Daniel J. MacDonald was born on July 23, 1918, in Bothwell, Prince Edward Island. As the son of a farmer, he took a great interest in agriculture and eventually bought his own farm in 1938, which he managed along with the one belonging to his father.
He was deployed as a Sergeant overseas in 1943, landing in Italy with the Cape Breton Highlanders. At the Senio River, he was severely wounded by an .88 mm shell that exploded a few feet away, leading to the amputation of his left leg and left arm. This led to his discharge from the Army in July 1945, and he returned to Canada to continue working in agriculture. His injuries did not prevent him from operating his farm, including using heavy equipment and building his own barn without assistance.
Mr. MacDonald became a member of The War Amps Prince Edward Island Branch, and in 1962, he began a career in politics when he was elected to the Prince Edward Island legislature, eventually becoming Minister of Agriculture and Forestry. In 1972, he ran federally and was appointed Minister of Veterans Affairs.
In this role, he travelled across the country and spoke to veterans’ associations to understand their needs and concerns. The War Amps worked closely with him to improve the lives of veterans. Thanks to his position, Mr. MacDonald was able to put forward amendments to pensions, allowances, regulations and prisoner of war compensation, as well as fight for increases to disability pensions and civilian war allowances. He was also responsible for the official Prosthetist of Choice Program.
He held the position of Minister of Veterans Affairs until he passed away on September 30, 1980. A state funeral was held in his honour and a eulogy was give by former Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau.
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