Provincial patriotism goes under the microscope next week when Memorial University hosts a free public forum examining Newfoundland nationalism.
Not a Nation? (Or Does Newfoundland Nationalism Make Historical Sense?) is being organized by the university’s Leslie Harris Centre of Regional Policy and Development and will feature Dr. Sean Cadigan, a historian at Memorial and author of the recently published book Newfoundland and Labrador: A History.
He will be joined by David Cochrane, provincial affairs reporter for CBC in Newfoundland and Labrador and a graduate of Memorial, as well as Dr. Godfrey Baldacchino, a professor at the University of Prince Edward Island who specializes in governance of sub-national island jurisdictions.
“Recent years have seen an increase in nationalism on the part of many Newfoundlanders and Labradorians,” said Michael Clair, associate director of public policy at the Harris Centre.
“Rising revenues from offshore oil and a contentious relationship with Ottawa have made the province more confident and more assertive. Many people are waving the pink-white-and-green flag and some are even envisioning a future unencumbered by confederation.”
The forum will explore whether that nationalistic fervour is useful or whether it instead distract from the main issues.
“We will also ask questions such as: ‘Does it provide a useful vehicle for mobilizing public support, or can it unleash an unhealthy division within society?’ And, ‘does it even make sense in a historical context?’” said Mr. Clair.
“Since Confederation, politicians have used a particular form of neo-nationalist Ottawa-bashing to distract the people of Newfoundland and Labrador from the failures of provincial policies and to co-opt their support,” added Dr. Cadigan. “Yet the supposed failures of Confederation for Newfoundland and Labrador are all problems that predate union with Canada.”
Not a Nation? (Or Does Newfoundland Nationalism Make Historical Sense?) takes place on Wednesday, May 13, at 7:30 p.m., in the Inco Innovation Centre, Room IIC-2001.
The forum is open to the public and admission is free.
Parking is available free of charge in Lot 18, which is located between the Queen Elizabeth II Library and the Prince Philip Parkway. A reception will follow the event.