John Angus MacLean

John Angus MacLean

Served during the following dates: 1976-11-08; 1978-04-24; 1979-04-23

MACLEAN, P.C., O.C., C.D., D.F.C., LL.D., HONOURABLE JOHN ANGUS, farmer; b. 15 May 1914 in Lewes, son of George Allan MacLean and Sarah MacLean; m. 29 October 1952 Gwendolyn Esther Burwash of Saskatoon, and they had tour children, Jean, Allan, Mary, and Robert; Presbyterian; d. 15 February 2000 in Charlottetown.        MacLean, a Conservative, was first elected to the Legislative Assembly in a by-election held 8 November 1976 for 4th Queens. He was re-elected in the general elections of 1978 and 1979. On 3 May 1979, he was sworn in as Premier and President of the Executive Council. MacLean served as Minister Responsible for Cultural Affairs from 3 May 1979 to 1980. On 17 November 1981, he retired as premier, but remained a Member of the Legislative Assembly until 31 August 1982. One of the most significant duties Premier MacLean carried out was to lead the province's delegation during the First Ministers’ Constitutional Conference.        Before entering provincial politics, MacLean served in the House of Commons. He was first elected in a by-election held 25 June 1951 for Queen’s. He was re-elected in the federal elections of 1953, 1957, 1958, 1962, 1963, 1965. 1972, and 1974. He was defeated in the federal elections in 1945 and 1949. On 21 June 1957, MacLean was appointed a Member of the Privy Council and Minister of Fisheries; he served in this position until 22 April 1963. On 20 October 1976, a month after being elected leader of the province’s Conservatives, he resigned from the House of Commons.        While an MP, MacLean was a delegate to the 1956 NATO Parliamentary Conference held in Paris and led the Canadian Delegation to the Colombo Plan Conference held in Tokyo in 1960. Subsequently, he led the Canadian Delegation at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization Conference held in Rome in 1961, and was a member of the Canadian-Japanese Ministerial Delegation which in 1963 travelled to Tokyo. In1960 MacLean was a delegate to the 18'1’ Parliamentary Conference in Westminster, England. Five years later, he attended the Commonwealth Conference held in Wellington, New Zealand. MacLean led the Canadian delegation to the Inter-Parliamentary Conference on European Co-operation and Security convened in Helsinki in 1973, and was a delegate to this organization’s meeting the following year in Belgrade. In October 1981 he represented the province’s Legislature at the 27'1’ Commonwealth Parliamentary Association meeting that took place in Fiji. MacLean was a vice-president of the Canadian Branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.        MacLean’s time as premier is best-known for the government’s promotion of the theme of rural renaissance. The MacLean Administration’s promotion of the theme of rural revival was, in part, a reaction to the modernizing effects brought upon the Island by the Comprehensive Development Plan. MacLean feared the Comprehensive Development Plan, which emphasized large-scale, government-driven development projects, was eroding the culture of rural life and its attached virtues of self-reliance and community. The MacLean government advocated development that was small in scale and appropriate to the province’s rural heritage.        MacLean was a person of integrity who placed a value on candour, making it a central part of his political philosophy. Rob Dykstra, writing in Atlantic Insight, described the relationship between MacLean’s values, his politics, and the people he represented. “MacLean’s popularity stemmed partly from the fact that he exemplified some of the most cherished features of Island life.” MacLean’s frankness and pride of home was demonstrated on the national stage when he appeared as a guest on the long-running CBC talk show, Front Page Challenge. He commented that he considered himself an Islander first and a Canadian second. This irritated the show’s panelists but gained him great admiration in his home province.        MacLean received his early education at Summerside High School and Mount Allison Academy. Later he returned to Sackville, New Brunswick, and graduated from Mount Allison University, and after this he studied at the University of British Columbia. MacLean served with the Royal Canadian Air Force (Reserve) from 1939 to 1947. During the Second World War, his plane was shot dow'n behind enemy lines in the Netherlands. MacLean evaded capture for 10 weeks while making his way through Nazi-occupied Europe to the Allied lines. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in1942 for his service with the RCAF. Following active service in the Second World War, he commanded the Test and Development Establishment from 1943 to 1945. From 1945 to 1947, MacLean worked for the Missing Research and Enquiry Unit as a Wing Commander. He also served as a president of the RAFES (Canadian Branch) and was a director with the RCAF Memorial Fund. His military service over, MacLean became a farmer.        MacLean was a member of the board of regents for Mount Allison University. From 1983 to 1987, he was a member of the Prince Edward Island Energy Corporation. MacLean was a member of the senior advisory board of the Maritime Provinces Education Foundation and the senior advisory board of the National Museum of Natural Sciences and National Museums of Canada. In 1986 he was the province’s Commissioner to Expo in Vancouver. From 1992 to 1996, he served on the board of governors of the Prince Edward Island Museum and Heritage Foundation. In 1998 he completed Making it Home, memoirs of his life and career, which also chronicles his escape from behind enemy lines.        MacLean was a member of the United Services Officers Club, the Royal Canadian Air Force Association, the Masonic Lodge, the A.F. and A.M., and the Royal Canadian Legion. He joined the Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce. MacLean was awarded an honourary doctor of laws degree from Mount Allison University in 1958 and from the University of Prince Edward Island in 1985. MacLean was a member of the Canadian Club-PEI, and in October 1982 was made an Officer of the Most Venerable Order of St. John Jerusalem. In 1992 he became an Officer of the Order of Canada. John Angus MacLean died 15 February 2000.

References: CDP p. 425; CPG 1977, 1981; CWW 2000 p. 796; HFER Queen's p. 2; MacDonald If You're Stronghearted pp. 345-46, 350-51; Atlantic Insight November 1981; Guardian 16 February 2000; 29 August 2002; Globe and Mail 19 August 1981; Patriot 13 November 1981. Guide to abbreviations

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