A V I E W F R O M C H A R L O T T E T O W N , P R I N C E E D W A R D I S L A N D
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John H. Maloney came to Charlottetown in 1949 as an obstetrician and gynecologist for the newly formed Charlottetown Clinic. He is in the photography of the Medical Staff at the opening of the newly expanded Charlottetown Hospital in the spring of 1950. Fifty two years and there are few areas on this Island that have not been touched by his progressive thinking... not even to mention the 5000 babies [plus or minus] that he deliveried. He gave we Islanders the support - oh maybe the nerve - to say what we were suppressing or was it simply the challenge to expand our thinking to another level.
The subjects he tackled were not easy. Even beginning with his hobby - archeology. We were still talking about who was married to who and he came along and to say the least dug deeper. He brought archeology into the 21st century on PEI. I don't know when he, Margarite and Byron Burns and Art Gallant got together, but I know to have a discussion on PEI about some 13,000 years ago was quite an evening. I remember falling asleep on the floor one night as he and my brother-in-law talked about all of that.
Another time I remember walking the shores of Panmure Island looking for glass shards - blown ones - and having John pick up, right in front of me, a most beautiful arrowhead - and later, more of that glass we'd gone to find. Read his article in Canada's Smallest Province entitled "And in the beginning...." and you'd get an idea.
About the same time the PEI Historical Society who had been promised by Frank MacKinnon a solution to their exhibition problems at Confederation Centre, were realizing that it was not to be. John was the president of the Historical Society and everyone was discouraged. Most of us had given up, but not John. He had the sympathetic ear of Premier Alex Campbell and John had pretty well led the re-shaping of the Historical Society into the PEI Heritage Foundation . It was during the same time he and Dr. Gordon Lea and St. Clair Trainor and group of progressive city school board members took education in Charlottetown into modern times.
Bucking tradition is tough, but without question the biggest battle of the 20th Century on PEI, in my mind, was the PWC/Saint Dunstan's showdown. Dr. Mac Beck, John Eldon Green, John and a number of others took the high road and government under a very supportative Alex Campbell declared the almost unbelievable - one university. We would not have had one hospital if it hadn't been for that.
Another thing - the Charlottetown Waterfront! The Charlottetown Area Development Corporation came on stream under John's Ministry of Development, when cities across the land were building highways across their waterfronts and regretting it. Not us. Under John Maloney that first CADC board stretched and grew and we have the bases of something we MUST work harder at shaping. And on it goes. As John would say etc., etc. and etc..
I never knew what the H stood for in the John H. Maloney until today. It was Henry Those were not the kind of things you talked to John Maloney about. With John you talked ideas and hear stories and you could move from one subject to another in rapid succession. Last Monday night Margarite, John and I went to Sirenella's for dinner and I came home busily making up an agenda for the next time. We had no time to cover all the subjects that needed his input and we had been busy all winter and were behind. Now there is no next time. Even today as I read the National Post I wondered about John's input on such headings as "too posh to push', "Zula poison can destroy cancer cells" and about the conference about to begin "on the future of the left in Canada". And I certainly wanted his view point on the fate of The Palace. Any of those subjects could be a great discussion interspersed with stories of his cat called "Churchill".
How many of us said the last few days how he inspired us and helped us grow - gave us creditability. What a gift from a friend and how we will miss him. Sympathy and love to Margarite and his family and to his friends.
Written Sunday, May 27, 2001 at 11:18 PM