HC Deb 27 February 1917 vol 90 cc1841-2
33. Mr. FELL

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if his attention has been called to the fact that the Colonial Office Committee on Settlement after the War comprises only one representative of the Dominion of Canada against five for Australia, one for Tasmania, and two for New Zealand; and will he say why Canada is so much under-represented?


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies why only one representative from the Dominion of Canada is serving on the Soldiers' Settlement Committee; can he state if the jurisdiction of Mr. Bruce Walker, on whom the choice has fallen, extends east of Fort William and beyond the Rockies on the west; and, if that be not so, will he consider the advisability of strengthening the Committee so as to give direct representation to those Provinces owning their own land?

The SECRETARY of STATE for the COLONIES (Mr. Long)

The Committee as originally constituted gave one representative to each Dominion and State Government. I have since learned that the Canadian Government would prefer a fuller representation of Canada, and I am taking steps to give, effect to their wishes. This answers the question No. 34 in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Devonport.


Can the right hon. Gentleman take the necessary steps to see that there are representatives of Provinces which own their own land on this Committee?


I have already stated that I have been, and am, in communication with the Dominion Government of Canada, with whom it rests to make the representation.


May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether the nomination of one representative for Canada and seven for Australia was made upon the initiative of the Government here, or whether it originated in suggestions from elsewhere; and may I ask how it could not have occurred to the Colonial Office that that inequality would be, as it has been, severely resented by the Canadian Press?


I think my hon. Friend knows quite well the origin of the misunderstanding. It consists in the simple fact that the Australian States, as he knows, are sovereign States, whereas the Provinces of Canada are not. There was a misunderstanding, but I do not think anybody was to blame for the original suggestions as to the Committee. It has now been put right, and I think that all the feeling to which the hon. Member refers has been removed.


May I ask the right hon. Gentleman, as the representative in this country of the Dominions, to take note of the fact that although the Provinces in Canada are not sovereign States, yet they are extensive tracts of country inhabited by numerous populations, and that they are just as much entitled to-representation as the Australian States?