The 16th largest Island in the world is on the east coast of Canada. And you can immigrate there, but before you do, you'll have to be "screeched in". This episode will explain it all.
NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR
2021 © Matt Zimbel
Announcer: This is the yes We Canada Podcast. The progressive's Guide to getting the Fuck out. Today’s episode? Newfoundland and Labrador
Hi, I’m Matt Zimbel in Montreal. As we head towards the end of season one, of Yes, We Canada, it is our mission to find you a place to be a Canadian. On this podcast we head east, far east…
Newfoundland is an island off the eastern coast of Canada in the north Atlantic. It’s the world’s 16th largest island. Newfoundland is also the freshest part of Canada. Fresh, because it was the last province to join the Canadian Federation in 1949. When you get to there, you will immediately understand that Newfoundland may be “side by each wit Canada”, which is Newfoundlandese for “next to” Canada, but it’s: Newfoundland first, “Canada turd”, which, is how ‘third’ is pronounced in Newfoundland.
Just like Texans love Texas and like America, Newfoundlanders… love Newfoundland and like Canada.
You see before Newfoundland joined Canada in 1949, they had a referendum and in a
vote of 52.3 to 47.7 they became new Canadians by a very slender margin. Are you feeling the love? Me neither. Before they joined the Dominion of Canada, they shopped around. Oh, did they ever…They considered staying with Britain as an independent colony, they also flirted with hooking up with you’all. In a 1947 poll, 80% of Newfoundlanders said they wanted to join the United States. Think of it…you could have had North Maine and South Maine. Just like the Dakota’s you could have had “The Maine’s”.
You know come to think of it, I’m not sure you guys in the States would have let Newfoundland in. You know how you are about sex, right? A little puritanical, a tad prissy, kind of prudish at times….Now the reason you would have likely barred Newfoundland in 1949 is they have two towns with names you may have found a little um, un-American. There is a hamlet on the Avalon Peninsula with a population of 228 called Come by Chance and if you can’t get to Come by Chance, you absolutely must try out Dildo, population 250, just 37 miles west of the capitol, St. John’s. Like every other satirical media outlet in the world, we have talked about Dildo on the podcast before.
“I will get things Dill done, if it’s the last thing I dill do”
“Newfoundland is also known as “The Rock”, but you really have to be from there to have the right to use that term because the R word has been, how do you say, “semantically reclaimed” by the people of Newfoundland and because you are a CFA -a “come from away” , the R word is not a U word – got it? Good. You rock!
Newfoundlanders, particularly in the outports, speak with a very pronounced accent and there are many local expressions that are exclusive to Newfoundland and Labrador. …”Stay where you're at… till I comes where ya're to”… which the Yes We Canada research department sent to the lab for analysis and apparently it means – “wait der fer me bye.”
Many years ago, there was a huge controversy in Newfoundland when the English service of our national broadcaster, CBC, used English subtitles for an interview with a Newfoundland fisherman from the out ports – while he was speaking in ENGLISH! Lord thundering Jesus, a stern memo was written ‘bout that at headquarters me boys.
Newfoundland and Labrador …oh, you probably notice how I keep saying Labrador after I say Newfoundland as if it is some kind of vocal tick. It’s not. You must never say Newfoundland without saying Labrador because that is it’s official name and folks get some pissed if you forget. Labrador is a chunk of land across the Strait of Belle Isle from Newfoundland. Look at it on a map and it kinda looks like Quebec’s upstairs tenant. It is a big chunk of land, in fact 71 times larger than Newfoundland but Labrador gets second billing because it has only 6% of Newfoundland’s population. Labrador has been home to the Innu people for thousands of years, but of course, it’s named after a European, because in the 1400’s the Europeans had a publicist, and the Innu didn’t.
The Portuguese explorer Joao Fernandes Lavrador bumped into Labrador 1498. Ju-wow is also the source for the name of the Labrador dog who has likely slobbered fresh
hot doggy saliva all over you on more than one occasion. Apologies if you are dining while listening.
Newfoundland has a diverse economy – from fish to oil ….to fish oil…but they’ve also been the leading producer of the finest Canadian comics and humourists since, well, 1949. They consistently export some of the finest writers, broadcasters, film makers and artists in Canada. You take a smart folk, with a cockeyed view of the world, put them on an island, all their own and that makes funny…hilariously, outrageously funny – and I will declare right now, much funnier than people from the rest of Canada…which of course creates enormous petty jealousies and the rest of Canada comforts themselves by endlessly making Newfoundlanders the butt of all jokes Canadian. Kinda like we do oh so cruelly on this show with the Appalachian folk from Tennessee.
