On the trail of conspiracy

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The recent 1949 conspiracy feature in The Telegram (“Conspiring minds” and “Rocky road to Canada,” Nov. 22 and 23) revealed more examples of the fiction upon which the whole conspiracy theory was based.

Among this deceit is the fabricated claim of voting fraud but, as people have failed to find a single piece of evidence to support this, proponents gathered material from a fictional movie. One thing in their favour, at least, is that it wasn’t stolen from a cartoon.

This shouldn’t be any more of a surprise to the public than the concocted assertions of Churchill and Roosevelt conspiring in 1941 to rob Newfoundland of its democracy while the free world around them was crumbling. What twist will enter the debate when these “theorists” discover that the “Man Called Intrepid” was actually employed in Newfoundland in the early 1950s?

To understand the political issues of 1949, one has to know the history of how Newfoundland got to the point of bankruptcy and just how England came to have the control that it did during Commission of Government. When viewed, historic documents reveal the greatest betrayal of the Newfoundland people in this country’s history.

This was not by Canada or England but the old merchant establishment interests of St. John’s.

Prime Minister Frederick Alderdice won the 1932 election with a commitment to look into establishing a commission government and a pledge, his exact words, “No action will be taken that does not first have the consent of the people.” People cheered. Alderdice won a landslide victory. From that point on, the electorate was discarded. This episode became even more outrageous.

He understood greed and knew his colleagues were not about to legislate themselves out of existence.

Alderdice recognized his party could not go into the legislature divided, so behind closed doors, he used bribery to get unanimous support to dismantle Newfoundland’s independence.

Sir Edward Harding, British secretary of Dominion Office, in a secret memo, described Alderdice’s action as “A bribe to some of the ex-ministers to accept the Royal Commissions’ report.”

He emphasized that no Secretary of State could possibly have agreed to it in any circumstances.

Historian S.J.R. Noel described this sellout as, “The sweeping away of the entire (Newfoundland) political heritage.”

The betrayal did not escape Peter Cashin, who charged, “It was not too long before (the Alderdice Administration) discovered that they had deceived the people more than any other party on record and that the people whom they had deliberately and knowingly deceived had now to face the worst industrial and working conditions ever. I often wonder did our people ever forgive those deceptive individuals who knowingly betrayed Newfoundland and our people.”

The story of corruption and betrayal in the responsible government era, the historic treachery involving this country’s loss of independence, plus detailed personal accounts of the unimaginable suffering caused by the deed are  documented in my current book “Newfoundland’s Era of Corruption.”

More related history is contained in “1949: Twilight Before The Dawn,” published last year.

If Newfoundlanders had not been

so thoroughly deceived, Smallwood’s campaign would have been easier and the support for Confederation would have swept the whole country.

Jack Fitzgerald writes from St. John’s.

Organizations: Commission of Government, Dominion Office, Royal Commissions Alderdice Administration

Geographic location: Newfoundland, England, Canada

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