CHAPTER IX.--A JOINT PLAN OF RECONSTRUCTION. (continued)

Summary.

  562. Our proposals, in brief, are that it should be frankly recognised that it is impossible for the Island to surmount unaided the unprecedented difficulties that now confront it, and that the Newfoundland Government should make an immediate appeal for the sympathetic co-operation of Your Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom in the execution of a joint plan of reconstruction of which the following would be the main features:--

  (1) The suspension of the existing form of government until such time as the Island may become self-supporting again.
  (2) The creation of a special Commission of Government, which would be presided over by the Governor, would be vested with full legislative and executive authority, and would take the place of the existing Legislature and Executive Council.
  (3) The Commission of Government would be composed of six members, exclusive of the Governor, three of whom would be drawn from Newfoundland and three from the United Kingdom.
  (4) The Government Departments in the Island would be divided into six groups. Each group would be placed in the charge of a Member of the Commission of Government, who would be responsible for the efficient working of the Departments in the group, and the Commission would be collectively responsible for the several Departments.
  (5) The proceedings of the Commission of Government would be subject to supervisory control by Your Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom, and the Governor-in-Commission would be responsible to the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs in the United Kingdom for the good government of the Island.
  (6) Your Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom would, for their part, assume general responsibility for the finances of the Island until such time as it may become self-supporting again, and would, in particular, make such arrangements as may be deemed just and practicable with a view to securing to Newfoundland a reduction in the present burden of the public debt.

Procedure.

  563. The appropriate procedure for bringing a joint plan of this character into operation would, we suggest, be the submission of an Address to Your Majesty by both Houses of the Newfoundland Parliament, followed by legislation in the United Kingdom.

General Observations.

  564. It will thus be seen that the plan of reconstruction which we desire to recommend is of twofold character, constitutional and financial. The two parts of the plan hang together; neither separately would achieve the purpose in view, nor could we recommend that either part should be adopted without the other.

  565. It is fully present to our minds that, in view of Newfoundland's status as a Dominion, neither part of the plan can be put into effect except on the initiative of the Newfoundland Government and Legislature. We feel confident, however, that the Newfoundland Government and Legislature, which have already given proof, both individually and collectively, of their anxiety to serve only the best interests of the country will not hesitate to give their approval to, and to collaborate in the speedy adoption of, measures which impartial examination has shown to be best calculated to repair the fortunes of the Island.
  Our subsidiary recommendations will be outlined in the following chapter.




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