Indian half- breeds in Manitoba, under Louis Riel in 1869, known in Canadian history as "Riel's rebellion"; add to that dissension and open warfare the supreme fact that the French Canadians in Quebec, the real Canadians, believed that confederation was an attempt to submerge their identity, and although they accepted the arrangement in principle, were to leave few stones unturned in after years to my to wreck the union. That was the union that Newfoundland repudiated, and the reasons I have given were principally at the bottom of the mother country's desire why it should be effected. Confederation was for protection in the middle of the last century if nothing else. It was to get the colonies of British North America under a central government which could be delegated with the responsibility of defending its interest against the many internal advances from races and wolves, and against the external dangers, principal among which was the growing republic to the south. Furthermore, at that time there was little or no communication between the provinces apart from the few commercial contacts between the provinces of Ontario and Quebec and the Maritimes, but the total value of trade between them was very small, and between either Canada or the Maritimes and the farther west there was practically no commercial enterprise of any kind, and it was such a haphazard, loose conglomeration of colonies covering a vast and potentially valuable territory, that made the British government anxious to see them brought together under a central government. No wonder, sir, that the anticonfederate party of 1869 was able to convince the electorate that union would not be conducive to their essential interest — union with a Dominion in the future 1110 NATIONAL CONVENTION January 1948 of which they could see nothing to inspire hope, but much to create apprehension. Sir, it is not by the conditions of 1948 that we must pass judgement on the decision of '69. We must try to see it as it was, and as they saw it almost 80 years ago, and be not too sweeping in our judgement, and endeavour to see the present situation from every angle, including the question of dollars and cents, which may seem the most important question to some, but there is more at stake than that.
I have pointed out the anxiety with which the British government pressed for the confederation of the North American colonies, and it is obvious that this desire was prompted far more by imperial than colonial interests. The opposition in the House of Assembly here after the 1869 elections expressed it as their main opinion that confederation had been prevented by first the studied determination of some persons of influence to oppose the desires of Her Majesty's Government, and secondly by the active dissemination of Britain, which entirely ignored the true merits of the question. And if you want final proof that this 1869 election was principally brought about by imperial planning, listen to what Governor Hill said at the closing session of the House of Assembly in May, 1870: "Her Majesty's Government," he said, "ever awaits the welfare and prosperity of her people, and not only approves Confederation of Newfoundland with the Dominion, but is anxious for its speedy completion"; and I, in the light of all the circumstances of our history in the 19th century, say that was the main rock on which confederation foundered — the feeling of coercion that was behind the whole movement, the definite pressure that was exerted by the Queen's representative in many pronouncements, and while the matter of entering confederation was in theory a matter of choice, it was in fact something of a pressure movement, with the realisation that while it was being arranged for the colony's protection, it was still an end that must be achieved willy nilly....
That, Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, was the real position as I see it at the close of the 1869 election, And confederation slept until 1888, when due to the efforts of Alfred Morine, a Nova Scotian who had adopted Newfoundland as his country and gained a reputation here as a lawyer as well as a politician, an attempt was made to reopen the negotiations, but it fell through, and in 1890 the Whiteway government began to negotiate with the United States for a reciprocity treaty, and the result was the Bond-Blaine convention, which never came to anything due to Canadian interference with the home government; for had not Sir Charles Tupper, the Canadian High Commissioner in London, been assured by the British government that Newfoundland would not be allowed to do anything with the United States until it had been submitted to his government? There, sir, was the rock on which confederation foundered again in 1895.
Sir, is it the intention to rise the committee?
Mr. Chairman Subject to the approval of the House, it is my intention to sit tonight.
Mr. Harrington Shall I continue?
Mr. Chairman Yes, you can continue until six, unless you want a recess. Do you want a recess for five minutes?
Mr. Harrington A recess till 8 o'clock?
Mr. Chairman No, a recess for five minutes.
Mr. Harrington No, I can continue.
Mr. Smallwood We have not got very much time, and if Mr. Harrington is prepared to go ahead until six, it is only what? 20 minutes or so.
Mr. Harrington I will continue.
[The Convention adjourned to 8 pm]
Mr. Harrington When the House rose this afternoon I had been speaking on the country's history from 1869 to 1895, and I had come to a consideration of the present day situation. Newfoundland's position has greatly changed since 1869, and since 1895. In 1927, Newfoundland gained a possession, the Labrador, three times as large as itself. Hitherto, she had been a small island colony whose strategic position, as Mr. Higgins has pointed out, was ignored until the second World War. Up to that time too, the United States had not come into its own as a number one world power. Now the US has assumed Britain's traditional role in world affairs, and the US has bases in Newfoundland. Hence it is now more imperative than ever to get Newfoundland into confederation. Hence the statement that if Newfoundland enters confederation, Canada will replace Britain as the other party in the base agreement.
It might well seem that the pressure is on Britain this time — pressure from Canada. When Britain made the surrender of self-government in 1933 the condition for financial aid, she knew January 1948 NATIONAL CONVENTION 1111 that she was getting control of not only the island of Newfoundland, but the vast area of Labrador, which only six years before her Privy Council had awarded to Newfoundland. What her ultimate plans for this island and Labrador were in the minds of her long-headed statesmen, who can tell? But the war of 1939-1945 turned the world upside down. The balance of power shifted to the New World. England, in desperate straits in 1940, got 50 over-age destroyers for bases in Newfoundland and elsewhere, something which might have been foreseen in 1933, the year that Hitler came to power in Germany. Canada, too, must have struck a bargain with the mother country, not as well-publicised as the base deal. England's need was Canada's opportunity. The process of rounding out the Dominion was begun.
It seems to be a fairly well-known fact that while the government of Mr. Churchill was still in power, a plan was drawn up for a ten-year programme of reconstruction in Newfoundland. Some sources claim that the return of responsible government was also contemplated in conjunction with this offer. It is reliably understood that Canada interfered, as she did in 1892 at the time of the Bond-Blaine treaty. The late Sir John Puddester, in a meeting of the Public Health and Welfare Committee (of which I was a member, and Mr. Smallwood and others), stated:
Mr. Smallwood: Bearing on that, what is the irreducible minimum?
Sir J.C. Puddester: I made up a list, two years ago of what our outlay would probably be. When the Goodwill Mission was here they talked about a 10-year plan. When they went home, they talked a lot about it and Lord Cranborne sent for representatives of the Commission of Government to go over. Emerson, Dunn and myself went over, and there were visions of everything. I was asked to put down then what I thought we would require in our department and the whole thing comes to $10 million capital expenditure over 10 years. There was also to be a gift of $100,000 for 10 years to do construction work.
Mr. Higgins: Did they fall down on that?
Sir J.C. Puddester: Nobody seems to know the real facts; but I think with the American plan of lend-lease and the Canadian raising money, they said, "If you have money to give Newfoundland, better pay your debts first".
Is it too fantastic, too far-fetched to even suggest that the Canadian government went a step further and made aid to Britain contingent on the entry of Newfoundland into confederation? And that as far back as 1941 or 1942, if I might paraphrase the title of this Grey Book, arrangements were proposed for the entry of Newfoundland into confederation?
It is very significant to my mind, arising out of the remarks of Major Cashin last week, that around the period that he says the plan was instituted, this country became the target for a barrage of newspaper and other propaganda of the most one-sided, unfair, and in some cases, scurrilous type that our people have had to contend with in many years, the greater part of it originating in Canada. The general effect of this propaganda was to convey to the rest of the world that Newfoundland was — to quote Mr. Smallwood more than a year ago in this chamber — "50 years behind the times"; that our people were a benighted race, and that in the interests of international decency we should be saved from ourselves. The obvious inference was that Canada should be the saviour. Mr. Chairman, I cannot help but draw a comparison between such tactics and those used in Europe just prior to the second World War by Adolf Hitler. He sang much the same song. He looked over his borders at Czechoslovakia, Austria and other lands, and with variations on the theme, said that these people should be saved from themselves, and proceeded to march in and "save them". But then he was not hampered by the necessity of even paying lip-service to democracy, like the nations of the western world must do. So the "capture" of Newfoundland had to be achieved by more or less "peaceful penetration"; by power politics in the guise of democracy; in the guise of a National Convention.
Now, Mr. Chairman, before I proceed to a consideration of the "Proposed Arrangements for the Entry of Newfoundland into Confederation" of 1947, I wish to make one point very clear. I am not anti-Canadian. Far from it. The suggestion has been made in some quarters that opposition to Newfoundland's entry into union at this stage is anti-Canadian. That is not so; certainly not in my case. Anticonfederate, yes. But anti- Canadian, no! I have as much regard for Canada 1112 NATIONAL CONVENTION January 1948 and her achievements as I have for the United States. Some of the finest people I have known have been Canadians, or the sons and daughters of Canadians living in this country. I would like that to go into the records of this House. Anticonfederate, yes; but anti-Canadian, no!
