The Labrador Boundary

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22 Oct., 1926.

Sir John Simon.

22 Oct., 1926.

Lord Sumner.

Sir John Simon.

Lord Sumner.

Sir John Simon.

p. 114

Bay,” etc. I see in this Volume it is called “Kinnamon” Brook, but I believe Kinamou is the proper name for it.

Viscount HALDANE: Is it a large bay?

Sir JOHN SIMON: It is 120 miles inland, and Kinamou Brook is at the very head of it. The suggestion made by the Dominion of Canada against me is that I have no right to go there. They want Kinamou and everything else. If they are right, Mr. Justice Paterson had no more right to deal with this than he had to deal with an interference with nets in a Scottish salmon river. The extract continues: “by placing their nets in front of and very near to those of complainants, so as to intercept the salmon coming to them, whereby the complainants allege that they have sustained damages to the amount of five hundred pounds, and praying that process might be issued against the said Joseph Bird and Timothy Craze for the recovery of that sum. The Court complied with the prayer of the Plaintiffs' petition by granting a writ of summons at their suit against Joseph Bird and Timothy Craze in the sum of £500. But as it appeared that the Defendants could not this year be prepared with their evidences to defend the action”—there is a certain leisureliness about litigation in Labrador—“the Court directed that the writ should be made returnable at Rigolet on Monday the 13th day of August, 1827, or at such other time as the Court of Labrador might first sit at Rigolet.” Your Lordships will take it from me at the moment that the case was tried, and I will show you the record of it. You have therefore here a perfectly clear example of the unchallenged exercise of jurisdiction by the judicial authority of Newfoundland at a distance 120 miles further back than any point which the Dominion of Canada in this arbitration is willing to concede to me.

Viscount FINLAY: Can you show me the place on the map?

Sir JOHN SIMON: The most convenient map to take is Mr. Low's map in the Newfoundland Atlas, No. 42. Might we just look at Kinamou. Kinamou River runs up from the south, and runs into Hamilton Inlet at its upper or landward end. Here is the actual survey of the official Canadian authority, and as it is as recent of 1895, it may be taken as right. Rigolet, which you see on the map, is where the case was heard.

Viscount HALDANE: And Tub Harbor is a little lower down.

Sir JOHN SIMON: Yes. So far as the Canadian suggestion is concerned, they say that upon the true construction of the statutes, orders–in–council and proclamations, the internal limit of any jurisdiction that Newfoundland has now, or ever has had, is some 120 miles further towards the east.

p. 115

Lord SUMNER: This is salt water right up above the mouth of the Kinamou River. I suppose most of the blue is salt water. According to this record the act complained of was done in the bay, or I suppose just at the mouth of the Kinamou River.

Sir JOHN SIMON: I think it was done just above Epinette Point.

Lord SUMNER: Although that is a very forcible point, it is with regard to what is a very deep inlet, and it does not carry into the real inland parts.

Sir JOHN SIMON: That is so. I have not had a record of a case where he deals with a dispute which is 120 miles back from the general trend of the coastline in the heart of the primeval forest.

Lord SUMNER: Right or wrong at the time when the whole traffic on the Labrador coast was conducted in schooners, as I think it mostly is still, it is quite natural for the fishing people to carry on their operations up to the head of a salt water fiord. But that says nothing about rivers.

Sir JOHN SIMON: Your Lordship is perfectly right. I thoroughly appreciate that. If one is to draw a dividing line as between what you may call the river system and what my Lord has called a fiord, one would have to go, I have no doubt, to Goose Bay or something like that. I have here, and I dare say at some time some of your Lordships would like to see the Admiralty Chart, because one would like to see the nature of the thing—soundings, and so on. This is a very deep place notwithstanding the fact that at Rigolet you have narrows. It is extraordinarily narrow, as you will see, but it widens out again and becomes this very large inlet. Though, of course, the salinity of the water decreases, Lord Sumner is perfectly right that we are here dealing with a salt water fiord.

(Adjourned for a short time.)


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