Newfoundland enters 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.
By April 1, prices have already dropped drastically for food, clothing and freight. A promise of baby bonus and a stable economy comes from the federal government.
Perks aside, patriotic Newfoundlanders mourn the loss of their independence.
The St. John's Daily News publishes "The Lament for Newfoundland," a poem by anti-Confederate Albert Perlin. On CBC Radio, a seal hunter who voted against Confederation says, "Whatever they want to call me, I'll still be a Newfoundlander at heart."
. Protestants and communities near Nova Scotia tended to be for Confederation.
. Women supported Confederation because of the baby bonus and for duty-free ordering from the Eaton's catalogue.
. Almost immediately Newfoundlanders began receiving baby bonuses, old age pensions and veteran benefits.
. Rumour has it that officials brought the province into Confederation one minute before midnight March 31, 1949, to avoid the union being considered an April Fools' joke.
. Smallwood was sworn in as interim premier of Newfoundland on April 1, 1949.
. Anti-Confederates believed there was a Confederation conspiracy. Saturday Night magazine published one man's anti-Confederate account. He said the referendum was rigged and that England was "in cahoots" with Canada and Canada was "in cahoots" with Joey Smallwood.
. In 1951, Progressive Conservative leader Peter Cashin ran and was defeated by Premier Smallwood. Cashin was a First World War hero, staunch anti-Confederate and stellar orator.
. Journalist Grace Sparks also ran in the 1951 election as a Progressive Conservative candidate for Burin District. She was the first woman to run for MP in Newfoundland.
. Baby bonus was a monthly payment made to women with children under the age of 18 by the federal government.
Program: CBC Radio News
Broadcast Date: April 1, 1949
Host: Bill Reid
Reporter: Joseph McSween
Photo: National Archives of Canada / PA-133280
Last updated: April 1, 2014
Page consulted on April 1, 2014
All Clips from this Topic
Mackenzie King welcomes members of a National Convention of Newfoundla...
Smallwood permitted to attend Canada's Liberal party convention.
On March 31, 1949, as a result of the territory's second referendum, N...
Newfoundland Confederates and anti-Confederates are divided on union d...
The father of Confederation says Canada hasn't fulfilled its funding p...
Did you hear the one about the fish with big mouths?
Newfoundland has become "incomparably" more prosperous 20 years since ...
Newfoundland reverts to colonial status under Great Britain during the...
Since Confederation, children have a much easier time getting to schoo...
Peter Gzowski insists Confederation was a personal campaign for Joey S...
The former premier does not necessarily represent the views of Newfoun...
One Newfoundland community lived without a proper waste system for 15 ...
A royal commission takes a look at the future of Newfoundland and Labr...
Joey Smallwood said it was the narrowest of escapes. Newfoundland join...