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Don’t mind the term “Newfie”


The fuss about the use of the term “Newfie” has raised its head again in the past few weeks with regards to the city of Halifax having named a lane in Middle Sackville “Newfie Lane”.

Apparently there are mostly former Newfoundlanders living on this lane who did not object to the name for their area.

However, at least one former Newfoundlander, living in the general area, complained to the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) in saying that the name was offensive to her and should be changed.

The fuss lead the Telegram staff in St. John’s to conduct a survey asking people if they are offended by the use of the term “Newfie”.

The vast majority of people who responded said they either loved the term or that it didn’t bother them at all.

Why do some people get their underwear in knots over what many Newfoundlanders consider a trival matter?

While there may be people on the mainland who use the term “Newfe” as a way to downgrade us, there are many others from up-a-long who know and value Newfoundlanders.

Our son married a girl from Grand Prairie, Alberta whose father works for a company that employs a number of Newfoundlanders. I’ve heard him talk about the workers from this province with great affection several times.

I’m sure there are many other cases like this as well.

Buddy, I want to tell you that I don’t mind the term “Newfie” at all.

I’m a Canadian first and a Newfie second as I live in the greatest province in the greatest country in the world.

We are known across Canada, and in many parts of the world, as being among the most friendly, courteous, kind and hospitable people on the planet.

Just ask any one of the hundreds of passengers who had to land in Gander on September 11, 2001 following the attack on the Twin Towers in New York City if Newfoundlanders are friendly, hospitable people.

It didn’t seem like the area could handle the number of passengers who had to land in Gander that day. How were we going to feed and shelter them in relative comfort?  The people of Gander, and several other communities in the area, came through in typical “Newfie” fashion and took great care of the stranded travellers.

Even to this day, 12 years later, the passengers, especially the Americans, remember the kindness of the residents of Gander and the surrounding area on that terrible day – a kindness they will never forget.

In addition, many “Newfies” have a great sense of humour, are the life of any party and all of us can tell jokes about ourselves and laugh along with everyone at the punch lines.

Other factors that make me really proud to be a “Newfie” is our history and culture and language and music, all of which makes this province one of the most interesting in Canada to live in.

Our culture has witnessed a fantastic revival since the early 1980s, which is reflected today in our music, literature and performing arts.

And above all, many Newfoundlanders are known and respected for their strong work ethic.

I’ll never forget the community I grew up in where some workers on the fish plant would go fishing after the regular day was over at five to provide for their families.

I’ll always remember one plant employee who had two weeks vacation coming to him. He took the first week to paint his two-story house and, although he had earned and deserved the second week off, he went back to work as he nothing else to do.

And today Newfoundlanders have taken this work ethic to almost all areas of Canada and have made great contributions in their career choices.

Rick Hiller was Chief of the Defense Staff of the Canadian Forces from February 1, 2005 to July 1, 2008.

 Rex Murphy is known across Canada for his informed commentaries on CBC Television and Radio.

Newfoundlanders have done well in the fields of law and medicine, and in business, hockey and performing arts as well.

Some noted Newfoundlanders in these categories include Daniel Cleary, Michael Ryder, Gordon Pinsent, Bud Davidge, Captain Sid Hynes, Shannon Tweed, Natasha Henstridge and Rick Mercer.

I sincerely believe that the majority of mainlanders respect Newfoundlanders and Labradorians as equal fellow Canadians.

When mainlanders use the term “Newfie” most of them use it as a term of friendliness and don’t mean it in any derogatory sense at all.

Some of us “hate” the use of the term and get quite upset when it’s said in our company.

As for me, I’d like to live on a Newfie Lane, and I’d be very proud if where I live had the same name.


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