Commission of Government, 1934-1949


Melvin Baker

On February 16, 1934 the Commission assumed office consisting of three Newfoundlanders--Frederick C. Alderdice, William R. Howley, and John C. Puddester--and three British appointees--Thomas Lodge, Sir John Hope Simpson, and E.N.R. Trentham--and the governor, Sir David Murray Anderson. Holding its meetings in camera within the stately confines of the Newfoundland Hotel, the Commission had full legislative and executive powers. Its proceedings were subject only to the supervisory control of the British government, with the Governor-in-Commission being responsible to the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs. Britain assumed financial responsibility for the Commission, which until 1940 only managed to balance its budget through grants-in-aid from the Treasury. In their financial management of Newfoundland, however, the Commissioners were also greatly assisted by the conversion in 1934 of the Island's outstanding debt issues into bonds guaranteed by Britain at a lower interest rate, thus saving some two million dollars in interest charges each year.

The Commissioners saw their principal task as the delivery of efficient government without being bound by the political and religious practices, which, in the past, had characterized government in general and the civil service in particular. With the help of some British civil servants which it brought out from Britain, the Commission reorganized the civil service and made merit the sole basis for promotion; it deliberately sought out and encouraged young Newfoundlanders with professional training to join the civil service; and it also reorganized the magistracy and formed a new police force, the Ranger Force which was modelled along the lines of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, to serve the outports.

The Commission made its greatest strides in the educational and public health fields. The attempts of past governments to survive financial bankruptcy in the early 1930s had resulted in substantial cuts to the educational grants. In 1930-1931 the grant was $1,000,000; in 1932­33, it had been reduced to $500,000. About 90% of the amount had gone to pay teachers' salaries. The report of the Amulree Commission in 1932 noted that poor educational standards had been at the root of Newfoundland's political problems but, because of the commissioners' fear of antagonizing the churches, there was only passing reference in the Report to education (Philip McCann,"The Educational Policy of the Commission of government" Newfoundland Studies vol. 3, Fall 1987, 201-15).

No change was made in the denominational educational system, because the Commissioners feared that such a move would create a strong public backlash towards them. In 1934 there was strong support among British officials and the Commissioners for abolishing the denominational system, but efforts in this direction were quickly thwarted by the churches. One area the churches closely guarded was change to the school curriculum. In 1932 British educator C.A. Richardson had been invited by Prime Minister Alderdice to examine the curriculum. His October 1933 report preferred a system which emphasized that children could be differentiated by intelligence tests and classified according to their ability, in contrast to the view dominant in local schools of the faculty theory which emphasized all children could develop and learn at the same rate (McCann, "The Educational Policy"). The report was regarded by the Churches as an attack on their elite college system and was essentially shelved.

In 1935 the Commission of government proposed a number of educational reforms. These included compulsory education, a new curriculum, the abolition of the offices of superintendent and assistant superintendent, and the creation of state schools in St. John's for children not attending schools because of a lack of facilities. Anglican and Roman Catholic church officials strongly opposed the reforms and forced a compromise. The Bureau of Education was replaced by the Commissioner of Home Affairs and Education. The superintendent's position was abolished, but a denominational committee was created to act as a buffer between the churches and the government's education officials. Supervising inspectors were appointed on a denominational basis with inspection limited to their own schools, and local boards of education appointed by the committee. The government's administrative officials included a secretary known as the General Superintendent of education, assisted by three officials--the chief executive officer, the research officer, and the accountant. There was an advisory committee comprised of representatives from the major denominations with no responsibility for the department's administrative work; instead, it was a "secularized department administering a denominational school system (McCann, "The Educational Policy"). The Commission's acknowledgement that it could not change the denominational educational system became clear in 1937 when it created a council of education to direct educational policy. The three professional officers were replaced by executive officers representing the major denominations, who formed a majority on the council.

