223 Pat Binns

Pat Binns, former Irish Ambassador to Canada

Born in 1948, the son of Stan and Phyllis Binns, of Weyburn, Saskatchewan, Pat (Paddy) Binns was always close to his Grandad, Pat Evans. Evans had emigrated from County Monaghan in about 1912 and settled in western Canada where he was an engineer for the CN Railway. He instilled a love of Ireland in his family which stayed with Paddy.

Growing up, Pat Binns attended the University of Alberta and received a Masters Degree in Community Development. He worked in PEI during the summer of 1970 where he met Carol, his future wife. They worked in Northern Alberta before returning to PEI where Binns worked for the Rural Development Council and the Provincial Government. The Binns bought their farm in PEI where they raised their four children. They also kept sheep and grew edible beans.

In 1978, Binns was elected to the PEI Legislature as an Opposition member. He was re-elected and became a Cabinet Minister. In 1984 he was elected as the Federal MP for Cardigan. Defeated in 1988, he started a consulting business and was a founding partner in Island Bean Limited.

By 1996, political life called again, and Binns became Leader of the PC Party of PEI and later Premier. He was Premier for three terms. Binns was named as Canada’s Ambassador to Ireland in 2007. This provided an opportunity to work with County Monaghan and it’s leaders including his friend, Willie McKenna. He was also able to reaquaint himself with Irish relatives including Ronaghan and Sweeney family members.

In 2010, Binns became Consul General to New England. Pat and Carol retired to their PEI farm in 2014. They have returned to visit Ireland and attend Irish events celebrating PEI’s twinning with County Monaghan.