Canada's Tenth Province
[For the source of this document, see th end of the text.]
The Canadian government is believed about to announce that Newfoundland will be accepted into Confederation as the tenth province.
This is the only course the government can follow. No matter how cautious Mr. King and his ministers were in refraining from trying to "influence" the constitutional referendum in the Island , the Newfoundlanders were encouraged to believe that Canada wanted them. As Mr. King now acknowledges, they gave a "substantial majority for Confederation".
Some Canadian newspapers have taken the attitude that the majority isn't substantial enough, that there is a large body of opinion in Newfoundland still opposed to union and that, therefore, the former dominion would be so bitterly divided for years to come that it would prove an embarrassment to Canada.
This attitude appears to be based on surface indications. It assumes, in the first place, that all of the 71,000 who voted for responsible government were out-and-out opposed to the Canadian link. This, surely, is not necessarily so. In fact there is good reason to believe that many of those who voted for responsible government actually wished for union with Canada. They acted as they did because they thought the terms offered by Canada could be improved. They thought that it would be better to set up responsible government first and then bargain with Canada as an equal.
This being so, the argument that the result of the referendum is too close for comfort would not apply. In any case, the people who are so tender of the rights of minorities and who in this case worry about the dragging into Confederation of 71,000 unwilling Newfoundlanders, overlook, as usual, the feelings of the 77,000 who voted for Confederation. Majorities have rights, too, and in the rough-and-ready method of democracy it is proper that the wishes of the majority should prevail.
As for the Newfoundlanders getting better terms than already offered, it is difficult to see how that could be. Canada's terms were most generous. Some Canadians, especially the Quebec premier, Mr. Duplessis, think they were too generous.
Source: "Canada's Tenth Province", editorial, Vancouver Sun, July 29, 1948 , p. 4. Article transcribed by Christos Kampouris. Minor typographical error(s) have been corrected throughout the text.
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© 2004 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College