With that general introduction I would like to pass on to the present proposed arrangements, and make a few observations on the debate of those so-called terms which went on from 20 November to 12 December, 1947. I did not participate to any great extent in that debate, for I realised the magnitude of its implications, and I confess I felt rather at a loss as it muddled through the weeks before Christmas. I, for the most part, sat and listened to the by-play between certain speakers; and day after day I made notes on certain aspects of the debate as the House struggled slowly through the documents.
I do not intend to deal with each of the 23 clauses; many of them I shall only briefly refer to, for if some members here do not realise their limitations, I do. Hence, I do not intend to indulge in academic appraisals of high finance. I shall leave that involved problem to those better equipped to deal with it, and go on to considerations to my mind just as important in a proper understanding of the confederation issue.
Clause 2. "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." This clause has raised quite a storm, and that it will continue to do so is inevitable. We must be realistic on this question; we must face up to it. These arrangements, the Canadian government calls them, are supposed to be a "fair and equitable basis" for our entry into the Canadian confederation. We have heard it described as a federation of nine self-governing provinces with a central government set above them all. We have not heard it referred to here as a hybrid nation, which it is; for Canada is not one nation, but two. Canada is English and Canada is French; and if we don't recognise the difference, others do.... It is now almost a proverb that unless the present trend is not altered considerably, "Ontario or Quebec will destroy Canada".
The vexed question of Quebec and our Labrador cannot be pooh-poohed off, as it has been here on every occasion it arose, by the oversimplification of saying that the Privy Council made a decision in 1927, and though the heavens fall, it stands. I put this to you, suppose the Privy Council in some not too distant day ceases to be the highest tribunal of the British Commonwealth. We know that the British dominions are each year becoming more and more autonomous, more and more self-sufficient. The King's title which effects his "dominions beyond the seas" is altered; citizens of the dominions are now Canadian or Australian citizens, etc., not "British subjects". In time the supreme courts of the dominions will no doubt become the highest courts of law, the highest tribunals of these dominions.... What then? Should the Supreme Court of Canada become the highest tribunal of the Dominion of Canada, superseding the Privy Council, what is there to prevent Quebec appealing to that new tribunal, and in the light of present events, receiving a reversion of the 1927 decision, in whole or in part? That is one aspect that has not been touched upon at all, and I draw it to members' attention, and to the attention of the country as well. This, separate and apart from the other excellent arguments on the possibility of our losing Labrador, such as the fact that our provincial finances after the first eight years of union would be in such a state as to force us to part with some or all of Labrador as contingent for the receipt of further federal aid.
Clause 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, etc.... There is little need to comment on this. Canada is only doing what she would do for any other part of North America that went into confederation. She would extend the same facilities to Alaska, if it was a British territory and wanted to become a province. There is only one observation necessary to make. If we get those services, we will pay for them.
Clause 4. Welfare services presently provided by Canada, and therefore applicable to Newfoundland after union pursuant to clause 3, include the following... This is the heavy metal of the confederates. This is why confederation can be an issue in 1947 when it could not possibly have been one four years ago when the family allowance scheme was not in existence. I am not attacking the family allowance scheme. It is only January 1948 NATIONAL CONVENTION 1113 in the experimental stage in Canada. It is costing a fabulous sum. It has yet to prove itself. But at the moment it is the chief selling point of the confederates, and its basis is that the people will get something for nothing. That argument has been tried in other places besides Newfoundland. Here is what a semi-official Canadian publication supplied to the members of this Convention says in this regard:
The family allowance is a broad raise in wages for many people. To those of fixed income, especially those who derive little or no benefit directly from the bonus, it is quite injurious. As an example, it has been found that part-time and other jobs which for various reasons do not pay fancy sums, are being turned down by those who regard the allowance as a convenient dole system.
Thus it not only encourages unemployment, but forces wages up in certain industries which in turn raises costs on manufactured articles. The general public, therefore, not only pays for the family allowance, but pays again in increased prices.
The government's estimated $250 million cost, means that over $20 in extra taxes now has to be raised for every man, woman and child in Canada. It has been said that the plan is economical when it is considered that the annual expense is only equivalent to two weeks' average expenditure for war. On the other hand, the war has put us tremendously into debt, and it seems reasonable to believe that family allowances will send us further into debt. Particularly is this probably in view of our commitments to heavy post-war expenditures which have hitherto not entered into the picture.
Mr. Chairman What are you quoting from?
Mr. Harrington Quick Canadian Facts.
Mr. Chairman There is nothing official about that.
Mr. Harrington It has already been quoted from.
Mr. Chairman It should not have been.
Mr. Harrington The idea was to give something for nothing. That is the gist of this article. They give the idea that it is a bonus to those in need by a direct cash grant, and that creates a further illusion. The theme is, "soak the rich and get family allowances" But just how far can the rich be soaked? And just how many rich are there in Newfoundland to soak? You can soak them to the limit of the law, and you still won't get a fraction of the money needed to run the tenth province. And you can only soak them by income tax, and that goes to the federal government.
Old age pensions. Everyone agrees with old age pensions. As I said in the debate on the Economic Report, what we pay in in old age pensions is not, should not, be a matter of dollars and cents, but a matter of conscience and justice. We cannot wait until we have a surplus to increase old age pensions, and there should be no restrictions as to a means test, involving the signing away of rights to property or anything else. When Bill 339 on old age pensions was brought into the Canadian House of Commons on June 18 last, a few days before our delegation arrived in Ottawa, here is what the Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Bracken, said: "This government promised two years ago, in this public document I have read, a pension plan which would provide for the elimination of the test... This government then proposed to eliminate the means test. Now they are bringing forward a measure which retains the means test. They promised old age pensions at 70, all to be paid by the Dominion. They now bring forward a measure in which they leave 25% of the cost to be paid by the provinces. And the proposed old age pensions for people between the ages of 65 and 69, half to be paid by the Dominion and half by the provinces. Yet there is nothing of that in this bill..." And further on in the debate, M. J. Coldwell, leader of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation, spoke in the same strain: "I want to make a plea again this afternoon, for the complete abolition of the means test. I see no reason whatever for continuing this humiliating test, which is entirely unnecessary. In another act the government has recognised the validity of not applying the means test. They have recognised this in connection with childrens' allowances."
Mr. Smallwood spoke of Canadian social measures as though no other country in the world had ever heard of them until Canada made the first move. He referred to Canadian thinking in these matters, and I might just for the record, inject here, that whereas old age pensions were introduced in Canada in 1927, Sir Michael Cashin in his budget of 1911-12 earmarked a vote 1114 NATIONAL CONVENTION January 1948 of $12,000 in connection with an old age pension scheme which his government was about to inaugurate. I say this just to show that our former governments and public men were not as benighted as some people would have us believe.
In the debate on old age pensions the first big flaw in the Black Books came to light. The figure set down by the Ottawa delegation for old age pensions to be paid in the province was $510,000. In the debate, Mr. Smallwood said the figure would be increased to $750,000, and actually it was finally concluded it would be $900,000. This the province would have to find — almost a million dollars, almost twice the amount the delegation first supposed. The $64 question is, will the province be able to pay it? Newfoundland as a province could pay her old age pensioners what she liked; $100 a month if she could afford it, if she could raise the money. There are a lot of ifs in this business, Mr. Chairman — too many ifs, ands, and buts. It is too theoretical, too vague. We have to take too much on spec for my liking, and with all due respect for Mr. Smallwood's integrity, too much on his word.
Clause 5 — Here is our big-hearted gift to the great Dominion. The Railway, the Newfoundland Hotel, postal-telegraphs, civil aviation including Gander airport, Customs and Excise, defence, pensions of war veterans, fisheries, etc. etc., Canada takes over these. We give them to her for free. I ask you, is that a bargain for Canada? Oh, I can hear the sneers about our "narrow-gauge Newfie express", but it is worth $72 million, so the Railway officials say. And even if it is only worth $50 million, it is still a lot of valuable property. It has been roughly computed that the public utilities value that Canada takes over is roughly $150 million, and that"ain't hay" for a small country like this to have to build up; and it is a mighty big item of generosity to hand this over lock, stock and barrel to the Dominion of Canada for nothing. If the seven man delegation to Ottawa had been seven members of the cabinet of an elected government of Newfoundland, they could very well have demanded some lump sum payment for the handing-over of these assets. But they could not do that; that would be negotiating. And here is another $64 question — who did the negotiating? Was there negotiating? How come margarine? But more of this anon, Mr. Chairman.
