Daniel J. MacDonald

Daniel Joseph MacDonald, PC (July 23, 1918 – September 30, 1980) was a Canadian politician from Prince Edward Island. He served as Minister of Veterans Affairs from 1972 to 1979 and again in 1980 until his death.

Daniel Joseph- Lewis MacDonald

Minister of Veterans Affairs
In office
November 27, 1972  June 3, 1979
Prime MinisterPierre Trudeau
Preceded byArthur Laing
Succeeded byAllan McKinnon
In office
March 3, 1980  September 30, 1980
Prime MinisterPierre Trudeau
Preceded byAllan McKinnon
Succeeded byGilles Lamontagne (Acting)
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Cardigan
In office
October 30, 1972  May 22, 1979
Preceded byMelvin McQuaid
Succeeded byWilbur MacDonald
In office
February 8, 1980  September 30, 1980
Preceded byWilbur MacDonald
Succeeded byW. Bennett Campbell
Personal details
Daniel Joseph MacDonald

(1918-07-23)July 23, 1918
Bothwell, Prince Edward Island
DiedSeptember 30, 1980(1980-09-30) (aged 62)
Political partyLiberal
Spouse(s)Pauline Peters


He was born on his family's farm in Bothwell, Prince Edward Island and was educated in a one-room schoolhouse.

At the age of 20, he bought his own farm at Bothwell Beach. In 1940, he enlisted in The Prince Edward Island Highlanders to fight in World War II. He was transferred to the Cape Breton Highlanders in 1943 and fought with the rank of sergeant in Italy, where he was wounded during the assault on the Gothic Line. He returned to his unit after a few weeks and was seriously wounded on December 21, 1944, during the Battle of Senio River. As a result, his left arm and leg were amputated. Undiscouraged by his injuries, he returned to his farm, married a local woman named Pauline Peters, built a house, and raised seven children: Blair, Heather, Gail, Daniel, Leo, Walter, and Gloria. The singer-songwriter Jenn Grant is a granddaughter.

Political career

In 1962, he was elected to the Prince Edward Island House of Assembly and sat in the body for ten years. He served as Minister of Agriculture and Forestry from 1966 to 1972, when he resigned to run in the 1972 federal election. Elected as the Liberal Member of Parliament for Cardigan, he was appointed to the Cabinet of Pierre Trudeau as Minister of Veterans Affairs. He was defeated in the 1979 federal election but returned in the 1980 election and was then reappointed to the Veterans Affairs portfolio. MacDonald reformed veterans' pensions to make them more generous and introduced disability pensions and pensions for prisoners of war.

In the late 1970s, Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau undertook an initiative to decentralize government away from Ottawa. He and MacDonald devised the plan to move the headquarters of the Department of Veterans Affairs from Ottawa to Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. The department's head office, along with the Veterans Review and Appeal Board, have been located in the Daniel J. MacDonald Building (the "DJM") in PEI's capital ever since. (In the early 21st century, a second building two blocks from the DJM, the Jean Canfield Building (the "JCB"), was constructed to house other federal government offices, including some from Veterans Affairs Canada.) The department has become a major economic contributor to PEI, and has had an important impact on Charlottetown's cultural landscape.

MacDonald died in office on September 30, 1980 and was given a state funeral. The eulogy was given by Prime Minister Trudeau at St. Dunstan's Cathedral, in Charlottetown.

Electoral history

1980 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes%±%
LiberalDaniel J. MacDonald8,59048.18+1.51
Progressive ConservativeWilbur MacDonald8,00644.90-3.21
New DemocraticAubrey Cantelo1,0545.91+0.69
IndependentArthur D. Reddin1801.01
Total valid votes 17,830 100.00
1979 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes%±%
Progressive ConservativeWilbur MacDonald8,21948.11+5.98
LiberalDaniel J. MacDonald7,97246.67-7.32
New DemocraticGeorge MacFarlane8925.22+1.94
Total valid votes 17,083100.00
1974 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes%±%
LiberalDaniel J. MacDonald6,95853.99+9.45
Progressive ConservativeLeo James Walsh5,42942.13+0.95
New DemocraticMartin Gerard Kenny4233.28-10.99
IndependentA. Neil Harpham770.60
Total valid votes 12,887100.00
1972 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes%±%
LiberalDaniel J. MacDonald5,52844.54-4.21
Progressive ConservativeAlfred Kenneth Fraser5,11141.18-8.35
New DemocraticAquinas Ryan1,77114.27+12.51
Total valid votes 12,410 100.00


20th Ministry – First cabinet of Pierre Trudeau
Cabinet post (1)
Predecessor Office Successor
Arthur Laing Minister of Veterans Affairs
Allan McKinnon
22nd Ministry – Second cabinet of Pierre Trudeau
Cabinet post (1)
Predecessor Office Successor
Allan McKinnon Minister of Veterans Affairs
Gilles Lamontagne
Other offices
Preceded by
Melvin McQuaid, Progressive Conservative
Councillor for 1st Kings
Succeeded by
Melvin McQuaid, Progressive Conservative
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