Da Legal Stuff...

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Why Not Acquire Newfoundland?

The following is a look back at how Newfoundland confederation with Canada was viewed in the years preceding the event. It might be interesting to see how this was perceived. It's also interesting to note the value arguements made for Canada assuming control of its 10th province.


If the United States offered one hundred million dollars for Newfoundland , to make it part of the Republic, would Canada approve the sale?

If Germany offered peace if Newfoundland were ceded to it, would Canada approve the bargain?

No, in both cases! Newfoundland, then, must have some value to Canada. Why, then, not acquire it? That value may be purely negative, in the view of some - the threat it would be to Canada if either the United States or Germany acquired it.

If the United States got Newfoundland, contemplate the effect upon the fisheries of the Atlantic provinces of Canada . American enterprise and Newfoundland fish would supply American consumers, and Canada 's markets to the United States for fish would fade away.

If Germany held Newfoundland she would command the exports of the St. Lawrence, Canada's trade with Great Britain would vanish in time of war, and Great Britain's breadbasket be closed. The iron ore of Belle Isle would supply much of Germany 's needs.

It must be realized that Newfoundland is not only the Island , but an even larger area on the mainland of British North America, with great water powers, splendid harbors, and boundless mineral possibilities, an eastward expansion of Quebec's natural resources.

Why, then, should an extraordinary opportunity to make Newfoundland a part of Canada be neglected? With forts on both sides of the strait of Belle Isle, with naval bases on the southwest coast of Newfoundland and at Sidney, Cape Breton, the St. Lawrence could be made impregnable. The airport at Botwood could be made the concentration point for aeroplanes, from which a great air fleet could be made available at short notice for the protection of Canada or Great Britain, or both, and the cost of arming should be borne by both Canada and Great Britain jointly. The whole cost would not exceed the whole cost that Canada alone will spend this year for war preparations, or Great Britain spend for two or three warships.

Worth much to the Empire

Newfoundland , regarded as a fortress only, is worth more to the Empire than Gibraltar or Singapore . The trade of the Mediterranean or of the East Indies is not more vital than that of the St. Lawrence. Without the latter, Great Britain could not survive a great war. Without free outlet from the St. Lawrence, Canada would decay.

Newfoundland has value for Canada in other respects. She can supply the sailors to man her warships, of which there must soon be a great fleet. The offspring of Irish, Scottish and English ancestors who manned the wooden walls of Great Britain in the days of sailing ships, the Newfoundlanders of today can do as good work now as then. With the disappearance of sailing ships the sailors have also almost disappeared from Canada . The Maritime provinces could not easily provide man-of-war's men for a large Canadian fleet of warships, but Newfoundland employs many men in the fishery, and has a surplus to man the warships of Canada when Newfoundland becomes a part of it.

Newfoundland has one great asset too lightly regarded. Her birth rate is as valuable as the gold mines of Canada . Moral, intelligent, loyal, her people are such stuff as Canada wants for immigrants. They are "handymen" by heredity and training, invaluable as sailors, fishermen, minors, and men of all work. British Columbia would be an ideal resort for the surplus youth of Newfoundland . Why look abroad for immigrants when such men can be got so near at hand?

Causes of Unemployment

Unemployment in Newfoundland is due chiefly to two main causes: (1) Rapid increase of population, (2) loss of fish markets in Brazil, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece through fiscal troubles in these countries. The fisheries of Newfoundland have not failed, only the markets, and they will revive when peace comes to the world.

The fish of Newfoundland competes in foreign markets with fish exported from Canada. One control over the fish of both would restrict competition and improve the price. With the fishery resources of Newfoundland and Canada under one control, free entry into the market of the United States could soon be attained.

The revenue collected in Newfoundland is equal to the expenditure there for all services other than interest on the public debt, for which Great Britain is legally responsible, having guaranteed the principal. She now contributes to the colony annually a sum equal to the interest, but as of grace only, not as an obligation to Newfoundland. If, therefore, she cancelled Newfoundland 's liability for the debt, the cost to her would not be greater than at present. But if it were cancelled, Newfoundland could enter Canada without a public debt, and the subsidies she would be given by Canada would enable her to pay for Provincial services without direct taxation. Newfoundland's present revenue pays for all the services either she or Canada would have to carry on. If Canada's collection from customs duties did not equal all she pays for Federal services in Newfoundland, and the subsidies to the Province, the deficit would be due to the importation into Newfoundland from Canada of goods now bought elsewhere. Canada would gain in trade all that she lost in revenue.

