After graduation Dr. Hamm returned to New Glasgow to practise medicine. For the next 30 years he served as a family doctor in Pictou County and remained actively involved in community service. Locally, at the Aberdeen Hospital, Hamm served as president of the medical staff and chair of the Aberdeen Hospital Foundation. In New Glasgow, he was president of the Rangers hockey team and a warden of St. George's Church. In Nova Scotia, Hamm served as a member of the Provincial Medical Board and president of the Medical Society and the College of Family Physicians.
In the political field, Hamm was first elected as a Member of the Legislative Assembly for Pictou Centre in 1993, one of only 9 seats won by the Conservatives that year. Shortly after, in 1995, Hamm was chosen to lead the Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative Party, which went on to win 14 seats in the 1998 election. The party remained in third place until, 16 months later, in June 1999, Hamm's Conservatives voted with the NDP and defeated Russell MacLellan's minority Liberal government's deficit-ridden budget. Hamm, Nova Scotia's 25th premier, was sworn in on 16 August 1999.
In the ensuing election, with promises of a balanced budget, a tax cut and increased spending on health care and education, his Conservative Party won 30 of the 52 seats in the Legislative Assembly. Since then, Hamm's government has been responsible for a number of initiatives: selling the debt-ridden Nova Scotia Resources Limited; eliminating numerous agencies, boards and commissions; enacting Nova Scotia's first code of conduct for cabinet ministers; introducing a lobbyist registration act; closing Cape Breton's money-losing but job-sustaining Sydney Steel Corporation; ending the costly P3 (public-private partnership) method of school construction; and tabling, on 4 April 2002, Nova Scotia's first balanced budget in 40 years.
Hamm's Progressive Conservatives lost popularity prior to the 2003 election due in part to two contentious issues in the province, the rising cost of car insurance and Sunday shopping. Hamm opposed the government-owned, non-profit insurance system proposed by the NDP and the push by the province's tourist industry for Sunday shopping, but because his government was reduced to a minority in 2003 he had to compromise on the insurance issue and Sunday shopping was put to a provincial plebiscite.
Although expected to call a 2005 election, Hamm instead made the decision to retire from politics. Rodney MACDONALD succeeded Hamm as the party's leader and the new premier of Nova Scotia in 2006. He was made an Officer of the ORDER OF CANADA in 2009.
Author Leonard Preyra
Links to Other Sites
Governor General's appointments to the Order of Canada
Scroll down the page and click on the links to brief biographical notes of recent appointees to the Order of Canada. Click on "Find a Recipient" on the left side of the page to find previous recipients. From the website for the Governor General of Canada.