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Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
Newfoundland and Labrador (French, Terre-Neuve-et-Labrador, Irish: Talamh an Éisc agus Labradóir, Latin: Terra Nova) was the tenth province to join the Canadian confederation.
Geographically, the province consists of the island of Newfoundland and the mainland Labrador, on Canada's Atlantic coast. On entry into Canada in 1949, the entire province was known as Newfoundland, and this name is still used informally. But since 1964, the province's government has referred to itself as the "Government of Newfoundland and Labrador", and on December 6, 2001, an amendment was made to the Constitution of Canada to change the province's official name to "Newfoundland and Labrador".
The province's population
is 533,800. People from Newfoundland are called "Newfoundlanders"
(and at times "Newfies", though this can be derogatory) while
people from Labrador are called "Labradorians". Newfoundland
has its own dialect of English, its own dialect of French and its own
dialect of the Irish language.
Largest municipalities by population
The Colony of Newfoundland
Newfoundland has a number of historical firsts. The oldest known settlement anywhere in The Americas built by Europeans is located at L'Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland. It was founded circa 1000 A.D. by Leif Ericson's Vikings. Remnants and artifacts of the occupation can still be seen at L'Anse aux Meadows, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The island was later inhabited by the Mi'kmaq and the Beothuks.
In 1497, John Cabot became the first European since the Vikings to discover Newfoundland, landing at Bonavista on June 24. On August 5, 1583, Sir Humphrey Gilbert formally claimed Newfoundland as England's first overseas colony under Royal Perogative of Queen Elizabeth I.
From 1610 to 1728, Proprietary Governors were appointed to establish colonial settlements on the island. John Guy was governor of the first settlment at Cuper's Cove. Other settlements were Bristol's Hope, Renews, South Falkland and Avalon which became a province in 1623. The first governor given jurisdiction over all of Newfoundland was Sir David Kirke in 1638. The island of Newfoundland was nearly conquered by New France explorer Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville in the 1690s.
Newfoundland received a colonial assembly in 1832, which was and still is referred to as the House of Assembly, after a fight led by reformers William Carson, Patrick Morris and John Kent. The new government was unstable and divided along sectarian lines between the Catholic and Protestant populations of the colony. In 1842, the elected House of Assembly was amalgamated with the appointed Legislative Council. This was changed back in 1848 to two separate chambers. After this, a movement for responsible government began.
The Dominion of Newfoundland
In 1854, Newfoundland was granted responsible government by the British government. In 1855, Philip Francis Little, a native of Prince Edward Island, won a majority over Sir Hugh Hoyles and the Conservatives. Little formed the first administration from 1855 to 1858. Newfoundland rejected confederation with Canada in the 1869 general election.
It remained as a colony until acquiring dominion status on September 26, 1907 along with New Zealand. It successfully negotiated a trade agreement with the United States but the British government blocked it after objections from Canada. The Dominion of Newfoundland reached its golden age under Prime Minister Sir Robert Bond of the Liberal Party.
Newfoundland produced its own regiment to fight in the First World War. On July 1, 1916, most of that regiment was wiped out at Beaumont Hamel on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. The war debt sustained because of the regiment led to increased borrowing in the post-war era. In the 1920s, political scandals wracked the dominion. In 1923, Prime Minister Sir Richard Squires was arrested on charges of corruption. He was released soon after on bail, but the scandal was reviewed by the British-led Hollis Walker commission. Soon after, the Squires government fell. Squires returned to power in 1928 due to the unpopularity of his predecessors, the pro-business Walter Stanley Monroe and (briefly) Frederick C. Alderdice (Monroe's cousin), but found himself governing a country suffering from the Great Depression.
