One of the most important
offices in connection with the government of Alberta is that of minister
of education, which is filled by Perren E. Baker, whose thorough
preparation and unquestioned ability have well qualified him for his
responsibilities. He was born at Blenheim, Ontario in 1877, his
ancestors having been in America prior to the Revolutionary war, and
having taken part in that memorable struggle. His father, Rev. Albert C.
Baker, was born at Brantford, Ontario, his mother was Sarah Gillies,
daughter of Rev. Archibald Gillies,—a native of Scotland, for many years
widely known throughout the English speaking counties of Quebec,—and
Lucy Ives, whose grandparents were among the first settlers in
southeastern Quebec, having journeyed by packhorse through the woods
from Hartford, Connecticut, to make their home on the beautiful shore of
Lake Mernphremagog about the close of the eighteenth century.
Perren E. Baker received
his early education at Sarnia, Ontario, and completed his high school
course in Quebec, where he spent two years as a student at the Feller
Institute, a preparatory school. In 1900 he was graduated from McMaster
University, Toronto, from which he won the B. A. degree. In 1905 and
1906 he took postgraduate work at the University of Chicago, remaining
in Illinois for several years, until led by the lure of the land, he
returned to his native country in 1909, and took LIP a homestead in
southern Alberta, thirty-six miles south of Bow Island.
If there is one thing of
which Mr. Baker is proud it is that he has himself, with oxen and
horses, broken some hundreds of acres of land and has seen his
enterprise growing year by year until he now holds one thousand nine
hundred and twenty acres, one thousand two hundred of which are under
cultivation and producing wheat where a few years ago there was nothing
but the wide empty prairie. In 1921 he was chosen to represent his
riding of Medicine Hat in the Alberta legislature, and in August of that
year he was appointed minister of education, in which capacity he is now
acting. He is resourceful in meeting the various problems which arise in
connection with the duties of his office, and is actuated by a spirit of
progress which takes cognizance of all improved educational methods.
Loyal to the trust reposed in him, he is putting forth earnest and
effective effort to place the standards of education in the province
upon a high plane. He holds high standards of official service and his
personality is such that he inspires the respect and esteem of those
with whom he is associated.
Mr. Baker has been
married twice, his first union being with Miss Laura B. Randall, whom he
wedded in 1905 at Grimsby, Ontario, and whose death occurred in 1916.
They had three children: Albert T., who was born in 1907; Elizabeth E.,
born in 1912; and Andrew R., born in 1916. For his second wife, Mr.
Baker married Miss Edna Brown, at Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1920.