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Newfoundland should be part of Maryland

January 20, 2005|by TIM ROWLAND

"Welcome to Maryland, third largest state in the union." Has a nice ring, don't you think?

I bring this up because of a Document Obtained By The Herald-Mail Company - oh, all right, a column e-mailed to the opinion desk by Kenneth T. Tellis of Mississauga - titled "Newfoundland's connection to the United States through Lord Baltimore."

Tellis explains the connection thusly:

"Sir George Calvert (1579-80) the 1st Lord Baltimore was granted permission to colonize Ferryland, Newfoundland with English Catholics by King James I of Great Britain in 1621-23, but because of the harsh climate and conditions the colonization was abandoned. The Englishman Sir David Kirke took over the Ferryland colony's territory from the Calvert family. The Coat-of-Arms of Lord Baltimore also became the Coat-of-Arms of Ferryland. There is also Calvert family's claim to the colony of Avalon in Newfoundland. Of course all claims by the French (or Acadiens) to Plaisance (Placentia) were nullified by the Treaty of Ryswick of 1714, and thus the French settlers or Acadiens no longer had any claim to Newfoundland."

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Cool. Given the choice between here and a frozen icecap, the Calverts chose here - happily, they settled in a time that predated medical malpractice issues. If Lord Baltimore had been on Lipitor or something, he might have chosen Canada just for the meds.

The reason for Tellis' correspondence, appears to be that Newfoundland/Labrador would rather be a part of the United States than Canada. An economic alliance between the two was blocked in 1948 by the British who, along with Canada proper, didn't want to see Canada hemmed in by Alaska on one end and the U.S. on the other.

I know this to be true through firsthand experience. When I was in Newfoundland some years ago, I was approached by a gentleman who earnestly asked that I tell the President of the United States that Newfoundland - tired of being treated like an old shoe by mainland Canada - wanted to be a state.

I tried to explain that contacting the president was a little more involved than the local practice of throwing open the window and yelling across the street to the Prime Minister, who doubled as fishnet repairman or something.

But everywhere I went in Newfoundland, people were wonderful to me when they discovered I was from the States.

So in keeping with their kindness, I wish to return the favor by using this platform of considerable weight and influence to argue that Newfoundland should become Maryland North and admitted into the Union, such as it is.

Are you listening, Annapolis?

Let us reunite with our Newfoundland brothers in our shared history of heritage! We have so much in common, like fish. We could even change the name of the celebrated rockfish from the Striped Bass to the Striped Basques.

And we both have retrievers, Labrador and Chesapeake Bay.

Obviously, Newfoundland has much it can gain from Maryland. We can export half of our traffic and road-rage-incited drive-by-shootings, which should be of tremendous economic benefit to Newfoundland's petrol stations and emergency rooms.

And our suburban sprawl would be a big hit up there, You think they wouldn't just kill for a Wal-Mart AND a McDonald's within the same 500 miles? Their idea of a shopping center is a filling station with two pumps.

Of course, their scenery and wilderness is absolutely stunning in their beauty, but we can fix that. All it will take is a good, sound commercial mind and a commuter train from Port Aux Basques to Upper Marlboro.

We could also send up a little bit of our crime rate. We shouldn't miss 10 percent or so. And they would be happy to have it.

I ran into a group of fishermen on the docks up there talking feverishly about a murder, speaking knowledgeably and with pinpoint precision about every grisly detail - even pointing to the very warehouse where the corpse had been stashed.

"No kidding, was this just last night?" I asked.

No," one of them replied. "It was 1962."

I must have looked dubious, because he hastened to add, "But we had another one in '38."

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist.

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