Chesley Crosbie

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Chesley A. (Ches) Crosbie (1905-1962) was a Newfoundland businessman and politician.

Crosbie belonged to a prominent St. John's family involved in hotels, fish exporting, insurance, shipping and manufacturing. His father, Sir John Chalker Crosbie, was the founder of Crosbie and Company Limited and served in the country's government as Minister of Shipping in 1917, in Acting Prime Minister in 1918 and Minister of Finance and Customs from 1924 until his retirement in 1928.

After the elder Crosbie's death in 1932, Chesley Crosbie took over the family business and attempted to expand it further by investing in whaling.

Crosbie was a delegate to the Newfoundland National Convention and favoured responsible government. On March 20, 1948, he split with the Responsible Government League, the main opposition party to Joey Smallwood, and formed the Party for Economic Union with the United States that promoted free trade with the US instead of Confederation with Canada. He and many younger convention delegates feared that the RGL was disorganized and bound to lose the referendum campaign unless a new party was formed.

The divided anti-Confederation forces were defeated by Smallwood's Confederate Association in the 1948 Newfoundland referendums. Crosbie subsequently served as a member of the seven person delegation sent to Ottawa to negotiate the final Terms of Union with Canada Dissatisfied with the negotiations, he refused to sign the final agreement citing objections to its financial terms and retired from public life.

His son, John Crosbie, became a prominent politician serving as cabinet minister in both a provincial and federal level, the latter in the government of Brian Mulroney, where he fulfilled his father's dream as an architect of the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement.

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