John Hamm

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John Hamm
The Hon. John Hamm
25th Premier of Nova Scotia
In office
August 16, 1999 – February 24, 2006
Monarch Elizabeth II
Lieutenant Governor James Kinley
Myra Freeman
Preceded by Russell MacLellan
Succeeded by Rodney MacDonald
MLA for Pictou Centre
In office
May 25, 1993 – June 13, 2006
Preceded by Jack MacIsaac
Succeeded by Pat Dunn
Personal details
Born John Frederick Hamm
( 1938-04-08) April 8, 1938 (age 84)
New Glasgow, Nova Scotia
Political party Progressive Conservative
Spouse(s) Genesta Hamm
Residence New Glasgow, Nova Scotia
Religion Anglican

John Frederick Hamm, OC (born April 8, 1938) is a Canadian physician and politician and was the 25th Premier of Nova Scotia, Canada.


Hamm, a graduate of the University of King's College and Dalhousie University, was a family doctor in his hometown of Stellarton, Nova Scotia, and the president of the Nova Scotia Medical Society.

Provincial politics

He entered politics in 1993, becoming the Member of the Legislative Assembly for the riding of Pictou Centre.[1]

Progressive Conservative Party

Hamm was elected leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Nova Scotia in 1995,[2] succeeding Terry Donahoe. His party won 14 seats in the 1998 provincial election and held the balance of power in a minority government where both the Liberal Party and the New Democratic Party, led by Russell MacLellan and Robert Chisholm, respectively, each had nineteen seats.[3][4]

Premier of Nova Scotia

Hamm's Tories defeated the Liberal minority government on a budget vote on June 17, 1999,[5] and in the subsequent election on July 27, 1999, Hamm was elected Premier, winning 30 of the 52 seats in the provincial legislature.[6]

After taking office, Hamm sold or closed government-owned industries such as Sydney Steel.[7] He invested more in education and health care, and implemented some tax cuts. His government was the first to truly balance provincial finances in 25 years, following changes in public sector accounting practises.

In 2001, Hamm was at odds with the Nova Scotia Government Employees Union, trying to legislate nurses back to work after a legal strike.

In the 2003 election, Hamm's Progressive Conservatives were reduced to a minority government. The main issue in that election was the increasing cost of car insurance and whether Nova Scotia should begin to allow general Sunday shopping. Despite the minority government, Hamm's government was able to drop an NDP plan for government automobile insurance issue, and put the Sunday shopping issue to a province-wide plebiscite. Hamm is opposed to Sunday shopping and a public auto insurance system.


On September 29, 2005, Hamm announced his intention to retire as Premier and PC Leader.[8] In the Progressive Conservative Association of Nova Scotia leadership election, 2006, Rodney MacDonald was elected his successor.

After politics

On December 21, 2006, Hamm was appointed Chairperson of Assisted Human Reproduction Canada, a federal agency created to protect and promote the health and safety, human dignity and human rights of Canadians who use or are born of assisted human reproduction technologies, and to foster ethical principles in relation to assisted human reproduction and other related matters.

In 2009, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada "for his contributions to the province of Nova Scotia as a former premier, family physician and community leader."[9]

In 2010 he became the Chairman of the Board of the holding company for Northern Pulp mill of Abercrombie, whose board he had joined shortly after his resignation from politics prior to the 2006 provincial election.

In May 2014 he was awarded an Doctor of Civil Law (honoris causa) from University of King's College, Halifax, Nova Scotia for his service to King’s, his community and the province.

October 2014, he was awarded an "Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada."

Also in October 2014, John Hamm was appointed the Honorary Colonel for the 1st Battalion Nova Scotia Highlanders (North) for the next three years.

Atlantic Accord

One of his most notable achievements was negotiating with the federal government to implement the Atlantic Accord, a multi-decade regional development program that had been approved in principle during the late 1980s to prevent provincial government offshore oil and gas royalties from being included in calculations for the federal equalization program. This resulted in an $830 million payment in 2005 from the federal government, which Hamm applied against the principal on the province's long term debt, thereby reducing debt servicing payments by over $50 million annually.[10]


  1. "Hamm retains seat for PCs". Halifax Chronicle-Herald, May 27, 1993.
  2. "Nova Scotia Tories elect new leader". The Globe and Mail, October 30, 1995.
  3. "IT'S A TIE!" at the Wayback Machine (archived March 10, 2003). Halifax Chronicle-Herald, March 25, 1998. Retrieved April 26, 2010.
  4. "Hamm glad to get additional clout" at the Wayback Machine (archived January 22, 2003). Halifax Chronicle-Herald, March 25, 1998. Retrieved April 26, 2010.
  5. "Liberals ousted" at the Wayback Machine (archived April 1, 2003). Halifax Chronicle-Herald, June 18, 1999. Retrieved April 26, 2010.
  6. "Tories storm back" at the Wayback Machine (archived April 1, 2003). Halifax Chronicle-Herald, July 28, 1999. Retrieved April 26, 2010.
  7. "No more steel from Cape Breton as Sysco closes". CBC News, January 19, 2001.
  8. "N.S. Premier Hamm announces retirement". CBC News, September 29, 2005.
  9. "Governor General Announces 57 New Appointments to the Order of Canada". Office of the Secretary to the Governor General. December 30, 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-30.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Nova Scotia Budget Address for the Fiscal Year 2006-2007" (PDF). Government of Nova Scotia. Retrieved 2013-10-01.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
Order of precedence
Preceded by
Russell MacLellan
Order of precedence in Nova Scotia
as of 2009
Succeeded by
Rodney MacDonald