Joseph Roberts Smallwood

(1900—1991) journalist and politician in Newfoundland and Canada

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(b. 24 Dec. 1900, d. 17 Dec. 1991).

Premier of Newfoundland 1949–72 Born at Gambo (Newfoundland), Smallwood became a journalist and radio broadcaster, and ran a piggery at the air base in Gander during World War II. In 1946, he was elected to a convention called to advise the British government on the future status of the colony. His tireless advocacy of confederation with Canada paid off when a second referendum on 22 July 1948 narrowly approved incorporation with Canada. Subsequently remembered as ‘the last father of confederation’, he became Premier of the interim government of Newfoundland on 1 April 1949, and was made leader of the provincial Liberal Party. Despite some idiosyncratic economic policies, which included an abortive attempt at industrialization, he brought greater prosperity to the region as a result of successfully lobbying for generous federal spending. Faced with an increasingly critical public, he lost the leadership in 1972, and retired in 1977.

Subjects: History of the Americas — Contemporary History (Post 1945).

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