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A Father of Confederation

"The Hon . Joey Smallwood"

Joseph Robert (Joey) Smallwood didn't start out to be a Father of Confederation, in fact the thought probably never occurred to young Joey Smallwood. He had dropped out of school at age 15, but picked up an education working as a reporter for newspapers in St. John's, Halifax, Boston and New York. He may be the only Canadian Premier ever to have worked on the New York Times.

In the U.S. at age 24 he campaigned on behalf of the Progressive Party's candidate for President.

Four years later he was in England campaigning for the Labor Party. Back in Newfoundland in 1928, he was a campaign manager ... then lost his first attempt to win a seat four years later.

For the next seven years Joey was "Joe the Barrelman", spinning homespun stories on the radio in St. John's.

In those days Newfoundland was an independent country. But dirt-poor. Joey Smallwood said the only way to help the people of Newfoundland get into the 20th century was unity with Canada. He campaigned hard for provincial status. . . and when the vote was taken it was a squeaker ... only 52 percent in favor.

Joey Smallwood was chosen to lead the Liberal Party of Newfoundland and in April 1949 he led Newfoundland into Canada.

He claims: "I went into politics because no one else would accept the challenge of bringing Newfoundland into Confederation."

His proud boast is that he's the first Premier of Newfoundland and the only living Father of Confederation.

Joey Smallwood, a Canadian like you, who had a dream and made it work.

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