Now, about the Railway under confederation. Under the Canadian National Railway, Mr. Smallwood read something from the Black Book that says nothing about the Railway employees. Mr. Higgins came in the next day with the minutes of a meeting, which word for word was the same as that found in the Black Book, volume 2, with a significant exception. When this occurred — members were apparently letting it pass — I raised a question which was to the effect that it seemed the delegation was in possession of information that the Convention was denied. I had no inkling it would start a 70 minute debate, but I soon saw I had touched on a sore point. From the trend the debate has taken all through it seems there are many sore points. Taxation is certainly one. Notwithstanding Mr. Smallwood's declared eagerness to come to grips with this fascinating subject before Christmas, the truth of it is that it was scarcely touched on until last week. It has been continuously shelved since the debate began on November 20 or earlier. Sometimes the Black Books are official, sometimes unofficial. On the matter of the employees of the Railway under Canadian National, Mr. Smallwood's claim is that this inferred reduction of staff is not in the Black Books, ergo it is unimportant. I cannot accept this view. These statements are there in black and white in the files at Ottawa, and if it is produced and acted on when the tenth province is sworn in, then what kind of an argument is it to say, "It is not in the Black Books"? The officials will say it is not in the terms either, that these people should be kept on. And what can we say? And that goes for more than the Railway. Then Newfoundlanders are supposed to continue to run the Railway. Why? Because the Canadian Civil Service Act says, "Employees must be citizens of the province". But it is stated in the Black Book that administration goes to regional headquarters at Moncton. Who employs who, then? Do Newfoundlanders go up to Moncton to run the Railway, or do the New Brunswick people run it? Or does Ottawa send down men to keep New Brunswick and Newfoundland from each other's throats? Note well in this regard, what of the Housing Association with its regional office somewhere in the Maritimes — does the same hold? I ask you in all seriousness, what are we expected to suppose?
Clause 6. Canada will pay the salary of the January 1948 NATIONAL CONVENTION 1115 Lieutenant-Governor and the salaries, allowances and pensions of superior court judges and of judges of district and county courts, if and when established.
Need we add that the Province of Newfoundland will have to pay the salaries or sessional pay of 15, 20 or 30 members, however many representatives there are in the provincial House of Assembly, plus the Speaker's emoluments, plus the various officials? I know that Mr. Smallwood's provincial budget has set down a sum of $200,000 to cover these expenses, but has it been made abundantly clear to many of our people what that sum represents? I am under the impression that a considerable number of our people believe that under confederation they will be governed from Ottawa only, just as they are governed now from London. They have not the faintest idea that there will be a legislature in between, here in St. John's, almost the same as in the days of responsible government. Some folk may not credit this, but it is true. Many of our people think that by voting for confederation they are going to eliminate the necessity of having a local House of Assembly in St. John's. That explains, for the most part, why we hear so many people say. "Where are we going to get the men under responsible government?" Let them ponder where, then, they are going to get them under confederation! If we are not ready for responsible, we are not ready for confederation.
Clause 7. Debt. Canada will assume and provide for the servicing and retirement of the 3 percent stock issue maturing 1943-63 guaranteed by the United Kingdom... etc. etc.
Here we have the same stumbling block over which the confederate plan of 1895 tripped and came a Cropper. In 1895 Canada could not assume the entire debt of Newfoundland. When Britain was asked to bridge the gap, she would not do so. The negotiations fell through. That is why confederation was never put to the people of a bankrupt country in 1895 — the terms were not generous enough. Yet 50 years after, Canada expects the National Convention to consider putting substantially the same arrangements before the people of a solvent country, to vote themselves into a union and start it with a provincial debt to service — in other words, to hang a millstone about our necks for life, and our children's necks after us. And yet at every turn we are confronted with headlines about the generous terms that Canada has offered Newfoundland. The confederates said they will be so generous that we won't be able to turn them down. Now I ask, where are the special concessions for Newfoundland? They are certainly not in the financial arrangements, and as far as I can see, they are not in any of the others. All the Grey Book represents is a mere application of the main features of the Canadian confederation to Newfoundland. No more, no less. Of course there's margarine, but more of that later.
Let me put it this way, Mr. Chairman. Suppose Alaska was a British colony, a British dominion like Newfoundland. And suppose Alaska wanted to enter the Canadian confederation. Like Newfoundland, there would be provision in the RNA Act. Canada would have all the same services extended to Alaska as are offered to Newfoundland. She would get all the promises we are getting. Canada would also take over all her assets, her railways, steamships, etc., just as in clause 8. But Alaska's government, presuming she had self-govemment as a British dominion, would say to Canada, "We are a big country; we're rich; you will have to do better than that. We want some special concessions." And if Canada wanted Alaska as badly as she seems to want Newfoundland, then Alaska would get special concessions. But our delegation could not act in that way because they had no authority to act as a government, no authority to bargain, to negotiate, They just had to take whatever Canada was prepared to offer. Even if they went beyond their powers and secured margarine, that was not a concession for it is in the cards that all Canada may soon have that particular freedom to manufacture and sell margarine. That is why the terms — the so-called terms - do not say we will get a standard gauge railway, which would be a special concession. It is left to Mr. Smallwood to read between the lines and suggest we will get it some day. That is why Canada will maintain only a steamship service no better or worse than the present one on the Gulf. And when the motor highway is completed, if it is completed and if the province can afford to complete it, it will include suitable provision for motor vehicles. Whereas a special concession would have said, Canada will complete that road and build a transinsular high 1116 NATIONAL CONVENTION January 1948 way and provide a super ferry service, a boat- train on the Gulf like the one I spoke of on the debate on the Transportation Report in 1947. These are just two examples of real bait to get us into confederation, something to make it really worthwhile. But what are we going to get? Margarine. They are going to let us make and eat margarine; what generosity!
I said, Mr. Chairman, concessions like these might make it worthwhile, on a financial basis, to enter confederation. And why not concessions? We are not bankrupt as in 1895; we are not a shaky, insecure colony as in 1867. We are today, in 1947, comparatively well-off with many of the characteristics of a nation. We deserve special inducements to get us to forsake our traditional independence and our economic sovereignty. But we are not getting them; we are not even offered them. We are handed something and told to take it or leave it: "the Government of Canada believes that the arrangements go as far as the government can go under the circumstances". The confederates have been preaching that if we do not take it, then we are doomed and damned. That is their propaganda. Newfoundland has no future. her future is built on sand, she must clutch this Canadian straw or go down in the financial whirlpool. They are not arguing for confederation on its merits; they are trying to press their case by aiming to prove that Newfoundland is headed for ruin otherwise. They are apparently blind — conveniently so — to the fact that as yet Newfoundland has not been able to ask the United States for any concessions — concessions, it is needless to point out, that could only be sought and secured by a sovereign government of the Newfoundland people.
I say again, Mr. Chairman, there should be special concessions before we should, in our present position, even consider confederation. Yet there are none, and they call them generous terms. I don't know that we have a right to even call them "terms" — nowhere in any of the documents which I have, does the Canadian government call them "terms". The Grey Book is titled Proposed Arrangements for the Entry of Newfoundland into Confederation. Arrangements — that doesn't mean very much. I can arrange for you to become a member of my club, but I do not guarantee that if you accept, you will become its president. That would have to be a deal of some kind, we would have to agree on terms for that. We should not be using that word "terms" so glibly; neither should we be using the word "generous" in connection with them. They are not generous, neither should they be. "Fair", yes; "equitable", yes, if they are (which I doubt); but "generous" — no! We do not want generosity. Some of our people may be looking for a handout, but most of them are not, I believe. As Major Cashin said, Newfoundland's entry into confederation is a going into partnership. Partners are equals, at least that's how I always understood it. Partners do not expect generosity from each other. They expect co-operation. They expect each other to accept equal responsibilities, receive equal gains, share equal losses. A partnership is not one-sided. One partner does not get all the benefits and the other take all the risks. It is like marriage, or like marriage is supposed to be. Of course, there's divorce from marriage in Canada, but not in Newfoundland. We have not heard much about that yet. But there is no divorce from confederation — it is final, it is forever. You cannot try it for ten or 15 years, like Commission or responsible government, and then change. No, sir, you are stuck with it.
But getting back to partnership and confederation between Canada and Newfoundland as an arrangement between equals, these so-called terms are, as far as I can see, a one-sided affair. If anyone is going to benefit from confederation, it is going to be Canada. We will get a few paltry millions in family allowances, old age pensions, and other subsidies which will cease after the first eight years of union; and Canada will get control of Newfoundland and Labrador. There will pass into her hands the control of one of the most strategic areas of the earth with all that implies in these days. What she pays into Newfoundland will return in time to her a hundredfold from the exploitation of that strategic position, and the tremendous bargaining power that will accrue to her in dealing with the United States in particular, by virtue of air bases like Gander and Goose; the United States bases; the immense iron and mineral deposits of Labrador. In regard to the Labrador, the Privy Council heard the case on the boundary in 1926; their judgement was handed down in 1927, giving Newfoundland 110,000 square miles. Early in 1928, Senator C.E. Tanner moved the following resolution: "That in the January 1948 NATIONAL CONVENTION 1117 opinion of this House, Canada should favourably consider any proposals that may be made by Newfoundland for union with the Dominion of Canada." Speaking on this resolution, Senator Rufus Pope said in part, "That territory which has been awarded to Newfoundland by the decision given in England on the boundary line, has become very valuable, and if Canada desires to possess it, we have no time to lose..." That was the theme of the whole debate, the value of Labrador, the need for Canada to repossess it. That was only 20 years ago. The wheel has come full circle again. Let's not kid ourselves with that fatuous statement that Canada does not want Newfoundland, that we will be a drag on Canada. The only ones we will be a drag on are ourselves, when we try to make our little province pay and make both ends meet, out of the pitifully small and inadequate revenues left us after the Dominion has taken over the most lucrative fields of taxation.
