Joe Ghiz

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The Honourable
Joe Ghiz
Q.C., LL.D., D.C.L., LL.M.
27th Premier of Prince Edward Island
In office
May 2, 1986 – January 25, 1993
Monarch Elizabeth II
Lieutenant Governor Lloyd MacPhail
Marion Reid
Preceded by James Lee
Succeeded by Catherine Callbeck
Leader of the Prince Edward Island Liberal Party
In office
October 24, 1981 – January 23, 1993
Preceded by Gilbert Clements (interim)
Succeeded by Catherine Callbeck
MLA (Assemblyman) for 6th Queens
In office
September 27, 1982 – March 29, 1993
Preceded by Barry Clark
Succeeded by Jeannie Lea
Personal details
Born Joseph Atallah Ghiz
(1945-01-27)January 27, 1945
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
Died November 9, 1996(1996-11-09) (aged 51)
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
Nationality Canadian
Political party Liberal
Spouse(s) Rose Ellen McGowan (m. 1972)
Relations Robert Ghiz (son), Template:Joanne Ghiz (daughter)
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
Profession Politician
Cabinet Minister of Health and Social Services (1986)
Minister of Agriculture (1988–1989)
Minister of Justice (1989–1993)
Religion Anglican [1]

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 31st 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[edit]

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.[citation needed]

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.

Ghiz favoured concessions to Quebec in constitutional negotiations and campaigned for the Charlottetown Accord, resigning three months after the accord was defeated in a 1992 referendum.

Following his decision to leave politics, Ghiz served as dean of his alma mater, the Dalhousie Law School until 1995, when he was appointed as a justice to the Supreme Court of Prince Edward Island. 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, served as the 31st Premier of Prince Edward Island from June 12, 2007 to February 23, 2015 (leader of the PEI Liberal Party, 2003–2015). This was the second time in the history of Prince Edward Island that a father-son team both served as premier; the other pair (also Liberal) being Thane Campbell (1936–1943) and his son Alexander B. Campbell (1966–1978).