Q.C., LL.D., D.C.L., LL.M.
|27th Premier of Prince Edward Island|
May 2, 1986 – January 25, 1993
|Lieutenant Governor||Lloyd MacPhail
Marion L. Reid
|Preceded by||James Lee|
|Succeeded by||Catherine Callbeck|
|MLA for 6th Queens|
|Preceded by||Barry Clark|
|Succeeded by||Jeannie Lea|
|Born||Joseph Atallah Ghiz
January 27, 1945
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
|Died||November 9, 1996
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
|Spouse(s)||Rose Ellen McGowan (m. 1972)|
|Relations||Robert Ghiz (son)|
|Children||Robert and Joanne|
|Residence||Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island|
|Alma mater||Schulich School of Law
Harvard Law School
|Occupation||lawyer, Crown prosecutor, law school dean, and judge|
|Cabinet||Minister of Health and Social Services (1986)
Minister of Agriculture (1988-1989)
Minister of Justice (1989-1993)
Joseph Atallah "Joe" Ghiz (January 27, 1945 – November 9, 1996) was the 27th Premier of Prince Edward Island from 1986 to 1993, an educator of law and a justice of the Supreme Court of Prince Edward Island. He was the father of Robert Ghiz, the current Premier of Prince Edward Island. He was the first premier of a Canadian province to be of non-European descent, since followed by Ujjal Dosanjh and his (Joe's) son Robert.
Life and career
Ghiz was born in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, to Atallah Joseph Ghiz, a Lebanese corner store owner, and Marguerite F. (McKarris). Ghiz was a graduate of Dalhousie and Harvard law schools and was a Charlottetown lawyer before entering into politics. He became president of the Prince Edward Island Liberal Party in 1977 and then party leader in 1981. His party lost the 1982 election but Ghiz was elected to the legislature and became leader of the opposition. He led the party to victory in 1986 with the Liberals gaining 20 seats to 11 for the Progressive Conservative Party of Prince Edward Island.
In January 1988, Ghiz declared that Islanders would vote in a plebiscite on the question of a "fixed link" to mainland Canada —probably the single most divisive topic in Prince Edward Island during the latter part of the 20th century. Ghiz later in life reported to have voted against the fixed link on his personal vote.
Ghiz supported the Meech Lake Accord and opposed the Canada–United States Free Trade Agreement. His participation in both debates made him a national figure. His government was re-elected in 1989 winning 30 out of 32 seats; it is speculated that this was in reaction to the federal PC government of Brian Mulroney's decision to close CFB Summerside. Ghiz's government subsequently accepted a $200 million funding agreement for highway construction in exchange for the provincial government allowing the federal Crown corporation CN Rail to abandon railway service in the province.
Following his decision to leave politics, Ghiz served as dean of his alma mater, the Dalhousie Law School until 1995, when he was appointed to the PEI Supreme Court. Ghiz died of cancer in 1996. Several weeks before his death, he was driven by construction personnel across the largest completed section of the Confederation Bridge which had yet to be connected to the North American mainland.
His son Robert, was sworn in as the 31st Premier of Prince Edward Island on June 12, 2007 (leader of the PEI Liberal Party since 2003). This has resulted in the second time in the history of Prince Edward Island that a father-son team both became premier; the other pair (also Liberal) being Thane Campbell (1936–1943) and his son Alexander B. Campbell (1966–1978).