HC Deb 28 March 1887 vol 312 cc1602-3
MR. GOURLEY (Sunderland)

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies, Whether it is correct that the Dominion Parliament possesses authority to purchase and direct the operations of armed cruisers in Dominion waters, without the consent of the Imperial Parliament; if so, will he be good enough to inform the House the statute under which such authority was granted?


By a reference to the 91st section of the British North American Act, 1867, it will be seen that the Parliament of Canada has power to legislate upon all questions of Militia, Military, and Naval Service and Defence. But I may add that in 1884 Her Majesty's Government were advised that all Colonies possessing responsible Governments are at liberty, independently of an Act of the Imperial Parliament, to provide and equip armed vessels for harbour defence and police, and other like purposes, within the waters of such Colonies respectively; their use being limited to those waters. It follows that the Dominion Parliament possesses the authority referred to in the Question without the consent of the Imperial Parliament.