Longtime P.E.I. and federal politician George Proud dies

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Prince Edward Island has lost a piece of its political history.

Former Liberal MP and MLA George Albert Proud died at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown Wednesday, according to an online obituary. He was 80 years old.

Proud was first elected as an MLA in 1974 in what was called the 5th Queens district in Charlottetown. He was re-elected in 1978, but was defeated in the following election.

As an MLA Proud was appointed minister responsible for the housing corporation and the status of women as well as minister of labour, minister of municipal affairs and provincial secretary.

P.E.I. sent Proud to Ottawa in 1988 when he won the Hillsborough district — what is now roughly the riding of Charlottetown — for the Liberals. He held the riding for the Liberals for more than a decade, being re-elected in 1993 and 1997, before deciding not to run in 2000.

In his time in the House of Commons, Proud served as Opposition labour critic, as well as critic for veterans affairs. He served on standing committees on labour, employment and immigration, and chaired the national defence and veterans affairs standing committee.

Humble beginnings

Before his long political career, Proud worked for Maritime Electric, was a cab driver and carnival worker.

He also served as deputy mayor and town councillor in Pine Point, N.W.T., from 1984 to 1986. 

In 1986 he moved back to Charlottetown and worked in the investment field. He was a president of the P.E.I. Federation of Labour and vice-president of the Canadian Labour Congress.

Proud was a member of the UPEI Board of Governors, the Lions Club, the Prince Street Home and School Association and the Charlottetown Minor Hockey Association.

P.E.I. Premier Dennis King said he was “deeply saddened” by Proud’s death in a statement.

“He was a proud Islander with a passion and deep-rooted commitment to serving his community that was unwavering. To his friends and colleagues, George was always a source of kindness and wisdom,” King said.

Proud fought hard for his constituents, the statement said.

“Our province is better for having his service and our deepest condolences are with his family and loved ones,” King said.

Proud will be resting at MacLean Funeral Home in Charlottetown with visiting hours from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday.

A funeral will be held Saturday at St. Pius X Catholic Church in Charlottetown starting at 10 a.m.

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