Catherine Callbeck's life story hitting book shelves

Jim Day
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Senator Catherine Callbeck's biography is now available

The intriguing personal, political and volunteer life of Catherine Callbeck is captured in a new comprehensive biography.

Island historian and political scientist Wayne MacKinnon, in his book called The Politics of Principle, details Callbeck’s career from her first public involvement as a volunteer in her local community, through her groundbreaking election as Canada’s first elected female premier and subsequent service in the Senate of Canada.

While Callbeck’s public persona over the past 35 years is very well known, the book examines her early life and discusses the family and community influences which instilled the values which she carried throughout her political career.

MacKinnon also takes a close look at the time period spanning the years that Callbeck served as an MLA, provincial cabinet minister, Member of Parliament, premier and senator.

“These were years of great change and adjustment in the province and the country and Callbeck was a leader in that change,’’ notes a release for JHB Publishing.

“The book will provide readers with great insight, not only into the career of this trailblazing politician, but also will be a valuable resource for students of Prince Edward Island politics.’’

The book is currently available at Bookmark in Charlottetown and should be on the shelves next week at Indigo and Coles.

The book will officially be launched Nov. 24 in Central Bedeque at the William Callbeck Centre at 2:30 p.m. and at The Guild in Charlottetown on Nov. 25 at 2:30 p.m.

Organizations: Senate of Canada, Indigo, William Callbeck Centre The Guild

Geographic location: Canada, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island Central Bedeque

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Recent comments

  • HMR
    November 17, 2012 - 21:38

    Ms. Clawback should hold her book signing in the same tunnel that she so frequented in 1994!! She along with Ghiz have to go down as two of the very worst premiers in PEI history!

  • Wes
    November 17, 2012 - 15:11

    What is most galling about about this lady and this book is the title. This woman would know NOTHING about Principles. She never listened to anyone in her life and done what she wanted to do based on the fact she was multi millionaire and had no idea what it was like to have to struggle to feed the family. I was working for the government when she implemented the rollback and while the lowest paid workers all were cut the ploiticians never lost a dime and what is worse they increased their pensions. Now she writes abook most likely funded by PNP Money and uses the workd principle in the title like she even knows what PRINCIPLES are. Now if we someone like Joe Ghiz,Angus Maclean , or even Pat Binns want to write abook about principles then yes I would buy it because these people know what the word means. This woman never cared an ounce for average islander and nev er ever had to worry about putting food on the table for the family and she thinks she understands principles. Yes there should be protest at the lauching and not just for the 7.5% rollback but more importantly becauise this book is a farce and a lie.

  • mark in Fredericton
    November 16, 2012 - 20:08

    I was working for the Govt of PEI in 1995 when that 7.5% rollback happened. Even though my family is still on the Island I saw the writing on the wall - how the politically privileged get rewarded and those working hard for the public get pushed to the ditch so I left soon afterward. Best decision I ever made was driving off the John Hamilton Gray at Cape Tormentine & never looking back in the rearview mirror.

      November 17, 2012 - 09:16

      Good for you Mark. My wife and I were in a similar situation and made the opposite decision and returned to PEI; we worked here until we retired, both of us were teachers. While we enjoy PEI, the pay scale, benefits, working conditions and pension are better anywhere else in Canada, including our sister provinces. If you look at the employment situation though a fiscal lens, there's little justification for working on PEI. So, those who post that teachers and civil servants are over paid, the facts simply do not support your position. Of course, facts rarely impedes bullshit.

  • hold it
    November 16, 2012 - 18:08

    stop the whining, - you were overpaid compared to the rest of us, --- still are, -- and you put Ghiz in twice, so there you are, live with it, - that is not to say that I don't think that the way was paved for Ms Callbeck,. coming from a previlegded and 'recognized' family, - coached by Premier Campbell and no trail blzaer in her minister post, she never the less was found by the liberal party and thought to be a possible beneign leader. The 7.5% was a great thing for the Island economy, but she ran away when it got hot in the kitchen, --- then again the road was paved for her and she became a Senator, who from time to time issues a statement on some insignificant topic or other. This is a story of Island 'royalty" and how well things can be arranged when a lot of people have a hand in it, - a bit like the emperor's new clothes. I wish her well for all.

