CHC2D Grade 10 Academic History – Newfoundland and the Population Boom

Chapter 6: Coming of Age

Newfoundland Joins Confederation

  • when the other provinces joined confederation, NFL didn’t because it wanted independence (had different culture)
  • after the war, the dream of the Fathers of Confederation became a reality when NFL joined Confederation as the 10th province
  • the appeal of the welfare state and the politics of the Cold War played an important role in bringing Newfoundland into Confederation
  • both UK and Canada wanted NFL to join Canada
    • UK no longer wanted to take responsibility(especially financially) of its North American colony; Canada wanted to control NFL’s natural resources as well as its strategic location on the Atlantic Ocean (NFL was a strategic defence location in the North Atlantic against the nuclear arms race)
  • NFL residents were seeking relief from an uncertain economic future
    • during the Depression the colony’s economy had collapsed as the global market for fish, lumber, and minerals dried up
      • UK abolished the island’s elected government and replaced it with an appointed Commission of Government
  • WWII helped NFL ease the hardships of financial troubles, as both Canada and USA built naval, air and army bases on the island
  • in 1946, UK organized a National Convention to discuss the island`s fate—delegates decided to hold a referendum to let the people of NFL choose what their future should be
    • at first, becoming a province of Canada wasn`t an option; the delegates wanted the people to choose between the status quo and responsible government
      • UK however wanted NFL to join Canada; UK found an ally named Joey Smallwood, who launched a petition demanding that Confederation be included as a choice in the referendum
      • as a result, NFL could choose to join confederation
  • the 3 options on the referendum ballot were:
    • continue with the Commission of Government (which would maintain close ties with UK)
    • return to a system of responsible self-government and declare independence (which could pull NFL into the American sphere of influence)
    • joining Canada
  • on the first vote, the Commission of Government received the fewest votes (14.3%), while Confederation was (41.6) and self-government was (44.6)
    • they needed to hold another vote, because there was no majority; however, they dropped the Commission of Government as it had the least votes
  • the arguments for confederation was economic; NFL was not as prosperous as Canada, and incomes and standards of living were much lower—Canada had better support programs and social services for the poor and unemployed
    • as part of Canada, NFL would improve its international trade
  • the main arguments against joining Canada were economic as well—small businesses were afraid that competition from larger Canadian companies would wipe them out; as well if NFL was province of Canada, they would have to pay higher income taxes
  • on July 22, 1948, Confederation won (52.3% of votes) while responsible government lost (47.7%)
    • weak majority
  • on March 31, 1949, Joey Smallwood signed the agreement making NFL Canada’s 10th province

 

Maurice “Rocket” Richard: Quebecois Hero

  • Joseph Henri Maurice Richard was a symbol of the new nationalism in Quebec
  • in 1942, Richard joined the Montreal Canadiens; a year later, he helped bring the Stanley Cup back to Montreal after a 19 year absence
    • the Rocket quickly became a hockey sensation across Canada, but nowhere more so than in Quebec
  • Richard was the most exciting player in hockey—his ability to score goals at crucial times left fans in awe and admiration
    • Richard was also a fighter—he found himself in the penalty box or facing fines and suspensions often; many French Canadians believed Richard was penalized for infarctions many English players got away with
  • on March 13, 1955, a high stick wielded by an opponent struck and cut Richard`s head; Richard retaliated by repeatedly hitting the player with his stick
    • when a linesman stepped in, Richard got into a fight with him; the NHL suspended Richard for the rest of the season
      • French Canadians charged that the decision was another example of English Canada asserting its authority over French Canada
  • a few days after Richard’s suspension, the NHL commissioner attended a game at the Montreal forum; a riot broke out after more than 10 000 angry Canadiens fans broke out into the street to protest Richard’s suspension
    • to some, the “Richard Riot” was another sign of Quebec nationalism

 

A Population Explosion

  • after the war, a flood of immigrants from Europe and the baby boom led to a population explosion in Canada
    • this rapid growth in population led to Canada’s post-war economic growth and prosperity

 

A Population Explosion: Post-War Immigration

  • during the Depression and WWII, immigration to Canada was very low (from 1930-1945, only 15 000 people a year)
  • after WWII, many immigrants came
    • after the war, Europeans were desperate to escape the devastation of their homeland and build new lives in peaceful and prosperous countries like Canada
      • first, the government only allowed Western Europeans (easiest to assmiliate); when those stopped coming, they invited Eastern Europeans, Slavic and lastly Asian
  • Dutch (Netherland) people were favoured—their country was destroyed and Canada helped liberate them; as well, they were good farmers
  • in order for Canada to maintain its economic prosperity, Canada encouraged immigration from Europe—although Canada wanted new immigrants, immigration policies were designed to preserve the social and cultural status quo
    • it discriminated against people of Africa, Arab and Asian heritages
  • most immigrants in the post-war years came either as sponsored relatives or part of a government-backed labour scheme
    • the labour scheme required newcomers to sign contracts agreeing to work for 2 years as manual labourers in Canada’s mines, fisheries, and railways
      • women signed on to work as domestic servants
      • the workers (men and women) were often faced with discrimination from Canadians, who remained suspicious about people different than themselves
  • more than 1.7M immigrants, war brides, and people displaced by WWII came to Canada in the 40s and 50s
    • they helped transform Canada into a more multicultural nation

 