In 1936 the government changed the school curriculum with an emphasis on less formal education stressing new areas such as health, social education and industrial training. The Commission also concentrated on improving programs and services and restored teachers' salaries by 1939 to their pre-1933 cut levels. Between 1934 and 1949 the Commission built 555 new schools and renovated 264 others, and spent $3,400,000 on school construction between 1938 and 1949 (McCann, "The Educational Policy"). The Commissioners made textbooks and school supplies available on loan to pupils and tried to improve the health of students by providing them with free nutritional cocomalt--a coco-milk powder. Under 1943 legislation free and compulsory education was applied to all school-age children but the act did permit a child who could not attend his own denominational school to refuse schooling offered by another denomination. The Commission also encouraged the growth of common schools--at Deer Lake, Buchans, Bay Roberts, Gander, Hampden, and North West River. The Commission promoted non-denominational schools in communities where the government had encouraged land settlements, Markland and Haricot.

The Commission improved the health service after 1935 through the creation of a cottage hospital system in the larger outports to provide medical facilities, nursing services, midwifery training, and a health education service. By 1938 a total of ten cottage hospitals operated in Newfoundland providing a total of 130 beds. This medical system was the first instance in North America of a government establishing a subsidized medical-care plan on a pre-payment basis. To help combat tuberculosis, the Commission formed a mobile Health Unit to visit communities and examine residents for the dreaded disease, tuberculosis "the silent menace" which until 1947 was the leading cause of death in Newfoundland. A new wing was also added to the St. John's Sanitorium to provide additional beds for tuberculosis patients.

In its first years the Commission attempted an ambitious land settlement scheme emphasizing agricultural development as an alternative to the Island's reliance on the fishery. This scheme was the creation of Thomas Lodge, a strong-willed Commissioner, who imposed his idea of "social reorganization" on a reluctant Commission, which accepted the scheme because it had no other definite plan of economic action available. Although Lodge had established by 1938 11 settlements involving 340 families, the scheme proved to have only limited success because of the harsh climate and use of inexperienced farmers. Among the settlements established were Markland, Haricort, Brown's Arm, Midland, and Lourdes (see Gordon Handcock, "The Commission of government's Land Settlement Scheme in Newfoundland," in James Hiller and Peter Neary, eds., Twentieth Century Newfoundland: Explorations, 1994, pp. 123-151).

Consequently, the Commission soon abandoned its emphasis on this expensive scheme and concentrated its efforts, instead, on the fishery. To make fishermen more self-sufficient, the Commission encouraged them to organize cooperatives. It also gave fishermen financial assistance to enable them to purchase boats, engines and other supplies. In 1936 it set up the Newfoundland Fisheries Board with complete authority under the chairmanship of Raymond Gushue over the licensing, exporting, and marketing of fish. Despite these improvements, the fishing industry in the late 1930s continued to perform poorly. Economic and political unrest in the Spanish and Italian markets and low demand for Brazilian coffee and West Indian sugar and fruits adversely affected fish exports from Newfoundland. In 1938, for example, the value of salt cod exports was lower than at any other time during the century. Consequently, there was an increase in the number of people receiving the dole, or public relief. Between 1934 and 1940 the average monthly number receiving the dole rose from 31,899 to 39,802, with 85,000 recipients on the relief rolls during the winter of 1938.

By the late 1930s the early popular expectations associated with the constitutional change in 1934 gave way to growing public disenchantment with the Commission, particularly in St. John's. When the Commission was established, many people expected that it would have easy access to large sums of money from the Treasury for economic development and that British capitalists would rush to invest their money in Newfoundland. However, the Commissioners gave the people more efficient government but not any substantial improvement in their standard of living. Thus, in August 1939 a committee of prominent St. John's citizens was formed to work for the return of responsible government, but the outbreak of war in Europe and the Commission's mobilization of the Island's human and natural resources for Britain's war effort, served to silence the Commission's critics.

