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Hail, Newfoundland


[For the source of this document, see the end of the text.]

As morning broke in Newfoundland, its people woke to find themselves Canadians. They will put Canadian stamps on the letters they post today and pay Canadian taxes on what they buy; these are the trivialities of the occasion. The children will be walking to schools today on roads that are part of Canada. Their fathers, Canadian fisherman, will be catching Canadian fish from Canadian boats. Citizenship of a new country has rarely come overnight to a whole nation with three hundred years of living on its own. We hope the Newfoundlanders find this moment of their history pleasantly exciting. We hope that it makes them dream of brighter and more spacious days for their land.


They will not feel, if they see things clearly, that they have lost anything at all. They are still Newfoundlanders though they have become Canadians. That is one of the beauties of Canada, its agreeable blend of local color and personality with national loyalty. Two of the nine provinces which yesterday were Canada carry individuality to the point of having their own flags. If Newfoundland wants to make a third, that will certainly be quite in order. It is more important that Newfoundlanders keep the qualities which have made them famous and keep the management of their local affairs which Canada's constitution guarantees to them.


Having lost nothing, they have surely gained a great deal. Canada is one of the rising countries of the world, with a high general level of income, education and security and a place of some distinction if not yet great influence in world affairs. To be a part of Canada is no mean destiny for any community. Newfoundland, for the rest of time, will share in Canada's greatness and gain stature thereby. Looking at it from a shorter-range and more practical point of view, there will be advantage to the Island in Canada 's social security laws, Canadian capital available for developing resources, and a closer link with Canadian transport and communication.


Canada, too, is a gainer, and in like degree. When speaking and writing of that, it is usual to put stress on Newfoundland's Labrador iron, fisheries, timber stands, pulpwood and still imperfectly known minerals. Another point often emphasized is the strategic value of the Island, guarding the St. Lawrence Gulf and lying directly on the shortest route from the Canadian mainland to Europe. These are great acquisitions for Canada, but the people themselves are the most welcome of our new assets. The people and their background, for it is no light matter that Canadian history now begins in 1497, when Cabot made a landfall at Bonavista. That is a thought to thrill any Canadian with a sense of his country's past.


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.


Source : "Hail, Newfoundland ", editorial in The Globe and Mail, Friday, April 1, 1949.


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© 2004 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College