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Incorporation of Belleoram (Seventieth Anniversary)

Honourable senators, I rise today to celebrate the seventieth anniversary of the incorporation of the town of Belleoram in Newfoundland and Labrador.

The beautiful community of Belleoram, located on the south coast of Newfoundland, is nestled between the sea and the steep hills behind it. Settlement at Belleoram dates back to the early years of the 18th century; the French used the harbour extensively and referred to it as "Bande de Laurier" or "Belorme's Place."

However, the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713 forced the French to leave the Belleoram area, although France retained the islands of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, just to the south of Belleoram. Saint- Pierre and Miquelon continue to this day to be part of France.

After the French left Belleoram, some English fishermen wintered there, but there was no permanent settlement at that time. Settlers arrived shortly after, and a small community developed by 1800. The settlement developed with the herring fishery, and the economy was and still is determined by the success of the fishery.

In 1946, Belleoram became one of the first towns in Newfoundland to be incorporated. Laws against settlement, foreign treaties and a small population scattered in tiny remote outports contributed to delay the development of local government. In the face of continuing problems convincing outport residents of the benefits of local government, the Commission of Government in 1944 undertook an extensive educational program by radio, press and public meetings; incorporation increased with this approach.

In 1946 Belleoram, Lewisporte, Fortune and the rural district of Badger's Quay-Valleyfield-Pool's Island joined the rapidly growing ranks of incorporated communities.

Local government in Newfoundland and Labrador has become a major participant in my province's social and economic development and an important and vital third level of democratic participation in public affairs.

Rural communities in Newfoundland and Labrador have been challenged in recent years with the cod moratorium in the 1990s and other changes in the fisheries.

Mayors and councillors throughout the province are to be congratulated for their contributions to their communities, and Belleoram is no exception.

Honourable senators, please join me in congratulating Mayor May and his council as well as all residents of Belleoram as they celebrate the seventieth anniversary of the incorporation of their community.

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