Mr. Smallwood has made a valiant attempt to produce a provincial budget for eight years, and it is as fine a piece of financial juggling as anyone could wish to marvel at. He rakes the Finance Committee from stem to stem for giving a budget, admittedly based on conjecture, for three years, and then blithely produces one for eight years. All through the previous debates Mr. Smallwood was the champion of no limit on future expenditures; there had to be more money for this and that, for everything, every service of government. But now he has to cut the provincial coat to fit the cloth at his disposal, if we enter confederation; and we find him with a limit on everything, not for one year, but for eight! And the trump card for the provincial budget seems to be Clause 14 — Reassessment of Newfoundland's Financial Position.
In view of the difficulty of predicting with sufficient accuracy the financial consequences to Newfoundland of adjustment to provincial status, the Government of Canada will appoint a royal commission within eight years of union to review the financial position of Newfoundland and to recommend the form and scale of additional financial assistance, if any, which may be required by the Government of Newfoundland to enable it to continue public services at then prevailing levels without resorting to taxation more bur densome, having regard to capacity to pay, than that of the Maritime Provinces.
If we can only manage to struggle through the first eight years, then everything will be fine. We will get a royal commission to figure out how much additional financial help we will need. It will be plenty, and we will have no collateral, no security, nothing to exchange for the do-ray-me except Labrador. So the pressure is put on the provincial parliament, and they amend the legislation and alter the boundaries of the Province of Newfoundland, that part of it called Labrador. That is the consent of the province, and someone takes over Labrador or part of it, and that someone will be Quebec. I'll stake my life on it. On the other hand, we may never get that royal commission. We have heard a lot about what the Duncan-White Commission did, but how many commissions did not function? As recently as 1911 a commission of inquiry was set up for British Columbia to look into the matter of granting that province better terms. The commission was set up, but it never functioned. The letter of the law may have been followed, but its spirit was hardly interpreted. Could not this happen in our case? Remember, Newfoundland would be the tenth and last province. Once in, anything would be good enough for her because there would not be any more prospective customers for the confederation wares.
I just mentioned the provincial budget, Mr. Chairman, and now I want to make a few references to a table on page 2, "Probable Revenue and Expenditure of the Province". Expenditure is $15,138,775, an annual average for the first four years. Then the revenue. Note two things - the word taxation at the very beginning, and the amount of almost $3.5 million, and the sentence "New taxation is to be imposed", another million and a quarter. Total provincial taxation, $4.5 million. It goes up another million in the next four years. Now I ask the people to note this: the Dominion has taken the income tax, the customs revenues, has put excise on liquor and tobacco. What is left? What remains to permit the Province of Newfoundland to raise $4.5 million each year in taxation? Very little that I can see. There is $750,000 raised on gasoline. That is not regular revenue as of now, it would be new taxation to add to the $1.25 million earmarked in the budget as new taxation. Almost $5 per person, 1118 NATIONAL CONVENTION January 1948 almost $25 per family in new taxation, just in the province. What kind of taxation? Mr. Hollett read a list of what kind of taxes it can be raised from. It is all in the Black Books, pages 149 to 153, five pages of the kinds of taxes that can be levied, either by the federal or the provincial governments. The province, if it signs the tax agreement, loses income and corporation taxes and succession duties. These are the big ones. The province is then left with real and personal property, the gasoline tax and fuel oil tax. Besides the federal excise on tobacco, the province can levy a tobacco tax also. Then there can be a retail sales tax in the province, plus the federal sales tax of 8%. Then the amusement taxes on movies, shows of any kind, plays, concerts, dances, athletic competitions and so on. That brings us to (i) on the list; then there is (j) and that has almost as many "Other Taxes", as it is called, as the foregoing put together. Amongst these can be placed the luxury taxes, or excise taxes, but I won't read them all.
Clause 8 is very much the same as clause 5. Canada takes over the assets of Newfoundland freely and without consideration of any kind in way of reimbursement.
The next clause I want to comment on briefly is clause 9 dealing with our accumulated financial surplus. Section 3 of this clause reads:
No part of the surplus shall be used to subsidise production or sale of Newfoundland products in unfair competition with similar products of other provinces, it being understood that this proviso does not preclude assistance to industry by such means as developmental loans on reasonable conditions or by ordinary provincial administrative services.
Now, in the debate before Christmas, when Mr. Hickman drew our attention to this restriction, Mr. Smallwood observed in all seriousness that it was a pure piece of politics and not to be taken seriously. Now that struck me so forcibly that I made a note of it. If the Canadian government, in a matter as serious as this for Newfoundland, can be said to be playing politics in even one section of one clause of this Grey Book, then is it not open to wider implication that the whole Grey Book is a pure piece of politics, or impure, depending on your point of view?
The next clause to which I want to draw to your attention is clause 15:
Representation of the Province of Newfoundland in the Senate and House of Commons of Canada will be in accordance with the British North America Acts, 1867 to 1946, as amended from time to time. Under the existing provisions, while the number of senators to which each province is entitled is fixed, the number of members of the House of Commons is determined from time to time on the basis of population, but in any case is not to be less than the number of senators to which the province is entitled. Under these provisions, the Province of Newfoundland will be represented by six members in the Senate and, on the basis of its present population, by seven members in the House of Commons.
Now, Mr. Chairman, I well remember the night session at which this particular clause was read and explained. The House was in a good humour for a change, and there was a lot of joking and fun generally about this representation, and who were going to be or could be senators and so on. Now, sir, I did not find that discussion in the least bit funny, when I considered that Newfoundland as the tenth and last province would be represented in the Dominion parliament by seven members out of 265, and in the Senate by six members out of 96. I confess it did seem like a joke, but the kind where the other fellow has the laugh. Why, we could not be much worse off if we had no representation. How far would we get? How often would our voice be heard? To bolster the position, pro-confederates cite a possible union of Maritime Provinces. It will never come in our lifetime, probably never come, as long as Quebec and Ontario look upon such a union as a possible threat to their sway.
And now, Mr. Chairman, the last clause that I wish to refer to before a general summing up, clause 19:
Education: The legislature of the Province of Newfoundland will have exclusive authority to make laws in relation to education within the province, provided that:
The legislature will not have authority to make laws prejudicially affecting any right or privilege with respect to denominational or separate schools which any class of persons has by law in Newfoundland at the date of union, but the legislature may authorize January 1948 NATIONAL CONVENTION 1119 any two or more such classes of persons to amalgamate or unite their schools and to receive, notwithstanding such amalgamation or union, their proportionate share of the public funds of Newfoundland devoted to education.
If anyone thinks that Canada is not bending over backwards to make easy the entry of Newfoundland into confederation, let him read that education clause —- not only read it, but take note of the most peculiar position that arose out of the debate before Christmas I cannot recall the exact day that Mr. Smallwood made, what I consider, a revelation. On this matter Mr. Smallwood was rather humble, I thought; not only on behalf of himself, but of the rest of us as well. I do not recall the exact words, but I think the gist of his remarks went something like this: now here is this education question — a matter of conscience as the Canadian Prime Minister pointed out in his letter — something on which Newfoundlanders feel very strongly. Now, we in this Convention are just a bunch of ordinary fellows, floundering through, so to speak —- we're not the heads of the denominations, so we cannot be expected to appreciate the implications of this clause. Therefore, if any or all of the heads of the various denominations or other high ecclesiastical sources see any complications in this clause, they are perfectly at liberty to address a letter or some other communication to — now I'm not sure if Mr. Smallwood said the Convention or the Canadian government, but I believe it was the latter, expressing their opinions and suggesting changes or alterations.
Now, Mr. Chairman, I ask you, isn't that the most peculiar position that has arisen in this Convention in your time? It certainly is in my time. We are not competent to pass on the merits of this clause 19, on a matter with which we are all familiar, education, since we were born. Yet we are considered to be competent to pass on the fairness of all the other clauses, including the most complicated financial arrangements, the most far-reaching international questions like the American bases and an international airport, in fact, on confederation itself — the most crucial and controversial issue that has faced this country in nearly two generations. And the very suggestion itself, that contacts be made inside or outside this house with the Canadian government to alter that clause in any sense, shape or form would most assuredly, as far as I am concerned, take on the aspects of negotiation and nothing else.