A Population Explosion: War Brides

  • during and after WWII, Canada welcomed thousands of war brides
    • these young women married Canadian soldiers stationed in Europe
  • most war brides came from UK, but a few thousand came from the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Italy, and Germany
  • when WWII ended, 48 000 war brides and their 22 000 children followed their husbands to Canada
  • the journey to Canada wasn’t an easy one—when war brides left home, there were emotional scenes at train stations and ship docks, as the young women said goodbye to their families
  • most war brides travelled across the Atlantic on converted luxury liners, where many became home and sea sick
    • the children were restless and bored with life on-board ship
  • like millions of immigrants before them and since, the war brides entered Canada at Pier 21 in Halifax
    • from there, they boarded trains destined for points across the country

 

A Population Explosion: The Baby Boomers

  • the baby boom was a large increase in a nation’s birth rate; several nations including Canada experienced a dramatic rise in birth rates after WWII
  • hard times and uncertain futures during the Depression and WWII led to a decline in the birth rate in Canada between 1929-1945, as many couples postponed marriage; also, men were away (impossible to make babies)
    • also, people couldn`t afford babies
  • the decline in immigration also reduced the number of children in Canada; as a result, in the early 40s, the average age of Canadians was on the rise
  • the post-war years reversed the low amount of kids (due to economic boom)—after WWII many Canadians had more money than ever
    • family allowances (aka baby bonus) encouraged young couples to have more kids
      • as a result, the baby boom occurred
  • the baby boom has had a profound impact on social and economic institutions in Canada
    • as the first baby boomers reached school age, the provinces had to scramble to accommodate them
      • between 1945 and 1961, school enrolment more than doubled as new students entered school each year, causing school boards to hire thousands of new teachers, and build new schools
    • the changing economy of the post-war world also meant that Canadian students needed to have a better education than previous generations
      • this caused many baby boomers to stay in school longer and pursue post-secondary education, creating the need for more training schools, colleges, and universities
  • in the short term, baby boom created jobs
  • as the boomers aged, their impact has been felt throughout Canadian society
    • during the 60s and 70s, the number of students entering university skyrocketed, causing new universities to be opened
    • in the 80s and 90s, the financial needs of the baby boomers led to new banking and investment services
    • by 2020, the baby boomers will begin to retire, and as they do, the financial costs of an aging population will pass to a smaller generation of middle-aged Canadian taxpayers

 

Moving to the Suburbs

  • cars and houses came to symbolise “the good life” for Canadians in the 50s
  • before 1950, the majority of Canadians lived in rented housing
    • only a few families owned small homes on small plots of land; only the wealthy could afford large homes with lawns and gardens
  • the creation of housing neighbourhoods in the outskirts of cities (where land was more affordable) made home ownership accessible to a growing number of Canadians
    • the growing use of the automobile and an expanding network of roads made it easier for people to live in the suburbs and commute to their jobs in the city
  • buying a home became easier when the government introduced the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation in 1946, which insured mortgages people obtained from banks

 

Life in the Suburbs

  • life in the suburbs emphasized home and family
  • gender roles were clearly defined—social values kept most married women (especially those with children) at home raising their kids and managing the household, while dads worked in the paid labour force to earn money
  • the suburbs created a stereotypical image of the family, and it was made popular on TV by shows like “Leave it to Beaver” and “Father Knows Best”
    • the stern yet loving father was head of the house; the loving and nurturing mother stayed home to look after the children and make sure dinner was on the table
    • the mischievous children learned about life from their parents
  • initially, the new suburbs lacked shopping areas, restaurants, theatres, and recreational facilities
    • people had to go to the city for entertainment or to church and community gatherings to socialize with their neighbours; increasingly people stayed home to enjoy watching TV
      • over time, children began to spend more time in front of the TV; TV began to replace traditional family activities

 

Suburban Communities

  • eventually large and impersonal supermarkets, department stores, and shopping malls came to the suburbs
    • they fuelled new levels of consumerism among Canadians who were eager to buy all the goods and services available in the 50s
  • West Vancouver’s Royal Shopping Centre was opened in 1950, and was the first Canadian open-air shopping mal
    • in 1953, Montreal’s Boulevard Shopping Centre marked the beginning of a new era for shoppers—covered walkways from bus stops to shops, landscaped parks, places for weary shoppers to sit and rest
    • in 1956, the concept of enclosed shopping malls made its debut with more stores offering even greater shopping choices
    • shopping malls have since then evolved; today many shopping centres like the Eaton Centre and West Edmonton Mall are complex facilities offering shopping, dining, entertainment, and even hotels

 

Handout: NFL Referendum (second)

  • Reasons FOR Confederation in 1949 (mainly social/economic issues):
    • no one wanted NFL except Canada (as Canada can have both oceans; territorial reasons)
    • Canada has better infrastructure—airports and ship ports and roads better maintained
    • Canada has social safety net and welfare (EI)
    • improved standard of living and social services and quality of life-hospitals, schools, Medicare (to help NFL TB crisis)
    • better jobs in Canada
  • Reasons AGAINST Confederation in 1949 (mainly the fear of losing) and FOR responsible Government:
    • NFL nationalism (protect culture)
    • there’s a better deal with USA—believed USA would want their fish (false as USA has 2 oceans itself)
    • Canadians businesses will dominate NFL business (fear of losing)
    • xenophobia—fear of outsiders
    • more taxes under Canada (but more taxes mean better services)
    • protect NFL school systems (run by churches; however many cases of sexual abuse)