N.B.: The detail displayed about each honorary degree recipient varies, as
the database was compiled from a variety of sources. However, more information may
be available at the University Archives.
Convocation date: May 18, 1966
Discipline / contribution: public service
Citation / biographical information:
Eminent Chancellor: Charles Gavan Power was born in Quebec in 1888, into a family of Irish descent and Liberal proclivities. He was educated at Loyola College and Laval University, graduating in law; while a student he was an outstanding athlete, and ultimately was a star in the National Hockey Association, where his teams included the Ottawa Silver Seven.Degree received: Doctor of Laws
His law practice was still being established when the first World War began, and Charles Power resigned a commission to re-enlist as a private. He served overseas with distinction, rising to the rank of major, and winning the Military Cross. He was twice wounded, and was invalided home; while convalescent he ran for Parliament, and was elected as member of Quebec South in 1917.
Charles Power’s parliamentary career has few parallels anywhere. He was elected to the Commons in ten consecutive elections, serving from 1917 until his appointment in 1955 to the Senate, where he still sits. He entered the cabinet in 1935, and held two portfolios before a second war began. He became the first Minister of National Defence for Air in 1940, and later assumed a second portfolio as Associate Minister of National Defence, in which capacities he organized and administered the Air Training Plan which was so decisive a factor in the Allies’ offensive He resigned from the cabinet in 1944, over a matter of principle.
Charles Power is one of the great men of Parliament. An active legislator and a brilliant minister, he never relinquished his right to be an independent critic of both policy (including his own party’s) and Parliament itself. He has written several significant bills and articles which show his lively interest in politics as a vocation; his memoirs, revealingly entitled “A Party Politician”, are to be published this year. As Canada approaches its centennial, Charles Power’s compatriots can reflect with gratitude that he has been a member of their Parliament for half this country’s history.
Eminent Chancellor, I present to you Charles Gavan Power, and ask that you confer on him the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.
Degree presented by: Norman Ward, professor of Political Science
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