Former Senator, Premier, MP, and MLA
Hon. Catherine S. Callbeck was born on July 25, 1939, the daughter of Ruth and Ralph Callbeck of Central Bedeque, PEI. She received her early education at Central Bedeque School and Summerside High School. She later received a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Mount Allison University and a Bachelor of Education degree from Dalhousie University in 1960 and 1963 respectively. She also completed post-graduate courses in business administration at Syracuse University.
After a period teaching business in New Brunswick and Ontario, Callbeck returned to Prince Edward Island where she became involved with the family business, Callbeck's Ltd. of Central Bedeque.
- Elected in 1974 as Member of the Legislative Assembly of PEI for the district of 4th Prince;
- Appointed Minister of Health, Minister of Social Services, and Minister Responsible for the Disabled from 1974 to 1978.
In 1978, she left provincial politics and returned to the family business.
- Elected as Member of Parliament for Malpeque in 1988;
- Elected leader of the Liberal Party of Prince Edward Island on Jan. 23, 1993;
- Sworn in as Premier and President of the Executive Council on Jan. 25, 1993;
- Elected MLA for 1st Queens in the provincial election of March 29, 1993, and became the first woman in Canada elected Premier.
In October 1996, she retired from provincial political life and returned to the family business.
- Called to the Senate of Canada on Sept. 23, 1997;
- Retired from the Senate on her 75th birthday in 2014.
Callbeck has had a long and active involvement with charitable and public service groups and organizations at all levels. Among other positions, she has served as chairperson of the Confederation Centre of the Arts board of directors, member of the board of regents of Mount Allison University, member of the UPEI board of governors, member of the Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission, board member of the Institute for Research in Public Policy, and was installed as the ninth chancellor of the University of Prince Edward Island in 2018.
Her charitable activities include being a director of the United Way of PEI, director of the Heart and Stroke Foundation, PEI Division, and a member of the provincial committee for the International Year of the Disabled. She also served on several committees and in several capacities in and around her home village of Central Bedeque.