Now, on the clause as it stands. It appears to have covered every angle and stopped all the loopholes, but before leaving it I would like to point out that other and similar clauses were written into the BNA Act on the same matter when other provinces were being taken into confederation — "taken in" is probably the right term for it, too. For instance, Manitoba — BNA Act, section 22 (2)... That was in 1870 when Manitoba became a province. But what happened in 1890, 20 years after? The Liberal government of the day unified the schools in a non-sectarian system. There was a great stir over it, an appeal was made to the clause in Manitoba's terms, especially the section which, in effect, meant that the federal government could override the provincial govemment's decision on this matter. But when the appeal was made, Sir Wilfred Laurier pointed out that while the federal government might by legislation direct the correction of the grievance, it had no power to intervene in the administration of education in Manitoba; for education, after all, was a responsibility of the province. So that clause to safeguard the separate denominational schools in Manitoba was not worth the paper it was written on, anymore than clause 19 in these so-called terms.
Now, sir, I have finished my references to specific clauses and I wish to make a few general remarks on the Grey Book. In the first place, they are not terms of union, as their proponents are striving so hard to assert. The delegation to Ottawa had no power to negotiate terms. Its job was to ascertain if a fair and equitable basis existed for the entry of Newfoundland into the Dominion of Canada. Out of their three month stay came the two Black Books, incomplete as we have discovered, and regardless of how or when it came, this Grey Book, titled Proposed Arrangements for the Entry of Newfoundland into Confederation. The dictionary defines "arrangement" as the "act of arranging or putting in an orderly condition, the state of being so arranged; disposition in suitable form". A very general definition, and one which fits this Grey Book very well. It is a nice arrangement of a basis of union set down in 23 clauses and several annexes. The dictionary defines "terms", on the 1120 NATIONAL CONVENTION January 1948 other hand, as "propositions, limitations or provisions, stated or offered, as in contracts, for the acceptance of others and determining the nature and scope of the agreement". There is a tremendous difference in the word "terms" and the word "arrangements". And this Grey Book is called "arrangements". Nowhere in the whole business does the Canadian government call it "terms", nowhere. The Prime Minister's letter takes great care on this point.
Besides the Grey Book, which is not "terms", and the Black Books which are incomplete and official or semi-official as the situation arises, what else do we have to go on? In the debate, especially before Christmas, explaining these arrangements, much stress was laid by the pilot of the report on what so-and—so had said, suggested, hinted or alluded to at various meetings and apparently on other occasions. For instance, in connection with the Housing Corporation and the National Housing Act, it was said that the head of that Canadian organisation had said that something might be worked out, but he did not know what could be worked out until we were a province. Again, on the matter of the service on the Cabot Strait and the matter of a super-feny, it was stated that on this matter Mr. St. Laurent had read something from a memo about details of such a ship, and in this connection Mr. Smallwood had asked Mr. Ballam to tell the house what he knew or had heard about the car ferry on the Straits. And Mr. Ballam had risen in his place to say that he had nothing to say on this matter, that it was purely an off the record conversation between himself and the high Canadian official while walking along the street, and that he did not think it right to make any pronouncement under the circumstances. And he was quite right; for if the decision of our people in this matter of confederation is to be swayed by conjectures made or heard in a conversation on the streets of Ottawa, then the whole affair has indeed deed come to a sorry pass. It would seem to me, from the personal allusions made by Mr. Smallwood about what will happen when we are a province, that the Canadian officials were prepared to promise anything and everything, but to put nothing very much in writing. There were many other occasions when similar statements were made that could be quoted, but I have already taken up far more of the time of this house than I ever intended at the outset; but the whole matter is so complicated that the further one proceeds, the further one is involved.
Only one other aspect of the debate remains to be cemented on. It is in reference to the multitude of taxes that the Canadian people pay in all the provinces — to their municipal government, to their provincial government, and to their federal government. Mr. Smallwood had reiterated over and over again that it does not follow because Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island or any other province has certain taxes that we have not now, that under confederation we will still not have them. In other words, we will be the tenth and last province and we will be a law unto ourselves. There is an old saying, whether you do what the Romans do, when you're in Rome, is a matter of choice. But when in confederation, you will do as the Canadians do and it won't be a matter of choice, I can assure you. Not that the federal government will compel us to do certain things, raise certain taxes, but we ourselves will be compelled, we will have to compel ourselves to raise additional taxation to try and provide the services that the province under confederation is required to provide. Yes, Mr. Chairman, the CNR may take over the Railway, but the Province of Newfoundland will not be permitted to run on a separate track. It will have to shunt onto the main line on which the other nine provinces run; and where there is no precedent in our set-up we will have to take leaves from their books. To advance the argument that Newfoundland and her people will remain tax-free to the same extent as they are now under confederation, is the height of false reasoning. It is absurd. Even if we were to take the figures of Mr. Smallwood' s provincial budget we would still have to raise more than $1.25 million in additional provincial taxation, besides that provided for, in addition to the great amounts that would find their way from our pockets to the federal treasury at Ottawa. But other speakers have proved to my satisfaction at any rate, that Mr. Smallwood's budget is set at too low a figure to run the province successfully and make both ends meet.
In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, I wish to refer to certain other aspects of this whole question which as yet I have not touched upon in any great detail, if at all. As I said at the beginning, I realise January 1948 NATIONAL CONVENTION 1121 my limitations and I have not gone very thoroughly into the high finance of the question which has been, in any case, dealt with very effectively by other speakers. It is argued that we are too small to stand alone; yet other countries as small, and smaller, notably Iceland, have done so; and Iceland is not in half as important a part of the world as we are, and her position is not as quarter as strategic as ours; nor does she have even a fraction of the bargaining power that we possess. Even though there are 60 to 70 miles of deep Atlantic water between us and the mainland at the end that counts most, it is argued that we are a part of the Canadian mainland, when it would be equally correct or incorrect to argue that we are a part of the American mainland. The truth of the matter is, we are no more an intrinsic part of the mainland than is England of the continent of Europe, and I would recall to your attention how barely 25 miles of water made all the difference for England in 1940. The attempt to foist confederation on us is to ignore the facts of geography and international politics, which makes us as much a part of the United States as of Canada. The men who voted for a delegation to Ottawa on the grounds that they were concerned with the people's welfare, will not be able to reconcile their concern for that welfare with their refusal to vote to send a similar delegation to the United States.
I say then, Mr. Chairman, that it is wrong, ethically, morally and economically to suggest, much less to ask our people to vote themselves into union with Canada on such one-sided arrangements; arrangements which even rambunctious debates by a crowd of amateurs, for the most part, have shown up as shot through with future trouble —— trouble which will involve ethics and morals and economics and finances. They, these arrangements, are a one—sided bargain — which is no bargain at all — and as has been pointed out by one member of the delegation, all these arrangements actually provide is a fair and equitable basis on which a sovereign government of the Newfoundland people, assisted by the expert knowledge and staff that this delegation did not have, could negotiate "terms" acceptable to the Newfoundland people.
Here is Newfoundland, a people voteless for 14 years, coddled for 14 years, not thinking, not doing the normal political things that all Anglo Saxon peoples have won the right to do - governing their own people, governing themselves. At the present stage they are divided as to whether or not they should take once again that control of their own affairs and bid farewell to outside control. Yet while they are in that dilemma, it is proposed, on the basis of these one-sided arrangements, to ask them to not only assume control of their own affairs, yet at the same time give the complete control, finally and irrevocably to outside sources, by entering a political union which may not be the best political or economic union this country could get. I say to them, make haste slowly, take one step at a time. The Canadian offer can wait; they've been waiting since 1864 and another year or two won't hurt. Decide first whether you wish to reject or retain Commission of Government. If you reject it, then with a sovereign elected government of your own choosing you will be able to approach Canada and the United States, so that if your wish is then no longer to stand alone, you can be assured that whichever union you enter, political or economic or both, it will be the best that can be secured for yourselves and those who come after you.
Mr. Vincent Mr. Chairman, if my introductory comments are just so much water under the bridge now, I yet cannot refrain from making reference to them. Some of us, after more than a year of bickerings, divisions and not too dignified debates, had fondly hoped that with the passing of 1947 would come an eclipse of such shortcomings that would be as permanent as it was total. Unfortunately such has not been the case, and 1948 brought no angel of light presenting this assembly with a certificate of freedom from having such millstones around its neck, and so the debates meander on.
I have, sir, watched with growing admiration your intelligent attempt to keep this Convention from bogging down in dawdlings and delays. Some were inescapable, however, and members have from time to time as self-appointed proponents of this, and crusading prophets of that form of government, lost complete sight of the forest in the minute and precise examination of their own particular trees.
