CHAPTER IX.--A JOINT PLAN OF RECONSTRUCTION. (continued)
ESTABLISHMENT OF NEW FORM OF GOVERNMENT.
558.--(1) Under the present
system of Government, the Legislature is responsible to the people and is composed
of His Excellency the Governor and two Houses of Parliament, while the executive
business of the Government is transacted by an Executive Council or "Cabinet", the
members of which are appointed by the Governor in accordance with the accepted
canons of parliamentary practice. We recommend that, until such time as
Newfoundland may become self-supporting again, there should be substituted for this
system a form of Government under which full legislative and executive power would
be vested in the Governor acting on the advice of a specially created Commission of
Government over which His Excellency would preside. The existing Legislative and
Executive Council would for the time being be suspended.
(2) The Governor-in-Commission would be responsible to Your Majesty's
Government in the United Kingdom for the good government of the Island, the general
supervision of Your Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom being exercised
through the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs. The existing Letters Patent
and Royal Instructions would be suspended and new Letters Patent and Royal
Instructions would be issued in their place.
(3) The Commission of Government would be composed of six members,
exclusive of the Governor. The members of the Commission would be appointed by
Your Majesty, on the advice of Your Ministers in the United Kingdom. Three members
of the Commission would be chosen from Newfoundland, and three from the United
Kingdom. The former would be paid from Newfoundland funds, the latter from United
(4) Laws would be enacted by
the Governor by and with the advice of the Commission of Government. Laws would
take effect immediately on enactment, but the power of disallowance would be
reserved to Your Majesty. Advice in respect of such laws would be tendered to Your
Majesty by Your Ministers in the United Kingdom. Copies of all laws would
accordingly be sent by the Governor, as soon as enacted, to Your Majesty's
Government in the United Kingdom with a full statement of the objects and reasons
for their enactment.
(5) The laws in force in Newfoundland would continue to be in force
under the new form of government, except in so far as they might be varied by
legislation. It would no doubt be desirable that, immediately on the coming into
force of the new Letters Patent and Royal Instructions, a law should be enacted by
the Governor-in-Commission providing for such adjustments in the existing laws as
might be necessitated by the new constitution, e.g., for references in existing
laws to the Executive Council or to the Governor-in-Council to be construed as if
they related to the Governor-in-Commission.
(6) As in the case of
legislation, so in executive matters the Governor would act on the advice of the
Commission of Government. He would, however, be given powers in executive matters
to act in emergency on his own initiative: in any case he would inform the
Commission of his action as soon as might be, and would report the grounds for his
action to Your Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom.
(7) All appointments to, and promotions in the Public Service would be
made by the Governor-in-Commission, subject, in cases where the salary of the
office exceeded a specified figure, to the prior approval of Your Majesty's
Government in the United Kingdom. The appointment of Judges of the Supreme Court
would, as at present, be subject to the approval of Your Majesty.
(8) The members of the Commission of Government would take charge of,
and would be collectively responsible for the good working of the various
Departments of Government. These would accordingly be divided into six groups;
each of these groups would be placed under the control of a member of the
Commission as a whole. The manner in which the Government Departments might be
most efficiently and economically grouped can best be settled in the light of
experience: but it is suggested that the three Newfoundland members of the
Commission might take charge of the following Departments:--
Public Health and Welfare,
(9) The remaining Departments,
grouped as follows, might be placed in charge of the three members of the
Commission chosen from the United Kingdom:--
Department of Finance.
|(2) Marine and Fisheries.
Agriculture and Mines.
Department of Natural Resources.
Steamship services and
Department of Public Utilities.
(10) All laws would be enacted,
and all other matters coming before the Commission of Government would be decided,
by unanimity or, if on any matter there should not be unanimity, by a majority of
the votes given. In the latter event, the Governor and each member of the
Commission actually present would each exercise one vote.
(11) As already indicated, the Governor would normally preside at all
meetings of the Commission of Government. The Commission would elect from among
the Newfoundland members a Vice-Chairman who would preside in the Governor's
absence. But in the event of the Governor being absent from the Island, either on
vacation or by special permission, or in the event of the accordance with the
existing practice, by the Chief Justice, who would thereupon preside over the
meetings of the Commission of Government.