The Labrador Boundary

Privy Council Documents

Volume XII


8 Nov., 1926.

Sir John Simon.


8 Nov., 1926.

Sir John Simon.


8 Nov., 1926.

Sir John Simon.

8 Nov., 1926.


Sir John Simon.


Sir John Simon.


Sir John Simon.

8 Nov., 1926.

Sir John Simon.

p. 762

Sir JOHN SIMON : I am sure we cannot have any controversy on this ; I am not discussing the Indian Reservations at all.

The LORD CHANCELLOR : After 1774, Newfoundland was out.


The LORD CHANCELLOR : So in those years, there were only two ?

Mr. MACMILLAN : Yes, subject to that distinction ; your Lordships see what I mean.

Sir JOHN SIMON : I am saving my learned friend's point entirely. If I may say so respectfully, I understand his point, but when it is put against me for the moment that, inside my green, there is something you ought to call Indian country, of course, I dispute it altogether. But that is a separate point. But assume it makes no difference. Once you come to 1774, that turns it into the Province of Quebec and it has never come out of that again, unless indeed it was part of Newfoundland, in which case it has been returned to Newfoundland ; that is all.
Viscount HALDANE : In those days the Crown had the prerogative, and it fixed the boundaries sometimes by Statute and at other times it was done by orders ; you all seem to assume that a complete disposition was intended at each stage, but I doubt that very much. It was not so with regard to parts of Canada, and I do not see why it should be so here. Now I turn to Section 9, on page 210, in the Act of 1825. Will you read that to us ?

Sir JOHN SIMON : I will read it with pleasure ; your Lordship means the cutting out of the pink oblong.

Viscount HALDANE : Yes. First of all, they are dealing with the Statutes.

Sir JOHN SIMON : Yes, they recite them, and then this says : “ The Coast of Labrador from the River St. John to Hudson's Streights.”

Viscount HALDANE : Let us go a little slowly : “ Whereas under and by virtue of a certain Act.”

Sir JOHN SIMON : That is the Act of 1809.

Viscount HALDANE : “ 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.”

p. 763

Where do you say that any title to anything that formed part of Labrador besides that is given ?

Sir JOHN SIMON : Will your Lordship kindly turn to page 158 ? I am going to ask your Lordships just to let me put up a large map which I think will assist us. If you turn to page 158, you will of course remember that in the Statute of 1774 there is a new boundary of the Province of Quebec defined. The word “ bounded ” is on page 158 at line 27.

Viscount HALDANE : “ So bounded.” That is in the recital.

Sir JOHN SIMON : I do not think so, with great respect, my Lord. It is not recital.

Viscount HALDANE : “ Bounded on the South by a line from the Bay of Chaleurs,” and so on.

The LORD CHANCELLOR : If you follow the whole line round, you get round by the Mississippi to the boundary of Hudson's Bay.

Sir JOHN SIMON : Yes, my Lord.

Viscount HALDANE : It is on page 159.

Sir JOHN SIMON : Yes, my Lord. I think this map that I have here will make the matter entirely plain, and I think it is a useful map to have.

Viscount HALDANE : Yes. Now you will tell us about it, Sir John.

Sir JOHN SIMON : Yes, my Lord. I have a map here, which I think may do just what we want. The map that is now being put up on the screen is, in its right–hand top corner, a reproduction of my little hand map ; it is just the same. All the rest of it is on the same scale, but it carries you further to the south and the west. If your Lordships will kindly look at all the colours that are on that map, the yellow, the slate, the pink and the green, and, if you were to imagine a brown selvedge to the green, the brown as well, everything that is coloured on that map became a portion of the Province of Quebec under the Statute of 1774—everything.

Viscount HALDANE : Just let us see. The expression in the Act of 1774 is “ northward to the southern boundary of the Hudson's Bay territory.” I want to know what that southern boundary is.

Sir JOHN SIMON : I think that the map will be found very convenient for the purpose.

p. 764

The LORD CHANCELLOR : This is the boundary—(indicatingon the map).

Sir JOHN SIMON : Yes, my Lord. Now if I might read it, perhaps the Lord Chancellor would not mind seeing if I have got my colours right. It says this : “ bounded on the South by a Line from the Bay of Chaleurs, along the High Lands which divide the Rivers that empty themselves into the River Saint Lawrence from those which fall into the Sea, to a Point in Forty–five Degrees of Northern Latitude, on the Eastern Bank of the River Connecticut, keeping the same Latitude directly West, through the Lake Champlain, until, in the same Latitude, it meets the River Saint Lawrence ; from thence up the Eastern Bank of the said River to the Lake Ontario ; thence through the Lake Ontario, and the River commonly called Niagara ; and thence along by the Eastern and South–eastern Bank of Lake Erie, following the said Bank, until the same shall be intersected by the Northern Boundary, granted by the Charter of the Province of Pensylvania, in case the same shall be so intersected ”—then around Pennsylvania, and then : “ thence along the Western Boundary of the said Province, until it strike the River Ohio ; and along the Bank of the said River ”—It is the Ohio—“ West–ward, to the Banks of the Mississipi, and Northward to the Southern Boundary of Territory granted to the Merchants Adventurers of England, trading to Hudson's Bay.” Now, my Lords, I quite agree that it is a matter of controversy where that is. But it is somewhere ; and my point is that that boundary, thus defined, throws into Quebec an enormous area which included the yellow, the pink and green, as well as the slate colour. Therefore, from 1774 the whole of that coloured area on my map is Quebec.
Now, my Lords, what has happened since ? Nothing has happened since in Labrador except this, that there has been handed back to Newfoundland whatever Newfoundland had in Labrador before 1774. That may be much or it may be little, but whatever it is, it leaves Quebec Labrador, with all the rest. Consequently, the Order in Council of 1880 cannot have found any subject matter upon which it could operate in the peninsula of Labrador.

