On January 25, Catherine Callbeck was sworn in as the first woman premier of this province, two days after she won the Liberal leadership convention.
The Member for the federal riding of Malpeque since 1988, she had been prevailed upon to seek the party leadership when Premier Joe Ghiz decided to leave politics.
Many in the party were unhappy about the process claiming it made it impossible for the other qualified candidates to run for the position.
In the closing weeks of the campaign, two competitors did emerge.
Unemployed construction worker Larry Creed ran what he called a “Beans and Baloney” campaign, paying his expenses with his UIC cheques. He produced a “poor working man” platform that had a strong appeal to disgruntled Liberals- and many others.
Social activist Bill Campbell, a federal civil servant, entered the race at the last possible moment, with almost no organization or planning. Because he is unabashedly pro-life, the newly-formed but also unorganized Liberal for Life (PEI) puts its support behind him.
Miss Callbeck, a business woman and former provincial Minister of Health, won handily, becoming Premier, but without a seating in the Legislature.
No radical feminist, Premier Callbeck claims that she intends to continue her long standing practice of judging people by their individual merits rather than by their gender.
She caused a furore locally in 1988, while Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Confederation Centre of the Arts. She believed that portions of a proposed production about Elvis Presley would be offensive to many Islanders and would serve to move the summer festival in the direction of adult entertainment. She resigned the protest.
Despite this concern about moral standard and community values, Catherine Callbeck has always made clear that she believes in legal abortion for certain circumstances.