Plaque honours Angus MacLean - war hero, politician, farmer and family man

Brian McInnis
Published on September 15, 2013

Angus MacLean served Canada as a bomber pilot during the Secord World War and then came home to continue serving his country as a member of parliament and then as premier of his beloved Prince Edward Island.

No matter where he was in the world his heart and soul was always back home on P.E.I. and especially the family farm in Lewes, a gathering at Lord Selkirk Park was told Saturday.

In a small clearing in a small wood a memorial plaque was unveiled to honour the memory of MacLean, who died in 2000. In part it reads: “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.”

The plaque, which was unveiled Saturday at the “Croft House,” was erected by The Clan Maclean Heritage Heritage Trust, Clan Maclean Atlantic Canada, the Caledonian Club of P.E.I and the Belfast Historical Society.

The heritage trust is a world wide organization that marks the lives and accomplishments of prominent MacLeans throughout the world and several years ago it was decided that it should be done in Atlantic Canada. Angus MacLean’s name came forward and so it was decided that he would be honoured. As far as his son Rob knows his father is the first MacLean in Atlantic Canada to be honoured in this way.

Angus MacLean was premier from 1979-1981, an MLA for five years, an MP for 25 years and a cabinet minister for six years in the Diefenbaker cabinet. He was also made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1991.

The MacLean family settled in Lewes 150 years ago and other then when he was studying, at war or in federal politics, MacLean spent his life there, his youngest son Rob said in an interview following the unveiling.

“It was either politics, retirement or being on the farm.”

He said he feels “it is important to remember history…you are not enslaved by it, but it informs you…so I think it is really helpful for people to remember where they came from and to celebrate it and to make a marker like this (his father’s plaque) means you have something that hopefully will pique the interest of people and to help keep my father from being forgotten.”

“MacLean’s scope and breadth touched so many people, so many organizations in and out of Canada that the decision to honour Angus MacLean in this way in my experience is unique,” said George MacLean, president of Clan Maclean Atlantic Canada. He said that in Atlantic Canada his group has not done anything in scope close to what was done to honour MacLean.

A storyboard was also unveiled that gives a more detailed glimpse of MacLean’s life. Both Rob MacLean and George MacLean hope what was done will inspire people to dig a little deeper and learn more about the former war hero, politician and farmer.

The way he ended his 1998 memoirs, Making It Home, gives insight into what made Angus MacLean the man he was.

“I am grateful to be able to spend my years of retirement here (in Lewes), as a temporary custodian of the fields and woodlands that my ancestors called home. I believe it was Rudyard Kipling who said it best:

‘God gave all men earth to love, but since our hearts are small, ordained for each, one would be beloved over all’.”