  • Dianne Porter
    November 16, 2012 - 16:02

    I will be attending the book launch and getting this great lady to sign her biography for me. it will make a great Christmas gift for all my friends

  • Joe
    November 16, 2012 - 14:13

    Here we go with the poor teachers and civil servants that lost 7.5%. Would you have rathered she fired 15% of the work force or spread it around like she did. The poor civil servant that has a defined benefit pension is not the person we need to feel sorry for. It's normal Islander that works in private sector and pays for his own pension. Not the civil servants that have this defined benefit plan that guarantees a dollar value for rest of their lives. Then when there isn't enough money in the fund we the other 65% of population have to top up your pension fund. I can't wait for the day (is coming soon) that the civil servants have a defined contribution plan. Yes, poor teachers, they work 9 months of the year from 8 am until 3:30. Then retire at 60 and get a pension for 30 yrs. Take a drive by a school at 3:45 pm and see how many cars you see. haha

    • To JOE
      November 16, 2012 - 15:46

      It's good to see that our "Joe" is still alive and well. If consistency is important, his advice to us now is the same as the "principles" of Catherine Callbeck in 1996. One thing you can say for Callbeck, when she resigned in October 1996 (and yes, that's resigned) at least she knew when to switch to a different trough. Her "difficult" decisions served the few rich among us, cost the Liberal party the next two general elections, but what the heck, she did well . . . for herself.

  • Rose
    November 16, 2012 - 14:07

    I agree JRCK...what a bunch of whiners. Civil servants make too much money anyway for what they do. In my opinion, Catherine Callbeck deserves our utmost respect. She led the way for other women who came after her. She has always tried to do what was right for the people of PEI and she still is trying to do so after all these years.

  • Great title, ironic, but great
    November 16, 2012 - 13:14

    The Politics of Principle? As ironic as it is, it is a great title. Let's remember it was "principle" that drove the 7.5 rollback, not substantive economic need. And that principle had nothing to do with serving the people of PEI, it had everything to do with serving the power brokers who parachuted Callbeck into a Senate position. She served our corporate masters well, regardless of their political affiliations. And while Sir. Robert Ghiz did officially apologize for Callbeck's injustice, the "principles" that drove her decision making continue to this day . . . PNP, HST, Plan B, it goes on and on.

    • Stroback
      November 16, 2012 - 19:18

      The Charlottetown Chamber of Commerce, led by Ray Murphy, lobbied hard at the time for a 10% cut to civil servant's salaries and were vocally upset that it was only 7.5%. They didn't want to compete with the civil servant's salaries when hiring their own staff.

      November 16, 2012 - 20:52

      Ray Murphy, isn't that the fella who rents that little house on Prince Street? I saw him picking up bottles to sell and then at the Food Bank with Catherine Callbeck in '96. Now those two people were in touch with the common people, you know, the ones who depend on EI to pay their bills and feed their children. It's good to know that Callbeck had "principles" though, real good. It's also good that Wayne MacKinnon wrote this book just because it had to be written. Sort of a Nelson Mandela story, brings a tear to the eye. Really, it brings a tear to the eye . . .

  • Chris
    November 16, 2012 - 11:21

    I bet Callbeck didn't lose part of her pension like the rest of did with her wage rollback. This women cost me over $3,000 per year in lost pension and she wants people to read about how she cut our wages and pensions while at the same collecting a huge salary and pension and then going to the Senate with another huge salary and pension. I will say one thing this women has gall. Maybe we need to have a few thousand of the people whose lives she affected show up at her book lanching and remind her itw as lives she affected and not just numbers. Maybe we can ask her how much of her pension was affected by her rollback.

    • dm
      November 16, 2012 - 15:02

      Well do it then, you guys let her get away with it back then i can not for the live of me see any of you doing anything about it now, not that i wouldn't like to see it or i am on Catherine or wanes side of things or anything, if i were you i wouldn't stop until i saw their pensions cut the same yeah you cilvl servants are paid a lot some might argue but senators and judges are grossly over paid, why do they even need pensions if they are making that much lol

  • Leo
    November 16, 2012 - 11:10

    She didn't listen to anyone when she was Premier. The biggest protests in the country were happening in Charlottetown when she Premier protests of over 10,000 people and she still didn't listen and she expect people now to buy her book. I wonder how much tax dollars are in invested in this book through a Government grant. Maybe since she would not listen to anyone when she was premier a few thousand of the people whose lives she changed with the wage rollback should show up at her book launch and see if she will talk to us now. She would not even look at us when she was premier let alone speak to us and would only run away through the tunnels under Province House.,

    • dm
      November 16, 2012 - 15:09

      Well Leo it's not her book its professor MacKinnon's book about her, 10k people lol i don't remember that and i was there try 5k, but i remember all of us vowing never to vote liberal agin because now we have another tunnelling Premier lol

  • JRCK
    November 16, 2012 - 10:17

    My Gosh . Still whining about the wage cut after all these years. When she was in power the economy was booming and taxes were lower. She had to do what she did.

    • dm
      November 16, 2012 - 15:13

      She could have done a lot more like share the cuts with her own salaries n pensions for mla's they are all grossly over paid they they get cars and everything paid for on top of that

  • Stratford Larry
    November 16, 2012 - 09:58

    You're kidding right????????? Will the book sell to retired cival servents at a 71/2 % discount?

    • civil servant
      November 16, 2012 - 12:06

      Catherine Cutback will never see any of my money after what she did to us in 1994.