Newfoundlanders enthusiastically answered their Mother Country's appeal for a call to arms and enlisted in the British and Canadian armed forces. Newfoundland also supplied on its own two artillery regiments and an Overseas Forestry Unit which worked in Scotland. However, Newfoundland's true importance to the Allied war effort lay in its strategic location as a defence base in the North Atlantic for North America. A major security concern for Canada in Newfoundland was the safety of the Bell Island mines which supplied iron to the Sydney steel industry. This industry accounted for 30 percent of Canada's total steel needs. In 1942 Bell Island had the dubious honour of being the only land based area in North America to be attacked by German U-Boats. On this occasion, submarines sank four iron ore boats at the pier on Bell Island resulting in the loss of 69 lives (Steve Neary, The Enemy on our Doorstep, St. John's, 1994). Other wartime tragedies include the sinking, also, that same year of the ferry steamer Caribou which operated between Port aux Basques and North Sydney, Cape Breton, and a fire at St. John's also in 1942 that destroyed the Knights of Columbus hostel, where 99 lives were lost during a dance attended by both civilians and servicemen.

Through a series of defence agreements reached with the Commission, Canada established several installations in Newfoundland that cost over 65 million dollars to construct. These included air bases at Gander, Torbay, and Goose Bay, and a naval base in St. John's for which the British Admiralty provided funding. In total, the number of Canadian garrison troops stationed in Newfoundland peaked at nearly 6,000 army personnel in 1943, but this figure does not, of course, include the thousands of seamen in the naval convoy duty operating out of St. John's and the airmen stationed in Gander and Goose Bay. These airmen were part of the Atlantic Ferry Command, which flew needed aircraft to Britain from North America.

American military involvement in Newfoundland resulted from the signing by the United States and Britain of the Leased Bases Agreement of 1940­41. Under it, the United States received permission to establish military bases in Newfoundland for a tenure of 99 years. Major facilities built by the Americans included an army base at St. John's, a naval base at Argentia, and an air force base at Stephenville. At Argentia, in what Peter Neary has described as "what must surely be counted the ultimate act of resettlement in Newfoundland's long twentieth century experience of this experience," not only was the entire community of people moved to nearby communities, but the remains of 625 individuals were exhumed from an Argentia graveyard and moved to a new cemetery in nearby Freshwater (Neary, Newfoundland in the North Atlantic World, 1929-1949, p. 155).

The Americans also shared with the Canadians use of the Gander and Goose Bay installations. American expenditures for construction purposes by 1943 totalled $105,000,000, while the number of military personnel stationed in Newfoundland peaked in 1943 at 10,900. At the height of the American and Canadian military construction boom in September 1942, there were 19,752 Newfoundlanders employed earning high wages, which represented an average annual income of $1,500 as compared to $333 to be had in 1933 in the fishery. There was now employment for all who wished to work; there was such a shortage of labour that the Island's paper mills at Grand Falls and Corner Brook had to reduce newspaper production in 1943 and 1944 for several months. At Bell Island the iron ore company in 1943 temporarily reduced the size of its labour force and likewise reduction in production. The Newfoundlanders working on the bases never received wage parity with their American civilian counterparts, because the Commission had decided not to allow wages to be driven up in other industries as a consequence. The Commission also banned labour strikes and lockouts and imposed compulsory arbitration on the labour scene. In 1942 the Commission organized the Labour Relations Office to set up a national employment registration scheme. This office subsequently proved especially effective in protecting the interests of labourers recruited by Canadian businesses for mainland wartime employment, the Canadians agreeing to terms of employment set by the office.

Increased demand for exports and foreign military expenditures during the 1940s ended the Commission's budget deficits, which reached its peak at $4,800,000 in the 1939­1940 fiscal year. After 1940 budget surpluses enabled by the end of the 1945­46 fiscal year totalled $28,669,000 and enabled the Commission to give interest free loans totalling $12,300,000 to Britain. Additional revenue also enabled the Commission to undertake further public service improvements. These included salary increases for teachers, the establishment of 25 regional libraries, the institution in 1944 of free and compulsory education, and the setting up of an adult education programme. The Commission increased the number of cottage hospitals and added a 270-bed wing to the St. John's sanitorium. It successfully encouraged the growth of local government outside St. John's through a system of grants and incentives to communities having a limited revenue base. By 1948, 18 communities were incorporated under this system. In St. John's the Commission combined with the City Council in 1944 to organize the St. John's Housing Corporation. Between 1944 and 1950 the Corporation received from the Newfoundland government a total of $6,500,000 to construct a planned suburb outside city limits that doubled the physical area of St. John's (later known as the Churchill Park area).

