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Hamm, a graduate of the University of King's College and Dalhousie University, was a family doctor in his hometown of Stellarton, Nova Scotia, and the president of the Nova Scotia Medical Society. He entered politics in 1993, becoming the Member of the House of Assembly for the riding of Pictou Centre.
Hamm became leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Nova Scotia in 1995, succeeding Terry Donahoe. His party won 14 seats in the 1998 provincial election and held the balance of power in a minority government where both the Liberal Party and the New Democratic Party, led by Russell MacLellan and Robert Chisholm, respectively, each had nineteen seats. Hamm's Tories defeated the Liberal minority government on a budget vote on June 17, 1999, in the subsequent election on July 27, 1999, Hamm became the new Premier, winning 30 of the 52 seats in the provincial legislature.
After taking office, Hamm sold or closed government-owned industries such as Sydney Steel. He invested more in education and health care, and implemented some tax cuts. His government was the first to truly balance provincial finances in 25 years, following changes in public sector accounting practises.
In the 2003 election Hamm's Progressive Conservatives were reduced to a minority government. The main issue in that election was the increasing cost of car insurance and whether Nova Scotia should begin to allow general Sunday shopping. Despite the minority government Hamm's government was able to drop an NDP plan for government automobile insurance issue, and put the Sunday shopping issue to a province-wide plebiscite. Hamm is opposed to Sunday shopping and a public auto insurance system.
One of his most notable achievements was negotiating with the federal government to implement the Atlantic Accord, a multi-decade regional development program that had been approved in principle during the late 1980s to prevent provincial government offshore oil and gas royalties from being included in calculations for the federal equalization program. This resulted in an $830 million payment in 2005 from the federal government, which Dr. Hamm applied against the principle on the province's long term debt, thereby reducing debt servicing payments by over $50 million annually.
On September 29, 2005 Hamm surprised Nova Scotia by announcing his intention to retire as Premier and PC Leader. He had been expected to call an election in fall of 2005. In the Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative leadership convention 2006, Rodney MacDonald was elected his successor.
On December 21, 2006, Hamm was appointed Chairperson of Assisted Human Reproduction Canada, a federal agency created to protect and promote the health and safety, human dignity and human rights of Canadians who use or are born of assisted human reproduction technologies, and to foster ethical principles in relation to assisted human reproduction and other related matters.
|Premier of Nova Scotia
| Succeeded by|
- ↑ Nova Scotia Budget Address for the Fiscal Year 2006-2007. Government of Nova Scotia. Retrieved on 2007-10-27.
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