Confederation
1864-1949



The Labrador Boundary


Privy Council Documents


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Volume IX

Volume X

Volume XI
Contents

Volume XII








21 Oct., 1926.

Sir John Simon.

21 Oct., 1926.

Sir John Simon.

Viscount
Haldane.

The Lord
Chancellor.

21 Oct., 1926.

Sir John Simon.

Viscount
Haldane.

21 Oct., 1926.

Sir John Simon.

Sir Thomas
Warrington.

21 Oct., 1926.

Sir John Simon.

Sir Thomas
Warrington.

Viscount
Haldane.

The Lord
Chancellor.


p. 56

Viscount HALDANE: There had been in that territory some islands which had been made part of the Government of Newfoundland since 1763. Can you tell me the dates?

Sir JOHN SIMON: Yes; it had been done by the Commission to Governor Graves, the date of which your Lordship will remember.

Viscount HALDANE: That is the instrument which is referred to, is it?

Sir JOHN SIMON: Yes. The date is the 25th April, 1763.

Sir THOMAS WARRINGTON: Why does it say here: “Since the 10th of February,” the date of the Treaty?

Sir JOHN SIMON: Because your Lordship remembers that that was the date of the Treaty.

Sir THOMAS WARRINGTON: I know; but that did not make it part of Newfoundland.

Sir JOHN SIMON: I know my Lord will forgive me: the point is this, that they say: “Of course the territory of Newfoundland as it has been known in the past before the Treaty of Paris is to remain as it is. We are not interfering with the Island of Newfoundland at all; but in 1763 in connection with arrangements made by the Treaty of Paris, we thought it right for the time being to add some mainland to Newfoundland.”

Sir THOMAS WARRINGTON: All I mean is that that was done by the Proclamation. Why does the Act say that it has been since that date, the date of the Treaty, made part?

Sir JOHN SIMON: May I suggest a slight correction? It was not done by the Proclamation; it was done by the Commission.

Sir THOMAS WARRINGTON: I meant the Commission.

Sir JOHN SIMON: Yes; it would have been right to say the date of the Commission, but I suggest that the whole Act of Parliament proceeds on the footing that since the definitive Treaty of Peace it was necessary to make arrangements which are now being revised, and they did use as the terminus a quo the date of the Treaty of Peace, although it would have been just the same thing if they had used the date a month or two later, when it was granted.

Mr. MACMILLAN: May I suggest to my learned friend that “since” means “after,” and not “from and after.”

p. 57

Sir JOHN SIMON: Yes; I am much obliged. It is post.

Sir THOMAS WARRINGTON: Since the Treaty.

Sir JOHN SIMON: Yes.

Viscount FINLAY: At a date later than the Treaty.

Viscount HALDANE: It makes no difference. Nothing which was added after 1763 goes over.

Sir JOHN SIMON: May I take advantage of the time just to get your Lordships' eye to the remaining stages. We have now reached 1774, and without at all claiming that we have identified what the green area is, whatever it is, it has been taken away again. Now we can go right on for this purpose—not for every purpose but for this purpose—from 1774 right down to 1809. There are some important intervening facts, but I am anxious to get the sketch complete to-day if I can.
Will your Lordships kindly turn now to page 190. In 1809 there was a reversal of policy, and in that year there was an Act which is called the Newfoundland Act of 1809. It was one of those statutes which really dealt with two things, and the title shows it. You will see that it is: “An Act for establishing Courts of Judicature in the Island of Newfoundland and the islands adjacent; and for re-annexing part of the Coast of Labrador and the Islands lying on the said Coast to the Government of Newfoundland.”
The second of those two legislative objects is carried out by Section XIV, which is on page 195. I shall have to read it more elaborately, perhaps, later on, but your Lordships will appreciate my desire to get the whole outline before you to-day. Perhaps it will be enough to say for the moment that whatever else Section XIV does, it does this; your Lordships will see the word “re-annexed,” three lines from the bottom of page 195. It was to “re-annex” to the Government of Newfoundland whatever it was which, in 1763, had been given to Newfoundland, and in 1774 had been taken away from Newfoundland.

Viscount HALDANE: We had better look at the words of it.

Sir JOHN SIMON: If your Lordship wishes it; but I was very anxious if I could to show your Lordships the other things.

Viscount HALDANE: Just let us get it in our minds.

Sir JOHN SIMON: By all means, my Lord.

The LORD CHANCELLOR: I see that it recites the Proclamation, and it recites the Quebec Act.

Sir JOHN SIMON: Yes, my Lord. Then in line 35 on page 195

p. 58

it says: “And whereas it is expedient that the said Coast of Labrador, and the adjacent Islands (except the Islands of Madelaine) should be re-annexed to the Government of Newfoundland; be it therefore enacted, That such Parts of the Coast of Labrador from the River Saint John to Hudson's Streights and the said Island of Anticosti, and all other smaller Islands so annexed to the Government of Newfoundland by the said Proclamation of the Seventh Day of October One thousand seven hundred and sixty-three”—it really should have been that it was done by the Commission to Graves, which was earlier in the year.

Viscount HALDANE: The operative words are “the said Coast of Labrador and the adjacent Islands (except the Islands of Madelaine)”—“be it therefore enacted, That such Parts of the Coast of Labrador from the River Saint John to Hudson's Streights”—that is, away up in the north.

Sir JOHN SIMON: Just the same as before, my Lord.

Viscount HALDANE: “And the said island of Anticosti”—

Sir JOHN SIMON: Just the same as before, my Lord.

