Bells ring for N.L. Confederation anniversary in Ottawa

Andrew
Andrew Robinson
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The bells of the Peace Tower Carillon on Parliament Hill in Ottawa ran loudly Monday as songs deeply ingrained in the fabric of Newfoundland and Labrador were performed to honour the anniversary of Confederation.

March 31, 2014 marked the 65th anniversary of the historic day when Newfoundlanders and Labradorians officially became Canadian citizens. To mark the occasion, Dominion Carillonneur Andrea McCrady performed “Ode to Newfoundland,” “Squid-Jiggin’ Ground,” and “We’ll Rant and We’ll Roar,” amongst other selections.

“That’s a very moving part, really, to just stand there and hear our anthemic ‘Ode to Newfoundland,’ and then when you hear ‘We’ll Rant and We’ll Roar’ and those other wonderful tunes from home, it really does put a real thrill through you,” said Herb Davis, a former host of CBC radio’s “Fisheries Broadcast” who went on to a career in business and the public sector now living in Ottawa.

Davis said the crowd of over 100 who gathered at noon Monday was fortunate to have blue skies above them for the 15-minute event. Those on hand included Newfoundland and Labrador Canadian Senate members Fabian Manning and David Wells, former Lt.-Gov. John Crosbie and his wife Jane Furneaux Crosbie, and St. John’s East NDP MP Jack Harris.

“There were people there who were Canadians from other parts of Canada who also wanted to recognize and be part of that celebration,” added Davis.

arobinson@thetelegram.com

Twitter: @TeleAndrew

Organizations: CBC, Newfoundland and Labrador Canadian Senate

Geographic location: Newfoundland, Ottawa, Ottawa.Davis Canada

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  • TP Finlay
    April 02, 2014 - 22:22

    It seems they gave a party and nobody came. Indeed it looked less like a celebration and more like a wake. For anyone who has followed the sorry saga of Newfoundland's troubled 65 year association with Canada, it will come as no surprise. It has been marked sometimes by outright hostility and always by condescension and indifference. Canada coveted the land mass, the rich natural resources, and especially the security that came with the completion of its eastern flank. It was less enthralled with what it saw as its near-destitute, semi-literate, far-flung, ragged-arse inhabitants – just another mouth to feed. But the prospect of Britain’s oldest colony falling into American hands was too much for either Canada or Britain to bear. Saddled with a huge war debt defending Britain, Newfoundland was forced into receivership and from there it was a conspiratorial cake-walk to Confederation – aided and abetted by a handful of inept, supercilious hucksters of its own. No doubt it accelerated Newfoundland’s relief from the grinding poverty occasioned by indifference at Whitehall and corruption at home. But the cash advance was one for which Newfoundlanders would pay dearly in the ensuing half century or more. The abrogation of Term 29, the sorry excuse for a constitutionally mandated transportation link with the mainland, the abandonment of its railway obligation, the downgrading of military installations in spite of their strategic value, the conspiracy with Quebec to defraud the province of its hydro-electric resources, the insistence on ‘regionalizing’ its responsibilities to the province through the Maritimes, the alienation and then near-destruction of its fishery, and the claim jumping of its offshore petroleum resources. These are only a few of the indignities and injustices Newfoundland would suffer at the hands of Ottawa. Newfoundland would continue to produce – as it had for centuries – great leaders in the arts, business, politics and law but none that would merit consideration for appointment as Governor-General, Supreme Court justice, or a long list of other important positions reserved for real Canadians. None of this denies the fact that Canada was and is a great nation or that Canadians individually are among the most compassionate and considerate anywhere in the world. Despite these personal attributes, they have collectively stood by unaware and indifferent to the abusive relationship in which their newest province had found itself. Nor – given their own worries and preoccupations – could they be expected to wade in on behalf of a small, politically impotent province on the geographic and economic fringe of such a large balkanized nation. Whether or not John Crosbie’s renewed pledge of allegiance to, and affection for, his adopted country is altogether genuine, or whether perhaps there are private moments in which he might have thought his father had it right all along – we will probably never know. Some, of course, will see this 65th anniversary retrospective more as a vitriolic rant - evidence of ingratitude, insular thinking and perhaps even paranoia. And they could be right. I could be off base. I am rational enough to at least allow the possibility. But to the extent my perspective strikes a chord of understanding and commiseration with other Newfoundlanders – I think perhaps not an inconsequential number of Newfoundlanders – it will if nothing else demonstrate how miserably Ottawa has failed, in the span of these 65 years, to make us feel welcome.

  • jerome bennett
    April 02, 2014 - 14:39

    I was born in 1949.I probably owe Joey my life because had we joined the U.S.instead of CANADA i most likely would have been sent to Viet Naim.