Politician. Writer. Social Activist.
Born in 1948, the son of Stan and Phyllis Binns, of Weyburn, Saskatchewan, Pat (Paddy) Binns was always close to his Grandad, Pat Evans. Evans had emigrated from County Monaghan in about 1912 and settled in western Canada where he was an engineer for the CN Railway. He instilled a love of Ireland in his family which stayed with Paddy.
Pat attended the University of Alberta and received a Masters Degree in Community Development. He worked in PEI during the summer of 1970 where he met Carol, his future wife. They worked in Northern Alberta before returning to PEI where Binns worked for the Rural Development Council and the Provincial Government. The Binns bought their farm in PEI where they raised their four children. They also kept sheep and grew edible beans.
In 1978, Binns was elected to the PEI Legislature as an Opposition member. He was re-elected and became a Cabinet Minister. In 1984 he was elected as the Federal MP for Cardigan. Defeated in 1988, he started a consulting business and was a founding partner in Island Bean Limited.
By 1996, political life called again, and Binns became Leader of the PC Party of PEI and later Premier. He was Premier for three terms. Binns was named as Canada’s Ambassador to Ireland in 2007. This provided an opportunity to work with County Monaghan and it’s leaders including his friend, Willie McKenna. He was also able to reaquaint himself with Irish relatives including Ronaghan and Sweeney family members.
In 2010, Binns became Consul General to New England. Pat and Carol retired to their PEI farm in 2014. They have returned to visit Ireland and attend Irish events celebrating PEI’s twinning with County Monaghan. 223
Robert Bonner was born September 10, 1920, and raised in Vancouver. His father was from New Brunswick and his mother was from Kells, County Meath.
He served with the Seaforth Highlanders in Italy in the Second World War. Upon his return to Canada, he earned his law degree from the University of British Columbia in 1948, and joined a practice in Vancouver. Active in politics from an early age, Bonner became a supporter and confidant of W.A.C. Bennett, who would go on to lead the Social Credit Party to victory in the 1952 provincial election. To the surprise of many, Bennett appointed the unelected, 32 year-old Bonner as the province’s Attorney General — the youngest in B.C.’s history. Bonner would be elected to represent the riding of Vancouver-Point Grey in the provincial election of 1953, which was also the first Social Credit majority government in the province. He would retain the position of Attorney General for the next sixteen years, quickly becoming one of the most powerful ministers and closest advisors to Bennett in the SoCred’s long spell of governance.
During his time in cabinet, Bonner served at various times concurrently as Minister of Education and Minister of Trade and Commerce. In the legislature, Bonner proved capable, serving as Bennett’s House Leader. Contemporaries described him as “articulate, urbane, and always well prepared, with a demonstrated air of superiority and a ready laugh".
He left provincial politics in 1968 to become vice-president of MacMillan Bloedel, a Vancouver-based logging and lumber company. He would become the firm’s president and chief executive officer. Bonner left Mac-Blo in 1976 to become chairman of BC Hydro, the provincial crown corporation responsible for producing and supplying hydro-electric power. He retired from that position in 1985. Robert Bonner died in Vancouver in 2005.
Premier, Prince Edward Island
Consul General of Canada to New England
Eileen Elizabeth (Gilmore) Dailly
Minister of Edcation, Deputy Prime Minister British Colubia
'the lady who banned the strap'
Eileen was born in Vancouver on 15 February 1926. The daughter of an Irish-Catholic father and a politically aware Scottish Presbyterian mother, Dailly received an early education in working-class politics at the dinner table. Her father, captain on a government customs patrol boat was at sea most of the time until the Depression hit and he was suddenly unemployed. Dailly recalls,"My brother and I were old enough to start thinking. ‘Here’s our Dad who wanted to work, why can’t he? And my Dad was only representative of thousands of other men skilled or not who wanted to work." The family had to move to a lower-rent area in east Vancouver.
During the 1941 Provincial election, 15 year-old Dailly joined the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) a left-wing party concerned with social welfare. The Liberal and Conservative parties formed a coalition to retain power. For Dailly it was a lesson in “orientation to the working person.”
Completing Grade 13 at John Oliver High School, she moved on to a 1-year teacher-training program at the provincial Normal School in Vancouver. Graduating in 1945, she was posted to a rural school on Denman Island, to teach 30 students, grades one to eight for 2 years before moving to an elementary school in Burnaby.
In 1951, she married James Dailly. They had one son. Eileen left teaching in 1955 to be at home with her family. The following year she was elected trustee to the Burnaby School Board under the banner of the CCF.
The CCF was the precursor of the New Democratic Party (NDP) launched in 1961 with support the Canadian labour movement. In 1966, NDP encouraged Dailly to run for provincial office. She was elected and re-elected to the provincial legislature for Burnaby North in 1969 and again in 1972, serving as the NDP's "shadow critic" of education. In 1972 when the NDP formed a government under Premier Dave Barrett, she became Minister of Education and Deputy Premier - the second woman to hold the office as Minister of Education and first to be named Deputy Premier.
On 14 February 1973, she amended the School Act and abolished corporal punishment from provincial public schools. Her decision to "outlaw the strap" - to ban corporal punishment -- was unprecedented in Canada. Although it was a very controversial decision, the "strap" was never reinstated. She further made it mandatory for all school districts to provide kindergartens by September 1973. Dailly was concerned for children whose parents could not afford to send them to private kindergartens. "Having taught school, I knew particularly the importance of early education and these kids were being denied that opportunity," she said.