Its importance to Canada

But, were it otherwise, how small would be the deficit compared to the vast indirect advantages to Canada. Macdonald, Tupper and Laurier and men of their stamp realized the importance of Newfoundland to Canada . Men of "parish views" have lost sight of it. The war is widening our vision. Parochial views should be abandoned in Empire emergencies. The statesmanship which is fortifying Singapore and Hong Kong should realize how vital it is that Newfoundland shall be fortified also. The whole of North America could be protected by making Newfoundland impregnable. Lapoile and Mortler, great harbors on the south coast of Newfoundland , open to navigation at all seasons, should be used to shelter convoys to go east and west. Transportation across the Atlantic would be a solved problem if this were done. The longitude of Cape Race should be a dead line west of which European enemies should not be allowed, and thus the whole of America be protected. Just as a roadway through British Columbia and Alaska seems vital to protect the United States and Canada from Japanese aggression, so naval stations in Newfoundland may be essential to both Canada and the United States .

Take her into the union

Canada should say to Great Britain : "Assume the public debt of Newfoundland , and Canada will take her into the Union on terms liberal enough to enable her to function as a Province, without direct taxation, for which she is at present unfitted".

The Strait of Belle Isle should be fortified, naval stations established in Newfoundland and Cape Breton to guard the Cabot straits, and the great airport at Botwood made a concentration point of air fleets for Canada and Great Britain. The cost of all this should be borne equally by Canada and Great Britain , as a vital Empire service, and the expenditure and other incidental effects would banish the unemployment problem in Newfoundland , which has given the British Government great concern for years and is still unsolved.

The "dole" would be ended there. With representation at Ottawa, and with Provincial Legislature and Government, the franchise would be restored to Newfoundland, and her people repossess the status of free British citizens.

This is not the plea for "Confederation" in the conventional sense. It is a call to act imperially, not provincially. It is not primarily for Newfoundland , nor yet for Canada , but for both, and for the whole British Empire, that prompt and decisive action is urged. This is not a matter to be deferred till peace comes, but amounts to an emergency in time of war, and should be settled now.

Source : Sir Alfred B. MORINE, "Why Not Acquire Newfoundland , And Consolidate the Empire?", in The Globe and Mail, April 20, 1940, p. 6.


Anonymous said...

Patriot you have put things in perspective with this article. That is what happens when the brain is utilized the way it should be used. You think at many different levels, and that is the way we should THINK! Now if we could get others to do the same, but nevertheless, you have shown the way.


Anonymous said...

This is not to say, however, that Canadians are not interested in the possibility of the colony joining the Dominion. Since the first years of Confederation it has been a subject of lively discussion and at times actual negotiation. In 1915 an amendment to the British America Act provided for six additional members of the Senate should the colony decide to take the step.

Source : "A Tenth Province ?", editorial in The Globe and Mail, March 7, 1947, p. 6.

This says a lot doesn't it.

Anonymous said...

I realize the war in Europe is over but if it was an advantage to use NL as a base of command to protect eastern North America and the St. Lawrence back then why is it not strategic to use it now? Why are the bases in Halifax and Quebec?

Also, I love the mention of the resources, fish, minerals, timber etc. and that, combined with the following, all too telling:

"They are "handymen" by heredity and training, invaluable as sailors, fishermen, minors, and men of all work. British Columbia would be an ideal resort for the surplus youth of Newfoundland . Why look abroad for immigrants when such men can be got so near at hand?"

Substitute BC for Alberta and the picture becomes clear. The people of this province, from day one, were considered immigrant labor for the rest of Canada and the land itself nothing more than a resource rich area.

It's not, like some have said, that Canada wanted the land and not the people. They wanted the people as well but as a cheap source of labor to be shipped to Canada. I guess if immigrants were needed to do the heavy lifting the people of NL were probably more desirable (in some eyes) than the chinese, mexicans and others.

What a great Country Canada is. Ottawa has already apologized for the head tax on Chinese immigrants, I wonder how long it will take before we get an apology for the cost of giving up our resources, culture and soveriegnty so we could provide needed labor?

Anonymous said...

There was a plan to utilize the resources of Newfoundland and Labrador long before 1949. It has clearly come into focus now hasn't it? Remember the statement in Louis St. Laurent's speech in May of 1949 about completing the dream of Canadians by adding Newfoundland (name at the time) to the fold.

Anonymous said...

By the way in that speech he said Canadians were dreaming of doing so for 80 years. That takes it back to 1867, the inception year of Canada.

Anonymous said...

There was a discussion on this site a while back about how confederation was decided and whether the freedom to choose was in the hands of those living here. The following, from another article at the time (thanks miles for placing the link in your NL Links section) is interesting as well.

