Confederation
1864-1949



The Labrador Boundary


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Volume XII








22 Oct., 1926.

Sir John Simon.

Viscount Haldane.

Sir John Simon.

22 Oct., 1926.

Sir John Simon.


p. 141

boundary of the Hudson's Bay territory as traced by the Commissaries under the Treaty of Utrecht, you will find, when you look at one of the volumes here, that the explanation is this. The Hudson's Bay Company were invited by the British Government to indicate not so much what their boundary was as how much of their boundary they really insisted upon if the French on the other side were difficult, because after the Treaty of Ryswick our position was very weak in this part of the world. The Hudson's Bay Company then propounded a line which no doubt would have given the French settlers much they might have liked on the James Bay part of the area, but compensated themselves by taking more than they were entitled to on the Coast of Labrador. Therefore I think it is correct to say that the view that has prevailed, though I thoroughly agree it has nowhere been said in so many words, is that such a grant as the Hudson's Bay Company had was really a grant to the height of land.
Perhaps I might indicate, before the Board rises for the day, when this controversy of Mr. Justice Pinsent's was carried on. On page 354 of Volume II is a further memorandum of his, and in that further memorandum he says that the Labrador boundary, I think, will be the height of land, or it will be a straight line which joins Cape Chidley to the high waters of the St. John. It is really that view which is illustrated in the little map found in Volume I, which I think Lord Sumner referred to, by which it would almost appear that Newfoundland and Labrador is in the nature of a right-angled triangle.
Then the thing having been left undecided (and hence the inquiry upon which we are now involved), in 1892 there was a Conference called the Halifax Conference, details of which are to be found in Volume II, page 362, when one of the subjects on the agenda as between the Dominion of Canada and the Colony of Newfoundland was the subject. There were a number of other subjects to be discussed, but whatever may have happened about the others, this subject never got dealt with except very perfunctorily. The matter was left as it was until in 1902 the Canadian Government take objection to a grant of timber leases which had been made by the Newfoundland Government to acompany called the Grand River Pulp and Lumber Company along Hamilton River, the back behind the Inlet. Canada challenged this, and Newfoundland justified it. There was a good deal of correspondence. Both the Dominion and the Colony indicated their willingness that this matter should be disposed by reference to the Privy Council. The late Mr. Alfred Lyttelton, when Colonial Secretary some years ago, approved, and the interval has been occupied, I suppose, in preparing for trial.

Viscount HALDANE: There is another theory which is put forward in Mr. Johnston's map, and that is that Canada never got any title until 1880, when the Order-in-Council was passed putting the whole of British North America, with the exception of Newfoundland, into Canada.

Sir JOHN SIMON: Quite so. Of course, if it could be said that before 1880 my boundaries were not upon their true application such as

p. 142

I say, and that there was down to 1880 a No Man's Land, I am not for a moment disputing that that No Man's Land was by the Order-in-Council thrown into Canada. My case is that there was not, and that the statutory history, and that the circumstances geographical and historical, combine to show the true conclusion to be reached is that the boundary is a boundary to be ascertained by reference to the height of land.

(Adjourned till Monday, 25th October, at 10:30 a.m.)

[1927lab]




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