Newfoundland and Confederation: A personal campaign for Joey?
Joey Smallwood said it was the narrowest of escapes. Newfoundland joined Confederation in 1949 by a referendum result of 52 to 48 per cent. Smallwood, a small but tough man with horn-rimmed glasses, fought stellar orator and anti-Confederate Peter Cashin. Many benefits came with joining Canada; a university, better highways. But average income still hovers near the poverty line. Today, a commission investigates whether Canada broke its 1949 funding promise.
. After political life, Smallwood worked on the Encyclopaedia of Newfoundland and Labrador until 1984 when he suffered a stroke.
. In 1987, a national controversy erupted over the former premier's inability to meet payments for his Encyclopaedia. The negative press worked in his favour. A fund for the project's completion was set up, along with the Smallwood Institute of Newfoundland Studies at Memorial University.
. Smallwood died in 1991 without seeing the completion of the Encyclopaedia in 1994.
. Smallwood started his career as a radio and newspaper journalist.
. An opponent of his anti-Confederate politician Grace Sparks was also a former journalist. While they were reporters, Sparks said Smallwood was ruthless and vindictive. She claimed he wrote the editor of the Daily News insisting she be fired on more than one occasion.
. Before Newfoundland joined Confederation, Sparks travelled across the island giving anti-union speeches.
. Sparks argued that the proponents of Confederation had an endless money supply. She said one man was paid $5,000 to end an anti-Confederation rally and airplanes dropped pro-Confederation pamphlets.
Program: This Country in the Morning
Broadcast Date: Oct. 15, 1973
Guest(s): Joey Smallwood
Host: Peter Gzowski
Last updated: February 2, 2012
Page consulted on December 5, 2013
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