Harnum, Hon. Ewart John Arlington (1910-1996)
Lieutenant Governor, 1969-1974
Harnum was born in 1910 on Sound Island in Placentia Bay. He graduated from Bishop Feild
College and started working for Dale and Company in 1928. In 1930 he joined Bowring
Insurance and, in 1949, moved to Mutual Life Insurance of Canada. In 1952, he left Mutual life to
join W.U. Knowling Insurance and finally formed his own company in 1956. He owned Harnum
Insurance Agencies until his retirement in 1974. Harnum was involved with several professional
insurance associations including the Newfoundland Board of Insurance Underwriters, the
Newfoundland Insurance Agents Association, and, as its first president, the Insurance Institution
of Newfoundland. Harnum became Newfoundland's lieutenant governor in 1969.
Harnum's appointment came at a politically intense time. Smallwood's Liberals were on the way
out while Frank Moores' Progressive Conservative party was gaining momentum. In the 1971
election, the PC's won a majority but it was so slight that if a Tory speaker was elected, the
Liberals would have more seats. Harnum faced the possibility of having to choose a party to form
the government. But it never came to that. One Independent was elected and another seat was
being contested. Both parties worked hard to gain the Independent's support while votes for the
contested seat were recounted. Moores appealed to Harnum to call a sitting of the House during
the recount. Harnum replied that he would consider the matter. But when the PC's eventually
won the contested seat and the Independent decided to back the Liberals, he was forced to call a
sitting the Tories now held 19 seats and the Liberals 20 and a dissolution. The subsequent
election gave the PC's a clear majority.
Harnum remained active in community affairs after his term ended in 1974. That year he became
president of St. John Ambulance. In 1978, he served as chair of the Canadian Games for the
Physically Disabled. He was also involved with the Newfoundland Board of Trade and the St.
Thomas' Anglican Church. For more than forty years, Harnum was a mason with the Grand
Lodge of Scotland. He received a Doctor of Laws from Memorial University in 1975. He died in St. John's on February 29, 1996.
Updated February, 2008
<< Previous Governor |
Next Governor >>