Smallwood Statement, Feb. 1957

Statement Image Page 1 (101k)
Statement Image Page 2 (101k)
Statement Image Page 3 (31k)

14 February, 1957

Premier Smallwood issued the following statement today:

"For some years past there has been a lot of talk about the way the population of Newfoundland are scattered into so many hundreds of settlements along so many thousands of miles of coastline. It has long been felt by thoughtful people that the terribly scattered nature of our population has made it very expensive for the Government to provide public services to all the people, such as post offices, telegraph offices, telephones, coastal boats, hospitals, roads, snow clearing, schools and many other services. Many people have felt that there are hundreds of settlements more than there should be, and this feeling has been expressed by a great many people in recent years.

"I have given this matter a great deal of thought and at a recent meeting of the Cabinet I raised the subject for the consideration of my Colleagues. It was agreed by all that this matter should be taken hold of with determination by the Government in an effort to see what, if anything, can be done to bring about a remedy. The one thing that we will not do is to force anybody to move. That would be dictatorship and it is useless for anyone to suggest that we should force people to do that. On the other hand we all feel that the Government have perhaps not been spending enough money each year to help people to move from smaller settlements into larger ones. The help we have been giving has been running up to about four hundred dollars per family. A fair number of people have accepted this assistance and have moved to larger settlements, but it would take the next fifty years, at this rate, for any really considerable number of settlements to close down.

- 2 -

"I asked my Colleagues to agree to the appointment of a special sub-committee of the Cabinet to organize a special investigation of this whole matter, and they heartily agreed. The special sub-committee are Honourables Beaten J. Abbott, Chairman; Samuel J. Hefferton, Dr. Fred W. Rowe, and Dr. James M. McGrath. They are the Ministers responsible for the administration of Public Welfare, Municipal Affairs, Education, and Public Health.

"This sub-committee of Cabinet are to report back to the Cabinet on the nature of the investigation that should be made by the Government as a whole, for the purpose of finding out how many settlements there are containing small numbers of families, the names of the larger settlements to which such families might wish to move, whether enough land and other conveniences are to be found in such larger places, whether by moving to such larger places people would still be as well able to make a living as before, whether sufficient school and church accommodation already exists in such larger places for the newcomers who would arrive from the smaller places, and a considerble [sic] number of other factors that would need to be known before an actual program could be formulated. The sub-committee of the Cabinet are expected to make proposals on these points to the Cabinet within the next few weeks.

"We all feel that the number of small settlements that might disappear in the next few years runs as high perhaps as two hundred or even more. There might be as many as ten thousand families living in such small places at the present time. It might cost millions of dollars to give them the financial assistance they might need to encourage them to move to larger towns and settlements. These are the facts that must be learned from an

- 3 -

organized survey, and my Colleagues agree that this survey should be launched just as soon as the sub-committee of the Cabinet report back to us."

<< Back

single pixel single pixel
single pixel

© 2003 - 2005 Maritime History Archive, Memorial University