In the early 1940s the Island's new financial strength prompted many Newfoundlanders, especially some St. John's community leaders, to think in terms of their constitutional future. Ironically, in view of his later political beliefs, Joseph Smallwood, as editor of the short-lived newspaper The Express in 1941 satirized the Commission of government in a series of articles that drew the ire of the Commissioners. Among the newspaper's financial supporters was F.M. O'Leary, the sponsor of Smallwood's "Barrelman" radio program and later a strong anti-confederate as president of the Responsible government League. In June 1942 the St. John's Board of Trade, for instance, called on the Commission to recognize the need for it to consult, in governing the country, a public body of representative citizens. Expressed in vague and general terms, the Board's proposal called for some kind of formal procedures to debate public opinion. This view was endorsed by St. John's businessman and journalist, Albert Perlin, a member of the Board's governing council, in his Daily News "Wayfarer" column. Perlin wrote that Newfoundland could sustain itself financially as an independent country if the government would accept having expert advisers in economics and finance.

Following a visit in September 1942 by the Secretary of State for the Dominions, Clement Attlee, and the June 1943 fact-finding visit of a Parliamentary mission--the so-called Goodwill Mission--on December 2, 1943, the British government announced that after the end of the war the Newfoundland people would be permitted, through some democratic means, to express their views concerning the Island's constitutional future.

On December 11, 1945, Labour Prime Minister Clement Attlee informed the British Parliament that the following year Newfoundlanders would elect a national convention of delegates, who would have to be a resident for two years in the district in which they would seek election. This convention would examine and debate the changes that had taken place in the financial and economic situation of the country since 1934, and second, make recommendations to the British government concerning the various forms of government that could be put before the people in a national referendum. The convention would have strictly an advisory role despite the elective nature of this representative body, the first Newfoundlanders had been elected since 1932.

One delegate selected was 45-year old Joseph R. Smallwood, a pig farmer from Gander who was, at various phases of his life, a labour leader, journalist, and radio host (see Neary, Newfoundland, pp. 281­284 for details of Smallwood's life). It was on a business trip concerning a piggery he operated at Gander since 1943 that Smallwood, in late 1945, read in the Montreal Gazette of Britain's proposed plans for Newfoundland's constitutional future. Walking the streets of Montreal for hours on December 11, an excited Smallwood debated what political options Newfoundlanders should adopt. He was determined to be part of the forthcoming political campaign--"all of my work and my training up to that moment made my entry inevitable"--but he was not sure of what he preferred other than it was not to be a continuation of government of government. Memories of a conversation with Gordon Bradley in 1930, in which the latter claimed that Confederation was the only salvation for Newfoundland, prompted Smallwood to consider Confederation as a viable political option for his beleaguered country.

Returning to Gander the following day on a RAF bomber, he immediately wrote the Canadian prime minister and the nine provincial premiers for information on federal-provincial relations having decided that he would stand as a candidate for election to the National Convention. The materials poured in with Smallwood assiduously mastering the workings of the Canadian federal system. In March 1946 he wrote a series of 11 articles to the Daily News arguing the merits of Confederation. To raise funds for his forthcoming election campaign, he borrowed $3,000 from Ches Crosbie and bought from the Canadian government 3,000 grey woollen blankets which he resold to the Bowater paper company for $6,000. With his share of the profit, he financed his campaign for Bonavista Centre in which Gander was situated. A requirement the British government placed on all candidates was that they had to be resident in the district in which they ran, a requirement designed by the British to prevent St. John's residents from monopolizing elective office as they had in the past. Smallwood won the district with 2,129 votes as compared to 277 for his opponent, becoming the only avowed confederate elected openly to the Convention. Smallwood's move to Gander had indeed been fortuitous.

Election to the National Convention took place on June 21, 1946 and voters returned 45 delegates on the basis of the pre-1934 electoral representation system. Among the 45 delegates was a representative from Labrador, the first time that region ever had its own representation in a local elected body. A minority in the Convention, the Confederates quickly gravitated to the dynamic leadership of Smallwood. He had grasped the idea of Confederation with Canada as the only means of giving outport Newfoundlanders "a half decent chance in life" consisting of "North American standards of public services" which would be available through the Canadian welfare system. Through the Convention's broadcasting of its proceedings over the public radio system, Smallwood continuously emphasized these benefits, which found sympathetic hearing in poverty-stricken and cash-poor outport communities.

