I think the words of Mr. Amery which I have just quoted answer the question of my hon. friend, and I would refer him to them.
The merchant shipping legislation is a most important question, surrounded with many difficulties. It was the subject of a special reference by the Imperial conference of 1926, and was submitted to a special committee by the Imperial conference of 1929. A member of the Canadian delegation, Mr. Burchell, of Halifax, had the honour to be selected as chair-
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man of that committee and his work as such has received the commendation of all the members of the conference. That special committee presented a unanimous report, which also was adopted unanimously by the conference. May I briefly relate what the present position is with regard to this question?
The Merchant Shipping Act of 1894, that is the imperial act, is substantially so far as its application of Canada is concerned a re-enactment of the provisions of the 1854 act, which antedates the British North America Act by thirteen years. Under section 91 of the British North America Act the exclusive legislation authority of the parliament of Canada extended to all matters coming within the class of subjects enumerated therein, including navigation and shipping. At the Imperial conference of 1897 Sir Wilfrid Laurier claimed that under the constitution of Canada our powers to legislate over shipping were plenary and absolute and subject only to the powers of this house. It was practically a reiteration of the stand taken by Sir John Thompson as to the unlimited power of Canada in dealing with the subjects mentioned in section 9*1 of the British North America Act. It must, however, be admitted that the decisions in the court indicate, although not with absolute certainty, that their opinion is that imperial statutes passed before and after confederation in regard to such matters as shipping and navigation over-ride the legislation of the parliament of Canada. Since 1911 the practice has been established that enactments of the parliament of the United Kingdom in relation to merchant shipping have not been applicable to the Dominion, but even there this situation gives rise to a difficulty which I will note Under the legislation enacted by the parliament at Westminster Wore 1911, and it is by far the most important statute concerning the empire, Canada is dealt with as if it were still a crown colony. The legislation of 1854, which was made for the British possessions of that day, is substantially the legislation which is still applicable to Canada. Under these acts, combined with the operation of the Colonial Laws Validity Act, the legal position may be summarized as follows:
(a) The parliament of Canada, under the authority contained in section 735 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1894, may repeal any provision of that act other than those of the third part which relate to emigrant ships, and not to ships registered in the Dominion. The Dominion parliament is thus in a position to substitute its own laws, but the act provides that such repeal must be confirmed by His Majesty in council in the United Kingdom,
and it does not take effect until approval has been proclaimed in the Dominion. Under other sections of the 1894 act, if there is any conflict of laws on certain subjects, the case is to be governed by the provisions of the 1894 act, and not by the laws of the Dominion. The parliament of a dominion has no authority to-enact legislation repugnant to the legislation of the parliament of the United Kingdom relating to ships coming into the harbours or territorial waters of the dominion if such ships are registered in other parts of the British commonwealth or even are foreign ships.
The parliament of Canada under, another section of the Merchants Shipping Act of 1894, that is section 736, may enact legislation to-regulate the coasting trade of the Dominion. But in this case also such legislation must contain a suspending clause providing that the act shall not come into operation until His Majesty's pleasure thereon has been publicly signified in the Dominion. It is also enacted that such legislation treat all British ships in exactly the same manner as ships of such Dominion, and when His Majesty has agreed to grant rights and privileges in respect to the coasting trade to foreign states, those rights and privileges must be respected by the Dominion.
Further, the legal situation is still more confusing because of the fact, as I have already stated, that legislation of the parliament of the United Kingdom since 1911 was expressed not to extend to the dominions. The restrictions, however, imposed by the Merchants Shipping Act were not removed, and because of the Colonial Laws Validity Act. legislation passed by a Dominion parliament on the same subject may be held to be void and inoperative on the ground of repugnancy.
There have been international conventions relating to shipping. Indeed, the modern tendency is that laws and regulations concerning navigation and shipping should become as far as possible internationally uniform, and it has already been made so in various respects of maritime law. It is found, however, that if a dominion parliament desires to enact and enforce these regulations and laws, it may find it impossible to enact legislation to that effect a3 certain fields of jurisdiction appear to be reserved for the parliament of the United Kingdom. In Australia the situation is obviously the same, and may I quote the words of former Attorney General Latham, who was attorney general in the government of Premier Bruce-no better imperialist can be found anywhere-in a book he published
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entitled Australia and the British Commonwealth. At page 103, in the chapter dealing with the Merchant Shipping Act, he says:
The position in Australia with regard to merchant shipping and navigation is confused, obscure and radically unsatisfactory.
The concluding words of the chapter, speak-of sections 735 and 736 of the act, are as follows:
It is submitted that they belong to a past age and that their continuance serves no useful purpose.
It was unanimously agreed that the existing legal situation is no longer in accord with the constitutional status of the United Kingdom and the dominions. The recommendations which have been made are rather extensive in their character and are all described in the report which all members of the house have in their possession. I will merely state that the recommendations regarding the extraterritorial effect of dominion laws, the Colonial Laws Validity Act, reservation and disallowance. are all applicable to the constitutional position of legislation affecting merchant shipping. When these conclusions are given effect to, and the restrictions imposed by sections 735 and 736 of the Merchant Shipping Act are removed, the ground will be cleared for cooperation amongst the members of the British commonwealth in all matters which call for concerted action. The conference has indicated many subjects as to which agreement is recommended in the interests of all the various subjects relating mainly to common status, standards of safety, and uniform treatment of all British ocean going ships in the ports of the British commonwealth.
