Commission evaluating Confederation
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.
One woman hopes the commission can "go back to the Government to rectify what went wrong in 1949."
The final commission report is due June 30, 2003. When a preliminary commission report was released on Nov. 3, 2002, talk of Newfoundland separation erupted. The commission has a mandate to study the terms of Confederation, fishery management and equalization payments.
In an amendment to the Constitution on Dec. 6, 2001, the province's official name was changed to Newfoundland and Labrador.
The 1992 film Secret Nation, starring Mary Walsh and Cathy Jones, is a fictional account of Newfoundland joining Confederation. The drama depicts a Newfoundland history graduate student returning home to research a Confederation conspiracy theory. Some anti-Confederates believed the 1948 deciding referendum was rigged. The student researches public records to determine whether there is any truth to the rumours.
On July 2, 1992, the provincial government announced a moratorium on cod fishing. The moratorium put 30,000 Newfoundlanders out of work.
Program: Sunday Report
Broadcast Date: Sept. 29, 2002
Guest(s): Tom Cahill, Eugene Ridgely, Vic Young
Host: Alison Smith
Reporter: Lynda Calvert
Last updated: February 28, 2012
Page consulted on April 3, 2013
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