Paying the price
Leo Bruce, PC nomination contestant in Bay of Islands, just told Bill Rowe, referring to the fact that the incumbent MHA is in opposition, that “the people of the Bay of Islands have paid the price for the past four years.”
“The ghost that haunts us”, indeed:
“I don’t need you,” said Smallwood. “I’ve been elected, but you need me. I’m sitting on top of the public chest and not one red cent will come out of it unless Greg Power is elected. Unless you vote for my man, you’ll be out in the cold for the next five years. Those settlements which vote against Greg Power will get nothing, absolutely nothing.”
Jeff Webb, professor of history with Memorial University, says William Browne authenticates the quote in his autobiography, 84 Years a Newfoundlander.
Browne ran against and beat out Liberal Greg Power in the district of Ferryland in 1949, taking 2,456 votes of the 3,160 cast, thus securing a seat in Parliament. On five separate occasions during the campaign, Smallwood attempted to bully the people by insisting they would not receive “one red cent” if they defied his demands.
In the end, Joey’s threats alienated voters and they subsequently snubbed his man. Webb is equally aghast at Smallwood’s heavy-handed threat.
“To be so naked in your partisanship,” Webb muses. “Some people say Joey wasn’t always corrupt, that it happened over time. But this speech was in 1949 — the very first election after Confederation. It’s quite a grievous action.”
Someone, perhaps Jeff Webb or Mandy Cook, should ask Leo Bruce: who exacted the price? and why? and how?
As long as personalismo and patronage politics lives — and Danny Williams can out-personalismo- and -patronage-politic Smallwood any day — then Smallwood himself lives.