Viscount HALDANE : When was the territory granted to the merchant adventurers for trading to Hudson's Bay ? Was it 1670 ?

Sir JOHN SIMON : Yes, my Lord, it was 1670, by the Charter of Charles the Second.

Viscount HALDANE : The southern boundary, then, is the 1670 southern boundary, which was created then ?

Sir JOHN SIMON : Yes, my Lord.

Viscount HALDANE : And then : “ all such Territories, Islands,

p. 765

and Countries, which have, since the Tenth of February, One thousand seven hundred and sixty–three, been made Part of the Government of Newfoundland.”

Sir JOHN SIMON : Yes, my Lord. That, as your Lordship will remember, is the date of the Treaty of Paris, and it only means such things as have been added to Newfoundland in 1763.

Viscount HALDANE : Yes, it says so.

Sir JOHN SIMON : So that it gives back to Newfoundland, the Island of Newfoundland and certain islands around, and it leaves the mainland.

Viscount HALDANE : “ Territories, Islands, and Countries, which have, since the Tenth of February, One thousand seven hundred and sixty–three, been made Part of the Government of Newfoundland.” That is since 1763.

Sir JOHN SIMON : Yes, my Lord, but it does not make the Island of Newfoundland any part of the Province of Quebec. The Island of Newfoundland has always remained independent in that sense, and quite independent of Canada.
Now your Lordships have my point, and I think it is an obvious point, and I have perhaps spent too long over it ; but the point that I want to be clear about is that although no doubt the Order in Council of 1880 may have had effective operation, for all that I know, in other parts of British North America it could not have an effective operation in the part that is coloured on the map, subject to the point of which the Lord Chancellor was good enough to remind me, that I may not have got the boundaries of Hudson's Bay right. But if you will assume that I have got them right, wherever they are, then the rest follows.

Lord WARRINGTON : In 1774 the authorities did not define that.

Sir JOHN SIMON : No, my Lord. Of course, I have a compartment of my argument in reply which is going to deal with that.

Lord WARRINGTON : What you mean is that there went into Quebec everything that was not Hudson's Bay territory as far as Hudson's Bay territory extended, and in addition to that, whatever it was, that had been attached to Newfoundland ?

Sir JOHN SIMON : Yes, my Lord ; and all that has happened since that is that Newfoundland has got back what it had before, together with the pink, remembering that the pink is in. And therefore, be it small or be it great, the result is merely that you have put at one time into a common pot two different quantities of liquid, and you have

p. 766

subsequently poured out of that pot one of the two component parts. You are therefore necessarily left with the other, and it is no good looking inside the pot to discover if some third liquid exists there, because, of course, it does not.
Therefore, although the argument about an Indian boundary is a most important argument, and one which I am not going to minimise or overlook, it does not involve any reference to the Order in Council of 1880, which has no effect on the position at all. There is also a second reason why it should not, which is this, that it would be quite incompetent for such an Order in Council to transfer territory from a Governor of a Colony such as Newfoundland, and no one suggests that that was its operation. Its operation was to respect all boundaries of existing Colonies, but to deal with unallotted or unappropriated areas. Consequently it may have had, and undoubtedly did have, the effect of enlarging the superficies of Canada ; and if one went up to the frozen North, for all that I know it added the North Pole, if that is in North America ; it certainly added Baffin's Land and other areas. But it did not and could not have any operation in Labrador, because the part of Labrador that I am talking about was already earmarked as either one or other of the two things.

Lord WARRINGTON : If it is Newfoundland, it is expressly excepted.

Sir JOHN SIMON : Yes, my Lord, and if it is not Newfoundland, then it was already Quebec. Then I come to my fourth point of common ground. I am just noting these things first of all.

Viscount HALDANE : I have got two of your points.

Sir JOHN SIMON : I had intended to mention three, my Lord. My first is that it is common ground that the addition made to the Government of Newfoundland is a territorial addition, an addition to its territory.

Viscount HALDANE : Yes, I have that.

Sir JOHN SIMON : My second point of common ground was this, that so far as quality is concerned——

Viscount HALDANE : The quality is the same.

Sir JOHN SIMON : Yes, my Lord, it was the same, whether you are dealing with the Island of Newfoundland or with Labrador.

Viscount HALDANE : What is the third point ?

Sir JOHN SIMON : The third is that ever since 1774 there is not and cannot have been any portion of the area now under discussion


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