There remains a popular view, widely held in some scholarly circles as well, that Smallwood was privy to the secret behind-the-scenes planning of the British government in its efforts to deliver Newfoundland after the war into the Canadian Confederation. Some of his political opponents have subsequently argued that as early as 1943 Smallwood was a frequent visitor at the St. John's residence of the Canadian High Commissioner. There is no strong substantial evidence for this view, and these visits to the contrary must be regarded for now as a most likely part of Smallwood's efforts to establish a piggery at Gander and the talks involved commercial transactions with Canadian businessmen.

Smallwood did not evidently see himself initially as the leader of a pro-confederate party. Prior to his election campaign in February 1946 he had suggested to Bradley that a member of the St. John's elite, Sir John C. Puddester (Commission of government for Public Health and Welfare and a former cabinet minister under Prime Minister Alderdice) be made leader. Bradley discouraged Smallwood of this notion believing that the time was not right to form such a party (see James Hiller, "The Career of F. Gordon Bradley," Newfoundland Studies, vol. 4, 1988, pp. 163-80). There were other Convention delegates who shared Smallwood's support for Confederation, but who were prepared to go slow on publicly pushing the issue. These delegates included Gordon Bradley who agreed, prior to the opening of the Convention, that should Confederation be successful then Smallwood would be premier and he a federal minister. Despite the cautionary advice from Bradley, Smallwood quickly made Confederation a matter of constant debate at the Convention and the leader in the public's mind of the confederate cause. With the experience gained from his Barrelman radio days as well as the oratorical skills refined over 30 years of public debate and speech making, he was able to appeal directly to outport Newfoundlanders to extol the virtues of Confederation.

Unlike the Confederation forces, those wanting the restoration of Responsible government never coalesced around one central leader. In fact, as their chief protagonist, Smallwood later noted they had "many leaders, but not one whose leadership they were all prepared to follow. Their cause was thus never a united front, and they never had united strategy...." The most popular Anti-Confederate was the political maverick, Peter Cashin, a member of pre-Commission of government cabinets, but a leader lacking the confidence of the Water Street merchants. Cashin viewed the British action in setting up the Convention as a breach of faith; the British government should have restored Newfoundland to its pre-1934 constitutional status of responsible government once the war had ended in 1945. Cashin and his supporters used the Convention to embarrass the Commission of government and to agitate for the restoration of responsible government (Hiller, "Newfoundland Confronts Canada," in E.R. Forbes and D.A. Muise, eds., The Atlantic Provinces in Confederation p. 458).

The Responsible government League itself (formed in late 1946) was a loose organization of people united by their common opposition to Confederation, and, during the referenda campaigns of 1948, never had the strong organizational and financial support of their confederate counterpart (see Jeff A. Webb, "The Responsible government League and the Confederation Campaigns of 1948," Newfoundland Studies, vol. 5, 1989, pp. 203-220).

For St. John's businessman and journalist Albert Perlin and many other anti-Confederates, opposition to Confederation meant more than refusal to support a political union with Canada. Responsible government meant the opportunity to determine one's own destiny in one's own way, the democratic way. "It gives to us, the people of Newfoundland," he commented on April 22, 1948, "the means to suit our policies to our needs and even to change the form of government to suit those needs...." To achieve this goal, it was important to Perlin and others of like mind that the Convention, especially its Finance Committee, report that Newfoundland had the natural resources to be self-supporting. "The Convention represents the last chance to get the kind of information," he optimistically noted on June 29, 1946, "on which alone the people of Newfoundland can make up their minds soundly and wisely about their future government and their prospects of advancement economically and socially...." Confederation with Canada, they argued, could only be brought about after the restoration of Responsible government and should not, therefore, be a constitutional option to be considered by the Convention. Rather, negotiations with Canada could only be undertaken after the restoration of Responsible government and the holding of a general election on the issue. If the Confederates won the election, then, they could commence negotiations with Canada and submit the terms of union to both the Canadian and Newfoundland legislatures for their approval.

