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Newfoundland Eyes Turn to Ottawa


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

Newfoundland 's second referendum to decide its political future has proved, unhappily, almost as indecisive as its first. It is conceded that Confederation with Canada has achieved a majority. Therefore, it seems probable that, on the balloting, the Commission of Government at St. John's has no alternative but to request Ottawa to accept Newfoundland as a tenth province in consonance with majority opinion and democratic practice.

But the strength of the minority opinion preferring Responsible Government as shown at the polls is an unfortunate, possibly a limiting factor in the proceedings. So modest a majority for Confederation scarcely meets Mr. Mackenzie King's prerequisite of a decision "clear and beyond the possibility of misunderstanding". The majority is clear enough. But it is evident that nearly half the eligible electorate does not favor tenth provincial status.
However, Newfoundland has expressed its view democratically. It is unlikely that the Dominion can now refuse to recognize the validity of the vote for Confederation; or should conceive that the minority will not loyally accept that decision. The next step, obviously, is one for Ottawa. The Federal Government must now accept or reject the application; the other political parties must be consulted; and presumably the people through Parliament.
All such governmental processes are complicated and, evidently, will consume time. When the process is completed - always supposing no insuperable difficulty arises - it must be hoped that the large minority that preferred independence will have been converted to the majority view; and that all Newfoundland will enter Confederation together willingly and gladly.

Source : "Newfoundland Eyes Turn to Ottawa ", editorial, Montreal Gazette, July 24, 1948 , p. 8.


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© 2004 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College