Cashin and Smallwood would probably switch sides if the debate were held today.
Newfoundland’s tax base is all federal. In hindsight, not joining Canada would have meant Churchill Falls, IOC, the Cod Fishery, and most importantly, the offshore oil resources would have been controlled by Newfoundland alone.
I doubt there would have been any violence on the scale imagined in the article. This is 1940s Newfoundland – the country had given more (per capita) to the war effort than most of the Allies, it was exhausted but deeply patriotic. The nation voted to give up democracy, there wasn’t any doubt that Newfoundlanders weren’t about to start a civil war in response to losing or winning a vote.
So I think the article is more about a misunderstanding of Newfoundland and its people than any threat of violence. Not much has changed in the battle lines, by the way, it’s still St. John’s versus the rest of the province. You’ll see a lot of people flying the old Newfoundland flag instead of the current flag (or the Canadian one).