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No. 544.

AFFIDAVIT OF CLUNY MACPHERSON, G.M.G.. M.D.



In the Privy Council.

IN THE MATTER of the BOUNDARY between
      the   DOMINION   of   CANADA   and   the
      COLONY  of   NEWFOUNDLAND  in  the
      LABRADOR   PENINSULA.



      I, CLUNY MACPHERSON, C.M.G., M.D., of 65 Rennie's Mill Road, St. John's Newfoundland, medical practitioner, make oath and saw as follows:—

      1.  I served as a medical officer on the Labrador for a period of nearly 3 years between 1901 and 1904. I went there originally as a medical missionary with Dr. Grenfell and was then employed by the Newfoundland Government to prevent the spread into Newfoundland Labrador of an outbreak of small-pox in Canadian Labrador. In the course of this work I vaccinated many persons in Newfoundland Labrador and made journeys into Canadian Labrador to treat small-pox cases as there was no medical officer there. After this work I rejoined the Grenfell Mission until my return to general practice in St. John's Newfoundland in 1904.

      2.  While on the Labrador Battle Harbour was my headquarters. I went as far West as Bradore some miles West of the boundary, between Newfoundland and Canada, and as far north as Rigolet. I did not go further north since there was a doctor at North West River and another with the Moravians at Hopedale. I used to spend both winter and summer on the Labrador. I exercised authority there under a commission appointing me a Justice of the Peace. I was also appointed a Commissioner of the Newfoundland Supreme Court. I tried cases alone and in conjunction with Dr. Grenfell. There was never any difficulty in enforcing our decisions, which were accepted without question.

p. 1482

      3.  I was also empowered by the Newfoundland Government as Relieving Officer to relieve cases of distress at the Government's expense When I thought such a course desirable. I frequently availed myself of this authority, the traders on the Labrador furnishing the necessary supplies at my order and claiming the price from the Government. I relieved Indians and Eskimos when necessary as well as white settlers.

      4.  I further held the magisterial enquiries, which are equivalent in Newfoundland law to coroner's inquisitions, in the case of deaths in Newfoundland Labrador when it seemed necessary.

      5.  In my time the river at Blanc Sablon was generally assumed to be the boundary between Newfoundland and Canadian territories. Accordingly when I was in 1902 trying to prevent the spread of small-pox I had the bridge over the river destroyed and stationed a policeman on the Newfoundland side and also put up a notice prohibiting intercourse from the Canadian side.

      6.  From my experience I should say that the Newfoundland Government did more for Newfoundland Labrador than the Canadian Government for Canadian Labrador, Newfoundland maintained a weekly steamboat service for all the settlements on Labrador along Belle Isle Strait and a fortnightly service from Battle Harbour to Nain during the summer months. Canadian Labrador had no regular service but only two visits a year from the Canadian Revenue Cruiser. Telegraphic communications on Canadian Labrador is by means of a land line down the coast from Quebec to Red Bay. Newfoundland maintains a similar service by wireless stations in her territory, the Canadian authorities have done no more than the Newfoundland Authorities to develop the interior country.

      7.  It is true that Canadian Labrador is included in an electoral district whereas Newfoundland Labrador is not, but I never heard of any person East of the R. Natashquan exercising his vote or being canvassed or taking any active part in politics.

      8.  I Further say from my experience of the Labrador that the permanent settlers, who live at the heads of the bays, live in the winter almost entirely on hunting and trapping for furs and that this occupation takes them like the Indians far into the interior. So far as I can see this must always have been so ever since settlers have been on the Labrador, for no other means of livelihood than furring is available for them in the Winter.

Sworn at St. John's in the Colony        CLUNY MACPHERSON.
     of Newfoundland this 18th day
     of March 1926,

Before me,                                       
SIMON BUTLER,                          
A Commissioner for Oaths.

[1927lab]

 

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