The Labrador Boundary

Privy Council Documents

Volume I

Volume II

Volume III

Volume IV

Volume V

Volume VI

Volume VII

Volume VIII

Volume IX

Volume X

Volume XI

Volume XII

28 Oct., 1926.

Mr. Barrington–Ward.

28 Oct., 1926.

Mr. Barrington–Ward.

Sir Thomas Warrington.

Mr. Barrington–Ward.

28 Oct., 1926.

The Lord Chancellor.

Mr. Barrington–Ward.

The Lord Chancellor.

Mr. Barrington–Ward.

28 Oct., 1926.

Mr. Barrington–Ward.

Viscount Finlay.

Mr. Barrington–Ward.

Lord Sumner.

28 Oct., 1926.

Mr. Barrington–Ward.

Lord Sumner.

Mr. Barrington–Ward.

Lord Sumner.

Mr. Barrington–Ward.

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that you have to determine. It is their story that up to this extent at any rate you do not find very much Canadian administration ; and it will be interesting to hear how that part of the matter is developed on the other side, but I do not propose to go into it further at the moment. I shall have something to mention to your Lordships a little later on about earlier acts done by the early Canadian authorities, but I do not propose to develop this matter any further.
Your Lordships have there very good evidence of hunting all over the country without any interruption, and if you find somebody fishing and hunting and this going on not only for 100 years but for very nearly 150 or more years, without any sort of protest or objection, without any attempt to set up any rival Government, and you find a particular Government acting in that way; it is an extraordinarily good illustration of the authority which is charged with the administration of that Coast, in a dispute as to whether it is that authority or some other authority which has rights. I quite agree it all comes back eventually to the Commission and on that part of the case I submit that we have clearly made our position good.
My Lords, I had thought at one time of giving your Lordships some evidence about the topography of Labrador, but I think this morning this model has really put before you in as good a form as it could be put with Sir John Simon's exposition of it, the essential features.
I will not take up time by explaining whether a particular letter is “ o ” or “ a,” whether it is “ fiord ” or “ fiard.” I think that is more a matter which would probably come from the other side who are seeking to restrict our boundary. Therefore I do not think I should be justified in reading to you, much as I would like to have done, Dr. Low's report. Dr. Low, as you know, is the eminent Canadian who made his report at the time when he was making that map in 1895. We have had Dr. Low's map referred to so often. It is Map No. 42 of the Newfoundland Atlas. I hope your Lordships will bear in mind when looking at that map, that it is only a quarter map. It is not a complete map. It is the top quarter only. That is the map which forms the subject matter of Map No. 42. In case any of the Tribunal would like to look at Dr. Low's report I have not the slightest objection to reading it, because although it is a document coming from the other side it is one which, in my submission, entirely supports our view. It is to be found in Volume V, page 2590. It is useful to read the report if one wants to understand the map which he then made. With your Lordships' permission, now you have got that explained, it is quite plain how the general lie of the country is. This shows the contours far better than any verbal exposition by Counsel could show them, and taking up time by reading the book I do not think would be justified at this stage. Dr. Low's report is in two parts. There is a geographical report, and a geological report. We are not concerned on the present argument with any scientific evidence. Our argument does not involve any scientific evidence. It is only that your Lordships should have before your minds the picture of this country, which we say was parcelled out in the way it was parcelled out by the Government of the day.

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I also have refrained, and designedly so, from saying anything about the big arm of the sea which is called by various names—Hamilton Inlet, and so forth. Your Lordships know where that is. Of course, if our argument is correct and we are entitled to have up to the height of land, I need not discuss the question as to the precise character of that piece of water. No doubt you will hear from the other side considerations about it, and at a later stage we shall be able to deal with the arguments so addressed to you, and if necessary, call your attention to the scientific evidence in these volumes.
The only other actual point that I have to deal with is this point which Lord Sumner reminded us of, the point as to the precise position where the line which the Statute requires to be drawn has to be placed. It is partly in Volume III, and partly in Volume VIII. I think I shall be able to deal with the point quite shortly. Your Lordships will also want Map No. 52 of the Newfoundland Atlas before you. Taking Volume VIII, the page in that volume which I am going to consider in a moment is page 3954.

Sir THOMAS WARRINGTON : Is this a question about Ance Sablon.

Mr. BARRINGTON–WARD : Yes. The precise question is this. Under the Act of 1825 your Lordships know that line has to be drawn due north and south from the bay or harbour of Ance Sablon inclusive ; and the problem is at what particular point on the shore do you draw the line. If you want the reference to the Statute I can give it you. The particular section of the Act of 1825 is Section 9, and it is to be found in Volume I, page 210. It is “ 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, as far as the fifty–second degree of north latitude,” etc.

Sir THOMAS WARRINGTON : Then there is a sketch map facing page 3954 in Volume VIII. That is not the line at the head of the bay where the Blanc Sablon River runs.

Mr. BARRINGTON–WARD : The map facing page 3954 shows the rival contentions.

Sir THOMAS WARRINGTON : There happens to be a river running in at the head of the Bay of Blanc Sablon. Why is it not that ?

The LORD CHANCELLOR : The section says “ Ance Sablon inclusive.”


Mr. BARRINGTON–WARD : The Lord Chancellor has, if I may say so, anticipated the fence which I am going now to endeavour to surmount.
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The LORD CHANCELLOR : That means in the land to be re–annexed to Canada is included the bay or harbour of Ance Sablon, does it not ?

Mr. BARRINGTON–WARD : Would it not depend to a certain extent upon the history of the matter as to where you put your point ? What is inclusive is all the land the other side of the line, is it not ?