The national convention met on September 11, 1946 and dissolved on January 30, 1948. The convention on September 18, 1946 had divided into nine committees to study various aspects of Newfoundland affairs. The subjects studied were fisheries, public health, education, agriculture, finance, forestry, local industries, mining, transportation, and information. The convention sought broad powers of investigation from the Commission, including the right to examine both the papers and personnel of the Commission. Not wishing to subject itself to a witch-hunt by the Convention delegates, the Commissioners refused their request, but offered to provide the committees with what information they were able to give. In the hands of delegates such as Peter Cashin, the committee system often became an instrument to criticize the Commission at every opportunity. As for the Confederates, they shied away from attacking the Commission and, instead, emphasized the positive features of Confederation and equated the restoration of Responsible government with the poverty and political corruption of pre-1934 Newfoundland.

On October 28,1946, Smallwood made what was later termed by fellow delegate Michael Harrington a speech that was a "turning point in the Convention." Smallwood unsuccessfully attempted to have the Convention approve a resolution that would send a delegation from the Convention to Ottawa to ascertain what terms of union Canada might be willing to offer Newfoundland. In February 1947 Smallwood had more success with his resolution. On this occasion Smallwood agreed to support a suggestion from Robert B. Job that the Convention send a delegation to the United States to find out what economic and fiscal relationship the Americans might be willing to offer Newfoundland in a special tariff arrangement. In return, Job agreed to support a Smallwood-sponsored resolution that Convention delegates be sent also to Britain and Canada to see what economic and fiscal relationships could exist between Newfoundland and Britain and between Newfoundland and Canada. Thus, the Convention on February 4, 1947, passed a resolution that delegates be sent to Britain, Canada, and the United States for these purposes. The Commission, however, refused to sanction the resolution's provision that a delegation be sent to the United States on the basis that the question of a tariff agreement with the Americans lay outside the Convention's terms of reference.

While the Convention's delegation to London found the British government unwilling to commit itself to any future financial obligations if the Newfoundlanders were to eventually decide to either remain under Commission of government or adopt the restoration of Responsible government, the delegation to Ottawa found a warm reception and the Canadians well-prepared to negotiate proposed terms of union. Smallwood took the lead in the discussions with the Canadians and the delegation ended up staying for ninety-nine days, despite the protestations from the other Convention members in St. John's (by contrast, the London delegation left St. John's on April 24 and stayed approximately two weeks in London). The Ottawa delegation arrived back in St. John's on October 4 and the following month Smallwood introduced Canada's preferred terms of union to the National Convention for debate. Debate over the question of Confederation would dominate the Convention's deliberations until that body was dissolved in January 1948.

On January 23, 1948 Convention delegates by a vote of 29 to 16 defeated Smallwood's motion that Confederation with Canada be put on the ballot paper in a referendum to decide Newfoundland's constitutional future. Despite this setback, Smallwood quickly took the offensive charging that the 29 delegates were "twenty-nine dictators" who denied the people the right to choose the form of government they wanted. Smallwood's fellow delegate supporter, F. Gordon Bradley who represented Bonavista East in the Convention, appealed to the population through a radio broadcast that they immediately demonstrate their protest against the dictators by petitioning the governor to have Confederation included as an option on the ballot paper. The response was immediate and within 14 days of the broadcast Smallwood announced on February 14, 1948, that 49,769 citizens had signed the petition, while noting that only 47,724 people had voted for the election in 1946 of delegates to the National Convention. Smallwood's appeal to the British government through the governor found a receptive audience; in fact, the British government had already decided Newfoundland should become part of Canada and its policy behind-the-scenes the past few years had been to encourage however possible this political union without appearing publicly to be doing so. It's decision in 1947 to the London delegation from the Convention not to give financial government to Newfoundland, if the people were to choose the restoration of responsible government, was made with this purpose in mind. On March 2, 1948, the British government informed the governor of Newfoundland that Confederation would be a third choice on the referendum paper.

