The Confederation of Newfoundland
On March 31, 1949, Newfoundland became Canada’s tenth and youngest province. Joseph Smallwood played a crucial role in bringing Newfoundland into confederation. Smallwood was a journalist with an unquenchable ambition to become a father of confederation. Before confederation, Newfoundland was a colony of Great Britain, but it was Joey Smallwood and all his efforts, that changed that. Because of his leadership, Newfoundland came into confederation and brought benefits for both Newfoundland and Canada.
Newfoundland was exceptionally poor before confederation and Newfoundlanders had it spectacularly hard. By 1934, the First World War and the worldwide depression had bankrupt the dominion. When the economy collapsed Newfoundland went bankrupt and many people faced starvation. The Newfoundland government approached Britain for aid and Newfoundlanders voluntarily sacrificed their independence and once again became a colony of Great Britain. As a result, their elected government was replaced by an appointed commission. Britain was now running Newfoundland and its self-government had been suspended. During the Second World War, prosperity and self-confidence returned to Newfoundland but after the war, the governor had proposed confederation. Many Newfoundlanders thought joining the US was a better option and others wanted to regain the independence they had lost when Newfoundland went bankrupt in the 1930’s. Only a handful wanted to become apart of Canada.
Joseph Smallwood played an integral role in bringing Newfoundland into confederation. Smallwood had come to the conclusion that Newfoundland’s best option would be to join Canada and he was determined to get a majority of Newfoundlanders to agree with him. In January of 1946, he proposed that confederation be placed on the ballot paper in the first referendum. His proposal was defeated 29-16 and for many Newfoundlanders, the fight was over but for Smallwood, the fight...
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