Newfoundland's long-standing Labrador boundary dispute with Canada was resolved to the satisfaction of Newfoundland and Canada (but not Quebec, the province that bordered Labrador) with the ruling, on April 1, 1927 by the Imperial Privy Council. Prior to 1867, the Quebec North Shore portion of the "Labrador coast" had been shuttled back and forth between the colonies of Lower Canada and Newfoundland. Maps up to 1927 showed the coastal region as part of Newfoundland, with an undefined boundary. The Privy Council ruling established a boundary along the drainage divide separating waters that flowed through the territory to the Labrador coast, although following two straight lines from the Romaine River along the 52nd Parallel, then south near 57 degrees west longitude to the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Quebec has long rejected the settlement on the grounds it was not a party to the agreement, and provincially-issued maps do not mark the boundary the same way as boundaries with Ontario and New Brunswick.
On April 5, 1932, a mob of 10,000 people marched on the Colonial building (seat of the House of Assembly) and forced Squires to flee. Squires lost the election that was held subsequently. The next government, led once more by Alderdice, called upon the British government to take direct control until Newfoundland could be self-sustaining. The United Kingdom, concerned over Newfoundland's likelihood of defaulting on its debt payments, established the Newfoundland Royal Commission, headed by a Scottish peer, Baron Amulree. Its report, released in 1933, assessed Newfoundland's political culture as intrinsically corrupt and its economic prospects bleak, and advocated the abolition of responsible government on the island, to be replaced by a Commission of the British Government. Acting on the report's recommendations, Alderdice's government voted itself out of existence in December 1933.
In 1934, the Dominion gave up its self-governing status as the Commission of Government took its place. In all but name, it was a colony again. Government by commission continued until confederation with Canada in 1949.
The Province of Newfoundland (and Labrador)
In 1946, an election was held for a National Convention to decide the future of Newfoundland. The Convention voted to hold a referendum to decide between continuing the Commission of Government or restoring responsible government. Joseph R. Smallwood, the leader of the confederates, moved that a third option of confederation with Canada should be included. His motion was defeated by the convention. But he did not give up, instead gathered more than 5000 petitions from the people within a fortnight which he sent to London through the Governor. The United Kingdom, insisting that it would not give Newfoundland any further financial assistance, added a third option of having Newfoundland join Canada to the ballot. After much debate, an initial referendum was held on June 3, 1948 to decide between continuing with the Commission of Government, reverting to dominion status, or joining Canadian Confederation. The result was inconclusive, with 44.6% supporting the restoration of dominion status, 41.1% for confederation with Canada, and 14.3% for continuing the Commission of Government. Between the first and second referendums, rumours had it that Catholic bishops were using their religious influence to alter the outcome of the votes. The Orange Order was incensed and called on all its members to vote for confederation, as the Catholics voted for responsible government. The Protestants of Newfoundland outnumbered the Catholics at a ratio of 2:1. This was believed to have greatly influenced the outcome of the second referendum. A second referendum on July 22, 1948, which asked Newfoundlanders to choose between confederation and dominion status, was decided by a vote of 52% to 48% for confederation with Canada. Newfoundland joined Canada on March 31, 1949.
Not everyone was satisfied with the results, however. Peter Cashin, an outspoken anti-Confederate, questioned the validity of the votes. He claimed that it was the 'unholy union between London and Ottawa' that brought about confederation.
In 1959, a local controversy arose when the provincial government pressured the Moravian Church to abandon its mission station at Hebron, Labrador, resulting in the relocation southward of the area's Inuit population, who had lived there since the mission was established in 1831.
In the 1960s, Newfoundland developed the Churchill Falls hydro-electric facility in order to sell electricity to the United States. An agreement with Quebec was required to secure permission to transport the electricity across Quebec territory. Quebec drove a hard bargain with Newfoundland, resulting in a 75-year deal that Newfoundlanders now believe to be unfair to the province because of the low and unchangeable rate that Newfoundland and Labrador receives for the electricity.
Politics of the province were dominated by the Liberal Party, led by Joseph R. Smallwood, from confederation until 1972. In 1972, the Smallwood government was finally replaced by the Progressive Conservative administration of Frank Moores. In 1979, Brian Peckford, another Progressive Conservative, became Premier. During this time, Newfoundland was involved in a dispute with the federal government for control of offshore oil resources. In the end, the dispute was decided by compromise. In 1989, Clyde Wells and the Liberal Party came to power ending seventeen years of Conservative government.