The LORD CHANCELLOR : Surely it is enacted that so much of the 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, as far as then fifty–second degree of north latitude has to be re–annexed to Canada.

Mr. BARRINGTON–WARD : Could not that be read as leaving open the point from where you draw your line. But when you have once got your point everything to the west of that is included in Canada.

The LORD CHANCELLOR: Where do you draw the line?

Mr. BARRINGTON–WARD : My submission is this. We are, perhaps, like our friend, Mr. Bladen, who has been referred to so much, a little ambitious in asking to have it drawn at Lazy Point. I have consulted with my colleagues in this case about the matter, and with the representatives of the Newfoundland Government, and they would prefer me to argue the case on the basis that the line should be drawn from the River. That is what has been the practice for the last 60 years at least, and I will show you from one or two documents in a moment that the line should be drawn from the River. While you have the map before you, may I refer you to the Woody Island—Isle au Bois. There is nothing to say that the line is to be projected into the sea. It rather seems that the person who wins on the line will get the island on the ground that it is adjacent—because the section says : “ and all other islands adjacent to such part as last aforesaid of the coast of Labrador.”

The LORD CHANCELLOR : What you are claiming is from the River ?


The LORD CHANCELLOR : That is from the River that runs in at the top ?


The LORD CHANCELLOR : Do you claim part of the island ?

Mr. BARRINGTON–WARD : Yes, we claim it should be shared in the proportion of two–thirds and one–third. It no doubt could be the

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subject of adjustment hereafter. That is the submission I am instructed to make.

The LORD CHANCELLOR : What about the word “ inclusive ” ?

Mr. BARRINGTON–WARD : I submit “ inclusive ” means every bit of the land lying to the westward of the imaginary line.

The LORD CHANCELLOR : What does that add ?

Mr. BARRINGTON–WARD : It might be almost a contradiction in terms to say a line, which has no parts, might be excluded. My submission is that where you have a phrase like this “ from the bay or harbour of Ance Sablon, inclusive ” it does not necessarily mean that you give them all the bay.

Viscount FINLAY : It cannot possibly mean that. The line drawn shows what point you take, and, of course, all you are to take is included in that.

Mr. BARRINGTON–WARD : I can summarise the dispute. This dispute arose as long ago as the sixties. There is a great deal of correspondence pondence about it, because the unfortunate people living on the bay, carrying on their avocations there, were in this position. It is bad enough to be visited by one tax collector, but to get a visit from two tax collectors and have to pay both, would be extremely unpleasant. There was not much chance for them there, either in the one case or the other, because the tax collector came in a good sloop and on one occasion arrived with the Judge, I think Judge Sweetland. The difficulty arose as to who should be paid. What was settled was this—I think I am stating it accurately—about 1864 or some time of that sort. The Newfoundland customs house is just to the right of this line drawn up the river, and they have collected on that side of the river, and Canada on the other, in cases where it was proper to collect dues. That is the position. The he matter arose as long ago 1860. If your Lordship will cast your eye on page 3995, you will see the Governor of Quebec, Sir Edmund Head, wrote to the Duke of Newcastle raising the point and arguing it and referring to a chart. I do not think any useful purpose will be served by my going through this. The Canadian authorities took the opinion of the Attorneys–General for Lower Canada and Upper Canada, at page 3964, and they took the view that that Woody Island was within the limits of Canada. As I say, this dispute went on. I have a great many illustrations of it here. A very practical conclusion was arrived at, and I do not know even now whether in a matter of this kind—it is a minor point—it might not be possible to adjust it.

Lord SUMNER : Do you, on behalf of Newfoundland, attach any meaning to the word “ inclusive,” and, if so, what ?
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Mr. BARRINGTON–WARD : I think it is a word put in for better security only. The draughtsman of the statute had this line drawn inclusive.

Lord SUMNER : As security, you mean, to occupy us for the afternoon ?

Mr. BARRINGTON–WARD : Oh, no, not for that !

Lord SUMNER : What does it mean ? I can understand it if it means “ including the same.” You are now defining what is to be given to Quebec, and it is to start from this line which starts at Ance au Blanc Sablon inclusive. That might be including the same, that is to say, the bay. But what it means from your point of view I fail to perceive at present.

Mr. BARRINGTON–WARD: Could it not mean inclusive of the space on which the line is drawn, if it is not in fact drawn ?

Viscount FINLAY : But a line has no dimensions at all.

Mr. BARRINGTON–WARD : When I say drawn, I mean actually put on the ground. I submit it might possibly mean that, when you come to do the task—which you have not to do in this case—of putting the defined boundary on to the territory, it would cover the space where that line is drawn.

The LORD CHANCELLOR : It is an imaginary line ; it is not a physical line.

Lord SUMNER : Would you tell me what authority there is in the statute for dividing the island ? I thought islands adjacent were granted as entire islands, according as they were, or not, adjacent to the coast. Is there any authority in the wording of the statute for prolonging this imaginary line to the south so that there may be a partition of the island ?

Mr. BARRINGTON–WARD : I should not be right in taking up your Lordships' time in trying to argue it. It is not so.

Lord SUMNER : Then what is your contention ?

Mr. BARRINGTON–WARD: Let me put it in this way. When the boundary conies to he marked out, the actual physical soil that is used is included in the territory of Canada. It is open to draw the line at any point which is regarded as a proper place, and I should submit the customary practice of the parties should determine that. I quite agree with what Lord Sumner says. I will not attempt to argue any division of the island. It is quite obvious under the construction of the


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