Viscount HALDANE: “And all other smaller Islands so annexed to the Government of Newfoundland by the said Proclamation of the Seventh Day of October One thousand seven hundred and sixty-three, (except the said Islands of Madelaine) shall be separated from the said Government of Lower Canada.” It is just repeating it.

Sir JOHN SIMON: Yes, my Lord; it is purely giving it back, with the immaterial variation that the Madelaine Islands, which you will see on the little map at the bottom, do not go back.
But let it be clearly understood that whether my case is a good case or a bad case, the subject matter, the area, is an area which was first given to Newfoundland in 1763, and then taken away from Newfoundland in 1774, and then again re-annexed to Newfoundland in 1809.

Viscount FINLAY: Not exactly again re-annexed.

Sir JOHN SIMON: It was re-annexed; it was again annexed; and whatever the area may be, it is the same thing.
Now I want your Lordships to go to the last stage of the matter. You have been observing all day that we have a piece of pink on this map. Down to this moment, your Lordships have heard nothing which would make that oblong piece of pink significant for any purpose, because the boundary has been from first to last the boundary of the river St. John, which is to the west of the pink.
Now, if your Lordships will kindly turn to page 205, you will find the Statute of 1825, which, in my submission, contains language which very greatly assists the case that it is my duty to present to your Lord-

p. 59

ships. This again is an Act which is for more purposes than one, as you will see by its title. It begins by dealing with some questions of French titles and so on; but if you will turn to Section IX, you will find this extremely significant prevision at the bottom of page 210: “And whereas under and by virtue of a certain Act” (namely the Act of 1809) and another Act—the second reference is not very accurate really—“the coast of Labrador, from the river Saint John to Hudson's Streights, and the island of Anticosti, and all the islands adjacent to the said coast, except the islands of Madelaine, are annexed to and form part of the Government of Newfoundland; and it is expedient that certain parts of the said coast of Labrador should be re-annexed to and form part of the province of Lower Canada.”
Your Lordships will please observe that what they are going to do is to re-annex to Canada part of the said coast. Now let us see whether they are going to re-annex something which is a mile wide. The Act goes on in this way: “Be it therefore enacted, that so much of the said coast as lies to the westward of a line to be drawn due north and south from the bay or harbour of Ance Sablon, inclusive”—now this is a new point of departure—“so far as the fifty-second degree of north latitude, with the island of Anticosti, and all other islands adjacent to such part as last aforesaid of the coast of Labrador, shall be and the same are hereby re-annexed to and made a part of the said province of Lower Canada.” Now it is a very interesting and extraordinary fact that the fifty-second degree of latitude was at the time, as I will now prove, approximately believed to be and recorded as the head of the river St. John.

Viscount HALDANE: Where is Ance Sablon on this map?

Sir JOHN SIMON: It will be at the extreme right-hand end of the pink.

Viscount HALDANE: It is the end of the blue line.

Sir JOHN SIMON: It is, my Lord; and it is what I venture to think we have got left. I have examined this point as carefully as I can, and some of the old maps at this point put “Sandy Bay.” “Ance,” of course, really means a bay from that point of view; it is the handle.

Sir THOMAS WARRINGTON: It is all that coast of Labrador to the west of that little line running north and south.

Sir JOHN SIMON: Yes, my Lord.

The LORD CHANCELLOR: Is it admitted by the Dominion that the whole of this pink passed under that Act?

Sir JOHN SIMON: I think they would like now to suggest that it does not; but I shall be able to show that they have asserted it,

p. 60

believed it, and recorded it, again and again from this time forward for the next fifty years or sixty years.
But for the moment, apart from any question of their admission or denial, let us consider the words. I am not saying that it is not conceivable that a man who wants to cut in two at a particular point a ribbon which is an inch wide, should say: “Take a pair of shears that are 40 feet long.” It is perfectly possible to do so, but it seems a very improbable operation; and when I find directions in 1825, for —to use the language of the Section itself—carrying out what is declared to be expedient “that certain parts of the said coast should be re-annexed”; or, picking out the words on page 210 at line 43 “whereas it is expedient that certain parts of the said coast of Labrador should be re-annexed”; that being the thing which is to be aimed at, when I am told that this is the way to do it, I begin to wonder whether or not “the said coast” may not be something which is a little away from salt water.

Sir THOMAS WARRINGTON: What you will say is this, that if it only intended to annex the coast strip, it would have been “so much of the said coast as lies to the westward of the bay or harbour of Ance Sablon.”

Sir JOHN SIMON: One would have thought so, my Lord.

Viscount HALDANE: Can you tell me what is the breadth across the pink?

Sir JOHN SIMON: Yes, my Lord, I can. From Ance Sablon, which is the east end, you have to travel a good 40 miles before you reach the fifty-second parallel.

Viscount HALDANE: And it is three times that.

Sir JOHN SIMON: Yes, my Lord, it is three times that; it is at least 120 miles if you were at the River St. John.

The LORD CHANCELLOR: It is a great deal more than that.

Sir JOHN SIMON: I am talking about depth, my Lord. Now here is this interesting confirmation of the view that I am presenting, which I should like your Lordships also to have in mind. At that time the maps available went to show that the head waters of the River St. John were just about on the fifty-second parallel. Now, just see how all that fits in. If that is so, then when they made a grant of “all the coasts of Labrador down to the River St. John,” they would be granting a depth of land which would run up to the head waters. When, at a later stage, it is decided that it is expedient that certain parts of the said coast should be re-annexed, and they wish to re-annex that area, the pink area (which, so far as the sea shore is concerned, stretches from Blanc Sablon, Ance Sablon to the River St. John) if I am right in my submission that the coast of Labrador runs back to the

[1927lab]




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