Catherine Sophia Callbeck
Premier from 1993 to 1996
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CATHERINE CALLBECK WAS BORN on the 25th of July, 1939, the daughter of Ruth and Ralph Callbeck of Central
She received her early education at Central Bedeque School and Summerside High School. She later received a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Mt. Allison University and a Bachelor of Education degree from Dalhousie University in 1960 and 1963 respectively. She also completed post-graduate courses in business administration at Syracuse University.
After a period teaching business in New Brunswick and Ontario, Ms. Callbeck returned to Prince Edward Island where she became involved with the family business, Callbeck's Ltd. of Central Bedeque.
She was elected to the Prince Edward Island Legislative Assembly in 1974 as the member for the Fourth District of Prince. From 1974 to 1978 she served as Minister of Health & Social Services and as Minister Responsible for the Disabled. In 1978 she left provincial politics and returned to the family business.
Ms. Callbeck was elected as Member of Parliament for Malpeque in 1988 and during her time in the House of Commons she served as the official opposition critic for Consumer and Corporate Affairs; Energy, Mines and Resources; Financial Institutions and as Associate Critic for Privatization and Regulatory Affairs. She was also the vice chair for the caucus committee on sustainable development.
She was elected leader of the Liberal Party of Prince Edward Island on January 23, 1993 and was sworn in as Premier and President of the Executive Council on January 25, 1993. She was elected as the Member of the Legislative Assembly for the First District of Queens in the general election of March 29, 1993. She was the first woman in Canada to be elected as Premier. While in office she was presented with an Honourary Doctorate of Laws by Mount Allison University of New Brunswick and was named Sponsor of the HMCS Charlottetown. In October 1996 she retired from provincial political life and returned to the family business.
On September 23, 1997, Ms. Callbeck was called to the Senate of Canada.
Also in the fall of 1997 Ms. Callbeck was presented with the prestigious Rural Beautification Shaw Award for her contribution to the enhancement of the rural life on Prince Edward Island.
In the spring of 1998, Senator Callbeck was named a director of the Mutual Fund Dealers Association.
Ms. Callbeck has had a long and active involvement with charitable and public service groups and organizations at all levels. Among other positions, she has served as Chairperson of the Board of Confederation Centre of the Arts, as a member of the Board of Regents of Mt. Allison University, as a member of the Board of Governors of the University of Prince Edward Island, as a member of the Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission, and as a board member of the Institute for Research in Public Policy. Her charitable activities include being a director of the PEI United Fund, a director of the Canadian Heart Foundation (PEI Division) and a member of the provincial Committee for the International Year of the Disabled. She also served on several committees and in several capacities in and around her home village of Central Bedeque.
Ms. Callbeck is a member of the Bedeque United Church. She has served as an Elder, and a member of the Prince Edward Island United Church Presbytery.