Draft Terms of Union, 1869

Minutes of Conference Between the Committee of the Privy Council of Canada and the Undersigned Delegates from the Colony of Newfoundland, on the Subject of a Union of That Province with the Dominion of Canada. Dominion of Canada, Sessional Papers 1869, Volume V, No. 51.

1. Canada shall be liable for the debts and liabilities of Newfoundland, existing at the time of the Union.

2. For the purpose of placing the interest on the public debt of Newfoundland on the same footing as that of the other Provinces, Canada will, on the request of the Lieutenant Governor and Council of Newfoundland, make arrangements to substitute in lieu of the existing securities which now represent the public debt of Newfoundland, the Bonds or Stock of the late Province of Canada, or of the Province of New Brunswick or Nova Scotia, issued before the 1st July, 1867, and will further endeavour to provide that the securities of Newfoundland shall be placed on the same footing as those of the other provinces, as investments in which the Sinking Funds of any portion of the Debts for which Canada is now responsible, may be made.

3. Newfoundland not having incurred debts equal to those of the other Provinces now constituting the Dominion, shall be entitled to receive, by half yearly payments, in advance from the General Government, interest at the rate of 5 per cent. per annum on the difference between the actual amount of its indebtedness and the indebtedness per head of the population of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, the population of Newfoundland being estimated to 130,000.

4. In consideration of the transfer to the General Parliament of the powers of taxation, the following sums shall be paid yearly by Canada to Newfoundland, for the support of its Government and Legislature, to wit: $35,000 and an annual grant equal to 80 cents per head of the aforesaid population, both half yearly in advance. Such grant of 80 cents per head to be augmented in proportion to the increase of population, as may be shewn by each subsequent decennial census, until the population amounts to 400,000, at which rate such grant shall thereafter remain; it being understood that the first census shall be taken in the year 1871.

5. In consideration of the transfer to the General Government by Newfoundland of the now ungranted and unoccupied lands, mines, and minerals of the Colony, it is agreed that the sum of $150,000 shall each year be paid to Newfoundland by semi-annual payments, in advance, and that Colony shall retain the right of opening, constructing and controlling roads and bridges through any of the said lands, and that the privilege heretofore enjoyed by the inhabitants of Newfoundland of cutting (free of charge) wood on the ungranted lands of the Crown, shall continue to be exercised by them in like manner free of charge, but the aforesaid reservations shall be subject to such regulations as may, from time to time, be passed by the Lieutenant-Governor of Newfoundland, in Council, and which regulations shall be subject to the approval of the Governor General in Council. Such surrender shall also be subject to the reservations and provisos contained in the 7th and 8th Sections of the Act of the Legislature of Newfoundland, 7 Vic., cap. 1, but these shall in like manner be at all times subject to approval as aforesaid.

6. It shall be optional, however, for Newfoundland, before entering the Union, to reserve to itself all the lands and rights conveyed -to the General Government by the last preceding clause, and in that case Canada shall be relieved of the payment of the aforesaid sum of $150,000 per annum.

7. The encouragement, benefits, and protection accorded by the Dominion to fisheries in other parts thereof shall be extended to the fisheries of Newfoundland, and unless Parliament shall make other provision, the provisions of the Act of the Legislature of Newfoundland, 31 Vic., cap. 1, sec. 39 shall remain in force.

8. In addition to the present local water rates and assessments in the Town of St. John's, the water dues now payable by vessels entering that harbour, as well as the present duty on coal entering the said harbour, shall be available to Newfoundland, and be applied in reduction of the interest for which Newfoundland is now responsible in respect of its liability toward the General Water Company. Such duties on coal, and water dues shall be subject to adjustment from time to time by the Legislature of Newfoundland. On an address of such Legislature to that effect, the Dominion Government will issue Bonds bearing interest at 5 per cent. per annum, maturing not less than 15 years from the dates thereof, to be delivered to the Government of Newfoundland for the purpose of funding the aforesaid liability to the said General Water Company. On a like address, the Dominion Government will also issue Bonds to fund the liability contracted in respect of the Harbour Grace Water Company, all such i sums' teeing charged to Newfoundland as part of its debt.

