Newfoundland; Economic, Diplomatic, and Strategic Studies

By R. A. MacKay | Go to book overview

XII
THE COMMISSION OF GOVERNMENT

THE Commission of Government which was established in 1934 has consisted of six Commissioners, each in charge of a particular Department of Government, and the Governor who acts as Chairman. Three of the Commissioners have been Newfoundlanders and three from the United Kingdom. Newfoundland Commissioners have held the portfolios of Justice (now Justice and Defence), Health and Welfare, and Education and Home Affairs; the others, Finance, Public Works, and Natural Resources. Normally United Kingdom Commissioners have been appointed from the Colonial Service or similar services, or from the Treasury; their previous training has given no assurance that they had any particular knowledge of Newfoundland's problems or the local environment. Usually they have held office for three years only, a period of time insufficient to enable them to become thoroughly familiar with their tasks and to formulate and carry through policies.

The decade during which Newfoundland has been governed by Commission of Government has been an extremely difficult one for all countries. The first five years witnessed a slow world recovery from the worst depression of modern times; the second five years a descent into the most widespread war of history. The first five years were peculiarly painful to Newfoundland and little progress was made towards recovery; during the second five years Newfoundland came to experience the greatest period of prosperity it has ever known. But to the Commission of Government belongs neither blame for the depression, nor praise for the prosperity of wartime. The fact is that Newfoundland has been in the grip of world-wide forces over which no Newfoundland government, whatever

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