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The Poltical Stuggles Facing Newfoundland Prior To Joining Canada, 1864 1949

785 words - 4 pages

Newfoundland joined Canada in 1949, making it the last and most recent province to became part of the country. Newfoundland had the opportunity to enter into Canada in 1867, which makes the delay difficult to understand. Deciciding to remain an independent political entity, under British control, reflected the opposing political views between the colony’s Conservatives and Liberals. Unsurpisingly, many of Newfoundland’s core industries began to suffer, while the colony’s government continued to disagree, despite an ongoing concerted effort by Canadian officials to have them join the larger nation well before 1949. This paper explores why Newfoundland did not join Confederation in 1867 and remained an independent political entity until 1949 by examinig its early history, Confederation struggles, ‘the in between years’ as well as Joey Smallwoods impact on Newfoundland becoming apart of Canada.
Prior to the early nineteenth century, Newfoundland was known as a ‘chaotic backwater’ in which law and order were largely unknown according to scholar Jerry Bannister. Its economic, political and social interests lied heavily on the cod fishery. The chaotic nature of Newfoundland was made up of original land inhabitants and various European immigrants who only added to the struggle they were facing in terms of reform and the establishment of self-government. The individuals who occupied the region brought aspects of European life to Newfoundland, making it difficult to streamline one cohesive opinion regarding political progress. Newfoundland was caught between the opinion that either it “lacked an experienced group of [a high] caliber to demand the organization of local government [or that there were people who] vociferously oppose[d] its introduction.” In addition, communication took a long time to filter down to the various regions; at times things were very slow, however little was done to alleviate the problem. A low standard of living was felt throughout most of the colony, accredited to a “low national income and low per capita income of a country dependent mainly on fishing. Most communities could not even afford a municipal council.” Infrastructure was heavily dependent on the way that the area was settled, the stagnated population and ungenerous income made it difficult to see change on the immediate horizon.
Newfoundland aspired to be like other British colonies, in the sense that they were able to have localized control over matters that...

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