[This document was written in 1946. For the full citation, see the end of the text.]
Justice Minister Louis Stephen St. Laurent chose his words as carefully as a boy treading on pebbles across a creek: "If the people of Newfoundland come to the conclusion that they would be happy to throw in their lot with Canada, their representations will be given most earnest and sympathetic consideration. . . "
The minister was being diplomatically restrained. Big Canada would gladly throw a brotherly arm round little Newfoundland. But touchy Canadians knew that the political future of touchy "Newfies" was strictly their own affair. And the Newfies have taken their first step towards deciding it. In their first national election in 14 years they chose a 45-man convention (two still to be elected) to recommend a form of government for the island.
Since 1933, when the island went broke and called on the mother country to take over, it has been ruled virtually as a Crown colony by a British-appointed Commission of Government.
Now, with a war-brought surplus of $28,669,000 in the bank, Newfoundland felt strong enough to plot its own path again. The convention could recommend that Newfoundland : 1) continue under commission control, with Britain always handy to help in bad years; a) become a Dominion with all its financial risks; 3) confederate with Canada (and pay higher income tax).
Which path the delegates would choose was anybody's guess.
Source: "Which Rule", Time (Canadian edition), July 8, 1946.
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© 2004 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College