Series s36 - Alex B. Campbell papers

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Alex B. Campbell papers

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CA PCA RG25-s36

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  • 1966-1979 (Creation)
    Campbell, Alexander Bradshaw

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27 m. of textual records
85 photographs

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Campbell, Alexander Bradshaw

Biographical history

Premier of Prince Edward Island, 1966-1978.

Alexander Bradshaw Campbell was born in Summerside, Prince Edward Island, on 1 December 1933 to Thane A. Campbell and Cecilia Lillian Bradshaw. He married Marilyn Ruth Gilmour, daughter of Melville A. Gilmour of Guelph, Ontario, on 19 August 1961. They had three children: Blair Alexander; Heather Kathryn; and Graham Melville.

Campbell was educated at Summerside Elementary School and Summerside High School before attending Dalhousie University from which he graduated with a BA. And LL.B. After he graduated in 1959, he was admitted to the bar and practiced law in Summerside in partnership with his brother Melville until he took up politics full time. Campbell was awarded the designation of Queen's Counsel in 1966.

In 1963, Campbell made his first attempt to enter politics. His name was put forward for the Liberal nominating convention to choose the Federal Representative for the electoral district of Prince. He lost by one vote to Watson MacNaught who went on to became Federal Minister of Mines and Technical Surveys. Campbell then turned his attention to provincial politics.

On 9 February 1965, Campbell offered as the Liberal candidate and won the seat in a Provincial by-election in Summerside, for the Fifth District of Prince. Upon the retirement of Premier Alex W. Matheson, Campbell was elected leader of the Liberal party for Prince Edward Island on 11 December 1965. He acted in the role of Leader of the Opposition for one full session of the Legislative Assembly in early 1966. When a general election was called, he led the Liberals to victory and was sworn in as Premier on 28 July 1966, just 16 months after first entering Island politics. At the age of 32, he became the third youngest Canadian ever elected Premier.

During Campbell's first term in office, he also held the portfolio of Attorney General, a position he retained until 1969. In 1967, he was sworn in as a member of Privy Council of Canada. In the general election of 1970, Campbell and the Liberals again formed the government taking 27 of 32 seats in the Provincial Legislature. Following the election, Campbell was sworn in as Minister of Development. He held this portfolio until May 1972 when he was took on the role of Minister of Agriculture and Forestry.

As premier, Campbell concentrated on developing programs and policies to strengthen P.E.I.'s economy, improve social conditions, and "foster greater understanding and respect for P.E.I. history and cultural traditions." Several of these programs were viewed by some as controversial. His early years in office were marked by much debate over a proposed federally-funded project to build a causeway between Prince Edward Island and the mainland, a proposal which was finally dropped in March of 1969. It was later that month that Campbell announced the government policy for which he is perhaps best known, the Comprehensive Development Plan which was designed to address the need for economic growth in the province. Industrial parks were built in West Royalty and Summerside, economic development grants were given to local entrepreneurs, and efforts were made to encourage manufacturers to establish businesses within the province. Changes to the health and welfare system, including movement towards the establishment of a single, non-sectarian, general hospital to serve all Islanders, and to the tourism industry also came as a result of the CDP. The Institute of Man and Resources was created with the mandate to explore alternative energy sources.

Campbell's government was responsible for growth in the provincial civil service which increased from 1,435 in 1966 to 2,658 in 1974. During this period, the Island also saw the population in urban areas increase as well as the rural non-farming population. In order to address the concerns of the rural population of the Island, Campbell's government developed education programs for agricultural producers who were also encouraged to organize producer-owned marketing agencies. The administration created the Land Development Corporation and the P.E.I. Lending Authority so farmers would continue to have access to affordable land. In reaction to concerns caused by the CDP, Campbell instituted the Family Farm Capital Grants Program to slow the decrease in the number of family farms and implemented legislation restricting non-resident land ownership. The government also set up the Royal Commission on Land Ownership and Land Use in 1972 to further study this issue.

In an environment of intense controversy, Campbell's government brought about the amalgamation of Prince of Wales College and St. Dunstan's College to form the University of Prince Edward Island and Holland College in 1969. Public education was restructured with the implementation of School Consolidation whereby 370 local school boards were reduced to 5 and with the actual number of schools being reduced from 380 in 1969 to 70 by 1978. Many new educational facilities were built and older structures were renovated during this period.

Campbell's government, with much financial assistance from the federal government, was also involved various endeavors to promote culture and heritage on P.E.I. During Campbell's term in office, Centennial celebrations were held province wide in 1967 in honor of the hundred year anniversary of the creation of Canada and in 1973 to celebrate the hundred year anniversary of Prince Edward Island's entry into Confederation. In 1967, communities across the Island received assistance with local Centennial projects, such as the construction of ice hockey rinks, playgrounds, and community halls as well as improvements to schools and other public buildings while in 1973 "Centennial" money provided the necessary funding for the creation of the Prince Edward Island Heritage Foundation.

After leading his party to yet another victory in April 1978, Campbell resigned as premier when, in November of that year, he was appointed to the Supreme Court. He retired from this position in 1994.

Throughout his life, Campbell was heavily involved in the community. He was a member and former secretary of the Summerside Board of Trade. He was a member of the Summerside Y's Men's Club, acting as president from1980-1991. He also served as an elder at Trinity United Church, Summerside. Campbell was appointed P.E.I. coordinator of the Governor General's Canadian Study Conference which was held in 1983. In that year, he also took on the role as chair of the Summerside and Area Historical Society, a position he held until 1990. Between 1984 and 1990, he was the P.E.I. chairman of the Duke of Edinburgh Awards. He also served on the board of the Prince Edward Island Museum and Heritage Foundation and was chairman of the Institute of Man and Resources. Campbell was awarded a Doctor of Laws degree from McGill in 1967 and a Doctor of Laws degree from UPEI in 1979.

In 2002, Alex Campbell was living in Stanley Bridge, Prince Edward Island.

Custodial history

Scope and content

This series consists of seven intellectually arranged subseries: Provincial Departments, Crown Corporations, Agencies, and Commissions records; Provincial government administration; Federal government relations; Interprovincial Affairs; Correspondence; Subject files, and Bathurst Marine and Gulf Garden Foods.

The subseries descriptions are intellectual in nature as the physical order of the files was maintained. The files are arranged chronologically and then numerically by file folder number within each year. Series7: Bathurst Marine and Gulf Garden Foods is located as a separate sub-series at the end of the fonds.

These records, which span the time period 1966 to 1979, include correspondence, minutes, reports, briefs, memos, applications for funding, surveys, press releases, and speeches. Many of the documents throughout the series were written on behalf of Premier Campbell by his private secretary, Andy Wells. Scattered amongst the earlier material are documents which actually fall under the purview of Premier W. R. Shaw while some material dated late 1978 to 1979 were created by the administration of Premier Bennett Campbell who was sworn in on 18 September 1978.

Some of the important topics addressed in these files include: the Comprehensive Development plan; the Causeway; the Rural Development Council; Centennial celebrations, ferry service, farming, fishing, the creation of a Single Hospital; the establishment of the University of Prince Edward Island and Holland College; the Confederation Centre of the Arts; the Canadian National Railway; alcoholism; and Maritime Union.

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The original order of these documents has been retained as have the original file folder titles. Subseries descriptions are intellectual only and access to the records is by way of the file listing

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SEE ALSO: Subject Index for miscellaneous items under the Premier's name

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  • English

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