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Greg Power, Joey Smallwood's Right Hand Man

 

 

 

The Evening Telegram
May16, 1997 (Friday)

POWER played vital role in quest for Confederation, (photo)

POWER, Greg, Joey Smallwood's right-hand man in the battle for Confederation, is dead. Power died Thursday in St. John's at age 88.

He became a household name in Newfoundland during the bitter battle for Confederation and for the first 10 years as a province of Canada, he exercised power second only to that of Smallwood.

The battle for confederation won, Power tried unsuccessfully for a seat in the 1949 election in Ferryland district but, instead was appointed the first chairman of the Newfoundland Liquor Corporation or the Board of Liquor control as it was then known.

A native of Placentia, Power was elected to the House of Assembly for Placentia East in 1951 and continued as Smallwood's right-hand man in the finance portfolio.

He switched to the highways department in 1957 but continued in the role as the province's second-in-command.

Power resigned from cabinet in 1958, only to be coaxed back again by Smallwood. But the close friendship ended in 1959 when Power stopped going to his office and Smallwood asked for his resignation.

They didn't speak to each other for years.

"Joey had a gift for losing friends," said writer Harold Horwood who teamed with Smallwood and Power in the campaign against the anti-Confederates.

"Greg turned political satirist on Smallwood in the middle years of his administration. Greg was a political satirist of the very highest order."

Horwood, who resides in Upper Clements, N. S., said Power and his father before him were confederates long before Smallwood arrived on the scene.

"But he and Joey became friends again. I think it was when Smallwood invited him to the 25th year celebration of Confederation."

Horwood said Power always had the urge to get into politics. "He didn't have much gift as a speaker, a poor voice, but he was a strong organizer," said Horwood.

Bill Callahan, former Smallwood cabinet minister after Power's days, remembers the Smallwood-Power fallout well.

"They didn't talk about their falling out or what it was all about, but it was painful for both of them," recalls Callahan.

Callahan described Power as a very intelligent man who was always very interesting to talk to. "He was a walking encyclopaedia," Callahan said.

In sending his condolences to Power's wife, Mary and their seven children, Premier Brian Tobin said Power's vision for Newfoundland as a part of a united Canada was critical to the province's economic and social well-being.

"Mr. Power served the people of Newfoundland and Labrador well through the years," said Tobin. "His views on confederation were well-known and forward-thinking."

Power was also a first-class athlete in his youth, having excelled in track and field before tuberculosis, then a killer disease, struck him down.

He represented Newfoundland in the 1930 British Empire Games. Power was inducted into the Newfoundland Sports Hall of Fame in 1983.

 

 

Page contributed by: Barbara McGrath
Page transcribed by: Ivy F. Benoit (March 2001)
Page revised: August 2002 (Terry Piercey)

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