Daniel Joseph MacDonald

Hon. Daniel Joseph MacDonald

Served during the following dates: 1962-12-10; 1966-07-11; 1970-05-11

MACDONALD, P.C., HONOURABLE SERGEANT AND HONOURARY LIEUTENANT-COLONEL DANIEL JOSEPH, farmer; b. 23 July 1918 in Bothwell, son of Daniel L. MacDonald and Elizabeth Fisher; m. 13 November 1946 Pauline Peters, and they had seven children, Blair, Heather, Gail, Daniel, Leo, Gloria, and Walter; Roman Catholic; d. 30 September 1980 in Charlottetown. MacDonald, a Liberal, was first elected to the Legislative Assembly in the general election of 1962 for 1st Kings. He was re-elected in the general elections of 1966 and 1970. On 28 July 1966, he was appointed Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, and held this Ministry until summer 1972, when he resigned to run federally. On 30 October of that year, MacDonald became a Member of the House of Commons for Cardigan. He was re-elected in 1974, was defeated in 1979, and was re-elected in 1980. Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau appointed MacDonald Minister of Veterans Affairs in 1972 and he served in this position until 1979. He was reappointed to Privy Council in 1980 where he served only a short time due to the illness that ended his life. In his federal career, MacDonald was Minister Responsible for the Pension Review Board, the Canadian Pension Commission, the War Veterans Allowance Board, and the Bureau of Pension Advocates. During his Ministry, the head office of the Department of Veterans Affairs moved to the Island. He turned the sod to begin construction. After MacDonald passed away, and the building was finished, Prime Minister Trudeau named the building that housed the Department after the war hero. “Dan” MacDonald received his education in Bothwell. He became a farmer and eventually purchased his own farmland above Bothwell beach, where he also helped out on his father’s farm. In August 1940, MacDonald enlisted in the Canadian Army and served with the Prince Edward Island Highlanders. He remained with this regiment until1943 when he was transferred to the Cape Breton Highlanders. By October of that year, he was made Sergeant of the front line in the Allied Campaign of Italy. In an assault on the Gothic Line, MacDonald was injured, but returned to the front shortly after recovering. However, on 21 December 1944, a shell exploded 20 feet from him, causing severe injuries. MacDonald’s left arm and leg had to be amputated. He retired from the military in 1945 and returned to the province to receive a hero’s welcome from his community. At the homecoming celebration he met his future wife. MacDonald farmed and raised a family in Bothwell. He served as the provincial director of the Artificial Breeding Unit Board and the president of the Souris Co-operative Association. He was a member of the school board and the Home and School Association. MacDonald served fellow veterans as the branch president of the Royal Canadian Legion and with the War Amputees of Canada. He was honoured by the Prince Edward Island Regiment in 1977 with the title of Honourary Lieutenant-Colonel. Daniel J. MacDonald predeceased his wife when he died of a heart attack on 30 September 1980. His state funeral was attended by many dignitaries, and wreaths were sent from as far away as Buckingham Palace. In his eulogy, Prime Minister Trudeau described MacDonald in these words: “He was a politician with a long list of achievements but I always sensed that he himself felt happier when he was described in ways which to him were more important: a devoted husband, father and grandfather, a good soldier, a good farmer, a good man, a public servant, a true and loyal friend. He was all of these things, and for that reason I have come today not so much to honour his death as to celebrate his life.” Pauline MacDonald is the daughter of Augustus Peters of St. Charles.

References: Capital List p. 287; CPG 1963, 1968, 1972; CWW 1973-1975 p. 619; Mahar; Guardian 1 March 1980; Patriot A November 1977. Guide to abbreviations

Photograph courtesy of PEI Public Archives and Records Office, Reference Number Acc3177/252