Saturday, April 12, 2008
Griff has already commented on Colby Cosh's article "Canada's biggest mistake: Newfoundland," but I wanted to add my own two cents to the mix. I actually don't find anything wrong with the article; in fact I agree with Cosh. I think the title is misleading though - Cosh only mentions two downsides for Canada in the 1949 Confederation of Newfoundland, and those are tucked in at the end of the article. More of the article is actually spent talking about what Newfoundland has lost since confederation. Perhaps Colby was making an effort to soothe the wounded pride of Newfoundlanders before making his point?
Confederation has always been a contentious issue here in Newfoundland and Labrador, and not least of all because only the slimmest of a majority (51% - and I repeat, 51%) voted for it - and only on a second run off vote where a third option, commission government, was thrown off the ballot. The winner of the first ballot was actually responsible government, which meant that we probably would have stayed our own province had it been left at that. That being said, there are and will continue to be endless debates about whether or not electoral irregularities occurred in the second vote (Joey Smallwood not being the most ethical of individuals), whether the results were even legally binding, and a host of other cantankerous issues.
I think Cosh has a very good point regarding the extension of EI benefits to seasonal fisherman. The reality of the fact is that there are an awful lot of people out there who ride the system once they get enough hours to qualify for it. But at the same time, in a place with as high unemployment as the province has, EI benefits mean the difference between eating and starving for a lot of people.
To sum it up: Colby, you're no Margaret Wente, thank God. But we already knew that.