"Antis" of Plate Cove, The

DESCRIPTION: A fight breaks out during an election to confederate Newfoundland with Canada. Details of the clash between "cons" and "antis" are told by the singer, who is against confederation.
AUTHOR: Mark Walker
EARLIEST DATE: 1940
KEYWORDS: political patriotic Canada
HISTORICAL REFERENCES:
1867 - Canadian Act of Confederation
1869 - Newfoundland electors refuse to join the Canadian Confederation
1949 - Newfoundland unites with Canada
FOUND IN: Canada(Newf)
REFERENCES (2 citations):
Doyle2, pp. 44-45, "The 'Antis' of Plate Cove" (1 text, 1 tune)
Blondahl, pp. 43-44, "The Antis of Plate Cove" (1 text, 1 tune)

Roud #4554
CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "Anti-Confederation Song (I)" (subject)
cf. "Anti-Confederation Song (II)" (subject)
NOTES [315 words]: Mainland Canada achieved "Confederation," and self-government, in 1867. Many of the provinces, especially in the Maritimes, were against Confederation (it was, after all, largely the result of internal politics in "Canada" -- Ontario plus Quebec), but most joined by 1870. Newfoundland, however, rejected confederation in 1869, and did not finally join Canada until 1949. - RBW
Doyle [refers this piece to the election of] 1869. "Cons" were for confederation and "antis" where those against. He also mentions that Plate Cove is in Bonavista Bay. Confederacy was not achieved until 1949 with a very slim margin at the polls. - SH
To be fair, Newfoundland had not been represented at the 1864 conference that began the process of Confederation (Neary/O'Flaherty, p. 90). There wasn't much reason for Newfoundland to want Confederation; in the 1860s, it was still mostly self-reliant, and very rural, and such trade as it did have was with the British Isles, not North America (Neary/O'Flaherty, p. 92). Turning their relations with Britain over to people in Ontario and Quebec might well have proved disastrous. It didn't help that Newfoundland politics in this period were sharply divided along sectarian and occupational lines (Neary/O'Flaherty, p. 91). When the members of the legislature were largely elected based on their opposition to some other group, it was hard to imagine a way to assemble a coalition that was FOR something. The legislature in 1866-1868 was fairly closely divided on the issue -- to closely divided to settle anything. And, by 1869, 21 of 30 Members elected were opposed to Confederation (Neary/O'Flaherty, p. 92). So Newfoundland stayed an independent colony for another eighty years. It wasn't until the Great Depression so destroyed the economy that the government had to (in effect) sell itself back to Britain that the issue of Confederation came back. - RBW
Bibliography Last updated in version 4.3
File: Doy44

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