"There is some question as to whether the Commission, when it puts the question of Newfoundland's future status to the people, could include the choice of union with the United States. There is even serious doubt as to whether the referendum can provide the alternative of provincial status in Canada. Canada's equivalent of this country's philadelphia lawyers argue that the Convention has only the power to have a referendum ask if Newfoundlanders prefer to continue as is, under joint Commission rule, or return to dominion status.

If the Newfoundlanders decide for the present status, then that's that. But if they decide for dominion rights, then, and only then, these same legal technicians say, could the Newfoundlanders look into what to do with their sovereignty - keep it, merge it with Canada, or seek admission to the American Union.

Source: Christian Science Monitor and reproduced in the Vancouver Sun, October 24, 1947, p. 4

Anonymous said...

That never happened did it? The people were never asked to choose the status quo or dominion status and only then (after becoming a dominion) asked about their future. The fix was in from day one and Canada got what it wanted even though they shit on us today.

Slave labor, natural resources, thousands of miles of ocean access and a vast land mass on the country's eastern edge.

Yeah, sure sounds like Canada got the raw end of that deal.

Starrigan said...

Anonymous said:

"Slave labor, natural resources, thousands of miles of ocean access and a vast land mass on the country's eastern edge."

That sums it up right there.

ronin said...

OHHHHH,I'm missing a Good one And I didnt even say S$#@!!!!

Well i guess that i can say soryy!!! I didnt do nothing Mr HiGGons.And ,Clement said that we cant post on your Blog as Anonymous anymore so i will take the handle that is set this name !!!!And , we have to promise to stop the crap ,but I didnt do S@#! I swear ,it was Simon throwing all the code around ,But ,I can say Soryyyy to I guess ,"IF",I can re-post!!!! :(

Anonymous said...

Ed was perfectly right in a previous post comment, as he regularly says, that if people can't refute anything he says with supported evidence (real, that is, i.e., either has links with specific info, or written and valid sources), then he gets personally attacked, and so does wjm. There's nothing wrong with wanting the best for the province, but the Separation business won't get much broad support from comments from this sites posts for a couple of reasons. First, the level of personal abuse, and ongoing childish name calling turns people off very much. Unfortunately, that makes this place dreary, negative, and poisoned. Second, while some people do in fact bring up some interesting points about the NL-Canada relationship, and disappontments over the years, like the Upper Churchill deal, much of the perception centers around, interesting to read, but ultimately unsubstantiated "conspiracies" that Canada wants to keep NL in the red. NL has benefited greatly from being part of Canada, but as commenters do say, we certainly bring an abundance of assets to the nation too, in terms of resources and workers. However, the "go it alone" deal, would be 100 times worse than Upper Churchill deal. The often cited report about the NL-Canada balance sheet, is not the scholarly piece of evidence needed to base separation energies on. The research has been highly criticized for it's surface level research.

If over the years, someone, various objective researchers, did a new study to say that NL would be just as well of, or better than the status quo, then sign me on. But replacing the health and social programs that people have the freedom to avail of, while maintaining infrastructure, and paying on the $12 billion debt, is not something that is going to actually happen in even 50 years.

Thank you,


Anonymous said...

Hi Hawkeye,

You make some good points, especially about the name calling and what not. Debate of the issues is a good thing, even speaking from the heart if nothing else but there is no need to attack each other.

I find the articles posted here interesting and a good starting point for discussion which I suspect is the plan for the webmaster, but the comments section is a pain sometimes.

Speaking of discussing the facts though, you seem to have already made up your mind without the facts.

You said that no real detail study of the economics has been done but if one proved that separation would work you would sign on. But just before that (even without a study) you said, "However, the "go it alone" deal, would be 100 times worse than Upper Churchill deal."

How can you say that without knowing the financial details?

Like I said, sometimes speaking from the heart is good as well and it's clear from your comment that while you say you want facts you also speak without them.

Anonymous said...

Fair question anon. First of all "going it alone" would mean that Federal Transfers would stop. In recent years the social/health and equalization transfers amounted to $ 1.3-1.5 billion each year. Over the next few years NL may not qualify because of generated revenues. However, the oil industry has a limited life, and despite the revenue and employment it generates, the population continues to decline because of low employment, hence, outmigration. Even if NL paid $250 million a year to service the debt, it would take about 50 years to pay it off (from Loyola Sullivan, 2006), but another blogger pointed out that we pay nowhere near that now. Profits from oil will allow NL to change to "have" province status, but that is temporary. After 3-5 years, oil revenues will fall, and the Lower Churchill revenue flow is about 10 years away. The province will also have to cough up and replace money that had been transferred from the feds. The idea of being wealthy enough to replace medicare, and social programs, all the while paying enough on the debt to keep it in the down direction is nice but it is a stretch. There is a void in evidence to support real economic independence.


