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When Newfoundland chose not to join Canadian Confederation in 1867 it had made a decision to pursue it's own independence within the British Empire. Although the other Maritime provinces all negotiated entry into Canada by 1871, Newfoundland was quite content going it's own way. Between confederation and the 1940's, Newfoundland and Canada began negotiations for unity just once, and that was in 1895 and the incentive and interests of finding an acceptable agreement for both parties was not high enough to conclude in Newfoundland's entrance into confederation.

Newfoundland played the part of loyal British Empire member and contributed heavily to the war efforts in both the First and Second World Wars. In 1934 under tremendous economic pressure from he conditions of the Great Depression, the Newfoundland economy cracked and it was taken back under the wing of Great Britain for relief and help.

During the Second World War, thousands of Americans were based in Newfoundland and their influence played an important role in the development and attitudes of the Newfoundlanders during the war. At the conclusion of hostilities there was a general feeling that Newfoundland was back on its feet but needed to choose a new course for its future. The Options were to remain a protectorate of Great Britain, gain it's independence and form a country, join the United States or join Canada.

During the Second World War the British Governor in Newfoundland reported that the Newfoundlanders were "so dazzled by the American dollars, hygiene and efficiency that many of the public rather play up to America in preference to Canada" By 1945 he British Government realized that it would not be able to afford post war support of Newfoundland and in discussions with Canada, decided to encourage union with Canada in preference to the United States. On December 11thh, 1945 a National Convention in Newfoundland was called to address the issue.

The leader of he pro-confederation forces was a radio host journalist, Joey Smallwood who believed that union with Canada would provide Newfoundland with the best possible economic opportunities, a continuation of British Parliamentary traditions and a social support system that would benefit Newfoundlanders more than any of the other options. A referendum was proposed and accepted which was to be held in 1948.

The first referendum question in 1948 asked Newfoundlanders to choose between responsible government, commission government by Britain with very little help, or tacked on at the last minute by the British, joining Canadian confederation.

he results of the first referendum of June 3, 1948 were 41.1% in favour of Canadian Confederation, 44.6% in favour of responsible government and 14.3% in favour of continued commission rule by Britain.  The commission option was ruled out as the one that received the lowest percentage of the vote and the remaining two were voted on during the July 22 referendum and 52.3 voted for confederation. Most knew that responsible government really meant the first step towards joining the United States so Britain and Canada had won the day and on  march 31st, 1949 Newfoundland became the 10th Canadian province and Joey Smallwood her first Premier.




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Reference: www.canadahistory.com/sections/eras/eras.html