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Former P.E.I. Premier Joe Ghiz. (Province of PEI)

A former P.E.I. premier is one of the most popular provincial leaders in the last 40 years, according to a new report.

The Institute for Research on Public Policy asked a jury of 30 political experts to rank the best Canadian premiers over the last 40 years, based on a list of 18.

And the late Joe Ghiz landed right in the middle.

He tied with B.C.'s Gordon Campbell for ninth place.

There was no question of including Joe Ghiz, said Ian MacDonald, editor of Policy Options, the Institute's monthly publication.

"Mr. Mulroney said at the time of Meech Lake that Joe Ghiz's role in that proved that you don't have to be from the largest province to play a large role," said MacDonald.

"And then, if you look at the Confederation Bridge, it simply wouldn't have been built without Premier Ghiz's kind of instinctive feel for taking Prince Edward Islanders where they wanted to go. I mean, he talked about preserving the Island way of life, but had that referendum, and I think it passed by around 60 per cent."

Ghiz was premier from 1986 to 1993. He died in November 1996, at the age of 51, following a battle with colon cancer.

The jury was asked to consider the premiers' vision, communication skills and fiscal management. At least one juror from every province voted.

MacDonald also noted the top five premiers cover the country from west to east.

Top premiers of the last 40 years

  1. Peter Lougheed (Alberta)
  2. Bill Davis (Ontario)
  3. Allan Blakeney (Saskatchewan)
  4. Frank McKenna (New Brunswick)
  5. Robert Bourassa (Quebec)
  6. Rene Levesque (Quebec)
  7. Roy Romanow (Saskatchewan) and Danny Williams (Newfoundland and Labrador)
  8. Gary Doer (Manitoba)
  9. Joe Ghiz (P.E.I.) and Gordon Campbell (B.C.)
  10. Bill Bennett (B.C.)
  11. Richard Hatfield (New Brunswick)
  12. Brian Peckford (Newfoundland and Labrador)
  13. Mike Harris (Ontario) and Ralph Klein (Alberta)
  14. Sterling Lyon (Manitoba) & John Buchanan (Nova Scotia)