In the discussion statements, speeches, apparent implications made by members, though not intended perhaps to do so, have incited bitter antagonisms that rankle deeply, created ill—will 122 NATIONAL CONVENTION January 1948 and helped defeat the purpose for which this body was created. Perhaps it is not too much to say that to the casual listeners-in, it appears to be just so much shoddy and lingering childishness. This is regrettable indeed, for to many of us, who have had and will have no part or parcel of such sometimes very undignified discussions, is also attached the lack of decorum which should at least be ours. I trust I am not being guilty of tedious repetition, sir, when I make reference to what you have so many times pointed out, that the specific mandate of this Convention was simply to examine into something, and on the basis of its findings, to make intelligent recommendations. That something was the financial and economic condition of Newfoundland. Has it done that? It has, in my opinion, deteriorated from the status of a fact-finding body into two hostile political camps, each apparently led by a crusading giant in the realms of oratory, and as the leaders fence and draw, the minor Chieftains cheer or jeer as the tide of battle ebbs and flows.
The Canadian proposals now on the desks submitted by the head of a sovereign government to this Convention, have been bandied about and given many strange names. This, if I may say so, is hardly good ethics. Either they are good or they are not good; but perhaps the fiery enthusiasm of the gentleman from Bonavista Centre has unwittingly helped to strengthen much of the criticism which these proposals have received. He may have meant well, but as far as I am concerned, confederation is not the brainchild of Mr. J. R. Smallwood, neither is responsible government the privileged dowry of my good friend, Major Cashin. It does seem to me, sir, that the debates and discussions have developed into a marathon, a rush to ring the voters' doorbells, a scramble to see who gets there first with the most. Ironically enough, it may well be that in the finals, we will have brought too little much too late. I apologise for having perhaps generalised too much, but in view of the fact that my associate, the very able member for Bonavista Centre, has dwelt at great length with all salient points in both the Black Books and the Grey Book, I shall content myself with a brief summing up of some particular aspects of these Canadian proposals.
The chief line of attack of opponents of confederation seems to be the taxation problem. That is proper I suppose, since two of the greatest fears of our race are death and taxes. Making a fine speech in his usual very able way, Mr. Hollett told of taxes on the house, on the boat, on fishing equipment. Now, it may well be that Mr. Hollett assumed such taxes would be necessary under the provincial set-up to pay for cost of government. Certain it is, that Mr. Hollett had no intention to tell Newfoundlanders that they were paying taxes now; for presently at the end of the fiscal year, the cost of government will have extracted from our people something in the vicinity of $40 millions. Mr. Hollett very properly pointed out that fishermen may have to pay a tax or license to operate fishing equipment under confederation. May I be personal, Mr. Chairman, and get district-minded and be guilty of that Bonavista Bay provincialism? In 1946 a schooner in which I had an interest fished in the Province of Quebec. There was no tax other than a license fee of $10 per codtrap. Thus the maximum taxes collected from the schooner amounted to exactly $30.... Against that, if I could have purchased supplies in that Canadian Labrador port, the cost of production of that schooner would have been reduced by not less than 25%. Furthermore, that same province pays a bonus to fishermen for all small boats. That doesn't exist here, Mr. Chairman, except in cases of boats 12 tons and up; and my guess is that 90% of Newfoundland fishing boats are less than ten tons. The ordinary Newfoundlander does not need to be told that taxes are necessary, with that he is not greatly concerned. What does concern him is this: who will pay the taxes? Will it be, as it ever was in this country, placed on the backs of the toiling fishermen. the industrious farmer, least able to bear it?
Mr. Chairman, we must not ask our people to accept conclusions that are disturbing or fantastic, or other than those that cool logic would allow. Mr. Fogwill talked a few days ago of excise taxes, excise duties, sales taxes, luxury taxes, presenting an imposing array of figures which, in my estimation at least, has singled him out as a topnotcher in mathematics. He pointed out how an extra $10 million from such sources would be extracted from Newfoundlanders, and thus go to enrich to coffers of the government of Mackenzie King. What Mr. Fogwill apparently forgot in his breakdown of figures and his obvious concern at their huge dimensions was just January 1948 NATIONAL CONVENTION 1123 this: that with all the taxes he mentions, the greater part of the commodities he listed will be purchased under confederation very considerably cheaper than they are at present. Let me illustrate.
During the Christmas recess I was approached by a very intelligent fisherman. Walking into my store, he greeted me with, "Merry Christmas, profiteer". I had long ago joined "the customer is always right club", so I couldn't say a thing about it. In his hand he carried copies of a Montreal daily and the Maritime Merchant. "What have you there?", I asked. "Something for you to carry back to the Convention", he rejoined, and then he let loose with a barrage. "Is this correct," he asked, "Maritime Merchant — flour, 98 pound bag, $4.75 at St. John, New Brunswick?" I tried to explain the subsidy. He then quoted "Hay, $30 per ton". This was November 8, 1947. "What are your prices?", he asked. Flour $10; hay $60. He pointed to a footnote which said a subsidy of $2 had recently been removed from flour; the earlier price was exactly $2.78. He then quoted retail prices from page 6 of a Montreal daily — emperor grapes, 8 cents per pound. "What's your price?" he asked. "Only 30 cents," I said. I tried to explain disparity in prices. My only reward was "swindler", and I might as well have tried to swim the Atlantic as to convince that fellow. I trust you will pardon me, sir, for talking about such mundane things as grocery prices, but since we all must eat, grocery stores are very important places, and it is in the grocery stores and fishing boats that the government of tomorrow will be decided. Mr. Smallwood may not be a mile and a year ahead of his noisiest critic, as someone has written, but if he can intelligently show that confederation means a lowering of the cost of living, then those big bad wolves with no teeth, called excise taxes, luxury taxes, etc., just won't scare anybody, for the ordinary fishing Joe and farming Jack are not so much concerned with what goes up the river as they are with how much more cheaply things will come down the river.
"The 15% tax on transportation will cost this country $200,000," says Mr. Fogwill. Mr. Smallwood explains, and no one has satisfactorily proven him wrong, that add on that 15% and transportation will still be very considerably lower than at present. And since I feel that every member is concerned chiefly with the most good to the masses, he will at least admit that if this is so, then confederation will mean a big advantage; for a railway ticket reduced by 2 cents a mile will mean much to the lumberrnan making five trips a year to the Millenown hinterland. All this has been said before in this house, so it is a needless waste of time to go on expounding this and that, but I cannot refrain from saying again that charges that the proposals should be thrown out the door and other derogatory statements, are altogether unfair to our people, and unjust to this Convention. I may or may not vote for confederation, but in justice to the good people I have the honour to represent, and conscious of my duties as an elected representative of this assembly, I am going to weigh the issue dispassionately, basing my conclusions as to its merits or otherwise on the findings of this Convention, and not at all upon the pet opinions of some would-be aspirants to political greatness shouting hysterical hallelujahs to the skies. I submit, Mr. Chairman, that the Canadian proposals should be intelligently studied by every Newfoundlander.
Major Cashin and Mr. Higgins recently made two fine speeches, both of great length and signal distinction. The Major said, in so many words, that the Canadians want the Labrador. In this connection will someone tell me just how many Newfoundlanders have gotten work in our big northern dependency? Actually, Mr. Chairman, as far as I am aware, Bonavista North sent its first deputation of labourers this past summer, when through the kind office of my good friend, Mr. Claude Howse, a number of our fishermen secured work at Knob Lake with a Canadian company doing preparatory prospecting in that area. Major Cashin has already stressed that this was a Canadian company interested in the development of Labrador. That, to my mind, sounds like a very good argument for the affirmative of the motion. The Major further stressed, with a rather alarming use of superlatives, the very awkward position which, in his opinion, Canada finds herself at the moment. So far as I am concerned, that was simply the Major's opinion. I was particularly struck, however, by his application of the term "immoral" to the Canadian system of family allowance. I am quite sure that the Major was not at all serious when he used this, for surely a subsidy of $60 or $70 per year that will ensure some worried mother the 1124 NATIONAL CONVENTION January 1948 wherewithal to purchase clothing and thus help in that child's education, cannot be termed immoral...
Mr. Cashin You cut the educational vote in your provincial budget.
Mr. Vincent Is it immoral because it must be paid for out of some other form of taxation? Then, by the same yardstick of measurement, the Gander airport must be termed a very immoral business, since tens of thousands of our countrymen who have never gotten five hours work, contribute every year their pennyworth of taxes to help defray the operational deficit. The same can be said of the Railway. All Newfoundlanders contribute to the liquidation of its big deficits, but not all Newfoundlanders travel by, or directly benefit from its services.
Like Mr. Fogwill, the Major stressed the many taxes on ordinary commodities. He talked of 26 taxes on a pair of shoes. He didn't quote the prices in Canada and St. John's, Newfoundland...
