Political Pedigree on Prince Edward Island.

AuthorMorrissey, Ben

It's an interesting anecdote when a family has more than one parliamentarian, but it's remarkable when a family has two premiers. This phenomenon has occurred not once, not twice, but three times on Prince Edward Island. The Campbell, Ghiz, and Palmer families have all produced prominent politicians who held premierships for a combined 39 years.

PEPs first political dynasty began shortly after the Island achieved responsible government. Edward Palmer was the third premier elected on PEI, serving one four-year term as a Conservative. He was elected twice but was ousted as party leader by fellow Conservative John Hamilton Gray. Edward's son, Herbert Palmer, was appointed premier in 1911 but was defeated in a subsequent by-election after only seven months as premier. The Palmer family was the only dynasty divided by partisan lines as Edward Palmer was a devout Conservative and Herbert Palmer a dedicated Liberal.

The Campbell family of Summerside, PEI, was the second family dynasty of Island premiers. Thane Campbell, a Rhodes Scholar and practicing lawyer, became premier in 1936, serving as a war-time leader through World War II. He established the Island's first national park and enacted the first public service legislation on PEI. Alexander, the second Campbell premier, won his seat in 1966, becoming the youngest premier elected in Canadian history and the longest-serving premier on PEI to this day. During his 12 years (1966-1978) as premier he ushered in a new era of Island politics, modernizing social and economic programs and...

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