Completing the map of Canada
Joey Smallwood — journalist, labour agitator, historian and politician — was
a man of many parts. In the 1940s, all these elements united in a no-holds-barred struggle to convince Newfoundlanders that their future lay with Canada.
Born to poverty, Smallwood cut his political teeth as an activist in the 1930s.
He knew, firsthand, the threadbare existence of most Newfoundlanders.
He became the province’s first Canadian premier in 1949 and remained in office
for 22 years, transforming Newfoundland through lavish federal and provincial
investment. Strong-willed and autocratic, he was not always wise. As a communicator, however, he left a priceless legacy of historical and cultural knowledge to his beloved Newfoundland.
Of course I would have to declare instantly and emphatically, if I were
asked for my own opinion of the biggest achievement of my public life: Confederation; my part in introducing the issue and my effort in helping to bring it about.
Joey Smallwood, 1979