Mr. Elphege Marier (Jacques Cartier):
When the hon. member for Kamloops (Mr. Fulton) rose he said that he would explain the real meaning of the amendment proposed by his leader. He did not explain the amendment but instead spoke about the proceedings taken to make Newfoundland a part of our country. The hon. member said that the government ought to consult the provinces because the constitution of Canada requires it. The leader of the opposition said in his amendment:
Now therefore be it resolved, that the government of Canada be required to consult at once the govern-
ments of the several provinces and that upon a satisfactory conclusion of such consultations "a humble address be presented to His Majesty . . ."
That consultation took place many years ago. In 1864 the four provinces known as Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia met in Quebec city to discuss confederation. I hold in my hand a copy of the Quebec resolutions adopted in 1864, and on page 137 I find the following:
In the federation of the British North American provinces the system of government best adapted under existing circumstances to protect the diversified interests of the several provinces, and secure efficiency, harmony, and permanence in the working of the union,-would be a general government charged with matters of common interest to the whole country, and local governments for each of the Canadas and for the provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, charged with the control of local matters in their respective sections, provision being made for the admission into the union on equitable terms of Newfoundland, the Northwest Territory, British Columbia, and Vancouver.
When these provinces met in Quebec in 1864 they agreed that Newfoundland would be admitted into confederation then or at any time on equitable terms. Therefore they were consulted and they agreed, but they went further. On page 138 of the Quebec resolutions we find the following:
The colony of Newfoundland shall be entitled to enter the proposed union, with a representation in the legislative council of four members.
They provided for the number of members that would be in the legislative council to be formed when Newfoundland became a new province of the confederation.
In paragraph 12 they provided that the members of the Newfoundland legislative council should possess properties either real or personal. On page 139 of the Quebec resolutions we find the following:
The basis of representation in the House of Commons shall be population, as determined by the official census every ten years . . .
And that Newfoundland should have eight members. Therefore they provided for the number of members which Newfoundland was to have when she joined confederation. On page 142 of the same resolutions we find the following:
Until the consolidation of the laws of Upper Canada, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, and Prince Edward Island, the judges of these provinces appointed by the general government shall be selected from their respective bars.
They went further and on page 146 they said:
Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island, not having incurred debts equal to those of the other provinces, shall be entitled to receive by half-yearly payments in advance from the general government the interest at 5 per cent on the difference between the actual amount of their respective debts at the
time of the union, and the average amount of indebtedness per head of the population of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick.
Therefore the different provinces agreed that Newfoundland would be permitted to join confederation, and the interested provinces were ready to admit Newfoundland.
Paragraph 72 on page 147 of the resolutions states:
The proceedings of the conference shall be authenticated by the signatures of the delegates, and submitted by each delegation to its own government, and the chairman is authorized to submit a copy to the governor general for transmission to the secretary of state for the colonies.
They were not satisfied just to approve the resolutions to admit Newfoundland into confederation at that time. They said that the resolutions so adopted by these four provinces at that time should be authenticated by their own governments and should be signed by the officers authorized to do so. These resolutions were submitted to London and were approved by the British government. In section 10 of the London resolutions you will find the following:
The colony of Newfoundland when admitted into the confederation shall be entitled to a representation in the legislative council of four members.
That was approved by the London conference and the London resolutions were adopted on December 4, 1866. Later on, these resolutions were included in paragraph 146 of the British North America Act, which said that when Newfoundland decided to join confederation it could do so by the procedure provided in section 146. It is true that this section cannot be applied exactly today because Newfoundland has no legislature at the present time. That is a question of procedure and not a question of right. I submit that when the three provinces interested at that time-because at that time Quebec and Ontario formed only one province known as the union of upper and lower Canada-agreed to form the confederation, they decided by the different articles of the resolutions which they sanctioned that Newfoundland could be added to confederation on equitable terms. The provinces were consulted and gave their consent in advance not only to the consultation as provided by the amendment of the leader of the opposition but to the fact that they would admit Newfoundland into confederation at any time. What we are discussing is only the terms and conditions provided for in the admission. As the resolution sets out, that admission must be on equitable terms to be decided on between Newfoundland and the different provinces of the country now known as the Dominion of Canada. When we say that we are amending the constitution, that we are changing the law which governs our country, we are saying something which is not true, because the provinces interested
at that time in forming confederation were consulted and gave their consent to admitting Newfoundland at any time. What we are doing is not asking to amend the constitution. In my humble opinion, what we are doing is not really amending the constitution; it is just a change in the procedure determined by section 146 of the British North America Act. We are not being asked to change the British North America Act; we are just giving our assent to a decision which was arrived at in 1864 and confirmed in 1866.
Subtopic: TERMS OF UNION WITH CANADA