Artfull Dodger said...

Another thing to consider is, that equalization is distributed on a per capita basis, therefore equalization to the province shall decrease with our declining population.

The decrease in our population has a many negative effects for the future. Outmigration of our young people of child bearing age means less children born. The decrease in our net popultion and the aging of our population will put a strain on our healthcare system.

Our challenges may look like an iceberg presently, in other words that which we can see that is above water, but lets not forget about the future or in other words the nine tenths that is out of site under water. I can't help thinking 'Titanic".

Anonymous said...


Canada has benefited to the point where it has gotten our resources, both human and natural, and Newfoundlanders and Labrador all 540,000 of us are in debt to the tune of $23,500. The day we joined Canada we had to share the other provinces` and territories` debt, matter of fact, the day we joined Canada, $2,300 worth of Canada's debt was assigned to every, man, woman, and child in the new province of Newfoundland and Labrador. That meant each existing Canadian`s debt before we joined had been reduced and we as Newfoundlanders and Labradorians assumed the amount that they were reduced by. We did not benefit from that debt at all and we all know that debt has now grown to $23,500.

So not only have we given away our resources, both human and natural, we also took on a debt from day one that we did not accrue,and we have also paid for everything we have gotten from Ottawa.

Can you imagine the irony in the fact that Ottawa and its provinces dreamed of us (that is what Louis St, Laurent said in his speech of May 1949) from the day of Canada`s inception in 1867, but the day we joined Canada, Ottawa burdened every Newfoundlander and Labradorian's account with $2,300 worth of debt. At the time the same country of Newfoundland had $40 million in the bank.

Patriot thanks for your inclusion on this blogsite of the article written in 1940 by Sir Alfred B. Morine which appeared in the Globe and Mail in 1940. It is quite plain to see from that article (ITS A MUST READ) TITLED: HOW IMPORTANT we were to CANADA and how different the demographics that could exist today might be, had some other country, SUCH AS GERMANY OR THE UNITED STATES had gotten control of the country known, at the time, as the territory of Newfoundland and Labrador.

THE ARTICLE (please read above) was very informative then and still is now as ammunition in our argument here on this blogsite of how important the province of Newfoundland and Labrador was and still is to Ottawa and Canada, even though Ottawa wishes that we weren`t aware of that fact. The more articles we can produce like that one Patriot, the more people become aware and the more ammunition that we can provide our people with to better argue and present our case.


Why Not Acquire Newfoundland?

The following is a look back at how Newfoundland confederation with Canada was viewed in the years preceding the event. It might be interesting to see how this was perceived. It's also interesting to note the value arguements made for Canada assuming control of its 10th province.

I WONDER! said...

I am wondering what per centage of the Canadian population really knows how important it was for Canada to have being the recipient of the country known as Newfoundland in 1949? I doubt that any of them have ever thought of it, except, of course, the politicians who were dealing with it. As we can see from Sir Alfred B. MORINE's article "Why Not Acquire Newfoundland, And Consolidate the Empire?" which appeared in The Globe and Mail, April 20, 1940, Canada being the recepient of Newfoundland through the referendum, instead of the country being seized in war by Germany or gained by the United States through a referendum choice was a coup for Canada and no doubt it was a great factor in the shaping of the Political and Economical structure of North America, in general, in a big, big way.

Just imagine if Germany had won the day through War or the United States through the ballot box! Both of which could have happened because Germany took the war to the North Atlantic and there were battles fought there, and, of course there were people in the country of Newfoundland at the time, who wanted the question of whether to join the United States as a question posed on the ballot.

Yes indeed! Things would have been far different than they are now, especially if Germany had won the country, and another factor, if either of the above had occured, I do not think the world, as we know it in the North American sphere would have been as peaceful. Canada certainly would not have been happy to have either of those warrior countries on its eastern periphery, since Canada craved and dreamt of the country of Newfoundland for 80 years prior that is according to the words of Prime Minister Louis S. Laurent.

These are just my opinions and I wanted to express them.

Artfull Dodger said...

The problem with hypothesis is that we will never truly know what this province would look like had we taken a different road from that which was undertaken years ago.

It is difficult for the average person to know what the hell is going on behind the scenes within the corridors of power in this country or for that mater in this province. Add to that those who have their own agendas (ie. lobbiest, media etc.) to further muddy the waters with information or dis-information and we the average Joseph/Josephine are pretty much only along for the bumpy ride.

Jack Ripper said...

We'd have more of our precious bodily fluids for one thing, art.