Born in Gambo, Newfoundland, Joseph («Joey») Smallwood (1900–1991) spent his life championing the worth and potential of his native province. Although he was a successful journalist and radio personality, Smallwood is best known for his role in bringing Newfoundland into Confederation with Canada in 1949, believing that such an action would secure an average standard of living for Newfoundlanders. He was rightfully dubbed the “only living Father of Confederation” in his lifetime and was premier of the province for twenty-three years.
During much of the last part of the twentieth century, Smallwood remained a prominent player in the story of Newfoundland and Labrador's growth as a province. Later in life he put himself in debt in order to complete his Encyclopedia of Newfoundland and Labrador, the only project of its kind in Canada up to that point.
In Joey Smallwood: Schemer and Dreamer, Ray Argyle reexamines the life of this incredible figure in light of Newfoundland's progress in recent years, and measures his vision against its new position as a province of prosperity rather than poverty.