Stanfield, Robert Lorne

 Robert Lorne Stanfield, lawyer, politician, premier of NS (b at Truro, NS 11 Apr 1914). Member of a family that had long contributed to the industrial and political life of NS and Canada, Stanfield began the rehabilitation of the provincial Conservative Party in 1946 during the only period in which it held no assembly seats.

Becoming its leader 2 years later, he improved its position in the next 2 elections and became premier in 1956, the first of his party since Confederation to do so under noncrisis conditions. In the 3 subsequent elections, he became the undisputed political master of the province. A man of moderation, common sense and genuine humility, he sought to create a self-reliant NS.

On becoming national Conservative leader in 1967, he tried to build a party with national appeal. He sought to have official bilingualism fully accepted by his party and was prepared, at least in moderation, to grant special arrangements to Québec. But he found it difficult to project across Canada the image that had led to his success in NS or to win seats in Québec against PM Pierre TRUDEAU. After 3 successive defeats he gave up the leadership in 1976.

Eschewing highly doctrinaire politics, his conservatism, which caused him to be called a "pink" if not a RED TORY, was above all a compassionate conservatism with a genuine concern for the disadvantaged. He ranks as one of the outstanding premiers of NS since Confederation.

From 1983 to 1987 he was chairman of the Institute for Research on Public Policy and in Dec 1986 he was appointed the first Canadian chairman of the Commonwealth Foundation, heading that organization until 1991. Stanfield was bestowed the title Right Honourable by the Queen, one of the few Canadians to have been so honoured.