Tobin, Brian Vincent

Brian Vincent Tobin, politician, premier of Newfoundland (b at Stephenville, Nfld 21 Oct 1954). Tobin studied political science at Memorial University and worked briefly in radio and TV before actively entering politics. He successfully ran for the federal Liberals in 1980 and was re-elected in 1984, 1988 and 1993. As a youthful MP he became a member of the Rat Pack with Sheila COPPS and John Nunziata following the 1984 election.

A tenacious debater in the Newfoundland tradition, Tobin and his colleagues became a thorn in the side of Prime Minister Mulroney's huge majority government. With the election of a Liberal government in 1993, Tobin was named minister of fisheries and oceans and was handed the difficult job of dealing with the decline of the Atlantic fishery. Tobin's defence of the turbot fishery against Spanish overfishing propelled him to hero status in Newfoundland. When Premier Clyde Wells announced his resignation in 1995, Tobin decided to move to provincial politics. He resigned his cabinet post on 7 January 1996, was elected leader of the Newfoundland Liberal Party on the 17th, resigned his House of Commons seat on the 25th and was sworn in as premier on the 26th. Tobin immediately called an election and swept to power on 22 February 1996, capturing 37 of 48 seats.