The day we voted for the Maple Leaf

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School has been out for weeks, but hopefully a little history will be appreciated, because July 22 is a significant date in this province’s past.

It's the day we voted to join Canada in 1948, with Confederation receiving 78,323 votes and Responsible Government getting 71,334 votes in the second of two referendums.

The campaigns and debates leading to the votes were were bitter, and 63 years later, some argue we’d have been better off opening door number two and going our own way.

And while a few still want to separate, I believe most consider themselves proud Canadians but even prouder Newfoundlanders. (Many in the Big Land consider themselves Labradorians first.)

Still, it’d sure be interesting to see what would have transpired if Newfoundland and Labrador chose to become a country. Would we be North Atlantic sheiks or would many still be using outhouses?

And based on our shameful turnout in the recent federal election — 52.8 per cent, second lowest in Canada — it’d also be interesting to see how many would vote if a ballot on independence were held today.

Apparently, the 1948 referendum saw voter turnouts greater than 100 per cent in some districts. In the past 63 years, we’ve gone from passionate to apathetic.


Email Steve at Follow him on Twitter at bartlett_steve.

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Recent comments

  • W McLean
    July 25, 2011 - 20:49

    Tammy B., given the state of enumeration, it's quite easy for voter turnout to be higher than 100%. In fact, I think I've even spotted some instances of it at the poll level in recent elections. Similarly, the truly atrocious state of the provincial voters list is part of the reason voter turnout *appears* to be so low. The fact is, the list is inflated with the names of deceased, relocated, or duplicate electors, which makes turnout, in percentage terms, seem lower than it really is.

  • Tammy B
    July 22, 2011 - 18:23

    "Apparently, the 1948 referendum saw voter turnouts greater than 100 per cent in some districts.". This quote made me laugh! Confirms the stories I heard from reputable sources who worked on that referendum!