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Cardigan MP Lawrence MacAulay celebrates 30 years in federal politics

A supporter congratulates Cardigan MP Lawrence MacAulay on his 30 years serving as the MP for Cardigan during a celebration at St. Peters Bay Complex Sunday. The now 72-year-old MacAulay was first elected as an MP on Nov. 21, 1988.
A supporter congratulates Cardigan MP Lawrence MacAulay on his 30 years serving as the MP for Cardigan during a celebration at St. Peters Bay Complex Sunday. The now 72-year-old MacAulay was first elected as an MP on Nov. 21, 1988. - Katherine Hunt

ST. PETERS, P.E.I. - From watching unoccupied beaches turn into tourist destinations to keeping eastern P.E.I.’s ferry service in operation, there are many things Cardigan MP Lawrence MacAulay is proud to have had a hand in over his lengthy political career.

The Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food celebrated 30 years in federal politics while surrounded by his friends, family, constituents and peers during a special celebration at the St. Peters Bay Complex on Sunday.

Looking back upon three decades in federal politics is not something MacAulay ever expected.

“I can assure you I never dreamt of being in (politics) this long,” said MacAulay.

The now 72-year-old MacAulay was first elected as MP of Cardigan on Nov. 21, 1988 and was re-elected in each of the nine elections that followed.

Gary Evans, who attended MacAulay’s celebration, was also at MacAulay’s original nomination meeting 30 years ago.

“I remember when the word got out that he was seeking the nomination and he came in to see my dad,” he said. “We just kind of paid attention to it then we all went down to the nomination and Lawrence got it and he started the election and it’s hard to believe that was 30 years ago.”

Over his career, it’s the positive changes made within his riding that mean the most to MacAulay.

Some of the work MacAulay said he was most proud of included the establishment of the Souris Food Park, maintaining the Northumberland Ferries service between Wood Islands, P.E.I. and Caribou, N.S. running and the establishment of blueberry and mussel plants in Souris.

“I felt I was paid to make this area more prosperous,” said MacAulay. “There’s no end to what you can do and there’s no end to the work. I always say, as a politician you’re not always on but you’re never off.”

The transformation of Greenwich Park into a major tourist destination is something MacAulay said he considers to be a major accomplishment.

“I remember going to see Sheila Copps (former deputy prime minister of Canada) on the dunes in Greenwich and were able to arrange to get a million dollars and that was a big, big issue and now there’s a lot of millions spent down there,” he said.

MacAulay’s riding is close to his heart. He was born and raised in a Midgell home that he lives in to this day with his wife Frances.

Life before politics was spent growing seed potatoes and dairy farming for MacAulay, who raised three daughters and has eight grandchildren.

MacAulay decided to join the world of politics because it was something he always followed and was interested in.

“The biggest sport in P.E.I. is politics,” he said.

As for how long MacAulay plans to continue in politics, only time will tell.

“Who would ever know?”

Katherine.hunt@theguardian.pe.ca


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