Alexander Hamilton McDonald

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Hon.
Alexander Hamilton McDonald
MLA
Senator from Saskatchewan (Moosomin)
In office
1965–1980
Leader of the Opposition (Saskatchewan)
In office
1955 – 1960
Preceded by Asmundur A. Loptson
Succeeded by Ross Thatcher
MLA for Moosomin
In office
1952 – 1965
Preceded by Arthur Thomas Procter
Succeeded by Frank Gardner
Personal details
Born March 16, 1919
Fleming, Saskatchewan
Died March 31, 1980
Ottawa
Political party Saskatchewan Liberal Party
Other political
affiliations
Liberal Party of Canada
Spouse(s) Madeleine Anne Casey
Religion United Church of Canada

Alexander Hamilton (Hammy) McDonald (March 16, 1919 – March 31, 1980) was a Canadian politician. Born in Fleming, Saskatchewan, he was the son of a Saskatchewan farm family and was the third generation of his family to farm in the Fleming area.

Military[edit]

During World War II Hammy served overseas as a Flight Lieutenant in the RCAF. Hammy had learned to fly before the war. A doctor in the Fleming community in which he grew up had a plane and taught him and several other boys how to fly. By virtue of this fact, Hammy was one of the very earliest pilots in the RCAF. Until 1944 he flew a Spitfire with real distinction. He was shot down several times, more than once in Europe and made his way back through enemy territory to fly again. He was shot down in the English Channel and spent several hours in his Mae West. By sheer luck he was picked up by an English fishing boat and was flying again in Europe a week later. He came back from the war having won several medals including the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Political career[edit]

Upon returning from the Second World War with his wife, the former Madeleine Anne Casey of Washington, D.C., Hammy went back to the 960-acre (3.9 km2) Fleming farm originally settled by Mr. McDonald's grandfather in 1881. He didn't seek his first nomination. He was pressed by families and neighbors to let his name stand. In the provincial general election of 1948 he ran as a "Liberal-Progressive Conservative" candidate, having been nominated by a joint constituency convention of the two parties. Soon after he took a seat in the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan, he devoted his political career solely to the Liberal Party and ran successfully as a Liberal Candidate for the constituency of Moosomin in the general elections of 1952, 1956, 1960 and 1964. During his career in provincial politics, Hammy McDonald rose rapidly in prominence in public life and within the Liberal Party. In 1954, he became the leader of the Liberal Party in Saskatchewan, a position which he held for five years until 1959. An article[publisher missing][citation needed] describing the career of Mr. McDonald in this context noted, "The swift and dazzling rise of 37-year-old Alexander Hamilton McDonald to the leadership of the Liberal Party in Saskatchewan has no parallel in Canadian political history." From 1955 to 1960, he was the Leader of the Opposition. Hammy McDonald continued to hold responsible positions within the Liberal Party after his tenure as leader of the party. In the years 1964 to 1965 Hammy served as Minister of Agriculture and Deputy Premier to Premier W. Ross Thatcher.

He resigned his seat in 1965 and later that year was appointed to the Senate of Canada representing the senatorial division of Moosomin, Saskatchewan. A Liberal, he was Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate (appointed in 1968) and Government Whip in the Senate (appointed in 1970). Throughout his parliamentary career, Hammy was active in the affairs of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, the International Parliamentary Union and the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. He took part in community activities as a member of the Royal Canadian Legion, the United Services Institute and the Elks Lodge.

Hammy McDonald died in office in 1980. His funeral – held at the United Church in Moosomin, Saskatchewan – was overflowing with dignitaries from Ottawa, the provinces and many, many locals from within the constituency. He was remembered with real affection and was genuinely liked by both sides of the Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly. His honorary pallbearers included two Members elected under the NDP banner.

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