Newfoundland.

Oral Answers to Questions — Coal Industry. – in the House of Commons on 6th December 1938.

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Photo of Mr Brendan Bracken Mr Brendan Bracken , Paddington North

asked the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs whether His Majesty's Government will order an inquiry into the recent proceedings of the Commission of Government in Newfoundland in passing legislation specifically designed to nullify the effect of a recent decision of the Supreme Court of Newfoundland; and whether he will issue immediate instructions to the Commission of Government to refrain from legislation which tends to weaken the judiciary in upholding the civil rights of the people of Newfoundland?

Mr. M. MacDonald:

No, Sir. The legislation to which my hon. Friend refers was passed by the Commission of Government in very special circumstances arising out of a decision of the Supreme Court of Newfoundland which, on a matter of construction, disclosed a defect in the Fish Marketing Act, 1936. It was designed to prevent a situation arising which would have affected detrimentally the interests of the Newfoundland fish exporting trade generally. I feel sure that the Commission of Government keep clearly in mind the importance of the point raised in the last part of the question.

Photo of Mr Brendan Bracken Mr Brendan Bracken , Paddington North

Is it not a very grave development in affairs in the British Empire when a Dominion Government overrules the judgment of a Supreme Court?

Mr. MacDonald:

I think that when the hon. Member reads the particulars of this case, which I propose to send to him, he will realise that the significance of it has been considerably exaggerated in such reports as he may have received.

Photo of Mr Brendan Bracken Mr Brendan Bracken , Paddington North

I have seen the particulars, and I am afraid I cannot accept the right hon. Gentleman's views.