Da Legal Stuff...

All commentaries published on Web Talk are the opinions of the contributor(s) only and do not necessarily represent the position of any other individuals, groups or organizations.

Now, with that out of the way...Let's Web Talk.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Their Country's Independence Lies the Victim of the Fray

Recently there have been those who have called me a separatist an agitator and even a barbarian. Some say my Conservative colors reveal themselves all too often and still others make me out to be a closet NDP’er. Who knows, tomorrow I may be a big "L" Liberal in someone's eyes, though I doubt that very much.

As I noted in a recent article, people just love to stick neat little labels on anyone and anything in an effort to compartmentalize and understand them. It doesn't work in my opinion, but if you must, then for the sake of anyone who needs that label, I don't consider myself any of the above. I do consider myself a Newfoundlander. Not a Newfoundlander and Labradorean mind you, but a Newfoundlander.

I clarify this point because even though I believe both portions of the province would suffer a severe identity crisis without the other, I wouldn’t dare to suggest that anyone from the island could ever fully understand the Labrador experience, or visa versa. I do however love them both.

Having said all of this, the label "Newfoundlander" is likely not enough for the label makers in the crowd. They might well ask what my politics are. Good question, if I did ask it myself.

As I said, I believe in Newfoundland and Labrador foremost. I don't espouse the rhetoric of any particular party but I am also not afraid to pat one of them on the back when they act in the Province's or Country's best interest, nor do I mind shoving it back in their faces when they don't.

I believe my Province has in the past and continues to this day to receive a raw deal in the Dominion of Canada. Does this mean I'm a separatist? Not really. It does mean that I believe we need to fight tooth and nail to improve our lot. To regain our self respect and honour, a reach a decent standard of living and to be afforded a seat at the table, not on the floor. If respect, equality and a bright future can be accomplished within Canada then so be it. If it cannot, then label me a separatist if you will.

If you must label me as subscribing to a political ideology then perhaps the most accurate one would be liberal. Hang on, before my regular readers run screaming from their computers and dash in front of the nearest speeding mini-van, let me elaborate.

I do not mean I'm a follower of the Liberal Party itself, which has corrupted and perverted true liberal ideology beyond all recognition, but I do have liberal leanings. I exist somewhere in that middle ground between out and out socialism and business oriented conservatism. I believe that although there must be a strong social conscience there must also be an equal measure of good fiscal prudence and development creativity.

I believe that when Newfoundland entered into Confederation in 1949 the deal had already been done. I believe that the fix was in.

I believe that since that time the Province has:

Been raped of its resources for the benefit of other parts of Canada;

Been the target of a subtle yet persistent campaign of social, political and mental warfare designed to lower our sense of self worth and to keep in line what was once a very proud and determined people;

Been kept at an economic disadvantage in order to ensure total control of a once independent nation;

Been used as a cheap source of foriegn yet local labour (a win, win for the immigration office);

Been mis-managed and neglected on a monumental scale;

Been looked upon as a pawn that the nation could use to barter within the international community; and

Been generally underestimated, misjudged and mis-handled by the rest of Canada.

There is no doubt in my mind of the dire straits Newfoundland and Labrador was in prior to Confederation but I also believe that since that was a post war, post depression era, if we had remained independent, our situation would have improved to at least the level it is now.

I believe there were two forks in the road and I believe one of them had to have been better than the other. Unfortunately, I have no idea which one that was. I am however not afraid to find out.

A lot of promises were made when Newfoundland entered Confederation in 1949. A lot were delivered on and a lot more were not. On March 31, 1949 a nation disappeared and a "Have Not" province was born.

So, if you must put a label on me then label me a "Newfoundlander" plain and simle. There are a lot of unanswered questions about our past, our present and our future that we all need to answer. I guess I'm a student of that school. I’m a dreamer, thinker and a sharer of ideas.

I wonder everyday what might have been and what will be. Perhaps nobody said it better than journalist Albert Perlin. Let's take a moment to reflect on a poem he wrote for the St. John's Daily News at the time of Confederation.

On this day of final parting sad nostalgic thoughts arise,
Thoughts to bring hot tears surging to the Newfoundlander's eyes.
Thoughts that bring to mind the story of the struggles of the past,
Of the men who built our island, nailed its colours to the mast.

Sold by only half the people, all too willing to deny
For illusionary profits what the future might imply.
They have bought confederation paying in the country's pride.
Let us hope their expectations will be amply satisfied.

Those who lost the fight for freedom have the greater pride this day,
Though their country's independence lies the victim of the fray.


ISDABY said...

Good article! I think your views actually sum up the views of alot of Newfoundlanders! You have certainly encapsulated how I feel.

We have a rich and proud history and culture, we have brains and talent galore, and raw material that Canada so desparately needs...so what's the problem??

When I hear certain 'types' up along complaining about Newfoundland dragging them down, and they say "why don't you just leave Canada?!", my response is another question.."if we are such a 'drag' on the system, why does Canada want us to stay?"

WJM said...

A lot of promises were made when Newfoundland entered Confederation in 1949. A lot were delivered on and a lot more were not.

What were these promises, in the categories "delivered" and "not delivered"? Do you have a list? Care to share it, if you do?

Anonymous said...

I'll say to you the same thing I say to separatists from Quebec, Alberta, BC, Ontario and every other province: I'm all for your independence, just don't forget to send in that cheque with your share of the national debt on the day you leave.

Anonymous said...

Newfoundland, Alberta and Quebec should be independent. There's no doubt about it.