Here’s a sample of what is called a “Newfie Joke” as told by a Canadian:
A Newfoundlander went out ice fishing. He had no sooner cut
a hole in the ice and dropped his line when he heard a thunderous
voice from above.
“Attention: there is no fishing on the ice”.
He looked around for the source of the voice.
“Lord thunderin’, is dat you God?”
The voice from above repeated.
“There is no fishing on the ice”
“God, is dat you?”
“No, it’s the arena manager, there is no fishing on the ice!”.
Newfoundlanders are a hard-working folk, but there’s not always a lot of decent paying gigs to be found on the Island, especially since the cod fishery was decimated in the 80’s. So, the story goes, that the second largest city in Newfoundland is actually in Alberta… deep in the oil patch, there’s a town called Fort McMurray…known back on the rock as Fort McMoney, where at peak oil in 2012, 17.5 % of the local population, identified as Newfoundlanders, something you will never be allowed to do, no matter how long you live on the island. But more about that in a sec.
In addition to our aforementioned porn town names of Come by Chance and Dildo, there is another reason why Newfoundland would not have been a good fit with you, my American exceptionalist friends. You see the people of Newfoundland are very unpretentious and not really prone to your fawning American fascination with stardom.When the four-time Oscar nominated American actor WillXXXXXXXXX was starring in a picture being shot on the Island, he was apparently getting a little too, how should we say, fussy on the set, a little big for his britches perhaps, so one of the crew struck up a conversation with him at the craft table:
“Hey, buddy, what department you workin’ wit?”
Well, that oughta put a movie star in his place.
And here’s another good indicator of the difference between the US and Newfoundland.
In 1992 the cod fishery was closed due to a lack of stock from overfishing. 35,000 people in Newfoundland lost their jobs overnight. Federal Minister of the fisheries of the Progressive Conservative government was Newfoundlander John Crosbie. As you can imagine the decision to close the fishery was very personal for him and he became the face of the cod moratorium. He tried to dull the impact of the fishery loss by building programs for retraining and employment insurance. He became known as the “Codfather”.
Well, as it happens in the United States you guys had your very own Codfather too. His name is Carlos Rafael, and he was a fishing mogul out of New Bedford, Massachusetts who was one of the largest fishing fleet owners in America and who currently sits in a federal penitentiary after pleading guilty to 28 offenses, ranging from money laundering and tax evasion to evading fishing quotas.
It’s not a fluke… it’s the American way … God bless America byes.
Modesty rules in Newfoundland, the capital and largest city on the Island is called St. John’s. Locally it’s called “town”. Its residents are not referred to as urbanites, or extreme east coast elites, they’re called “townies”. And just so you know –big Canadian cities like Montreal or Toronto, don’t hold a lot of sway over the doings in St. John’s, because depending on the availability of direct flights, it’s often faster to fly to London, England to see the Queen, then it is to fly to Toronto to see Drake.
Recently Newfoundland has become a hot property in America because of a wonderful Tony Award winning Broadway musical called “Come from Away” about how the town of Gander, Newfoundland, hosted 6000 of y’all when American airspace was shut down to everyone except members of the Bin Ladin family on Sept. 11, 2001.
So, ultimately, in 1949 you didn’t get Newfoundland, but Newfoundland can still get you.
Now we’ve told you this before but let’s review because it might be on your Canadian Citizenship test: When you arrive in Newfoundland, you’ll be designated as a CFA – a “Come From Away”. But there is a path to becoming an honorary Newfoundlander by undergoing a short ceremony. Here’s how: Go into any bar, and there are plenty, and take part in a ritual called being “Screeched In”.
You’ll be asked to recite a short declaration, first attesting to your willingness to be screeched in – it must be a consensual screeching, then you will answer a question, kiss an actual cod on its’ thin lips and then take a shot of a very strong Moonshine like Rum called Screech.
When you peel yourself off the floor, the next morning, you, are an honorary Newfoundlander and you may celebrate by having yourself a big old Newfoundland steak, also known as fried bologna.
Thanks for listening … see you next week.