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Conditions in Newfoundland in 1928-29



[This text was published in the Canadian Annual Review ; for the full citation, see the end of the text.]


The Government of Hon. W. S. Munroe resigned office in Newfoundland on Aug. 15, 1928, and was succeeded by that of Hon. F. C. Alderdice. The latter, leading the United Newfoundland party, appealed to the electors on Oct. 29, 1928, and was opposed by Sir Richard Squires, Liberal Leader. Sir Richard had been Premier from 1919 to 1923. Under the new redistribution Act the constituencies were increased from 36 to 40, and women of 25 and over were given the vote. The result of the Election on Oct. 29 was that the Alderdice Government was overwhelmingly defeated. It was thought that the support of the Fishermen's Protective Union was a decisive factor in the Liberal victory. The following Cabinet was formed by Sir Richard Squires:


Prime Minister and Minister of Justice

Hon. Sir Richard A. Squires

Colonial Secretary

Hon. A. Barnes. B.Sc.

Minister of Finance and Customs                   

Hon. P. J. Cashin

Minister of Posts and Telegraphs                      

Hon. W. W. Halfyard

Minister without Portfolio

Hon. Sir W. F. Coaker

Minister without Portfolio

Hon. A. Campbell

Minister without Portfolio

Hon. F. G. Bradley

Minister without Portfolio

Hon. H. M. Mosdell

Minister without Portfolio

Hon. P. J. Lewis

Minister without Portfolio

Hon. T. M. Cook



The following were appointed as Departmental Officers not in Council:


Minister of Agriculture

J. F. Downey

Minister of Public Works

R. H. Hibbs

Minister of Marine and Fisheries

H. B. C. Lake



In January, 1929 Sir Richard Squires visited Ottawa to make trade and postal agreements with Canada and discuss other plans for promoting Newfoundland interests.


The Newfoundland Legislature opened its 27th Session on Apr. 17, 1929, and the Speech from the Throne announced a Treaty arrangement with Canada ; a loan for the promotion of fisheries, education, etc.; and an inquiry into unemployment, fisheries and hospital service; it was also proposed to establish cable telephone communication with Europe and America. When the Hon. P. J. Cashin, Minister of Finance, presented his Budget he opened with some sharp criticism of his predecessor in office and the deficit of $1,280,000 left behind him for the fiscal year, 1928-29. Mr. Cashin's Estimates for the year 1929-30 were as follows: Revenue, $10,956,000, and Expenditure, $11,143,000, with an estimated deficit of $187,000. The Minister of Finance warned the Assembly that the Colony was facing a serious financial problem which must be met by economical reorganization, reconstruction and development of their resources. The total net Deficits for the past nine years came to $9,590,000. A considerable part ($5,800,000) of the Deficits came from the Railway since 1920 when the Government first took part in its operation. When they finally took over the Railway and its steamers in 1923-24 the system was badly run down but conditions at present were more encouraging. The road had a mileage of 906 with eleven steamers, with gross annual earnings of over $3,000,000. The Railway represented an outlay of $40,000,000 or about half the Public Debt of $84,369,000. A heavy drain on the finances of the country had been the social services (hospitals, charities and public institutions) for the past five years they had averaged annually $1,340,000. Grave abuses had grown up in connection with these which had to be stopped. A comparative statement of trade showed that for the fiscal year 1927-28 approximately the Imports were $27,650,000, and the Exports, $33,645,000. The Imports were distributed thus: United Kingdom , $5,000,000; Canada, $12,140,000; United States, $9,330,000; and others, $1,180 000. The Exports: United Kingdom , $7,597,000; Canada, $2,640,000 United States $9,834,000; and others, $13,574,000. Savings bank deposits at the end of 1928 amounted to $26,489,000, an increase of $1,943,000, over the previous year.


The prorogation of the House was somewhat delayed to allow the Legislative Council to consider a Bill to encourage the establishment of a smelting plant on the south coast involving a $3,000,000 expenditure by Canadian financiers.


Source: Canadian Annual Review of Public Affairs, 1928-29, Toronto, The Canadian Review Company, 1929, pp. 99-100.



© 2004 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College