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Clyde Wells

In office
1989 – 1996
Preceded by Tom Rideout
Succeeded by Brian Tobin

In office
1966 – 1971
Preceded by Noel Murphy
Succeeded by Tom Farrell

In office
1989 – 1996
Preceded by Eddie Joyce
Succeeded by Brian Tobin

Born November 9, 1937 (1937-11-09) (age 72)
Buchans Junction, Newfoundland and Labrador
Political party Liberal

Clyde Kirby Wells (born November 9, 1937) is Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador, Court of Appeal. He is a former politician and former Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Born in Buchans Junction, Newfoundland, Wells graduated from Memorial University of Newfoundland with a BA in 1959 and Dalhousie Law School with a LL.B in 1962.

Wells entered the cabinet of Joseph R. Smallwood in August 1966 and was elected to the Newfoundland and Labrador House of Assembly in the 1966 general election as a member of the Liberal Party of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Wells and John C. Crosbie resigned from cabinet in 1968 over concerns about financing of the Come by Chance oil refinery project.

Wells left politics in 1971 and resumed his legal practice full-time.

In 1987, he was elected leader of the Liberal Party, succeeding Leo Barry. In the 1989 general election, Wells led the party to power, defeating Tom Rideout and ending 17 years of Progressive Conservative rule. Unusually, however, the Progressive Conservatives had a higher percentage of votes in the election and Wells was defeated by Lynn Verge in his own riding of Humber East despite having led his party to victory. Consequently, a member of his caucus, Eddie Joyce, thus resigned and Wells was acclaimed to office in the riding of Bay of Islands.[1]

The Wells administration reformed the province's educational system, implemented far-reaching economic reforms, concluded an agreement to develop the province's first offshore oil field and coped with the consequences of the collapse of cod stocks off the coast of the province all at the time of a severe economic recession.

Additionally, Wells opposed the Meech Lake Accord, objecting to several of its provisions. Wells was heavily criticized for his role in the Meech Lake Accord's failure. Former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney described it to Maclean's: "Mr. Wells signed a formal constitutional instrument before the people of Canada committing his province to either hold a referendum on Meech, or a vote in the house of assembly. He did not attach conditions to it: the commitment was unequivocal. He canceled the vote - he dishonoured his signature. He'll have to live with the consequences."[2]

He participated in discussions that led to the development of a set of constitutional proposals known as the Charlottetown Accord.

Wells retired as Premier in January 1996 and returned to private practice. In 1998, he was appointed to the Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal and was appointed Chief Justice in 1999. He has announced that he will step down from the position at the end of February 2009 after 10 years.

References


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