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Parker Robinson
Parker Robinson

The Secret Story of How Newfoundland Became Canada's Tenth Province: Don't Tell the Newfoundlanders by Greg Malone



Don't Tell the Newfoundlanders: The True Story of Newfoundland's Confederation with Canada




Have you ever wondered how Newfoundland became part of Canada? Do you know the true story behind one of the most controversial events in Canadian history? If you are interested in learning more about this fascinating topic, you should read Don't Tell the Newfoundlanders: The True Story of Newfoundland's Confederation with Canada, a book by Greg Malone that reveals the secret negotiations and manipulations that led to Newfoundland's union with Canada in 1949.




Don't Tell the Newfoundlanders: The True Story of Newfoundland's Confederation with Canada book pdf



Introduction




Don't Tell the Newfoundlanders is a book that draws from official documents and personal interviews to expose how Newfoundland and Labrador joined Confederation and became Canada's tenth province in 1949. The book presents a rich cast of characters from Britain, America, Canada, and Newfoundland who battled it out for the prize of the resource-rich, financially solvent, militarily strategic island. The book also shows how the twists and turns of this drama were as dramatic as any spy novel and extremely surprising, since the "official" version of Newfoundland history has held for over fifty years almost without question.


The author of this book is Greg Malone, a well-known comedian, actor, director, political activist, and writer from St. John's, Newfoundland. Malone is best known for his role in CODCO, a satirical comedy show that ran for 63 episodes on CBC TV and included Cathy Jones, Mary Walsh, and Andy Jones. Malone has also participated in various environmental and social causes, such as fighting against the privatization of Newfoundland Hydro, raising awareness of HIV/AIDS issues, and advocating for Newfoundland's culture and sovereignty.


This book is important and relevant because it challenges the dominant narrative of Newfoundland's confederation with Canada as a voluntary and democratic choice by its people. It also sheds light on how external forces shaped Newfoundland's destiny without its consent or knowledge. It also raises questions about how Newfoundlanders view themselves and their relationship with Canada today.


The Historical Context




To understand how Newfoundland became part of Canada, we need to go back to its historical context before 1949. At that time, Newfoundland was not a province but a dominion within the British Empire. It had its own parliament, flag, anthem, currency, postal system, customs duties, courts, and police force. It also had a rich and diverse culture, with a mix of English, Irish, Scottish, French, and Indigenous influences.


However, Newfoundland also faced many challenges and difficulties in the 1930s and 1940s. It suffered from the Great Depression, which caused widespread unemployment, poverty, and social unrest. It also endured the Second World War, which brought heavy casualties, debt, and insecurity. It also had to deal with the decline of its main industries, such as fishing, forestry, and mining. It also had to cope with the rise of new competitors and markets, such as the United States and Canada.


As a result of these problems, Newfoundland had to consider its future options. There were three main alternatives: responsible government, commission government, or confederation with Canada. Responsible government meant restoring the self-governing status that Newfoundland had before 1934, when it suspended its parliament and asked Britain to appoint a commission of six unelected officials to run its affairs. Commission government meant continuing the status quo under British supervision. Confederation with Canada meant joining the Canadian federation as a province, with all the rights and obligations that entailed.


Each of these options had its pros and cons, and each had its supporters and opponents. However, the decision was not only up to Newfoundlanders. It was also influenced by the interests and agendas of Britain, America, and Canada, who had their own stakes in Newfoundland's fate.


The Secret Negotiations




One of the main revelations of Don't Tell the Newfoundlanders is how Canada initiated secret negotiations with Britain and Newfoundland to bring about confederation without public knowledge or consent. The book shows how Canada saw Newfoundland as a valuable asset for its economic, political, and strategic interests. Canada wanted to access Newfoundland's natural resources, such as fish, minerals, hydroelectricity, and oil. Canada also wanted to prevent Newfoundland from becoming an American base or protectorate. Canada also wanted to expand its territory and population to assert its sovereignty and prestige.


The book also shows how Britain was willing to cooperate with Canada's plan for confederation. Britain was eager to get rid of Newfoundland as a financial burden and a political headache. Britain was also indebted to Canada for its support during the war and its loans after the war. Britain was also pressured by America to grant Newfoundland more autonomy or independence.


The book also shows how Newfoundland was kept in the dark about the negotiations between Canada and Britain. The book reveals how Canada sent secret emissaries to London and St. John's to persuade British and Newfoundland officials to agree to confederation. The book also reveals how Canada offered various incentives and concessions to win over Newfoundland's support, such as debt relief, development grants, social programs, tax breaks, and representation in parliament.


The book also shows how Canada manipulated the referendum process and the media to sway public opinion in favor of confederation. The book reveals how Canada influenced the formation of the National Convention, a body of elected delegates who were supposed to discuss Newfoundland's future options. The book reveals how Canada ensured that confederation supporters were overrepresented in the convention and that confederation opponents were marginalized or silenced. The book also reveals how Canada controlled the information and propaganda that reached Newfoundlanders through newspapers, radio, leaflets, posters, speeches, rallies, and films.


