Albert Charles Saunders

Albert Charles Saunders

Served during the following dates: 1915-09-16; 1919-07-24; 1923-07-24; 1927-06-25; 1927-09-01

SAUNDERS, K.C., HONOURABLE ALBERT CHARLES, lawyer and judge; b. 12 October 1874 in Summerside, son of Charles B. Saunders and Margaret MacKenzie; m. 1902, Leila Zwicker Graves, and they had four children, Reginald, Mrs. Floyd Cleveland, Mrs. Harold Schurman, and Mrs. Myron Stoll; Church of England; d. 18 October 1943 in Summerside.        Saunders, a Liberal, was first elected to the Legislative Assembly in the general election of 1915 for 2nd Prince. He was re-elected in the general elections of 1919, 1923, and 1927. He served as Leader of the Opposition from 1923 to 1927. In the general election of 1927, the Liberals, led by Saunders, defeated Conservative Premier James D. Stewart*. Saunders was sworn in as the sixteenth premier on12 August 1927. On 20 May 1930, he resigned to accept appointment to the position of Master of Rolls and Justice of the Supreme Court if Prince Edward Island. Saunders first entered the political arena in Summerside where he served as Mayor for four terms before entering provincial politics.         The Conservatives campaigned it the election of 1927 on a platform to repeal the Prohibition Act. Saunders and the Liberals were in favour of prohibition. The Conservatives wished to regulate the distribution of liquor by placing it under government control. The Conservative Prohibition policy was clearly against public opinion and they were defeated. During Saunders’ first session as Premier, the Legislature passed a bill designed to make the enforcement of the Prohibition Act more effective. His government was also responsible for the revision of the public school curriculum and an increase in teachers’ salaries. During his time as premier, significant road construction w;s carried out throughout the province.         Upon his death, the Patriot noted that Saunders, the son of a harness maker, was unaided by wealth or influence in his rise to premier. He possessed a great capacity for painstaking concentration on the task at hand, a quality that allowed him to achieve great success in both the legal and political communities of the province.         Saunders was educated at Sur.merside schools and at Prince ofWales College in Charlottetown. Upon graduating from Prince of Wales, he studied law in the Summerside firm of James E. Wyatt. Saunders moved on to article with Peters, Peters, and Ings in Charlottetown, a firm that included Frederick Peters* and Arthur Peters"', both premiers. After Saunders was called to the Bar on 3 October 1899, he opened his own office in Summerside. He was recognized as one of the leading criminal lawyers in the province. In the 1920s, Saunders formed a partnership wtih Thane Alexander Campbell*, who would also become a premier of the province. In the early 1940s. Saunders presided at the trial that resulted in the last executions in the province. Albert Saunders died 18 October 1943 at his home.

References: CPG 1928; Elections PEI; Graves p. 413; MacKinnon Life the Party pp. 88-89; Provincial Premiers Birthday Series 1873-1973. Patriot 18 October 1943, 19 October 1943; PARO: MNI-Census 1891. Guide to abbreviations

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