Canada, House of Commons Debates, “Newfoundland”, 20th Parl, 3rd Sess (2 April 1947)

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Date: 1947-04-02
By: Canada (Parliament)
Citation: Canada, House of Commons Debates, 20th Parl, 3rd Sess, 1947 at 1963-1964.
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[Page 1963]



Right Hon. L. S. ST. LAURENT (Secretary of State for External Affairs): I should like to inform the house that the national convention of Newfoundland recently passed a resolution expressing a desire to send a delegation to Ottawa to ascertain from the Canadian government what fair and equitable basis may exist for federal union of Canada and Newfoundland. The resolution requested the Governor of Newfoundland to inquire whether the Canadian government would receive a delegation for this purpose.

Through our high commissioner in St. John’s, the government has now received this communication from the Governor of Newfoundland. We have replied that we shall be happy to receive a delegation from the national convention of Newfoundland at a mutually convenient date. We said that the Canadian government is of the opinion that the questions to be discussed with the delegation are of such complexity and of such significance for both countries that it is essential to have a complete and comprehensive exchange of information and a full and careful exploration by both parties of all the issues involved, so that an accurate appreciation of the position may be gained on each side.

Yesterday, upon being informed that the Canadian government is willing to receive a delegation, the national convention elected six of its members in addition to its chairman to serve on the delegation which, I due course, will proceed to Ottawa. The chairman of the national convention is the Honourable F. G. Bradley, K.C., and I understand that the other members elected are: Mr. T. G. W. Ashbourne; Mr. C. H. Ballam; the Reverend

[Page 1964]

L. Burry; Mr. G. F. Higgins, K.C.; the Honourable R. B. Job; and Mr. J. R. Smallwood.

The national convention bas also elected a delegation which is to proceed to England to discuss with the government of the United Kingdom the question of the financial and fiscal relationships which may be expected between the United Kingdom and Newfoundland under various possible forms of future government. This delegation is to be received in London on April 29. We understand that the national convention desires that the visit of its delegation to Ottawa should take place after the convention bas received replies to the inquiries which it proposes to address to the government of the United Kingdom. It is therefore expected that our meetings with the delegation from the national convention will take place at a mutually convenient date subsequent to the conclusion of the discussions which are to take place in London.

The government is confident that the friendship and cooperation which have marked our relations with Newfoundland will provide a firm, basis for discussions with a delegation from the national convention. The delegation will, I feel sure, be warmly welcomed in Ottawa. I will endeavour from time to time to keep the house informed of developments.



On the orders of the day:

Mr. L. E. BAKER (Shelburne-Yarmouth- Clare): Mr. Speaker, there appears on the order paper of today, as No. 24 under notices of motions, the following proposed resolution under my name:

That, in the opinion of this house, if the constituent assembly of Newfoundland desires to enter into discussion with the government of Canada as to the terms on which Newfoundland might enter confederation, the government should at once proceed to enter discussions to explore the conditions on which Newfoundland might enter confederation.

I was delighted to hear the statement which the Secretary of State for External Affairs made to the house, and since the matter has been completely covered I would ask leave to withdraw the motion. Taking the long term view, I consider that it will be in the strategic, economic and political interest of both countries if this union can be brought about.

Mr. GRAYDON: That is a speech. That is not the way I was treated yesterday.

Motion withdrawn.

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