The Confederates on February 21, 1948 formed themselves into the Newfoundland Confederate Association to prepare for the forthcoming referendum vote. Bradley was its president and Smallwood its campaign director, but it was the latter who provided the populist appeal to attract voters to the confederate cause. On March 20 those opposed to Confederation divided into two groups with the formation by St. John's merchant Chesley Crosbie of the Economic Union Movement. The remaining anti-confederates organized under the Responsible government League favoured the restoration of Responsible government.

The confederates stressed expectedly the social benefits union with Canada: the family allowance, unemployment insurance, better pensions, and a general higher standard of living. The Confederate newspaper on May 31, 1948 appealed to voters to "give yourself a chance. Give the Children a chance. Give Newfoundland a chance. Vote for Confederation and a healthier, happier Newfoundland." To Newfoundland mothers, the confederates promised that "Confederation would mean that NEVER AGAIN would there be a hungry child in Newfoundland. If you have children under the age of 16, you will receive EVERY MONTH a cash allowance for every child you have or may have" (Neary, Political Economy of Newfoundland, pp. 140-141).

And benefits there would be after 1949. The Commission of government in its last year of governing Newfoundland paid out a total of $374,000 in old age pensions; by the end of 1950 over 12,000 Newfoundlanders over seventy years of age would receive $5.3 million, and this amount, combined with family allowances and unemployment insurance, injected over $24 million into the local economy (see Raymond Blake, Canadians at last: Canada Integrates Newfoundland as a Province, Toronto, 1994, pp. 70-93).

The anti-confederates had the support of the Roman Catholic Church and the business community of St. John's. The former argued that the "material attractions of Confederation should be subordinated to other values. What was best for the country, stated the Monitor, the newspaper of the St. John's archdiocese, was that option which would allow Newfoundlanders to continue `to live decently, soberly and honestly, continuing to recognize that there has grown up with us during the past four and a half centuries a simple, God-fearing way of life which our forebears handed down to us, and which we must pass untarnished to posterity.' Water Street feared for the future of its local industries under Confederation, it also feared a loss of economic dominance and the prospect of increased taxation. The antes could also play on the traditional, ingrained antipathy to Canada, and they made appeals to local patriotism, presenting themselves as the true Newfoundlanders (Hiller, "Newfoundland Confronts Canada," p. 460).

There were three options on the ballot paper for the referendum held on June 3, 1948. The result of the referendum was the following: for Responsible government (69,400) 44.5%; for Confederation (64.066) 41.1%; and for Commission government (22,311) 14.3%. Since the British government stipulated that one of the options had to have a clear majority for a victory, a second referendum was necessary with the Commission government option this time being dropped from the ballot paper because it received the smallest number of votes among the three. In the second referendum vote held on July 22, 1948, the Confederation option won a small majority over the Responsible government choice, the former winning by 78,323 votes or 52.3% over 71,344 or 47.4% over the latter. Eight days later the Canadian government announced that it would be willing to proceed with the final negotiations of the terms of union on the basis of the referendum vote.

In the autumn of 1948 the Commission of government sent a delegation to Ottawa to negotiate the terms of union. The delegation's chairman was Albert Walsh (Commissioner for Justice and Defence and a St. John's lawyer), who was aided by Gordon Winter, a St. John's businessman, Philip Gruchy, the manager of the Grand Falls paper mill, J.B. McEvoy, a St. John's lawyer and former chairman of the National Convention, Chesley Crosbie, the leader of the Economic Union Movement, Joseph R. Smallwood, and Gordon Bradley. While these negotiations were being successfully concluded in Ottawa, the die-hard anti-confederates in November made unsuccessful appeals to the British House of Commons and Privy Council to have the result of the second referendum vote over-turned. In the end, on March 31, 1949, Newfoundland entered the Canadian Confederation as the tenth province of the Dominion, thus fulfilling Sir John Macdonald's 1867 vision of forging one British North American nation from the Pacific to the Atlantic. Under the leadership of Joseph Smallwood, the Province's first Premier, Newfoundland entered upon a new phase in its historical and constitutional development. (Source: Melvin Baker, "History 3120 Manual: Newfoundland History, 1815-1972", Division of Continuing Studies, Memorial University of Newfoundland, 1994, revision of 1986 edition)