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Letter No. 4 of Joseph R. Smallwood on Confederation



Editor Daily News,

Dear Sir,


I propose in this installment to conclude my partial list of the benefits which we would derive from Confederation. It should be understood that what I am listing here are the schemes and projects of a Dominion Government character that would apply automatically to the Province of Newfoundland, and whose benefits would extend to this Province.


A Dominion Act of 1939 set up a scheme to enable the Dominion Minister of Labour to help the Provincial Governments to carry on vocational and apprenticeship training amongst the youth of Canada. Ten-year agreements are made between the Dominion and the Provinces, the Dominion paying fifty-per-cent. of the cost of training schemes connected with:


(a) Development of the natural resources of the Province;

(b) Apprenticeship training,

(c) Vocational education on the secondary school level.


The Dominion also contributes to the cost of pre-employment training for apprentices over sixteen years of age, for full or part-time instruction in practical work and related technical subjects, and for indentured apprentices.


The Dominion has granted as much as half-a-million dollars a year to these schemes; and proposes, with Provincial co-operation, to make the amount much more.


The Dominion Government, through its Department of Transport, would take over full responsibility for building and maintaining all defence bases and airports in Newfoundland - other than the American bases, which are an American responsibility.


In civil aviation Newfoundland would become integrated with Canada 's vast and expanding system, which is already one of the world's greatest.


The Province of Newfoundland would automatically go into the National Conference on Agriculture, which exists to coordinate agriculture policy. The Dominion Minister of Agriculture is chairman and the Provincial Ministers of Agriculture, heads of agricultural colleges, representatives of research councils, and of railways, etc., are members.


There is also the Dominion Agricultural Advisory Committee, on which representatives, of farmers' organizations throughout the Provinces are members.


The Dominion Government may be counted upon to take over our Demonstration Farm, and to enlarge and improve it considerably.


Newfoundland would of course receive the full benefit of the work of Dominion fishery research and scientific experimentation. Employees of our Provincial Fisheries department would be appointed Federal officers for the purpose of the Meat and Canned Food Act, and the Fish Inspection Act.


A Newfoundlander would almost always be Minister of Fisheries for the Dominion Government, and there would always be the closest liaison between our Fisheries department and that of the Dominion.


Newfoundland would of course continue to export fish to her present markets, and to any other new markets she might obtain. In her export trade she would have the full support of Dominion trade agents throughout all the foreign markets.


It is quite likely that for export and marketing purposes the two great fishing Provinces of Newfoundland and Nova Scotia could work together.


But the one great benefit our fisheries would receive under Confederation is that the cost of living, and thus the cost of fishing, would be considerably reduced. A vast burden which now rests on the fishermen would be lifted.


Though there is a very energetic Dominion Department of Labour (which was originally organized by Mr. King, before he ever entered politics) legislation on labour matters is mostly a Provincial function. However, the Dominion Department gives a progressive lead in many directions, and maintains close touch with the Provincial departments.


Our Provincial Department of Labour would be affiliated with the Canadian Association of Administrators of Labour Legislation, which is a Dominion-Provincial body.


In any Dominion projects which would be carried on in Newfoundland all the provisions of the Fair Wages and Hours of Labour Act would be enforced by the Dominion Department of Labour.


Newfoundland would be served by the Dominion Food and Drugs Laboratory, with its branches throughout Canada . A branch might well be established in Newfoundland .


We would come under the benefits of the Public Health Engineering Division, a Dominion department.


Newfoundland would become part of the Dominion Council of Health, whose chairman is the Dominion Deputy Minister of Health.


Newfoundland would derive benefits from the Dominion Division of Child and Maternal Hygiene.


Newfoundland would be represented in, and derive benefits from, the Division of Nutrition.


Newfoundland would be represented in the National Physical Fitness Council, the Dominion Government paying fifty-per-cent. of the cost of physical fitness schemes applied in this country.


Newfoundland would come under the Department of Reconstruction, with its Regional Reconstruction Councils throughout the nation. A Regional Council would almost certainly be set up in Newfoundland by the Dominion.


Newfoundland would come in for her share of the work of the National Tourist Advisory Committee.


Newfoundland would come under the benefits of the Dominion Bureau of Statistics.


Once they were in Confederation, Newfoundlanders would remain Newfoundlanders, but would become Canadians as well.


As such, any Newfoundlander could travel to or within any part of Canada, or seek employment in any part of Canada without let or hindrance.


Just as Newfoundlanders have always been in the habit of leaving their homes and going to Buchans, Grand Falls, Corner Brook, Millertown, Badger, Deer Lake, or wherever there was work, so when we are in Confederation they would be free to go to any part of Canada where there was work.


As the world's third-largest trading nation, Canada has seen to it that she is efficiently represented in all important parts of the world, either by ambassadors or trade agents, or both.


Newfoundland would be entitled to take full advantage of the presence and work of these official Dominion Government full-time representatives in all our customer countries.


As the world's third-largest trading nation, with an immensely favourable balance of trade (in 1943 she exported goods worth three billion dollars as against imports of one-and-a-quarter billion) Canada is in a highly favourable position to make strong trade treaties with other nations.


We have all read of the hundreds of millions of dollars Canada is lending to various European nations - every dollar of this money is being spent in Canada to purchase Canadian goods and provide employment for Canadian fisheries, farmers and industrial workers.


In linking up with Canada, Newfoundland would come in for her full share of the benefits of Canada 's tremendous trading and financial strength. Our own trading and financial strength is puny, and our bargaining power with great nations in matters of trade just does not exist.


The foregoing is only a partial list of the benefits which we should receive by joining Canada .


These points remain to be noted, if only as reminders of what we already know:


Canada and Newfoundland are both British.


They speak the same language.


They have the same political traditions.


Canadians are not unknown to us - we already understand their ways, and they understand ours.


All our banking services are already provided by Canada.


All our life-insurance is already provided by Canada.


Many of our young men and women go to Canada for their higher education.


Canada would be proud to have Newfoundland brought into their Confederation.


Source : Joseph R. SMALLWOOD, Letter to the Editor, The Daily News, March 5, 1946.






© 2004 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College