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Canadians at Last

Canadians at Last: The Integration of Newfoundland as a Province

Copyright Date: 1994
Pages: 286
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  • Book Info
    Canadians at Last
    Book Description:

    By beginning with the 1949 Confederation rather than the activities leading up to it, and by thoroughly documenting areas of agreement, contention, and neglect, Blake writes a solid, contemporary history of Newfoundland's integration into Canada.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-5980-3
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Introduction to the 2004 Edition
    (pp. xi-xviii)

    Since this book was first published in 1994, there have been writers, members of the ‘intellectual’ and business elite, as well as ordinary citizens who have come to blame nearly everything that has gone wrong in Newfoundland and Labrador in recent years on Confederation with Canada. For some, the Union of Newfoundland with Canada has come to represent what the British Conquest represents for the Quebecois. One reviewer ofCanadians at Last: Canada Integrates Newfoundland as a Provinceeven reminded those in Etobicoke, of all places, and others in Central Canada reading the book that ‘they would do well to...

  5. [Illustrations]
    (pp. xix-2)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 3-6)

    Confederation had not come easily to Newfoundland. After the hysteria and fear whipped up in 1869, when the party advocating union with Canada was resoundingly trounced in a national election, politicians stayed clear of the issue for decades. Generations of Newfoundlanders were weaned on anti-Confederate songs that had been popularized during the first Confederation debate:

    Men, hurrah for our native Isle, Newfoundland

    Not a stranger shall hold one inch of her strand;

    Her face turns to Britain, her back to the Gulf,

    Come near at your peril, Canadian Wolf!

    By the late 1940s, however, much in Newfoundland had changed. the...

  7. 1 The stage is set: from dominion to province
    (pp. 7-43)

    Newfoundland’s first full day in Canada was surprisingly quiet. A moment before midnight the previous evening, 31 March 1949, Newfoundland officially became the tenth and newest province of Canada. The celebrations usually associated with constitutional events of such magnitude simply did not occur in Newfoundland, a fact all the more amazing considering that the dominion’s constitutional status had been settled by a narrow margin in two bitterly fought referenda. That there were no serious public expressions of opposition in St John’s, where support for a return to independence and responsible government had been strongest, implies that many who had supported...

  8. 2 Back to politics: political organization in post-Confederation Newfoundland, 1948–1951
    (pp. 44-69)

    Joseph R. Smallwood struggled to make himself heard. Amid the thunderous ovation from the eleven hundred cheering delegates gathered at St John’s from 28 to 30 April 1949 to organize the federal and provincial wings of the Newfoundland Liberal party, his harsh, highpitched voice was barely audible above the roar. ‘Newfoundlanders, fellow Newfoundlanders, fellow Canadians,’ he finally bellowed into the microphone. ‘Here tonight for the first time in the history of Newfoundland we see the common man gathered to elect those who will represent him in an election. You have come from every cove along our coastline to say just...

  9. 3 Sharing the wealth: Canadian social programs come to Newfoundland
    (pp. 70-93)

    The social security payments which the government of Canada has been and is making each month to so many of our people ... are so numerous and so varied,’ Minister of Finance Herman W. Quinton said in his first budget speech to the House of Assembly on 30 November 1949, ‘that there are today very few families in Newfoundland who are not sharing directly in them, and none at all who are not benefiting indirectly from them ... It is,’ he continued, ‘unpleasant to contemplate the position of Newfoundland as it would be if those payments were not being received...

  10. 4 Going it alone: the federal government and secondary manufacturing in Newfoundland, 1948–1953
    (pp. 94-121)

    After union with Newfoundland, Canada had to deal with two problems concerning the province’s manufacturing sector, both of which had their origins in the peculiar economic conditions of Newfoundland. Unlike Canada, which had encouraged its fledgling industries after 1879 under a national policy, Newfoundland had used its tariff primarily as a source of revenue. In 1933–4, for instance, the tariff produced 82 per cent of the dominion’s revenue and 54 per cent as late as 1947.¹ Although the tariff was not erected to foster a process of industrialization, at the time of union nearly 130 firms,² employing about 4,000...

  11. 5 Canada establishes sovereignty in Newfoundland, 1948–1952
    (pp. 122-145)

    Newfoundland had signed nearly 130 treaties with other nations before union with Canada. The Canadian government had made it clear to the world community, however, that it had no intention of honouring all of Newfoundland’s international commitments. ‘Our primary aim,’ Secretary of State for External Affairs Lester B. Pearson wrote to the acting Canadian high commissioner in Great Britain, ‘is that Canada should not be expected by the United Kingdom and the international community to honour obligations involved in Newfoundland Agreements to which Canada is not a party.’¹ Subsequently, Canada’s response to Newfoundland’s international obligations was quite simple: all treaties...

  12. 6 The problem of Newfoundland: Ottawa and the fisheries, 1948–1957
    (pp. 146-176)

    Life for those who laboured in poverty and deprivation in the isolated outports and bays of Newfoundland in 1949 had changed little since their ancestors first arrived from the British Isles to catch, salt, and dry codfish. Since its inception, the traditional inshore fishery had had unpredictable markets, low productivity, low prices, and low returns, and had provided a bare subsistence living for thousands of fishermen and their families. When Ottawa began to share responsibility for the Newfoundland fishery, the average per-capita income in the new province was $475, 49.5 per cent of the Canadian average, and considerably less than...

  13. Conclusion
    (pp. 177-184)

    This day marks ‘the fulfilment of a vision of great men who planned the nation of Canada more than eighty years ago,’ F. Gordon Bradley reminded the crowd gathered on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on 1 April 1949 to mark the union of Newfoundland and Canada. In 1864, the Fathers of Confederation had a plan for the union of all British North America and, ‘in fancy we can see them now, bending over this scene in silent and profound approval.’ Newfoundland had finally surrendered all claims to independence and dominion status and, at long last, had become a province of...

  14. Notes
    (pp. 185-225)
  15. Illustration Sources and Credits
    (pp. 226-226)
  16. Bibliography
    (pp. 227-240)
  17. Index
    (pp. 241-252)