For the history books

New book details life of P.E.I.’s long serving premier

Eric McMurray
Published on March 5, 2014
The cover of ‘Alex B. Campbell The Prince Edward Island Premier Who Rocked The Cradle,’ the new book by H. Wade MacLauchlan. The political biography is set to release at the end of May.

CHARLOTTETOWN – It’s been nearly 50 years since Alexander B. Campbell was elected as premier of P.E.I.

On May 30, 1966, the seat count was tied 15 to 15, in what H. Wade MacLauchlan said was one of Canada’s tightest elections.

Campbell later won the election by a secondary vote in Souris, where the vote was cast to the Liberal party on July 11.

MacLauchlan has learned a lot about the former premier and is sharing his newfound knowledge through his book, ‘Alex B. Campbell The Prince Edward Island Premier Who Rocked The Cradle.’

“I have gained a much more filled out appreciation of what the forces were that brought us to that point in our history,” he said.

MacLauchlan’s book, which releases in Summerside on May 30, to coincide with that election and the past premier’s birthplace, has given the author a great learning experience, he said.

“History is best written with some distance,” he said adding with decades gone by, he has been able to learn a vast amount about various subjects, which are included in his political biography of Campbell.

While the book deals with many themes, such as Campbell’s time in office, as well as parts of his personal life, and his life growing up in Summerside, much of it is focused on the Campbell’s time in office.

 “In 1966, P.E.I. was in a perilous state of how we were geared with our future,” MacLauchlan said, adding many factors from education, transportation and energy played a role in how the Island was reacting to changes that were happening across the globe.

Through Campbell’s leadership, the Island saw many changes, one of which was the school system.

“In 1966 we had 400 school districts and 271 one-room schools. By 1972 that was all gone.”

He said the changes were revolutionary at the time, including changes that brought Holland College and UPEI to the Island.

 MacLauchlan is hoping others will get to learn more about the time period, and said he is still learning about his subject.

“It’s not finished. As an author, you have to stay involved with ensuring the people who are interested, get the book.”

The writing process took MacLauchlan more than three years, and he said he had more than 100 interviews with sources, including Campbell himself, to find out more about the premier.

“There’s a very full archive of papers that were quite nicely saved when Campbell finished his term in office so that’s been a great source.”

MacLauchlan also talked to friends and family of the premier, and Islanders who have been connected to him during his life.

MacLauchlan’s book launches on May 30, in Summerside, May 31, in Charlottetown, and July 11, in Souris. Readers can also pre-purchase the book online, with those copies being signed by MacLauchlan and Campbell.

More information can be found out about MacLauchlan's book at

On the website readers can get a sneak peek at the first two chapters of the book and get purchase information about the book too.