Newfoundland and Labrador Britain’s Oldest Colony – Canada’s Newest Province

Kingwell By Kingwell, 13th Apr 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/15ie1vzx/
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>History

Rain, drizzle and fog, is a common sight on an early spring morning in St. John’s Newfoundland and it was no different on April 1,1949, its first morning as the seat of a provincial Canadian government. Over some homes of the city’s anti-confederates fluttered black banners, over others the Green, white and pink flag of The Dominion of Newfoundland. Another left his flagpole empty and at its foot placed a simple hand lettered lament, “We let the old flag fall”.

Newfoundland and Labrador Britain’s Oldest Colony – Canada’s Newest Province

Chapter XII
Please see Chapter XI
Although tensions were so high in St. John’s on April 1 that it was though best to cancel a planned visit by the Canadian Prime Minister, all remained relatively quiet. Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent appointed Sir Albert Walsh as the first Lieutenant Governor of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Walsh’s first act as the king’s representative in the province was to send for Joseph R. Smallwood, and ask him to accept the appointment as premier of the province. Smallwood agreed and the new province’s first cabinet was sworn in later that morning.
Canada welcomed Newfoundland into the union with open arms. April 1 was proclaimed Newfoundland Day in all Canadian schools and an official ceremony was held on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, to welcome Newfoundland into the Confederation. The ceremony was broadcast on national radio with F. Gordon Bradley being sworn into the Canadian Cabinet as Secretary of State. The carillon of the Peace Tower in Ottawa played Arthur Scammell’s “Squid Jiggin’ Ground”, a popular Newfoundland folk song and participants concluded the ceremony with the singing of “God Save the King,” “The Ode to Newfoundland,” and “O Canada.” The broadcast was listened to at Government House in St. John’s where Sir Albert Walsh was sworn in as Lieutenant-Governor.
The Globe and Mail, in its editorial wrote:
“Union with Newfoundland, as everyone knows, rounds out the dream of the Fathers of Confederation. This newspaper is certain that Canadians welcome their new fellow-countrymen with full hearts. May the union be forever a blessing for Canada and to the island which is yielding its ancient independence, but not its identity, to belong to a larger fraternity”.
An editorial from the Montreal Gazette also welcomed Newfoundland, saying:
“For Canadians tomorrow will be a day of welcome for this is the day when a tenth province is added to the Dominion of Canada. There will be a greater meaning than ever to the Canadian motto, chosen by Sir Leonard Tilley from the words of Isaiah which describes the dominion that reaches 'from sea to sea'.
The Vancouver Sun also reflected on the results, saying:
“Today a dream of greatness, present in the minds of the Fathers of Confederation more than 80 years ago, comes true. Newfoundland at long last is part of Canada.”

A provincial election was held on May 27 and The Liberal Party led by Smallwood won 22 of the 28 seats. The Progressive Conservatives led by Harry Mews won only 5, all on the Avalon Peninsula. Mews failed in his bid to win his seat in St. John’s West. Later that year he was elected Mayor of St. John’s and resigned as party leader.
Joseph R. Smallwood, who later became simply “Joey” to most Newfoundlanders, must have known full well that the money that would soon pour in from Ottawa in the form of Old Age Pensions and Family Allowance payments would made him a mini-God in the eyes of those who had known nothing but poverty for so long and of course he was right. Throughout the 1950’s and well into the 1960’s for many in the province “Joey” could do no wrong. The Progressive Conservative party had been tarred with the name “anti-confederates” from the beginning and could never manage to elect more than four or five members to the House of Assembly.
It was in 1959 that Smallwood faced what was perhaps his biggest test, since winning the battle for Confederation with Canada. On December 31, 1958 loggers employed by the Angle-Newfoundland-Development Company went on strike for wage increases and better living conditions in the wood camps. The A.N.D. Company was determined not to settle with the logger’s union, The International Woods Workers of America, who had come to Newfoundland hoping to replace the weak and unproductive Newfoundland Loggers Association. For about six weeks it was a normal labour dispute, but by February public disapproval with the I.W.A. had reached such a pitch that that the premier himself decided to intervene. “Joey”, in a radio broadcast heard around the province, declared that he would drive the I.W.A. out of the province and have the legislature pass a law stripping the union of its legal bargaining rights! The Canadian Labour Congress, The International Labour organization and most of the Canadian media condemned Smallwood for attempting to destroy free trade unionism – but in the province where he reigned supreme, public support was on his side. When on March 10th a policeman was killed in a confrontation with picketers, the union’s fate was sealed. The premier replaced the I.W.A. with the government-sponsored Newfoundland Brotherhood of Woods workers. The A. N.D. Company and the new union quickly signed a contract almost identical to the one proposed by the I.W.A. thus ending the strike. Two years later ‘Joey’ turned the government-sponsored union over to The Canadian LabourThe United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners. The Canadian Congress immediately suspended the UBCJ for conspiring with Smallwood but it had little effect. Against the will of the workers, the U.B.C.J. became their official bargaining agent. The I.W.A. was successfully driven out of Newfoundland.
Such was the power of “King Joey”!
To Be Continued.

Tags

Canadian Cabinet, F Gordon Bradley, God Save The King, Harry Mews, Iwa, Joseph R, Ocanada, Ode To Newfoundland, Ottawa, Parliament Hill, Secretary Of State, Sir Albert Walsh, Smallwood, St Johns, Ubcj

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author avatar Kingwell
I am 75 years old and retired.I like writing short stories, poetry as well other articles of interest.

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Comments

author avatar Carol
13th Apr 2013 (#)

Thank you for the information Kingwell

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author avatar Kingwell
13th Apr 2013 (#)

Thank you for visiting my friend.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
13th Apr 2013 (#)

Interestingly narrated, Kingwell - a phase of history where King Joey ruled and his writ ran like no other! siva

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author avatar Kingwell
13th Apr 2013 (#)

Hi Siva, You are right. The man really had too much power, but that era is over now. Many still remember him with fondness, others feel that he went much to far. I don't agree with many things that he did but he may have thought it was best at the time. Thank you for your continued support of my writing.

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author avatar Delicia Powers
18th Apr 2013 (#)

Loved how you make history come alive again, great lead in summary also...thank you Kingwell..

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author avatar Kingwell
18th Apr 2013 (#)

I was a nine year old boy when Newfoundland and Labrador joined Canada. My family were very much in favour becoming a province of Canada. I knew that something big was happening and of course I knew my parents had to be right LOL!

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author avatar Songbird B
23rd Apr 2013 (#)

I have to totally agree with Delicia, Kingwell, you do bring history back to life, and this is really a great historical series that I am so glad I can catch up on once again.The twists and turns keep you in your seat!. \0/x

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author avatar Kingwell
23rd Apr 2013 (#)

I'm not sure what it is about history, but many people have told me the same thing over the years, I feel as though I have lived it - as though I was telling a story that I remember - and maybe I do. Thanks again for your comments.

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