New­found­land in 1950


The 1950 edi­tion of Col­lier’s Year­book cov­ered events of the pre­vi­ous year. Charles P. Barry su­per­vised the work, which was, he stated, “pre­pared by lead­ing au­thor­i­ties.” It was pub­lished by P. F. Col­lier & Son Cor­po­ra­tion in New York.

Editorial di­rec­tor Frank W. Price sug­gested, “ if the tone here is less pes­simistic (than the two pre­vi­ous edi­tions), or con­tains an ab­sence of any spe­cific feel­ing, it is prob­a­bly be­cause the world is be­com­ing ac­cli­mated to its at­mos­phere of uncer­tainty.”

Mean­while, Price as­sured read­ers “ the editorial pol­icy be­hind this book is based on im­par­tial­ity. It has been com­piled by writ­ers and ed­i­tors who are noted for their in­tel­lec­tual ob­jec­tiv­ity. We are con­fi­dent that the reader will find our con­tention jus­ti­fied.”

The en­try on New­found­land, writ­ten by Maxwell S. Ste­wart, is a test case.

We are told New­found­land cov­ers an area of 42,734 square miles. The is­land, in­clud­ing Labrador, had a pop­u­la­tion of 321,177 in 1950. Labrador it­self, with an area of 110,000 square miles, had an es­ti­mated pop­u­la­tion of 5,530 at the time.

Stew­ard wrote about New­found­land un­der four head­ings.

First, union with Canada: “Af­ter nearly three cen­turies as a colony of Great Bri­tain, New­found­land of­fi­cially be­came a part of the Do­min­ion of Canada at mid­night, Mar. 31, 1949.

“ The de­ci­sion to ac­cept New­found­land as the tenth prov­ince of the Cana­dian Fed­er­a­tion had been made on July 30 of the pre­vi­ous year, when Prime Min­is­ter W. L. Macken­zie King is­sued a for­mal state­ment wel­com­ing the re­sults of the July 22 plebiscite, in which New­found­land had voted for con­fed­er­a­tion by a small mar­gin.

“A for­mal agree­ment em­body­ing this de­ci­sion was signed on Dec. 11, 1948.

“ The agree­ment was rat­i­fied by the Cana­dian Par­lia­ment in Feb. 1949, and on Mar. 2 the Bri­tish House of Com­mons com­pleted the le­gal steps nec­es­sary for the trans­fer by vot­ing 217 to 15 to per­mit Bri­tain’s old­est colony, and the first Bri­tish pos­ses­sion to have fully re­spon­si­ble govern­ment, to be af­fil­i­ated with the Do­min­ion of Canada.

“ Un­der the agree­ment for ad­her­ence, Canada paid a large sub­sidy to the is­land and as­sumed re­spon­si­bil­ity for New­found­land’s so­cial ser­vices. The to­tal cost to the Do­min­ion for the cur­rent year was es­ti­mated at more than $ 50,000,000.”

Sec­ond, elec­tions: “An elec­tion to choose the leg- is­la­ture of the new prov­ince was held on May 27. The Lib­er­als gained a sub­stan­tial ma­jor­ity of the 28-seat leg­is­la­ture, but in St. John’s, cap­i­tal of the prov­ince, the Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tives won eas­ily.

“ This re­sult in­di­cated that the cap­i­tal was still strongly op­posed to con­fed­er­a­tion. As in the pre­vi­ous year, how­ever, the ar­eas out­side St. John’s out­voted the cap­i­tal, thus in­di­cat­ing con­tin­ued sup­port for union with Canada.

“ In the first national elec­tion in which it par­tic­i­pated af­ter con­fed­er­a­tion, held on June 27, New­found­land elected five Lib­er­als and two Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tives to the Cana­dian House of Com­mons.

“ When the New­found­land rep­re­sen­ta­tives took their seats at the open­ing of Par­lia­ment on Sept. 15, they were greeted by a spir­ited round of ap­plause from the other mem­bers of the House.

“ On Aug. 17, Prime Min­is­ter Louis St. Lau­rent of the Do­min­ion govern­ment an­nounced the ap­point­ment of Sir Leonard Outer­bridge of St. John’s as lieu­tenant-gov­er­nor of the new prov­ince. The lieu­tenant-gov­er­nor serves as the rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Crown as the tit­u­lar head of the provin­cial govern­ment.”

Third, air bases: “As a re­sult of New­found­land’s union with Canada, a new air agree­ment be­tween the United States and Canada was re­quired. Amer­i­can rights to the air bases in New­found­land had rested on wartime agree­ments with Great Bri­tain and were re­viewed in the light of past agree­ments be­tween the U. S. and Canada.

“ Un­der the agree­ment signed at Washington on June 5, Cana­dian pickup rights at the Amer­i­can-built Gan­der air­field were con­firmed, and the bases at Stephenville and Ar­gen­tia, built un­der the de­stroy­ers-for-bases agree­ment with Great Bri­tain, were opened to Cana­dian and other com­mer­cial traf­fic.”

Fourth, iron: “ Premier Joseph Small­wood an­nounced on Nov. 26 de­tails of the iron-ore min­ing de­vel­op­ment soon to be launched in Labrador. He pre­dicted that the mines soon would be pro­duc­ing 10,000,000 tons of iron ore a year.”

One pho­to­graph ac­com­pa­nied Ste­wart’s en­try: F. Gor­don Bradley, new Cana­dian Sec­re­tary of State and New­found­land’s first rep­re­sen­ta­tive in the Do­min­ion Cabi­net, dur­ing cer­e­monies in Ot­tawa wel­com­ing New­found­land as a prov­ince of Canada. Vis­count Alexan­der of Tu­nis, Gov­er­nor Gen­eral, was also pic­tured.

To his credit, over­all, Ste­wart got straight his facts about New­found­land’s en­try into the Cana­dian Do­min­ion.

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