Pat Mella

Former Leader of the Opposition, Party Leader, Cabinet Minister, and MLA

Forging Her Own Path

Pat Mella was born Patricia Jane MacDougall on Aug. 29, 1943, in Port Hill, PEI, as one of six siblings and twin to sister, Peggy. She is the daughter of Frank Joseph MacDougall and Patricia Mary Hilda (nee Callaghan) MacDougall, and grew up in the rural communities of Port Hill Station, Bloomfield Station, and Kinkora.

She was educated at Saint Dunstan’s University, UPEI, Catholic University of America, and holds a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Education, Master of Arts.

She married Angelo Mella on June 27, 1970, and together, they raised three children: Andrew, Michael, and Nancy.

Political History

  • Member of the Progressive Conservative Party of Prince Edward Island;
  • Ran unsuccessfully in the 1989 election as a member of the PC Party of PEI;
  • Served as Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party from 1990 to 1996;
  • Served as Leader of the Opposition from 1993 to 1996;
  • Represented 3rd Queens (the district later known as Glen Stewart-Bellevue Cove) in the Legislative Assembly from 1993 to 2003;
  • Elected in the PC government of Pat Binns in 1996, serving as Provincial Treasurer until 2003;
  • Retired from politics, opting not to re-offer in the 2003 election;
  • Appointed as chairperson for the PEI Conservative Party of Canada federal election campaign, 2004.

Since her retirement from politics, Mella has remained active in the PC Party of Prince Edward Island.

She has been involved in a number of organizations and boards, including serving as the province’s kindergarten commissioner; member of the Charlottetown Christian Council, Bunbury, Southport, Crossroads Recreation Commission; member of the Diocese Pastoral Council, Prince Edward Island; member of the Assumption Church Parish Council; member of the Heritage and Planning Commission of Town of Stratford; PEI Lending Agency; Fox Meadow Golf and Country Club; Atlantic Lottery Corporation; PEI Museum and Heritage Foundation; St. Dunstan’s University; the Atlantic Pilotage Authority; and the Public School Board.

Read her feature story: Forging Her Own Path


In Her Own Words

"It (being a MLA) is probably one of the most misunderstood parts of politics. It is a 24-hour job. When you are not physically going, what you should be doing is in your head. It is a lot of work; a ton of work.”

on the skills of a good leader



on the challenges of work-home balance

“I tried to be superwoman. I tried to be home, get supper and take the kids to whatever sports they were in and that kind of thing. I had to do a lot of traveling across the province. That was difficult."

Group image of Pat Mella, Marion Reid and Catherine Callbeck at Government House, 2018

on ensuring more women are on the ballot

“Political parties need to put together a very good program and explain everything. People assume candidates know how you get a nomination, that everyone knows you get people to go and support you, everyone knows what a district is. That is not really true,” she said. “I would love to talk to a woman and convince her to run because, I shouldn’t probably say this, they couldn’t do any worse. It is a very positive experience."

Leone Bagnall on the occasion of her retirement

" ...I may have left the impression that Pat is a serious, dedicated, capable person - which she is; but, she is much more than that. She has a wonderful sense of humor, enjoys a good joke and can tell them too. Pat can laugh at herself and some life situations; for example, arriving at CBC for television interviews wearing one navy and one black shoe."

- Leone Bagnall, MLA 1st Queens, 1979 to 1988

Other Speeches


  • Honoris causa doctorate, UPEI, 2015

Her PEI Famous 5 Role

Leader of Opposition

The voice of Opposition. The person that leads the task of, while in the Legislative Assembly of Prince Edward Island, holding government accountable. That is the role of the Leader of the Opposition.

The Opposition Leader is usually the leader of the party with the second-largest number of seats in the legislature.

Opposition parties focus on scrutinizing government legislation, bringing forward different views on public policy and holding government to account on its budget.

The following is a list of women who have held the position of Opposition leader:

  • Leone Bagnall (Progressive Conservative), interim party leader, Leader of the Official Opposition, 1986-87
  • Pat Mella (Progressive Conservative), party leader 1990 to 1996, Leader of the Official Opposition 1993 to 1996
  • Olive Crane (Progressive Conservative), interim party leader 2007 to 2010, Leader of the Official Opposition 2007 to 2010, Opposition House Leader 2010 to 2013