Frank Joseph McKenna, lawyer, politician, premier of New Brunswick (b at Apohaqui, NB 19 Jan 1948), educated at St Francis Xavier University, Queen's University and UNB, McKenna was admitted to the bar in 1974 and practised law in Chatham, NB. He was elected to the legislature for Chatham in 1982 and was chosen leader of the provincial Liberal Party in May 1985. In October 1987 he led the Liberals to a stunning election victory, ending Richard Hatfield's 17-year reign as premier by winning all 58 seats. It was only the second sweep in a provincial election in Canadian history. During the campaign, McKenna voiced concerns about the Meech Lake Accord (see Meech Lake Accord: Document) supported by his predecessor - but by January 1988 he expressed his support of the Accord and of the Mulroney free trade pact. He easily won re-election in 1991 taking 46 seats.

Sweeping Overhauls

The only surprise of the election was the sudden emergence of the anti-French Confederation of Regions Party, established in the province only 2 years earlier, to win 8 seats and become the official opposition. Resuming office, McKenna reorganized his Cabinet, reducing its size and strengthening its Acadian component, and initiated a sweeping overhaul of the administration intended to reduce the number and size of government departments. McKenna's success led to surplus budgets, a significant reduction in the provincial debt and a third election landslide in 1995. His programs of public sector financial management have been copied across the country and in the US. Making good on a promise to serve 10 years, he retired as premier 7 October 1997.