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Sir Robert Bond

(1857—1927) politician in Newfoundland


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(1857–1927), prime minister of Newfoundland 1900–9. Born in St John's, Bond became one of Newfoundland's most respected pre-Confederation premiers. First elected to the legislature in 1882, he served as Liberal premier in 1900–9. A nationalist who believed in his country's economic potential, Bond supported the building of a trans-insular railway and opposed confederation with Canada. Instead, he believed that Newfoundland should develop economic ties with the United States. He therefore tried on two occasions (1890 and 1902) to negotiate independent reciprocity treaties. Bond achieved an unrivalled political stature when, in 1895, he negotiated loans that prevented colonial default and propped up the government Savings Bank, giving a personal guarantee to the lenders. His reputation as a patriot was further enhanced by his campaign against the grant in 1898 of what he considered excessive concessions to the railway contractor and operator R. G. Reid. As premier, Bond revised the government's contract with Reid, played an important part in establishing the colony's first newsprint mill at Grand Falls, and helped bring an end to the French Shore dispute. His attempt to salvage the failed 1902 reciprocity treaty by imposing sanctions on American fishermen backfired, making him politically unpopular at home and abroad. Defeated at the polls in 1909, he retired from politics in 1914.

From The Oxford Companion to Canadian History in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: History of the Americas.


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