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Douglas Harrison MacFarlane was born in 1917 to Mary Hazel (nee Davison) and James Harrison MacFarlane. He was married to Nancy Shirky with whom he had three sons: Peter, Ranald, and Daniel. When the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) was established in Bedeque, Prince Edward Island, in June of 1936, under the direction of E. J. Garland who was visiting the province on behalf of the National CCF Party, MacFarlane was one of the founding members. Local leadership was spearheaded by Reverend Arthur Gordon, pastor of the Bedeque United Church and MacFarlane was sent as a delegate to the Federal Council in February of 1943 where he was appointed organizer for PEI. He first ran for the CCF party in a provincial by-election held in the 5th Prince (Summerside) Electoral District in December of 1945. He served as Provincial Secretary of the PEI CCF Party in the late 1940s and President in the 1960s and from 1980 to 1982 of the successor body the New Democratic Party.
MacFarlane also operated a dairy farm and was active in his community. Always interested in mechanical things, he was fascinated with the role electricity could play in the lives of farmers and was instrumental in establishing Bedeque Power Company, a precursor of rural electrification. He was also a veteran HAM Radio operator with the call sign VY2MC (VE1MC). Douglas MacFarlane died on 27 November 1997.