In that respect, may I call attention to the recommendation concerning the coasting trade. While it is recommended that the governments of the commonwealth might agree for a limited number of years to con-, tinue the present position under which ships of any part of the commonwealth are free to engage in the coasting trade of any other part, it is specifically stated that this will not affect the right of any part of the commonwealth to impose conditions of a general character on all ships engaged in its coasting trade, or to impose customs tariff duties on ships built in other parts of the commonwealth or outside it, or to give financial assistance as it thinks fit to its own ships.
There are also recommendations concerning internal discipline and agreements with the crew, certificates of competency and service, courts of inquiry, distressed seamen, mutual enforcement of law, forfeiture, and carriage of goods by sea. The report, I submit meets
the constitutional considerations in favour of freedom of action, and the business considerations in favour of substantial uniformity.
May I say that it has received favourable consideration on the -part of various shipping interests, and although there remains the question of detail of some difficulty, the whole subject will receive careful consideration by aill the .departments concerned and by the shipping interests before final action is taken.
Now I come to the Colonial Courts of Admiralty Act. The legal situation with reopect to admiralty jurisdiction is substantially the same as under the Merchant Shipping Act. At the present time admiralty courts in the dominions constituted under the provisions of the Colonial Courts of Admiralty Act, 1890, and their jurisdiction is the same as that of the high court in England under that act. Rules for regulating the procedure and practice can be made by a colonial court of admiralty, but they cannot come into operation until approved by His Majesty in council. Any colonial law which affects the 'jurisdiction or practice in the courts, must be reserved for the signification of His Majesty's pleasure.
A complicated situation arises by reason of a recent decision of the Privy Council to the effect, that the jurisdiction of an admiralty court in the dominions, is that of the high court of England as it was when the act was passed in 1890, and that all of the important additions made to the jurisdiction of the high .court since 1890, do not apply to the courts in the dominions.
The whole situation is certainly not in accord with the present constitutional status of the dominions, and the recommendations of the conference are, that each dominion shall have power to repeal the Colonial Courts of Admiralty Act if it so desires, and may establish courts under its own laws. It is, however, emphasized that as far as possible, there should be uniform jurisdiction and procedure in all admiralty courts in the British commonwealth of nations. In this as in other respects, while the principle of freedom and equality is being given effect to, the desirability of cooperation is expressed and the means of achieving it indicated.
The members of the conference approached their task in the spirit which inspired the framers of the declaration of 1926, and it is the result of their work which I now submit for the approval of the house. The British Empire of to-day is an association of states, each member of which possesses an international capacity, and in which there is no longer a single central power having exclusive initiative and control. This association
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has its origin in an agreement among autonomous nations which propose to obtain by common action certain common objects, each of them retaining its liberty and the full exercise of self-government, domestic and external, and subject only to the restrictions inherent in the very ideals of the association. We are giving to the world a demonstration of the fact that partnership and cooperation do not mean absorption, and that in our great association each nation has its own individuality and leads its own life. We are proving in a most convincing manner that the only true union among the democratic peoples lies in the unrestricted liberty both of their institutions and of their relations with each other and with the world, and that full freedom of action united by the powerful bond of the imperial crown, which is the keystone of the alliance between the dominion and the mother country, will permit pursuing in an unfettered manner the policies which best suit their needs, and the freedom which they enjoy and which will continue to be the strongest factor in the maintenance of harmonious and useful relations. If the legal bonds may appear to have been altered or diminished the real strength of the whole structure has effectively increased, because a community of self-governing nations can work together in peace and unity only through voluntary cooperation in unrestricted freedom. The more prosperous, the more contented and the more free the dominions are, the stronger, the better organized and the more united will be the commonwealth. May I quote the words used by Lord Balfour a few months ago in the House of Lords?
The commonwealth is held together far more effectually by broad loyalties and common feelings of interest and devotion to the great world ideals of peace and freedom than by anything else. A common interest in loyalty, in freedom, in ideals, that is the bond. If that is not enough, nothing else is enough.
At every stage of the constitutional development of the dominions there have been critics and reactionaries who have professed to see the coming dissolution of the empire; those prophets of disaster however have been consistently proved to be wrong. Self-government implies trust, confidence, reasonableness, and common sense on the part of those who enjoy it. Self-respect, self-confidence and selfcontrol are as necessary to nations as to individuals. The recommendation I have mentioned will be submitted to the Imperial conference to be held this year in the month of September. On two or three occasions my hon. friend, the leader of the opposition, has stated that the man who will represent Canada at that conference must receive a man-
date from the Canadian people. With this statement I heartily agree. I believe also however that this parliament should be given the opportunity to express its views on the important report which will be submitted to that Imperial conference. Certain statements which are disquieting and startling in their lack of appreciation of the present position of our country are sometimes made by responsible and public men. May I quote one statement as an illustration? A few weeks ago my hon. friend from South Wellington (Mr. Guthrie)-who is absent from the house, and for whose recovery from illness I express my hearty wishes-used the following words:
Since January. 1926, we have had representations in London at a peace parley. You would almost think it was a six power instead of a five power parley. We are gradually interfering in the affairs of Europe generally We are poring as a nation when we are not a nation at all.
This parliament and indeed the Canadian people must see to it that this shall not be the spirit of those who represent Canada at this momentous convention. Shall Canada speak in terms of a nation, or shall she speak in terms of a backwoods community in need of aid and control? I submit this resolution in order that parliament may unequivocally accept the principle which has been accepted by all the statesmen in the various parts of the commonwealth, and in order that the representatives of Canada, whoever they may be, may be able to convey to the conference our full cooperation in the doctrines laid down by the conference of 1926, and our conviction that the very foundation of the empire rests on the solid rock of liberty, autonomy, and equality of citizenship and nationhood.