Mr. Cashin I could have bought shoes here $3 cheaper.
Mr. Vincent Somebody told of 52 taxes on a 20 ounce loaf of bread, but failed to add that with the 52 taxes included, that same loaf of bread could be bought 6 cents cheaper in Canada than it can be here at the moment. I am not going to stress any of the points so lucidly explained by Mr. Higgins. Like a learned professor of history, he took us through a very interesting homily, and he used very few political catchphrases as did his well-versed associate, the worthy Major. It was not difficult, however, to disentangle the perception of the lawyer from the prejudices of the politician, for both ultimately arrived at the same conclusions.
Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, I repeat with Mr. Higgins that the Canadian terms are fair, and I earnestly recommend them to the intelligence of every fellow Newfoundlander.
Mr. Butt Last year I voted against sending a delegation on to Ottawa. I did that, sir, because after a number of months in this Convention, I became convinced we were not properly constituted to do a job of that kind. I say now — not prompted by any person in or out of this house — that in my opinion, the debate during the last three or four weeks has shown to my own satisfaction that I am correct and I was justified in reaching that conclusion. All through this debate, in spite of the fact that I felt myself thoroughly incompetent to deal with a number of matters, I kept notes of things as they were said both for and against the proposed arrangements for the entry of Newfoundland into confederation. I looked at those notes a few days ago, and if I were to make a comment of one minute on every one, I should certainly be talking from now until the closure motion. I do not propose to do that because a great deal of what has been said has already been referred to by other speakers for and against.
There are one or two things to which I would like specifically to refer, and it will be in the main connected with my feelings that Newfoundland should not entrust negotiations of this kind to a body such as the National Convention. Before I do that, however, and so that I will not be irrelevant and immaterial, I would like to read the first clause in the proposed arrangements: "1. Newfoundland will have, as from the date of union, the status of a province of Canada with all the rights, powers, privileges and responsibilities of a province." It is a plain statement of fact. Since this debate on confederation and for a time before it, I have heard that clause turned inside out and given to me in reverse by a whole series of derogatory statements destined to loosen the morale of this country, so that we will be able to contemplate easily, quietly and very deceitfully the loss of dominion status, the loss of a political entity of our own, and easily slide into that of the baby province of the Dominion of Canada.
I find it very difficult and a bit embarrassing to refer to these things, but I must give expression to the faith that is in me, regardless of its unpopularity in many quarters. It seems very fashionable today in these quarters to play down national pride, and I ask members here and anyone listening in, to remember the last 16 months both in and out of this house. Newfoundlanders, as Major Cashin said the other day, have always been prone to be overcritical of themselves. This, I think, is a result of a long series of incidents in the history of Newfoundland which has given us the attitude that we must, in some way, be an inferior people. If you were to meet the ordinary American, he will approach you in such a way that you will feel that he is bragging. Nothing is further from the truth. The real truth of the matter is that he has known what it is to be free... We have never allowed January 1948 NATIONAL CONVENTION 1125 ourselves to look upon ourselves as true Newfoundlanders; we are ashamed to tell the cockeyed world we are Newfoundlanders; that we are equal to any people inside or outside the house. We are as good as any other people, no better, no worse. The world today is struggling to get a government which will be effective in stopping the excesses of nationalism which led to blood and tears, but that is no reason why the drive and morale caused by love of country should be lost sight of, and treated by many people as a thing to be scorned and looked upon almost with contempt. This error is, to my mind, one (and this is a hard thing for me to say) for which we have to thank, in large measure, the intellectuals of this country — this talk about the intellectual and historic processes driving this country into political union with another country! We are told by many people that we have no right to expect to stand on our own feet because we are only a small group of 300,000 people, as if character and brains and resources were developed only by bigness in the world. The whole negative attitude that I have heard on many occasions, I now repudiate and deny. There should be a pride in the things done well in this country, and we have done them well. If we were not so prone to tell our young politicians that they have been used, when they stand to a question of principle; if we had not been so prone to tell our teachers that they cannot teach as well as people in other countries, that our education is not as good and as firmly rooted as the education system of other countries; if we had not been so prone to go outside and get experts, you would have a better country and more morale than you have today. The negative approach I repudiate and deny, as it is one of sure inertia, and also one of eventual death. There were some scornful remarks made when I happened to raise the question of faith in speaking of the Economic Report. Faith should be an ingredient. People may sneer, but faith is the most important thing you can have, whether in an organisation, a family, a country or any unit. You call it faith in one instance and morale in another....
I want to give you another example. When we were discussing the problems of Newfoundland in England, I did a lot of study and had hoped I would have been able to show, in my own personal way, the aspirations of Newfoundlanders, if at all possible. I know many of my colleagues felt the same way. The dead hand of officialdom did not allow it. Once we got outside officialdom in England, I found they could not understand why we in this country had such little faith in ourselves; why we were not taking a bolder hand in our own affairs than we are taking. I found it in the printing presses we went to see. I talked to the printers. I found it outside, in places we went looking for information. I found it from ex-officials of the British government. I found it with the people with whom I lived. I came back to Newfoundland and the first thing I had to face as a Newfoundlander was the dead hand of so many in this country: "Newfoundlanders cannot do this. We have no faith in ourselves. We are too small. We must tie up with some other country. We must become the tail-end of a kite before we can go anywhere on our own." I feel deeply about this. I have felt for many years that the problem of this country is more morale than it is material, and I am not neglecting the importance of material things in this world. I am not thinking in terms merely of baby bonuses or unemployment insurance. I am thinking in terms of that drive which can make us work together as a unit to bring about a decent standard of living for every man, woman and child in this country. Call it vague talk; sneer, call it unreal, if you like —I have heard it said, "It is sheer idealism to talk that way." As far as I am concerned, let him who wants to sneer, sneer. But I cannot leave either this subject or this Convention without giving expression to that one thing which I feel, and feel very deeply, is important to us when we face this issue either of confederation or return to responsible government, or any other form of government. If you were to turn up the World Report of December, 1947, you will find there an expression of what Canadians are saying on union with another country. It is one man's opinion, I will willingly admit; but in their present difficulties it is being suggested in many quarters that political union with the United States would be the easiest way out of the trade difficulties of Canada in her present situation. If you would care to look up the World Report you will know what I mean. You will know also that opposition to this kind of union has been and is widespread in Canada. The answer to it is the Canadian citizenship law. A quotation from that report shows they are afraid 1126 NATIONAL CONVENTION January 1948 Canada will become the tail-end of the United States kite. On that point I think perhaps I have said enough — a little too loudly, perhaps, and with a little heat. I was determined I should say it at some time or other because, for anybody who wishes to listen to me, I want him to think seriously about this question of morale as we approach the problem of the future form of government in Newfoundland.
Mr. Chairman, in 1933 we made an error. It has not taken me from 1933 to 1947 to realise that. I said so at the time to an ex-Commissioner — an English Commissioner — and I do not think I will be breaking confidence if I say that he agreed that we had made a mistake on the grounds that we had gotten ourselves in a mess and we did not ourselves face up to it. What I am afraid of, in the approach to this problem, is that we will do exactly the same thing. There has been a lot of talk here about the Labrador....
[Short recess]
Mr. Butt Just before recess I was about to say a few words about clause 2. That is the one which deals with Labrador. I was saying we have heard a lot of talk about Labrador. "It cannot happen to us", some will say, "it was all settled legally." So was the case which led to the French fishing rights of 1857 all settled legally, but as a result of the willingness of the people of Newfoundland — and I think none was for the party and all were for the state — Newfoundlanders got together and fought for the rights of Newfoundland citizens, and we got what is termed today, or what used to be termed, the "Magna Carta of Newfoundland". It has been referred to on two or three occasions in this chamber. It reads like this: "The proposals contained in the Convention having now been unequivocally refused by the Colony, they will of course fall to the ground and you [the Governor] are authorised to give such assurance as you may think proper that the consent of the Colony of Newfoundland is regarded by His Majesty's Government as an essential preliminary to any modification of their territorial or maritime rights."[1] All very legal! What about the territorial rights given in 1940 at the expense of Newfoundland? Were we asked to give our consent to the modification of our territory? The answer, of course, is "no". Here is a point I do not like. If we ever as much consider that we, as young Newfoundlanders, should ask, should think about asking, for concessions of some kind or another on behalf of our people (this has happened to me), we are treated as naive, simple schoolboys (age, Mr. Bradley!). But not the Secretary of State! When we discussed the matter with him, what he said to us in effect was this: "There are political considerations why the Government of the United Kingdom should not approach the United States on this matter; but now, if you had your own government, you could make a try." What is the relevancy of what I have just said to clause 2? In my opinion, just this: on paper, that clause is fine. I have no doubt about it. It is perfectly legal. But in the world of power politics of the higher level, in the world of big financial interests, there is only one force that can put teeth in a clause which looks all right on paper, and that is the willingness of the people of Newfoundland, however small we may be in number, to fight to keep our rights. Now, sir, when I use the word "fight", I do not necessarily mean fight physically.... If you look in the world of nations and power politics today, you will find there is (to use the new term) a cold war being fought today between the nations of the world. A cold war can be fought with material possessions, and it can also be fought with staying power on the part of the people. In this connection, I come back to my first point, which is in my personal opinion the only thing that could put real teeth in a clause of this kind. Newfoundland and Newfoundlanders, at some time in our long history, should be able to stand together and say, "We have certain rights in this country; we are going to have those rights; insofar as we have the power we are going to fight to see we keep them; if we do lose them we will know we have kept the only thing which matters, and that is the drive to go forward in the material and spiritual progress of Newfoundland."
