Smallwood Statement, Oct. 1957

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29 October, 1957

Premier Smallwood made the following statement today:

“The Sub-Committee of Cabinet which was created some weeks ago to study the subject of centralization and relocation of population in Newfoundland held a special meeting in the Cabinet chamber yesterday afternoon. I had the pleasure of being present and a thorough discussion took place. It was decided that the time had come for the Government to set up a special short-term organization to conduct an intensive research campaign to gather and compile all the facts that must be known before the Government can lay down the foundations of a strong centralization program. In recent weeks the special Sub-Committee of Cabinet was in touch with certain Welfare Officers throughout Newfoundland and obtained from them certain information as to the settlements which, in the opinion of these Welfare Officers, might be regarded as settlements that had no great future. When these are listed they come to more than fifty different places, but after a long discussion yesterday the Sub-Committee of Cabinet came to the conclusion that there might actually be as many as two hundred different settlements in this Province from which all the people might wish to move to larger and more suitable places in Newfoundland, provided the necessary leadership were given. The first step is to have a complete list or all the places concerned, with the number of people in them, their means of making a living, their school facilities or lack of them, road and other connections, and a large number of other facts concerning them. After this information is gathered and compiled it will be

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possible for the Government to come to some conclusion as to the probable cost of moving the people who might wish to move, numbering perhaps as many as 50,000 persons.

“It was decided yesterday to set up a special organization under the leadership of Professor Gordon K. Goundrey, the Provincial Economist, who is attached to the Premier's Office. Special offices will be opened in the Premier's Office Building for the purpose, and the following have been seconded to this centralization organization: Miss Madge Chant, of the Department of Education; Mr. Aubrey Osborne, of the Department of Health; and Messrs. Robert H. Squires and Allan Vannan, of the Department of Fisheries. Miss Bettie Duff, Private Secretary to the Premier, is seconded to the organization on a part time basis for the next few weeks.

“It is hoped that by intensive work on the part of Professor Goundrey and his new organization a vast amount of information will be gathered inside of four or five weeks. All of the Magistrates in Newfoundland will be asked to assist actively, as will also all Medical Health Officers, School Supervisors, Welfare Officers, Police Officers, Agricultural and Fishery Fieldmen, and other permanent public servants. The Clergymen of Newfoundland will be especially invited to assist with certain vital information without which no such movement can hope to be successful.

“The organization under Professor Goundrey will almost immediately be getting in touch with all the citizens whom I have indicated, and I trust that they will make a very special effort to accede to the request for information.

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“I may say that after all this information is gathered and compiled, and the Government have had an opportunity to consider it and to base a strong policy upon it, no actual move will be made until careful consultation has been held with the leading religious and social authorities of the Province.”

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