9. The Dominion will provide an efficient Mail Service between the present Dominion, Newfoundland, and the United Kingdom, by steamers adapted and giving adequate facilities for the conveyance of passengers and cargo.

The obligations of Newfoundland with respect to the present Mail Service between Newfoundland and Halifax will be undertaken by the Government of the Dominion, and on the expiry of existing arrangements, other provision will be made for maintaining the service in a manner equally advantageous to Newfoundland.

Efficient coast steam service, including Labrador, in connection with the Post Office, will be established and maintained by the Government of the Dominion.

10. Canada will assume and defray the charges for the following services:

  1. Salary of the Lieutenant-Governor
  2. Salaries and allowances of the Judges of the Superior Court, the Judges of District Courts, and the Labrador Judge and Bailiff
  3. The charges in respect of the Department of Customs
  4. Postal Department
  5. Protection of Fisheries
  6. Provision for Volunteer Militia, and Naval Brigade Force
  7. Light Houses, Shipwrecked Crews, Quarantine and Marine Hospitals
  8. The Surveyor-General and his Staff [in case the lands shall be transferred]
  9. The Geological Survey
  10. The Penitentiary

And such further charges as may be incident to and connected with the services, which by the British North America Act, 1867, appertain to the General Government, and as are or may be allowed to the other Provinces.

11. No exceptional tax shall be imposed on any of the exports of Newfoundland.

12. Newfoundland shall, in case the Union take place, previous to the next census in the year 1871, be entitled to be represented by eight Members in the House of Commons, and thereafter the representation shall be subject to the provisions of the British North America Act, 1867.

13. The Union shall take effect on such day as Her Majesty, by order in Council, on an Address to that effect, in terms of the 146th section of the British North America Act, 1867, may direct, and Newfoundland may in such Address specify the divisions, if any; for which any of the four Senators to which that colony is entitled shall be named; the Electoral Districts for which, and the time within which, the first election for Members to serve in the House of Commons in Canada, shall take place.

14. The Constitution of the Executive authority, and of the Legislature of Newfoundland, shall, subject to the provisions of the said Act, continue as they exist at the Union, until altered under the authority thereof.

15. The provisions in the aforesaid British North America Act, 1867, shall - except those parts thereof which are in terms made, or by reasonable intendment, may be held to be specially applicable to, and only affect, one and not the whole of the Provinces now composing the Dominion, and except so far as the same may be varied by the Resolutions - be applicable to Newfoundland, in the same way, and to the like extent, as they apply to the other Provinces of the Dominion, and as if the Colony of Newfoundland had been one of the Provinces originally united by the said Act.

The foregoing Resolutions were agreed to as the basis of the Union to be submitted for the approval of the Parliament of the Dominion, and to the Legislature of Newfoundland, after a general election.

With reference to the subject of Export Duties and Defence, the following Minutes were also agreed to:

a. With reference to the 7th resolution of the Legislature of Newfoundland, by which it is asked that: "No tax shall be imposed on the exports of this Colony unless a similar tax be levied on all the staple products of the other Provinces of this Dominion;" it is understood that the general imposition of Export duties on the staple products of any Province is contrary to the policy of the Government of Canada, and a contingency not to be contemplated, but it is agreed that taxation, in whatever form it may be found necessary hereafter to impose it, shall be so adjusted as to bear equally on all the Provinces, and that no scheme would be proposed which might in its effect operate with undue pressure on oil, fish, or any other staple Exports of Newfoundland.

b. Encouragement will be given for the establishment of a Naval Reserve Force, and for giving greater efficiency to the Volunteer Militia organization in Newfoundland, and that any modifications which may be needed, will be made in the Militia Law of Canada, to adapt its provisions to the circumstances of the inhabitants of Newfoundland.

c. The influence of the Dominion Government will be used, to the fullest extent, to procure the continued maintenance of a Garrison of Her Majesty's Forces at St. John's.

Taken from Canada, Parliment. Sessional Paper of the Dominion of Canada. Vol. V. 51 (1869). Print.