Now I would like to turn to the public services referred to in clause 3. When the list of federal services which would apply directly to Newfoundland was read in this Convention, I confess that I became a bit angered, not because of the January 1948 NATIONAL CONVENTION 1127 mere reading of that list of federal services, but because of the exaggeration, the overtone, the emphasis which was laid upon the reading of that list. So much so, I felt sure that there were people, thousands of people in this country who had no experience in these matters at all, who would feel that if all these services were applied to Newfoundland, nothing short of the millennium would have come. At that time, I injected a note of doubt and later I made an attempt to find out just how we would benefit, apart from the purely financial services which were allotted to these lists of services before us. I came to this conclusion: we could not possibly benefit very much materially by the direct application of these federal services. for the following reasons. Most of these services are research and consulting services. Secondly, the result of the findings of these services are open to Newfoundland today and are being availed of by Newfoundlanders. Take for example, geology, labour, agriculture. Let us look at page 19 of the Black Book (volume 2), the long list of services. The delegation put a question directly to the Ottawa group:
Question: Would the agricultural services described in the Canadian memorandum automatically extend to Newfoundland in the event of union?
Answer: One of the services which the Department of Agriculture would expect to make available to Newfoundland in such event, would be the experimental farms service. While the Department is not familiar with the present development in this field in Newfoundland, they understand that it does include a central experimental station. They would hope to use such a station in much the same way as they use their presently established experimental stations in the various provinces of Canada and through this they would plan to develop supplementary services, which in Canada take the form of illustration stations and, where required, sub-stations for dealing with special investigations.
Consistent with the general policy of the Department and the resources available, the Department of Agriculture would also contemplate making available other services of the Department for which there would appear to be need and opportunity.
Out of a list of five or six, that was the answer to that particular question. A little further on, a question was put on the Canadian Farm Board loans. The answer was that the loans would be made available to Newfoundland. On the mortgage loans, I would not like to see that introduced into Newfoundland because I am aware of the fact, through my reading, that those loans and mortgages on farms in both the United States and Canada have led, in my opinion, to a great deal of hardship. I believe we should develop agricultural services in Newfoundland, and I believe that Newfoundland should find the money to develop these resources without taking mortgages on people's property. The real point I want to make is this: in agriculture, all you have is their promise that one service would apply to Newfoundland, and that one service we already have, presumably up to the standard which Newfoundland would require at the present time. Then on page 21:
Question: Would the services outlined in paragraph 36 — also paragraph37 — (mapping, survey work of all sorts, investigation of mineral deposits, metallurgy, economic problems, etc.) apply to Newfoundland, and how rapidly would it be likely they would be introduced?
Answer: The services described have been carried on for many years and would undoubtedly be extended to Newfoundland under present federal policy, although not all of them are, strictly speaking, federal responsibilities. For example, the federal government is obligated by statute to carry out geological surveys in Prince Edward Island, Manitoba and British Columbia. No such obligation exists in respect of other provinces, although in practice Mines and Resources has carried on such surveys in the other provinces as well. It is hoped that in due course further Dominion-provincial discussions will result in clarification of these matters when public investment policy generally is under discussion.
Mr. Smallwood Would Mr. Butt permit me to refer to the Grey Book, section 22? Does not that supersede the thing you just read? "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 New 1128 NATIONAL CONVENTION January 1948 foundland, in order to bring such information up to the standard attained for existing provinces."
Mr. Butt If that is important, as I think it is, I was perfectly right the very first day in asking where the appendix was (which you said was forthcoming) giving a plain statement of fact.
Mr. Smallwood They say "a special effort".
Mr. Butt To do what? To me, it has no real meaning when I am thinking of the responsibility I have to recommend; I have to cast a vote, that is the point I am quarrelling with. Take the geological surveys; on that point alone, and bearing this one in mind as well, we are promised two geological survey parties. In Newfoundland last year we had 11 survey parties in the field. In the budget you drew up, you left in the salaries for the geological department; but you took out every cent in the provincial budget for the survey parties. We are promised two. We are given this vague paragraph and asked to take it on trust... The same holds true if you follow all the way down. For instance the question of air surveys — "Air photography required for the surveys and mapping outlined above would be supplied by the Dominion."[1] It may be callous, but I think as long as we are finding the facilities for foreign countries to do business, and we have no air fleet of our own, I think they should pay for the surveys and pass them on to us. To me it is not a concession at all.
Under Defence, in the Black Book, pp. 26-28, Prime Minister King gives an explanation of military arrangements with the United States; and when he was just about finished, he was asked:
Mr. Pearkes: May I ask the Prime Minister whether the Government of Newfoundland was represented in the discussion leading up to this agreement or had it been a party in any way to the agreement?
Mr. Mackenzie King: The Permanent Joint Defence Board is composed of representatives of Canada and of the United States. There are no representatives of the Government of Newfoundland on the Board.
Mr. Graydon: Will this necessitate any extension in either the personnel or the functions of the Permanent Joint Defence Board?
Mr. Mackenzie King: I cannot think of any extension at the moment. It may be that as time goes on, as in the past, the Board may have to be enlarged for certain purposes.
Now, Mr. Chairman, that is pretty plain as to their intention. Mr. Higgins said here yesterday afternoon that every man and every woman in Newfoundland feels in his or her heart that if any international trouble starts, we will be, this time, in the thick of the fight. If anyone will look at the publications by the Office of War Information published in 1940, he will see there that prior to 1940 the American government was well aware of the fact that Newfoundland was in the possible path of the approach to the American continent. He will see it in print and in diagram in the form of an arrow coming right down straight through the St. Lawrence. Surely the people to whom concessions have been given without our consent, a friendly country who will dominate us to the extent that they are not in any way to be charged with anything, even to be given the use of the roads without having to pay the cost, not only the license for the number plates that are on them; surely Newfoundland should in a matter of this kind have some say and some representation. I happen to be aware of the fact that a civilian in an important position in Newfoundland, on more than one occasion during the last war, had the courage to protect civilian rights when they were trying to be usurped by the military, unnecessarily. I say that a thing like this going into the Black Books should have been thoroughly aired, and we in Newfoundland should have been given something more than has been given.
Right on that point, I come to another made by Mr. Harrington and Major Cashin when they referred to the number of material things which Canada would control. These are purely material things and to me they do not count very much. Whether Canada controls the Railway, the post office or other things does not, to me, amount to very much. I agree with both gentlemen on that point. But I have to ask myself, and I think we ought to ask ourselves, in the control of these things, what are we really giving up? Here is what we are giving up — any possible advantage or bargaining power we might get out of our strategic position. We may not get a thing, but I for one at least, want to make an effort, or the people of this country should make an effort in that behalf. We are giving up communications, January 1948 NATIONAL CONVENTION 1129 controlled entirely away from this country — railway, telegraph, control of roads in an emergency, our government marine fleet, our broadcasting corporation. In short, we are giving up the control of all our essential communications, and all that might mean to the people of Newfoundland if (and God forbid) we should get into difficulties. We are giving up the control of our fisheries. We are giving up the right to decide on the question of conscription for ourselves, in spite of the fact that we have down through our history prided ourselves that we have always turned out on a voluntary basis enough people to do as much, and probably more than our share in the defence of freedom. We are giving up this too, the right to fix our own rates of taxation, and on that I would like to have one word on sales tax alone. I am not going into the question of taxation fully. I am going to say one thing on what was not brought out particularly, the general sales tax; that is an indirect tax.
As the hour is late, I now move that the committee rise and report progress.
[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.

Notes de bas de page:

  • [1] R.A. MacKay (ed), Newfoundland: Economic, Diplomatic, and Strategic Studies (Toronto, 1946).
  • [1] Mr. Harrington was correct: nine confederates were elected in 1869.
  • [1] The famous Lahouchere despatch (26 March 1857) stated that "the consent of the community of Newfoundland" was an "essential preliminary to any modification of ... territorial or maritime rights."
  • [1] In the Black Books.

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