Archives Council of Prince Edward Island
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Campbell received his early education at Summerside Public School and then attended Prince of Wales College. He went on to receive a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts from Dalhousie as well as a Masters of Arts from Oxford University in England where he attended Corpus Christie as a Rhodes Scholar. In1922, Campbell returned to Prince Edward Island to read law with A. C. Saunders in Summerside.
As a member of the Liberal party, Campbell first ran for political office in a 1930 by-election in 2nd Prince but was defeated. In that year, he was appointed Attorney General of Prince Edward Island, a position he held until the following year when he was elected to the legislature as the member for 1st Prince. He was reelected in 1935 and was appointed Attorney and Advocate General in Premier Walter Lea's cabinet. When Lea died in early 1936, Campbell was named Premier and was sworn in 14 January 1936.
As Premier at the outbreak of World War II, much of Campbell's administration was dedicated to the involvement of Prince Edward Island in the war effort. However, he was also responsible for enactment of the Province's first public service legislation in 1937. This legislation provided job security for a specialized list of senior civil servants whose employment may otherwise have been terminated when the provincial government changed parties after an election. In the previous year, Campbell's government began working toward the establishment of a National Park along the province's north shore. After the expropriation of lands in private hands was complete, the Prince Edward Island National Park, stretching from Cavendish to Dalvay, was officially opened in 1939. Campbell was also responsible for the organization of a Prince Edward Island Provincial Police force, which was later to become part of the RCMP, in 1940 and is credited with the development of a budgeting control of the Island's finances.
Campbell resigned as premier after 7 years in 1943 to accept the position of Chief Justice of the province, a position he held until his retirement in 1970 at age 75. In 1966, he became the first former Premier to witness a son, Alexander Bradshaw, being sworn into the office of Premier, a position he held until September 1978.
Along with his political activities, Campbell was also involved with a number of commissions and associations including the P.E.I. Museum and Heritage Foundation, the National Historic Sites and Boards, the National Library Advisory Council, the War Claims Commission, the Dominion Curling Association as president, and the Royal Caledonia Curling Association of Scotland as vice-president. He was a member of the Boards of Governors of Dalhousie University and of Saint Dunstan's University, from both of which he received the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, and was made the first Chancellor of the University of Prince Edward Island on 14 May 1970. Also in that year, Campbell was appointed Chief Commissioner of the Foreign Claims Commission in Ottawa. He also served on the board of directors of the P.E.I. Museum and Heritage Foundation. In 1973, Campbell was appointed as a Companion of the Order of Canada.
Thane A. Campbell died on 28 September 1978 in Ottawa, Ontario, at the age of 83.
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