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James Layton Ralston | Brewer Waugh Robinson |
Islanders never lost interest in politics during wartime, especially during election periods. The news of the war was temporarily pushed to the background as voting days drew near.

On the municipal level the elected officials in 1940 were Mayor John E. Campbell and Councillors R. L. Mollison, W. E. Smallman, D. F. McNeill, J. L. Gorrill, T. D. Morrison, and H. W. Wedge. In 1942, W. J. Lidstone became the new mayor. Ill health forced him to step aside in 1944 and Councillor McNeill was appointed Deputy Mayor. After several months, Mayor Lidstone resigned and was succeeded in late 1945 by J. Frank Arnett. Throughout the entire war period, the same councillors remained in office.

The provincial political scene was of particular interest to Summerside because one of its citizens held the highest office. The Hon. Thane Campbell as head of the Liberal party had been elected Premier in 1936. He represented the electoral district of 1st Prince in western PEI. Premier Campbell accepted the position of Chief Justice in 1943. The leadership passed to J. Walter Jones who became premier in the election of 15 September 1943.

Summerside was in the district of 5th Prince. In 1939, Liberal member Edward P. Foley and Conservative member Brewer Robinson, both well-known businessmen in Summerside, held the seats. Mr. Robinson joined the Canadian Legion War Services in 1941. In the 1943 election the two seats in 5th Prince were taken by Daniel F. McNeill and Ernest Strong, both representing the Progressive Conservatives. They had promoted themselves as "The Soldier Candidates."

The connection to the federal government felt by the town of Summerside was very strong due to its representation in Parliament by James Layton Ralston. He was a member of the Cabinet in the Liberal administration of W. L. Mackenzie King until his resignation in 1944. He continued to serve the electorate of Prince County until 11 June 1945.


Colonel Ralston served initially as Minister of Finance and later as Minister of National Defence. His every movement was followed with great interest by Summerside papers, particularly the Summerside Journal. No other politician in that time period warranted as much coverage in the local press. The only other one that had consistent coverage was MLA Brewer Robinson who was appointed to the Senate in 1945.

To review the Summerside interest in these two political figures the following sub-sections are available: James Layton Ralston and Brewer Waugh Robinson.