In Newfoundland, Canada's history as a nation is given its truest expression


National Post, 26 June 2017

To live in Newfoundland is to wrest from the environment a tough living. Sometimes it must seem that the environment is wresting that living back.


Strictly speaking, Canada 150 is a misnomer here, as Newfoundland only joined the Confederation in 1949. Yet Newfoundland is so fittingly Canadian, it is hard to imagine it otherwise: the sea, the coast, the north, the indigenous people and the first European explorers — the Vikings arrived centuries before Columbus sailed — the closeness to Europe and the opening to a new continent. And the moose.

Without Canada, what would Newfoundland be? Well, Newfoundland. It is fully Canadian, but the visitor senses that it would be fully what it is regardless. That it has its own time zone reminds everyone that it is both part of the whole and still set apart.

The last big celebration of the 1867 British North America Act, Canada’s 125thin 1992, didn’t go so well here in Newfoundland. In what might have been the oddest Canada Day celebration in either of the former dominions, Newfoundland’s own John Crosbie — the federal fisheries minister — returned home to protestors and shouting matches about the impending closure of the cod fishery.

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