In 1992, the federal government declared a moratorium on the Atlantic cod fishery, because of severely declining catches in the late 1980s. The consequences of this decision reverberated throughout the provincial economy of Newfoundland in the 1990s, particularly as once-vibrant rural communities faced a sudden exodus. The economic impact of the closure of the Atlantic cod fishery on Newfoundland has been compared to the effect of closing every manufacturing plant in Ontario. The cod fishery which had provided Newfoundlanders on the south and east coasts with a livelihood for over 200 years was gone, although the federal government helped fishermen and fish plant workers make the adjustment with a multi-billion dollar program named "The Atlantic Groundfish Strategy" (TAGS).
In the late 1980s, the federal government, along with its Crown corporation Petro Canada and other private sector petroleum exploration companies, committed to developing the oil and gas resources of the Hibernia oil field on the northeast portion of the Grand Banks. Throughout the mid-1990s, thousands of Newfoundlanders were employed on offshore exploration platforms, as well as in the construction of the Hibernia Gravity Base Structure (GBS) and Hibernia topsides.
In 1996, the former federal minister of fisheries, Brian Tobin, was successful in winning the leadership of the provincial Liberal Party following the retirement of premier Clyde Wells. Tobin rode the waves of economic good fortune as the downtrodden provincial economy was undergoing a fundamental shift, largely as a result of the oil and gas industry's financial stimulus, although the effects of this were mainly felt only in communities on the Avalon Peninsula.
Good fortune also fell on Tobin following the discovery of some of the world's largest nickel deposits at Voisey's Bay. Tobin committed to negotiating a better royalty deal for the province with private sector mining interests than previous governments had done with the Churchill Falls hydroelectric development deal in the 1970s. Following Tobin's return to federal politics in 2000, the provincial Liberal Party devolved into internal battling for the leadership, leaving its new leader, Roger Grimes, in a weakened position as premier.
The pressure of the oil and gas industry to explore offshore in Atlantic Canada saw Newfoundland and Nova Scotia submit to a federal arbitration to decide on a disputed offshore boundary between the two provinces in the Laurentian Basin. The 2003 settlement rewrote an existing boundary in Newfoundland's favour, opening this area up to energy exploration.
In 2003, the federal government declared a moratorium on the last remaining cod fishery in Atlantic Canada - in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. While Newfoundland was again the most directly affected province by this decision, communities on Quebec's North Shore and in other parts of Atlantic Canada also faced difficulties.
Premier Grimes, facing a pending election that fall, used the Gulf cod decision and perceived federal bias against the province as a catalyst to try to rally citizens around his administration. Grimes called for a review of the Act of Union by which the province had become a part of Canada and on July 2, 2003, the findings of the Royal Commission on Renewing and Strengthening Our Place in Canada (which Grimes had created in 2002) were released. It noted the following stressors in the relationship between the province and Canada:
The report called for:
In October 2003, the Liberals lost the provincial election to the Progressive Conservative Party, led by Danny Williams.
From late October 2004 to the present, Premier Williams has argued that Prime Minister Paul Martin has not held up his promises for a new deal on the "Atlantic Accord". The issue is the royalties from oil: currently, 70 cents on each royalty dollar are sent back to the federal government through reductions in payments by the federal government with respect to its "equalization program". The province wants 100% of the royalties to allow the province to pull itself out of poverty on a long-term basis.
Toward the end of 2004, Williams ordered the Canadian flag to be removed from all provincial buildings as a protest against federal policies, and asked for municipal councils to consider doing the same. The issue, dubbed the "Flag Flap" in the media, sparked debate across the province and the rest of Canada. The flags went back up in January 2005 after much controversy nationwide and Paul Martin stating that he would not negotiate with the province if the flags were not flying. At the end of January, the federal government signed a deal to allow 100% of oil revenues to go to the province, resulting in an extra $2 billion over eight years for the province. However, this agreement has led other provinces such as Ontario and Quebec to try to negotiate their own special deals as they too claim that the federal government is taking advantage of them financially.
As of 2005, 4 of the 10 amendments to the Constitution of Canada have been concerned with Canada's tenth province.
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