ROYAL COMMISSION, 1933
TO THE KING'S MOST EXCELLENT MAJESTY.
MAY IT PLEASE YOUR MAJESTY,
Your Majesty's Warrant, bearing date
the seventeenth day of February, 1933, appointed us Commissioners with
the following Terms of Reference:--
"To examine into the future of Newfoundland
and, in particular, to report on the financial
situation and prospects therein."
We now humbly beg leave to submit to Your
Majesty the following Report.
1. We, Your Majesty's Commissioners, assembled at St. John's,
Newfoundland, on Monday, 13th March, 1933, and we were received by His Excellency the Governor, who
honoured us by returning our call on the following day. Immediately on our arrival, we proceeded to
make arrangements for the hearing of evidence.
2. Our Opening Sitting was held in
public on Thursday, 16th March, when, after Your Majesty's Commission had
been read, the Prime Minister, the Honourable F.C. Alderdice, welcomed the
Commission on behalf of the Government and people of Newfoundland. In reply,
the Chairman expressed our gratification at the warm-hearted manner in which
we had been received and indicated the procedure which we proposed to adopt
in our enquiry.
3. After full consideration, we
decided to hold our sittings in camera in order that all those who wished to
give evidence might speak their minds freely with the assurance that their
confidence would be respected. We felt sure that in this way we would most
quickly and certainly arrive at the facts and ascertain the true current of
public feeling. The wisdom of this decision was fully confirmed as out hearings
4. On Monday, 20th March, we commenced
our regular sittings for the purpose of hearing evidence. It was our practice
to sit morning and afternoon for five days a week, and sometimes we heard evidence
in the evenings as well. Our sittings continued until Friday, 14th April, when we
broke off for an inspection of some of the outports (the coastal towns and villages
outside St. John's) and the communities in the interior of the Island.
5. We accordingly left St. John's on the
17th April, and visited, during the ensuing fortnight, Harbour Grace, Carbonear,
Heart's Content, Winterton, Bonavista, Catalina, Trinity, Lewisporte, Stevenville,
and St. George's, hearing evidence at all these places. We had wished to go
further north, but the country was not then open. We collected evidence, however,
from Twillingate, St. Anthony and other places in the northern part of the Island,
and from Labrador.
|St. Anthony, n.d.
Photo by Holloway. From the album of photographs furnished to the Newfoundland Royal Commission, August 1933. Courtesy of the Centre for Newfoundland Studies Archives (Coll-207),
Memorial University of Newfoundland Library, St. John's, Newfoundland.
6. On the 28th April, after visiting Channel,
we embarked at Port-aux-Basques for Canada, reaching Ottawa via North Sydney and
Montreal on the evening of the 30th April. At Ottawa we were received by His
Excellency the Governor-General. We remained at Ottawa until the 22nd May. Every
courtesy was extended to us by the Canadian Government and we had the advantage of
meeting the Prime Minister, the Right Honourable R.B. Bennett, and his colleagues.
We were able to gain much useful information on certain technical aspects of our
Inquiry and derived great assistance from the material so freely placed before us
by members of the Canadian Civil Service. We also heard evidence from witnesses who
could more conveniently meet us at Ottawa than at St. John's.
7. We next proceeded to Montreal. Here we spent
two days and heard further evidence; we also had a long interview with the General
Managers of the Bank of Montreal. On the evening of the 24th May we left Montreal
for Halifax, were we were received by the Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia. We
interviewed the Manager and Directors of the Bank of Nova Scotia and heard further
evidence, mostly relating to the fishing industry. On the 27th May we left Halifax
for Newfoundland and arrived back in St. John's on the 29th May.
8. On the 30th May, we resumed our sittings
for the purpose of hearing evidence and these sittings continued until the end of June.
We also heard evidence at Bay Bulls (where we inspected the Biological Station under the
superintendence of Dr. Harold Thompson) and Bay Roberts. We also visited Salmonier,
Placentia, Brigus, Holyrood and other places in the Island for the purposes of our
9. In all, we held about 100 formal
sittings, and 260 witnesses, nearly half of whom came from outlying settlements, were
heard and examined. In addition, we received a large number of letters and memoranda
from all parts of the country.
10. We may thus claim to have
fulfilled our purposes of establishing close contact with all sections of the community.
In addition to hearing formal evidence, we took every opportunity by means of informal
visits of familiarising ourselves with the activities of the people and the conditions
in which they live and work. It was our special object at every place we visited to see
and talk with fishermen and workpeople in their natural setting, as well as merchants,
doctors, clergymen and others; every branch of the fishing industry was shown and
explained to us, and the information which we thus acquired proved of the greatest
value. Stores, factories, farms, saw mills, fishing vessels, establishments for
frozen fish, fish curing establishments, the stages of the fishermen, and the fish
exporters' premises--all these we visited to the extent that time permitted. We made
a detailed inspection of the two paper mills at Grand Falls and Corner Brook and the
mine and workshops at Buchans. Everywhere we were received with the utmost cordiality,
and we cannot acknowledge too highly the warmth of the welcome given to us by the people
and the helpful manner in which they placed their views and suggestions before us.
11. We have also considered a report
from one of our number containing information relative to the subject of our Inquiry
collected by him during his inspection of the establishments of certain fish curing
and kindred industries in the United Kingdom.
12. We adjourned our sittings at the beginning
of July with a view to the sifting of the vast amount of evidence that had been presented
to us and to the preparation of a draft Report. We reassembled in St. John's on the 14th
September. The unanimous Report which we now humbly beg leave to submit to Your Majesty
is thus the result of an extended study of the situation in Newfoundland, and it is our
hope that the recommendations which it contains may commend themselves to the joint and
favourable consideration of those of Your Majesty's Governments on whose immediate
collaboration depends, in our view, the future welfare of Your Majesty's subjects
in the Island.
Image description updated May, 2004.