The Controversial Referendum




The culmination of the secret negotiations was the referendum that took place in 1948. The referendum was supposed to be a democratic exercise that would allow Newfoundlanders to choose their own destiny. However, as Don't Tell the Newfoundlanders shows, the referendum was far from fair or free.


The book shows how the referendum was conducted in a way that favored confederation over other options. The book shows how the ballot paper was designed in a confusing and misleading way that made confederation appear more attractive than responsible government or commission government. The book also shows how the voting rules were changed at the last minute to allow more people to vote for confederation than against it.


The book also shows how the referendum results were contested and disputed by many Newfoundlanders who felt cheated or betrayed by confederation. The book shows how the first referendum held on June 3rd resulted in a narrow victory for responsible government over confederation (44.6% vs 41.1%), but not enough to avoid a second referendum between the two options on July 22nd. The book also shows how the second referendum resulted in a slim majority for confederation over responsible government (52.3% vs 47.7%), but not enough to reflect a clear consensus or mandate.


The Critical Reception




When Don't Tell the Newfoundlanders was published in 2012, it received mixed reviews from critics and readers. Some praised the book for its thorough research, compelling narrative, and provocative thesis. They applauded Malone for exposing the hidden truth behind Newfoundland's confederation with Canada and for challenging the official version of history. They also appreciated Malone's personal and passionate style of writing, which reflected his own connection and commitment to Newfoundland's culture and identity.


However, some criticized the book for its lack of balance, objectivity, and nuance. They accused Malone of being biased, selective, and sensationalist in his presentation of evidence and arguments. They argued that Malone exaggerated or ignored some aspects of Newfoundland's history and politics that did not fit his agenda. They also questioned Malone's credibility and authority as a historian, given his background as a comedian and activist. They also found Malone's tone of writing to be too emotional, subjective, and polemical.


Despite these criticisms, the book was a bestseller in Newfoundland and Labrador and sparked a lot of debate and discussion among Newfoundlanders and Canadians. The book also inspired some academic and popular works that explored or challenged Malone's claims and conclusions. The book also contributed to the ongoing dialogue and reflection on Newfoundland's place and role in Canada.


Conclusion




Don't Tell the Newfoundlanders is a book that tells a fascinating and controversial story of how Newfoundland became part of Canada in 1949. It reveals how Canada and Britain secretly negotiated and manipulated Newfoundland's confederation without its knowledge or consent. It also shows how Newfoundlanders resisted or accepted confederation and how it affected their identity and culture.


The book is important because it challenges the dominant narrative of Newfoundland's confederation with Canada as a voluntary and democratic choice by its people. It also sheds light on how external forces shaped Newfoundland's destiny without its input or approval. It also raises questions about how Newfoundlanders view themselves and their relationship with Canada today.


Some of the implications and lessons from this book are that Newfoundlanders should be aware of their history and heritage and how it shapes their identity and culture. They should also be proud of their distinctiveness and diversity within Canada. They should also be critical of the sources and representations of their history and politics. They should also be engaged in the issues and challenges that affect their province and country.


Some of the questions and gaps that remain for further research and exploration are how Newfoundland's confederation with Canada has changed over time and how it compares to other cases of union or integration in the world. How has Newfoundland's culture and identity evolved or adapted to changing social, economic, and political circumstances? How do different groups of Newfoundlanders experience or express their identity and culture? How do other Canadians perceive or relate to Newfoundlanders?


FAQs





  • What is the main argument of Don't Tell the Newfoundlanders?



The main argument of Don't Tell the Newfoundlanders is that Newfoundland's confederation with Canada in 1949 was not a voluntary or democratic choice by its people, but a result of secret negotiations and manipulations by Canada and Britain.


  • Who is the author of Don't Tell the Newfoundlanders?



The author of Don't Tell the Newfoundlanders is Greg Malone, a comedian, actor, director, political activist, and writer from St. John's, Newfoundland.


  • When was Don't Tell the Newfoundlanders published?



Don't Tell the Newfoundlanders was published in 2012 by Knopf Canada.


  • How did critics and reviewers respond to Don't Tell the Newfoundlanders?



Critics and reviewers responded to Don't Tell the Newfoundlanders with mixed reviews. Some praised the book for its thorough research, compelling narrative, and provocative thesis. Others criticized the book for its lack of balance, objectivity, and nuance.


  • Why is Don't Tell the Newfoundlanders important?



Don't Tell the Newfoundlanders is important because it challenges the dominant narrative of Newfoundland's confederation with Canada as a voluntary and democratic choice by its people. It also sheds light on how external forces shaped Newfoundland's destiny without its knowledge or consent. It also raises questions about how Newfoundlanders view themselves and their relationship with Canada today.


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