Dr. William J.P. Macmillan
Premier from 1933 to 1935
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DR. WILLIAM J.P. MACMILLAN, born March 24, 1881, at Cleremont, Prince Edward Island, served as
Premier for only two years, but was leader of the Opposition and head of the Island Conservative
Party for more than 15 years.
His youth was marked by an outstanding scholastic record at Prince of Wales College and McGill University where he graduated in 1908 with a degree of Doctor of Medicine. He was the recipient of the Holmes Gold Metal from McGill. He returned to the Island and established a medical practice first in Kinkora and afterwards in Charlottetown in 1910. In 1935, Dr. MacMillan was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from McGill, one of the few Islanders to be granted this honour.
In 1923, he entered politics, not with a political motive but to try and obtain a grant for his favourite charity, The Red Cross Society. However, he remained in the Legislature after he achieved his first objective and served continuously until 1955 except for the "clean sweep" made by the Liberals during the years 1935 to 1939. In 1932, he was named the first Minister of Health and Education in the province and took over the role of acting Premier during the illness of Premier James D. Stewart. On Stewart's death in 1933, he was named Premier and served until 1935.
Dr. MacMillan entered the provincial administration at a time when finances were strained as a result of two fires which destroyed Prince of Wales College and Falconwood, the then Provincial Mental Hospital. He had them both rebuilt and at the same time, elevated Prince of Wales College to Junior College status. Perhaps his greatest success was his procurement of a Carnegie Foundation endowment for the establishing of a Provincial Library System which still serves the Island.
A member of many service clubs, charitable organizations and a number of medical associations, Dr. MacMillan was awarded an O.B.E. for his work during the second World War. He was named a Knight Commander of the Order of St. Gregory the Great in 1947 and installed by Bishop James Boyle in Charlottetown in February 1948.
He had been named Lieutenant-Governor of Prince Edward Island on November 22, 1957, only days before his death on December 7, 1957.
Dr. MacMillan is buried in the People’s Roman Catholic Cemetery in Charlottetown.