"We can't allow things that are inaccurate to stand." — The Word of Our Dan, February 19, 2008.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

The formative years

Danny Williams was born in 1949. His teenage and young adult years were spent exposed to the worst excesses, political, policy, and rhetorical, of Joey Smallwood.

And it shows.

From the archives:


By Bruce MacDonald
Star Staff Correspondent
Toronto Star
April 9, 1959

Ottawa, April 9—Premier Smallwood of Newfoundland was off on a mystery trip to the U.K. today after flaying about in all directions at the International Woodworkers of America, Prime Minister Diefenbaker and two of his ministers here yesterday, and opening the possibility of launching a third court battle against Ottawa for “violating” the 1948 terms of Union.

In a 30-minute speech to the Canadian Club, followed by a marathon two-hour and 15-minute press conference, the irrepressible head of the Newfoundland government revised some of his former allegations and contentions, but followed up with new denunciations which indicated he remained unrepentant.

Mr. Smallwood left Ottawa today for New York, where he is crossing to Britain for the first time by jet. He would say only that his week’s stay in the U.K. was on government business.

“I Won’t Be Bullied”

During the course of his busy day here yesterday, these points were brought out in statements by Mr. Smallwood:

Despite prodding by Mr. Diefenbaker, the Newfoundland legislation to create a fourth judgeship in the province would not be proclaimed until the Conservative leader named a new Chief Justice to fill the existing vacancy.

“I will not allow the Prime Minister of Canada to bully me into adopting his policy. When the Prime Minister starts sticking a club in my direction, I don’t duck; I stand up to it,” declared the Premier.

“I am not going to try and be Prime Minister of Canada and I am going to resist with all power in my command his attempt to be Premier of Newfoundland.”

During his stay in Ottawa, he did not call on the Prime Minister because he “had no business with him” and had “no powerful urge” to call on him “socially.”

Seeking Legal Advice

Newfoundland was seeking advice – he would not say from whom – to determine whether legal or other action could be taken against the federal government for its assertion that the terms of union with the province would be finally and irrevocably settled with the payment of a final special grant in 1962.

Mr. Smallwood acknowledged that Newfoundland had no legal grounds on which to sue Ottawa for breach of contract of the terms of union signed in 1948, but disclosed he was consulting with constitutional authorities to determine whether there was “some recourse to the courts.” Newfoundland is already suing Ottawa for breach of contracts involving the RCMP and the St. John’s Housing Authority.

Asked if one source of his advice was former Liberal Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent, he declined to answer.

An alternative to court action would be an appeal to public opinion, he indicated.

Revise Labor Laws

The International Woodworkers of America he branded as a symbol of “gangsterism lawlessness” in Newfoundland, maintaining that the legislation was necessary for the survival of the province. But he indicated that in time the anti-labor legislation would be amended so that the province once again had the “most progressive labor legislation in Canada.”

Hon. William Browne, Newfoundland representative in the federal cabinet, was guilt of a “piece of arrogant impertinence” when he wrote last summer to the provincial minister of municipal affairs calling on him to knock two provincial appointees off the St. John’s Housing Authority in favor of his own Conservative supporters, or increase the directorships to provide for them. Mr. Smallwood ordered the minister not to bother replying.

The contention by Works Minister Green that the housing authority had not always granted accommodation in the low-rental projects on a basis of need was “a downright lie,” he reiterated.

Told To Quit House

Mr. Green, he disclosed, last summer wrote to him ordering him to vacate “Canada House,” the federally owned residence he occupies in St. John’s which was formerly occupied by the Canadian high commissioner. Mr. Smallwood said he asked permission to remain until his own residence, now under construction, was completed, which was granted on condition it did not take too long. The name of the new Smallwood residence: “Newfoundland House.”

“The general opinion in Newfoundland is that this was inspired by Williams Browne,” he added.

The people of Newfoundland were 99 per cent behind him on his moves to drive out the IWA. It was “only sheer sportsmanship” which stopped him from calling an early election, which would result in the Liberal party “taking every seat in Newfoundland.” The Conservative opposition now has four out of 36 seats.

During the press conference, Mr. Smallwood retreated somewhat from three stands he had taken previously.

On his arrival Tuesday night, the fire-eating premier charged during an impromptu station platform press conference that Mr. Browne “is the biggest landlord of slum housing in Newfoundland” and that “some of the worst slums in North America are in the heart of St. John’s and are owned by Mr. Browne.”

Qualifies Charge

Yesterday Mr. Smallwood indicated he wanted to qualify his earlier statement, which was made in anger over assertions in the Commons by Works Minister Green.

“I am not able to say what proportion of the (slum) land is owned by Mr. Browne,” he asserted. “Mr. Browne is a lawyer and for many years he has collected the rents from many – I won’t say most – of the worst slums in the worst slum areas of North America.”

“Did he collect for himself or a client?” the premier was asked.

“I can’t say.”

“Does he own the land?”

“I’m not sure. He collected the rents,” the premier replied, but later asserted: “He collected for himself and clients.”

Mr. Smallwood told reporters that Newfoundland intended to press its suit against the federal government for its decision to have Central Mortgage and Housing Corp. take over management of a new 192-unit low-rental project from the St. John’s Housing Authority.

While the province considered this a clear breach of the contract between the three levels of government, the premier indicated the federal government might have some merit in its claim to the right to be consulted on appointments to the directorship of the authority, since it picked up 75 per cent of the tab.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home