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Can Joey Smallwood be defeated in Newfoundland?

The Story


Joey Smallwood is the only premier Newfoundland and Labrador has ever known. The 70-year-old Liberal firebrand has led the province for all of the 22 years since it entered Confederation in 1949. Now he seeks an amazing seventh consecutive election win. Can the Smallwood juggernaut be stopped? The province's opposition think this - finally - is the year. In the last few days before the election, CBC reporters follow Smallwood, Progressive Conservative leader Frank Moores, the New Democratic Party's Jim Walsh and former Liberal Tom Burgess of the New Labrador Party in the most desperate fight the province has seen since joining Canada. Burgess, a union leader from Labrador City, is developing a reputation for political opportunism.

Medium: Television
Program: Weekend
Broadcast Date: Oct. 22, 1971
Guests: Tom Burgess, John Crosbie, Frank Moores, Joey Smallwood, Joey Smallwood, Jim Walsh
Host: Kay Sigurjonsson
Reporter: Michael Maltby
Duration: 16:23

Did You know?


• In 1855 responsible government was instituted in Newfoundland, complete with political parties and an elected government.
• In 1867 the British North America Act created the Dominion of Canada with the provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario. Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island declined union at the time, but the BNA Act allowed them to enter at a later date.

• In 1933, as a result of severe economic problems, Newfoundland became the first dominion to voluntarily give up responsible government, thus suspending constitutional rights including elections and the legislature. In 1934, when a colonial "commission of government" took over, Newfoundland reverted to colony status and was relieved of financial responsibility.

• Joey Smallwood began a campaign for Confederation with Canada in 1946. It culminated in the British government putting forward two referendums to Newfoundlanders. Anti-Confederates won the first one on June 3, 1948. In the second and deciding referendum on July 22, 1948, Confederation won with 52 per cent of the votes. One minute before midnight on March 31, 1949, Newfoundland entered into Confederation with Canada.

• Smallwood was sworn in as interim premier of Newfoundland on April 1, 1949. His Liberal Party was popular in rural areas and dominated island politics for more than two decades.
• In 2003 Newfoundland and Labrador had 48 provincial electoral districts that sent members to the House of Assembly.


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