Donald William Cameron

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The Honourable
Donald William Cameron
22nd Premier of Nova Scotia
In office
February 26, 1991 – June 11, 1993
Monarch Elizabeth II
Lieutenant Governor Lloyd Crouse
Preceded by Roger Bacon
Succeeded by John Savage
MLA for Pictou East
In office
April 2, 1974 – May 25, 1993
Preceded by Alexander Lloyd MacDonald
Succeeded by Wayne Fraser
Personal details
Born (1946-05-20) May 20, 1946 (age 76)
Egerton, Nova Scotia
Political party Progressive Conservative

Donald William Cameron (born May 20, 1946) was the 22nd Premier of Nova Scotia, Canada, from February 1991 to June 1993.

Born in 1946 at Egerton, Nova Scotia, Cameron graduated from McGill University with a Bachelor of Science degree.[1] He represented the electoral district of Pictou East in the Nova Scotia House of Assembly from 1974 to 1993, as a member of the Progressive Conservative Party of Nova Scotia.[2] Following his political career, he was appointed as the Canadian Consul General to New England.[3]

Political career

Cameron entered provincial politics in the 1974 election, defeating Liberal Lester MacLellan by 272 votes in the Pictou East riding.[4] He was re-elected in the 1978 election by almost 2,000 votes.[5] On October 5, 1978, Cameron was appointed to the Executive Council of Nova Scotia as Minister of Fisheries and Minister of Recreation.[6] He resigned from cabinet on June 25, 1980.[1][7] He was re-elected in the 1981[8] and 1984 elections.[9] On April 20, 1988, Cameron was reappointed to cabinet as Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology.[10] Cameron was re-elected in the 1988 election, defeating Liberal Wayne Fraser by 753 votes.[11]

In September 1990, John Buchanan resigned as premier,[12] and a leadership convention was scheduled for February 1991.[13] On November 2, 1990, Cameron announced his candidacy for the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party of Nova Scotia.[14][15] At the leadership convention, on February 9, 1991, Cameron led through the first two ballots and defeated Roland J. Thornhill by 143 votes on the third ballot to win the leadership.[16][17] He was sworn-in as the 22nd Premier of Nova Scotia on February 26.[18]

Premier of Nova Scotia

Cameron's administration was known for a smaller cabinet, supporting anti-discrimination measures, and amending the human rights act to extend protection to gays and lesbians. His government also privatized Nova Scotia Power Incorporated,[19] the largest privatization move in Canada at the time. Cameron also introduced merit-based hiring codes, signed on to the Atlantic Procurement Agreement and introduced mandatory testing in grades 3, 6, 9 and 12 with public release of test scores. Cameron's government established a non-partisan electoral boundaries revision commission in an attempt to end gerrymandering.[20]

Cameron began the practice of non-political appointment of judges, deregulation of gasoline prices and made investments in double-stack rail service from the Port of Halifax (benefitting the TrentonWorks rail car plant in his riding) as well as four-lane highways. His efforts in ending party patronage marked a change in politics in Nova Scotia that his successors, John Savage, and John Hamm were able to continue, making appointments a more transparent process.

Cameron is also remembered as an aggressive supporter of a disastrous development project. He was instrumental, first as a local MLA, then as industry minister in the government of John Buchanan, and then as premier, in the development of the Westray Mine in Pictou County, Nova Scotia.

Concerns — expressed by many — appeared in the provincial media regarding the safety of those working in such a mine. While coal mining typically releases explosive methane gas, the location of the mine was in an area of Pictou County that had an unusually high level of methane. Despite this, and despite the opposition from federal bureaucrats, opposition politicians and a Government of Canada crown agency responsible for coal mining in Cape Breton, the Cape Breton Development Corporation (Devco), Westray Mine was developed through the late eighties and opened in 1991 with significant provincial and federal government assistance. On May 9, 1992 a methane gas explosion killed 26 miners.

Cameron's government is also remembered for continuing the Buchanan policy in supporting development of the controversial Point Aconi Generating Station project.

In the 1993 election, Cameron won personal re-election in his Pictou East riding,[21] but his government was defeated in a landslide by the Nova Scotia Liberal Party under John Savage.[22] On election night, Cameron announced his resignation as both party leader and MLA for Pictou East.[23]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Elliott, Shirley B. (1984). The Legislative Assembly of Nova Scotia, 1758–1983 : a biographical directory (PDF). Public Archives of Nova Scotia. p. 28. ISBN 0-88871-050-X. Retrieved 2014-11-30.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Electoral History for Pictou East" (PDF). Nova Scotia Legislative Library. Retrieved 2014-11-30.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Cameron, Mulroney friend receive patronage posts". The Globe and Mail. June 25, 1993.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Returns of General Election for the House of Assembly 1974" (PDF). Elections Nova Scotia. 1974. p. 105. Retrieved 2014-11-30.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Returns of General Election for the House of Assembly 1978" (PDF). Elections Nova Scotia. 1978. p. 105. Retrieved 2014-11-30.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Buchanan's Tory cabinet takes over in Nova Scotia". The Globe and Mail. October 6, 1978.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "New Nova Scotia premier vows fight on patronage". Toronto Star. February 10, 1991.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Returns of General Election for the House of Assembly 1981" (PDF). Elections Nova Scotia. 1981. p. 108. Retrieved 2014-11-30.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Returns of General Election for the House of Assembly 1984" (PDF). Elections Nova Scotia. 1984. p. 113. Retrieved 2014-11-30.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Buchanan names two to N.S. Cabinet posts". The Globe and Mail. April 21, 1988.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Returns of General Election for the House of Assembly 1988" (PDF). Elections Nova Scotia. 1988. p. 117. Retrieved 2014-11-30.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "Buchanan resigns to enter Senate". The Globe and Mail. September 13, 1990.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "Tories post leadership race rules". The Chronicle Herald. October 10, 1990.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "Cameron throws hat into ring: Pictou East MLA first cabinet minister to bid for PC leadership". The Chronicle Herald. November 3, 1990.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "Nova Scotia hopefuls aim for clean image". The Globe and Mail. November 8, 1990.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "N.S. premier chosen in a cliff-hanger". Toronto Star. February 10, 1991.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. "Cameron elected leader by Nova Scotia Tories". The Globe and Mail. February 11, 1991.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. "Woman appointed to leaner N.S. cabinet". Toronto Star. February 26, 1991.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. "N.S. to sell off electrical utility". The Globe and Mail. January 10, 1992.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. "New look for N.S. electoral map". The Globe and Mail. March 7, 1992.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. "Returns of General Election for the House of Assembly 1993" (PDF). Elections Nova Scotia. 1993. p. 132. Retrieved 2014-11-30.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. "Liberal landslide". The Chronicle Herald. May 26, 1993. Archived from the original on August 30, 2000. Retrieved 2014-11-30.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. "Cameron stuns supporters". The Chronicle Herald. May 26, 1993. Archived from the original on August 30, 2000. Retrieved 2014-11-30.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>