Statement made on 28 January 2009 by Senator Terry Mercer
Hon. Terry M. Mercer:
Honourable senators, last fall during their convocation ceremonies, Cape Breton University honoured a proud Cape Bretoner with an honorary degree. Vincent James MacLean of East Bay received an honorary Doctor of Letters.
Vince has lived in Sydney his whole life. He is a graduate of St. Francis Xavier University and Saint Mary's University in Halifax.
Vince has had a wide and varied career in politics. He represented the riding of Cape Breton South from 1974 to 1993. Vince served in various cabinet roles, notably as Minister of the Environment, Minister Responsible for Treasury Board and Minister of Lands and Forests. He also served as Speaker of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly and later as Mayor of the City of Sydney.
Vince was leader of the Nova Scotia Liberal Party from 1985 to 1992, and served during that time as Leader of the Official Opposition. Prior to that, he was a high school teacher at Sydney Academy before being elected a MLA in 1974.
Honourable senators, Vince is also known for his philanthropic work, with over 30 years of community service and experience. He has been a member of the Canadian Cancer Society Nova Scotia division board of directors and chaired the Cape Breton Regional Hospital.
He helped transfer the ownership of the Sydney Airport from the federal Department of Transport to the Sydney Airport Authority. It is worth noting that this money-losing facility was turned into a profitable company under Vince's stewardship. It is not difficult to ascertain why Cape Breton University honoured Vince with an honorary doctorate.
I know honourable senators will join me in congratulating a great Canadian, a great Nova Scotian, and a proud Cape Bretoner. I wish him well in all his future endeavours. Well done, Dr. MacLean.