If there was ever an agreement on the definition of the quintessential Islander, Angus MacLean would be the clear winner. The former P.E.I. premier was honoured with a fitting tribute Saturday at Lord Selkirk Park in Eldon where the international Clan Maclean Heritage Trust chose him as its first Atlantic Canadian recipient.
The plaque says: “Angus MacLean was a good man, proud of his ancestral Maclean Hebridean roots; a traditionalist who embraced positive change. He was a war hero; a very successful politician at both the federal and provincial levels — a federal cabinet minister and provincial premier; a family man and successful blueberry farmer.”
Mr. MacLean, who died in 2000, served as a bomber pilot during the Second World War, was shot down, rescued and returned to Allied hands by resistance fighters, some of who were later executed by the Nazis for aiding the Canadian pilot.
Mr. MacLean said many years later that when others lay down their lives in sacrifice, you are inspired to excel and achieve something with your own life.
He was premier from 1979 to 1981, winning victory on the theme of Rural Renaissance. His nostalgic vision of a province returning to its rural roots and traditions to find prosperity caught the imagination of Islanders. His term as premier might well have been the last stand for such an agrarian dream.