In 1973 Dailly also discontinued province-wide centralized Grade 12 graduating examination. "It didn't mean that there shouldn't be testing, but to put the emphasis so strongly on one exam, I considered was wrong." In June 1973 the exams were discontinued only to be re-instated by the Social Credit government ten years laterr
In 1974, she facilitated another significant change: facilitating the creation of the first native school district for the Nisga’a in the Nass River Valley. Dailly points out "The Nisga’a were very progressive and had been asking for their own school district, which would still be part of the public school system." The new school district gave the Nisga’a, as school trustees, a voice in the curriculum and encouragement for the future of their students’ future. Dailly could see from the figures, "how few Native Indians graduated from school and also how few native Indian teachers there were and so that’s where something concrete was done."
Whilst the NDP was defeated in 1975 Dailly remained MLA for Burnaby North until 1986. She had spent twenty years in the public service and, after her retirement, she volunteered on community cable TV (1988-91) hosting a seniors' program called "Coming of Age," and she served on the executive of the provincial Retired MLAs Association. She has also had more time for her family, especially her 4 grandchildren!
Hilary Mary (Frayne) Weston
Lieutenant Governor of Ontario
Nellie Letitia Mooney was born on October 20, 1873
in Chatsworth, Ontario, a small village in Grey County, just south of Owen Sound. The daughter of John Mooney from Tipperary, and his wife, Letitia McCurdy of Dundee, Scotland. Nellie was the youngest of six children. She was seven years of age when the farm failed and they moved to Manitoba. She married Wesley McClung, a pharmacist, and with their five children, lived in Winnipeg, from 1904 - 15.
She first achieved renown through her fiction writing, but it was Nellie s role as one of The Famous Five for which she is best known. The five women launched the "Persons Case," contending that women could be "qualified persons" eligible to sit in the Senate. The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the current law did not recognize women as such. However, the case was won upon appeal to the Judicial Committee of the British Privy Council.
She campaigned for the Liberal party in Manitoba provincial elections on the issue of the vote for women and she helped to organize the Women's Political Equality League. A public speaker known for her sense of humour, she played a leading role in the successful Liberal campaign in 1914 Manitoba became the first province in Canada to grant women the vote on 28 January 1916. She moved to Edmonton, Alberta and, in 1921, she was elected to the Alberta Legislative Assembly. She championed dental and medical care for school children, property rights for married women, mothers' allowances, factory safety legislation and other reforms.
In 1923 McClung moved to Calgary to dedicate herself to her writing. Her first novel, Sowing Seeds in Danny, published in 1908, was a national bestseller. She continued to write short stories and articles for several Canadian and American magazines.
McClung's house in Calgary, her residence from 1923 to the mid- 30s, is designated a heritage site. Two other houses in which she lived have been re-located to the Archibald Museum near La Rivière, Mb. where they have been restored. The houses are open to the public. The McClung family residence in Winnipeg is also a historic site.
In 1954, Nellie McClung was named a Person of National Historic Significance by the government of Canada. A plaque commemorating McClung is located on the west side of Hwy 6, 1 km south of Hwy 40, Chatsworth, Ont. Thee "Persons Case" was recognized as an Historic Event in 1997.
In October 2009
the Senate voted to
name Nellie McClung
& the rest of the Five
Canada s first
The Hon. Robert Bonner, LLB
Seaforth Highlander, WWII
Attorney General, Vancouver-Point Grey Representative
Born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, Hilary worked as a model before marrying Galen Weston in 1966. They moved to Toronto in 1974, and Hilary became a Canadian citizen. In 1997 she was appointed the 26th Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, The Hon. Hilary M. Weston served from 1997 to 2002 as The Queen’s representative in Ontario, responsible for the Crown’s constitutional and representational roles in the province.
While she was Lieutenant Governor, Weston focused on supporting causes and groups related to women’s issues, volunteers and youth. She donated her annual salary to provide business internships and job training for 88 students and supported organizations helping street youth. In 1998, she created the Lieutenant Governor’s Community Volunteer Award to honour unsung heroes in community groups she visited. In 2000 she expanded the programme to recognize a student in each Ontario secondary school.
Weston served as the first Chancellor of the Order of Ontario and received the honour in 2001. She was appointed a Member in the Order of Canada in 2003. She has received honorary degrees from seven universities.
Since leaving public office, Hilary Weston has served as Chair of the Renaissance ROM Campaign, which seeks to transform the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto through the largest fundraising campaign in Canadian cultural history. She serves as Patron of several organizations dealing with social issues and causes.
Prior to her appointment as Lieutenant Governor, her career was in business and the fashion industry. As Deputy Chair of the Board of Holt Renfrew for ten years, she promoted Canadian designers and merchandise, revitalizing a business that has been a Canadian tradition since 1837.
Her volunteer and philanthropic work has supported cultural projects, research into breast cancer and AIDS. In 1979, Hilary Weston founded the Ireland Fund of Canada and continues as Honorary Patron of the non- partisan, non-denominational organization that funds community projects in Ireland to promote peace. She also explored her longstanding interest in homes and gardens as co-author of two best-selling books: In a Canadian Garden (1989) and At Home in Canada (1995).