20 février 1896 – Toronto Star
Whenever the proposal to add Newfoundland to the Dominion comes up there comes up with it the inevitable « French shore » question. No man of sense, who has ever given any attention to this long vexed question will concede the possibility of admitting the islands on any terms until it is settled as a preliminary. In any dispute between Canadian settlers and French fishermen, the sympathy of our own French population would probably be with the French fishermen, and administrative control over the whole shore would be paralyzed. As the fishermen are largely smugglers, the complications resulting would be all the more dangerous and demoralizing.
It is now reported that, as a result of negotiations between Great Britain and France, the latter is willing to surrender her Newfoundland franchise in return for a free hand in Tunis and perhaps a share in the control of Egypt. Canadians need not care much what price is paid for the retirement of France, provinded she is induced to retire, « bag and baggage ». It would not suffice to require her to give up her west shore priviledge, or her territorial ownership of St. Pierre and Miquelon ; she must be made to surrender both. The islands are a perfect nest of smuggler, and complete possession of both them and the shore is necessary to enable the Canadian Government to control trade and open the country for settlement.
It is so desirable to secure the addition of Newfoundland to Canada that the Canadian Parliament could afford to be generous in granting terms, if the French claims were out of the way. Terms must, however, be a metter not merely of negotiation, but of investigation. Steps must be taken to ascertain beyond a doubt what liabilities Canada is incurring if she annexes the Island. It will not do to have any after-claps or unpleasantnesses. Assuming that the French shore question were disposed of, the proper course would be to appoint a commission to visit Newofuland, for the purpose of ascertaining precisely how matters stand as to assets and liabilities, revenue and expenditure. To this course, the people of Newfoundland should not object, if they really desire to become Canadians.