McGrath, Hon. James Aloysius (1932- )
Lieutenant Governor, 1986-1991
McGrath was born in Buchans on January 11, 1932. He was educated at St. Patrick's Hall School
in St. John's. During the confederation campaigns, McGrath was a member of the Responsible
Government League. In 1949 he left Newfoundland to join the Royal Canadian Air Force. On his
return, in 1953, he started work at CJON as an advertising sales manager. Before long, however,
he began a political career. In 1955, he was elected secretary of the provincial Progressive
Conservative association and ran unsuccessfully in the 1956 provincial election. The next year he
won the federal seat for St. John's East. He held the seat for two terms but lost it in 1963.
McGrath then regained the seat in 1968 and began a distinguished career as a parliamentarian. In
1979, Prime Minister Joe Clark made him Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. After Clark's defeat
in 1980, McGrath served the opposition as a member of the joint committee on the constitution,
as chairman of an all-party special committee on House of Commons reform, and as an outspoken
proponent for reform legislation concerning children's advertising. McGrath received several
awards throughout his parliamentary career including the Churchill Society Award for the
advancement of parliamentary democracy. He received an honorary doctorate from St. Francis
Xavier University in 1979.
McGrath was appointed lieutenant governor of Newfoundland in 1986. His term lasted five years.
In 1987, he became one of only six Canadians to receive a life membership in the Commonwealth
Updated February 2008.
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