Fonds RG25 - Premier's Office fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Premier's Office fonds

General material designation

  • Textual record
  • Graphic material

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Title notes

  • Source of title proper: Title based on provenance of the fonds

Level of description

Fonds

Reference code

CA PCA RG25

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Edition statement

Edition statement of responsibility

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area

Date(s)

  • 1898-1992 (Creation)
    Creator
    Premier's Office

Physical description area

Physical description

97.85 m of textual records
87 photographs

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Archival description area

Name of creator

Biographical history

The position of Premier of Prince Edward Island was established in 1851 as part of the reform package ushered in called "responsible government". George Coles was the first to serve as Premier, being commanded by His Excellency Lieutenant Governor Bannerman to form the new government. Previous to 1851 governance of the colony was conducted by the Governor, an Executive Council appointed by the Crown to advise and assist the Governor, and an elected Assembly. The choice of premier is now straightforward; the role is assumed by the leader of the political party which holds the majority of seats in the legislature.

Traditionally the premiership of the province has not been the reward of a glittering political career. Time in the office in the majority of cases has been brief and the remuneration has not conducive to making the post more than "a fascinating part-time job or as a stepping stone to something more permanent". In a few cases the Premier has used the office as a springboard to federal politics but a seat on the judiciary has been the preferred goal of many former premiers.

In his capacity as leader the Premier chooses the cabinet and may keep portfolios for himself, such as President of the Executive Council, or, if he is a lawyer, Attorney General. One of the most striking aspects of the premiership of such a small constituency has been the familiarity people have felt towards those holding the office; consequently people have not hesitated to communicate with the premier on any personal or policy issue which might be sorted with government intervention. Another important element of the premier's workload has involved communication with the federal government in Ottawa. Given the Island's small population and limited resources, negotiations for resources and services from Ottawa have been an ongoing element of the Premier's responsibilities.

Custodial history

Scope and content

This fonds contains the papers of Premiers Donald Farquharson, Arthur Peters, F. L. Haszard, H. James Palmer, John A. Mathieson, Aubin A. Arsenault, J. H. Bell, James D. Stewart, Albert C. Saunders, Walter M. Lea, W. J. P. MacMillan, Thane A. Campbell, J. Walter Jones, Alex W. Matheson, and Alex B. Campbell. The papers consist primarily of correspondence, both incoming and outgoing, arranged variously- chronologically, alphabetically, or by subject; any existing order was maintained. Most of the correspondence is professional although there is some personal material as well, particularly in the Farquharson and Alex B. Campbell material. There are also reports and memoranda scattered throughout. The correspondence documents the daily concerns which were brought to the attention of a premier: transportation, the availability of medical and social services for individuals in need, legal issues, military matters, immigration, employment or reference requests, and policy or electoral issues. In the cases of premiers who also served as the Attorney General there may also correspondence addressed to them in that capacity.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Arrangement

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Location of originals

Availability of other formats

Restrictions on access

RESTRICTIONS APPLY ON PREMIERS PAPER FOR A PERIOD OF THIRTY YEARS. ALSO RESTRICTIONS MAY APPLY TO SPECIFIC FILES WITHIN EACH SERIES. SEE FILE LISTINGS

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

PERMISSION FOR USE AND REPRODUCTION IS REQUIRED FROM THE PUBLIC ARCHIVES AND RECORDS OFFICE; QUESTIONS REGARDING COPYRIGHT ARE THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE USER

Finding aids

SERIES AND SUB-SERIES DESCRIPTIONS, FILE LISTINGS, AND LIST OF PREMIERS AVAILABLE

Associated materials

See also: Frank MacKinnon’s "The Government of Prince Edward Island" (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1951); Edward MacDonald’s "If You’re Stronghearted" (Prince Edward Island Museum and Heritage Foundation, 2000); and Fred Driscoll’s “History and Politics of Prince Edward Island

Related materials

Accruals

General note

Records are located in Stack #11 and along the east and south walls beginning at the end of Stack #24 of the 4th floor storage area

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Language of description

  • English

Script of description

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