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The Referendum (Traditional) MIDI
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(Sung To The Wearin' Of The Green)

I took a stroll down to the store to hear the local news,
And get myself some 'baccy' and a couple dozen screws;
For when the daily chores are done, the fellows gather 'round,
To discuss the current topics at the store of Silas Brown.

We talked about the swiles and the steamers at the ice,
The recent drop in flour and the scarcity of rice;
Then came the referendum and many were the views,
On future forms of government and what each one would choose.

Confederation was the choice of Uncle Billy Heads,
A hardy seaman of the deep and father of nine kids;
"I'm longing for the day," said he, "with Canada to wed,
When I will have a decent chance to earn my daily bread.

"And talk about the bonus that I'll get for Dick and Will,
For Mary, Anne and Lizzie and likewise little Nell;
Sure then I'll live Riley, with everything in style,
Electric lights in house and stage and no more kerosene oil.

"I'll get my goods much cheaper and no duty have to pay,
I'll get more for my codfish and sell it fresh each day;
And when I get that pension I'll be tickled as can be,
Nothing to do but eat and sleep and smoke my old doo-dee."

"I see your point alright," says I, "but with you can't agree,
And confederate propaganda has cut no ice with me;
Confederation won't reveal the gold mine in the sky,
But rob you of what gold you have, with taxes mountains high.

"The tax collector calls on you, your bills cannot be met,
And very soon he hangs a sign which says, 'A House To Let;'
Your organ sold and radio, a mortgage on your boat,
And then you'll heave a sigh and rue the way you cast your vote.

"The taxes that we pay today are mostly indirect,
And any form of government their taxes will collect;
And to help keep up the revenue is up to you and me,
And every other citizen on land, in air, at sea."

The next to speak was Skipper Tom, a man of eighty three,
Who's son had died on Flanders Field to gain our liberty;
And everyone had deep respect for that old white-haired head,
And listened keen to every word and this is what he said.

"Our sons fought on the battlefront our freedom to maintain,
Their life blood flowed upon the field, our heritage to gain;
And we, we who are left behind, must be loyal to them and true,
By aiding dear old Newfoundland to paddle her own canoe.

"Self government must be restored if we are to survive,
So now my friends it's up us to wake and look alive;
And not hypnotized by those who hand us out such dope,
That going in with Canada will fill our every hope.

"To make self government succeed we need real honest men,
Men who are sober, gentle, kind, and have the grit to win;
And with such men we'll move ahead and Newfoundland will be,
A country independent and a country strong and free."

Says I: "Commission government was good enough for me,
For were it not for England where would our country be?
When we were in distress and want and facing sure defeat;
She threw the line that rescued us and placed us on our feet.

"But since Commission Government eventually must go,
I am voting for Responsible the next best form I know;
And when we get Responsible I'm hoping for the day,
For Economic Union with the good old USA.

"So when at the referendum you stand with your fellow men,
To mark your secret ballot for the form you would like to win;
Remember your country's welfare and the men who will hold the chart,
Depends on the men we vote for and how we play our part."

####.... Author unknown. Traditional Newfoundland song ....####
From the Dictionary Of Newfoundland English:
Stage - elevated platform on the shore with working tables, sheds, etc, where fish are landed and processed for salting and drying, and fishing gear and supplies are stored; fishing stage.

From Wikipedia:
Newfoundland referendums of 1948 - series of two referendums to decide the political future of the Dominion of Newfoundland. Before the referendums, Newfoundland was in debt and went through several delegations to determine whether the country would join Canada, remain under British rule or regain independence. The voting for the referendums occurred on June 3 and July 22, 1948. The eventual result was for Newfoundland to enter Canadian Confederation.



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