Thane A. Campbell
Premier from 1936 to 1943
Click to enlarge
THANE ALEXANDER CAMPBELL IS THE only premier in the history of the Province of Prince Edward
Island to see the premiership of the Province pass into the hands of his son. In 1966, while
serving as the Chief Justice of Prince Edward Island, Thane A. Campbell had the honour of
witnessing the swearing in Alexander B. Campbell, to the post he himself had held for over seven
Thane Campbell was born in Summerside on July 7, 1895. Following his early education he went to a distinguished academic career, receiving the degrees of Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts from Dalhousie University in Halifax and also from Oxford University in English, where he attended Corpus Christi College as a Rhodes Scholar. He returned to his native province in 1922 and read law with A.C. Saunders, who was also a former premier of the Province, in Summerside.
Thane Campbell's entry into the political life of Prince Edward Island was a bit unusual in that he served for a time as Attorney-General before he was elected to the Provincial Legislature. He was first elected in 1931. In 1935, he was again appointed Attorney-General in the administration of Premier Walter Lea and upon the death of Premier Lea in January, 1936, he was named Premier. Among his outstanding administrative achievements were the organization of a provincial police system (now RCMP), the establishment of a National Park in the Cavendish-Dalvay area, the enactment of the Province' first public service legislation and the development of a sound budgeting control of the Island's finances.
Mr. Campbell was Premier of the Province at the outbreak of World War II and much of the energy of himself and his administration was dedicated to the involvement of Prince Edward Island in the war effort. He resigned as Premier in 1943 to take up the appointment of Chief Justice of the Province, a position he held until his retirement at the age of 75 in 1970. Mr. Campbell held the office of Chief Justice for 27 years and only W.W. Sullivan, another former Premier, had a longer record in the office.
Mr. Campbell was active in a number of commissions and associations. He served with the National Historic Sites and Monuments Board, the National Library Council, the War Claims Commission and the Dominion Curling Association. He served as a member of the Boards of Governors of Dalhousie University and of Saint Dunstan's University, from both of which he received the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, and was Chancellor of the University of Prince Edward Island.
In 1970, Mr. Campbell was appointed Chief Commissioner of the newly-established Foreign Claims Commission at Ottawa. In 1973 he was honoured by appointment as a Companion of the Order of Canada.
Thane Alexander Campbell died on September 28, 1978. He is buried in the People's Protestant Cemetery in Summerside.