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Former Cupids councillor Mike Power sues provincial government

Mike Power was removed from Cupids town council earlier this month.
Mike Power was removed from Cupids town council earlier this month.

CUPIDS, NL — Former Cupids councillor Mike Power isn't going down without a fight, judging from the content of a lawsuit filed last month in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Power, who was removed from council last month, is suing the provincial government for damages. He's also looking to have the order made by Municipal Affairs Minister Eddie Joyce to remove him from council declared unlawful.

Power's removal from council was recommended in a report investigating the removal of a sewer line. The report concluded Power, along with former council member Francis Walsh (who resigned earlier this year), gave an order to town workers last fall to remove a sewer line connected to a property on Seaforest Road. Power's originating application filed with the court Aug. 24 identifies Dan and Lucy Furlong as the owners of the property.

The report prepared by the Department of Municipal Affairs found Power and Walsh did not have sufficient authority at the time to order the pipe's removal.

Reached by the Compass Friday, Power said the pipe for the sewer line was installed without the proper permits, noting too council had approved a motion requesting its removal.

"They still haven't got no permits," Power said about the property on Seaforest Road.

According to the report, council cited the Archaeological and Heritage Resources section of the town plan in ordering the removal. The Provincial Archaeology Office later wrote the town and stated the property had no historic resource potential.

On the issue of the sewer line's removal, the report concluded Power, with Walsh's support, gave the order without proper authority. It said that order was given without council approval or knowledge, stating the only decision council had endorsed by then was to ask the property owners to remove the pipe.

Power, who did not participate in the Municipal Affairs review of the incident, believes the timing of his removal is a bit suspect, given it limited the amount of time he had to fight the decision prior to the upcoming municipal elections. He is not permitted to run for a seat on council for at least two years. The final report was submitted in April, four months before the order to remove Power was made.

"As a result of the action taken by the (the province), (Power) has been denied his democratic right to run for public office and has suffered general damages, damages for unjust dismissal and special damages for defamation," reads the lawsuit.

Lawyer Bob Buckingham is representing Power in the case. According to the originating application, Power believes the report "is seriously flawed and incomplete," arguing it gave no weight to motions on the matter council adopted in July 2011 and October 2016. The former motion refers to a letter advising the town would not issue a permit for the sewer line until the property owners had approval from what later became Service NL. The latter motion is council's previously mentioned removal order.

The application also argues the minister erred in how he applied the complaint against Power to the Municipal Affairs Act.


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A hearing for the application is scheduled for 10 a.m. Oct. 3 at the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador in St. John's. A spokeswoman for the Department of Justice and Public Safety told The Compass in a written statement that it would be inappropriate for government to comment on a matter before the courts.

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