“The Blow Below the Belt”


In 1966 "the Government Plan was sent around" for resettlement from the outports. "When fifty percent... did sign The other fifty had no choice." Many found no one to buy their home. Many could not find work. Eventually, Premier Smallwood is voted out


Lehr/Best: "The Resettlement Program was carried out in Newfoundland during Joseph Smallwood's government.... Its aim was to relocate... coastal communities to larger centers where they would find better job opportunities and public facilities such as hospitals and schools.... When the smoke had finally cleared over three hundred communities had been completely closed down and those that remained were tombstones marking the passing of a large and noble part of our history."

The title is a reference to boxing as part of an analogy to [that sport]: "But when elections rolled around, we showed Joey [Smallwood] how we felt, We dropped him in his corner and gave Frank Moores the [championship] belt!"

See "The Leaving of Merasheen" for another resettlement song - BS

Joey Smallwood began his career as a radio broadcaster, and used his position to push Newfoundland into Confederation with Canada; according to Craig Brown, e.d, _The Illustrated History of Canada_, p. 374, "Mainland prosperity, urged by Joey Smallwood... won out against the proud penury of independence."

But Smallwood, who went from broadcaster to Newfoundland premier and led the province for more than twenty years, by the late Fifties was turning to "increasingly illiberal one-man rule" (p. 491). The result of his policy was complaints like these. - RBW

Historical references

  • 1950s-1970s - Newfoundland Resettlement Program


  1. Lehr/Best 8, "The Blow Below the Belt" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. BI, LeBe008


Author: Words: Anthony Ward, Tune: Dave Panting
Earliest date: 1983 (Lehr/Best)
Found in: Canada(Newf)