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Welcome, Newfoundland!


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

Newfoundlanders have voted for confederation with Canada. The margin is small but it [sic] decisive. The Canadian Government should lose no time in welcoming the Old Colony as the tenth province of the Dominion.


Mr. King has said that "should the people of Newfoundland indicate clearly and beyond all possibility of misunderstanding their will that Newfoundland should become a province on the proposed terms" Canada would be prepared to accept them into Confederation.


Mr. King was using his characteristic caution. Since before 1867 the issue of Confederation has divided Newfoundlanders with some bitterness. But despite the clash of opinion stirred up by the recent plebiscite, animosities in the island are probably no deeper than those dividing rival political parties in any democracy. Despite these differences people manage to get along together. Newfoundland and Canada will get along well together.


Some of those now enthusiastic for Confederation may be less so when they find that being tied to Canada's economic chariot wheel means the loss of certain advantages, especially as regards tariffs and trade. But the thing will cut both ways. In time many of those who today lament the possible passage of autonomy will find to their pleasure that the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.


It is desirable that the British nations in North America be one, not two. It is desirable for defense reasons as well as others. Canada will gain invaluable new natural resources, besides an addition to the family of 300,000 sturdy sons and daughters. But most of the material gains will be Newfoundland's. Besides having a better standard of living as a result, the tenth province will be insulated to a greater extent within the comfortable embrace of the rich, stable Canadian economy against the shocks of an uncertain future.


Two things stand out, apart from these other considerations, in studying the constitutional referendum results. One is that the vote, no matter how close, is a great compliment to Canada.


The other thing that should impress Canadians is the interest shown by Newfoundlanders in the issue. Few stayed away from the polls. This fact should convince Ottawa that the result is a clear indication of the popular will. There is nothing vague about it.


Source: "Welcome, Newfoundland !", editorial, Vancouver Sun, July 24, 1948 , p.4. Article transcribed by Christos Kampouris. Revision by Claude Bélanger.


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© 2004 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College