While it’s true there is great influence in numbers, Jenny and Cyril Carter remind us that number that can be as low as two.
The couple moved to Peterborough from England in 1968 with their three children, 15 years after they married. At the time Jenny, with an Honours degree in French from University College of London, was a French teacher while Cyril was completing his PhD in mathematical physics, also at University College London, en route to working as a scientist at the British government’s nuclear energy facility in Harwell.
It was in the early 1960’s that Jenny and Cyril became strong advocates for alternative power sources, believing nuclear energy to be both expensive, and dangerous.
Settling in Peterborough, Jenny worked as a high school teacher while Cyril was a professor of mathematics and environmental studies at Trent University. In addition, Jenny earned a degree in English and her Masters in Canadian Studies at Trent. But busy as life was for the couple, their mutual interest in social issues advocacy never waned. Joining the Peterborough NDP Association gave them the opportunity to act in a meaningful way on that interest.
Community service was a passion shared equallly Jenny and Cyril, the resumés of both brimming with examples.
A founding member of Kawartha Ploughshares, Jenny served as a director with the United Way as well as lending her talents and passion to the work of the Peterborough Social Planning Council and Kawartha Food Share. In addition, she helped establish the Peterborough Legal Clinic and served on its board.
But it was in the political arena that Jenny flourished on a bigger stage. Elected Peterborough MPP in 1990, she represented this area at Queen’s Park until 1995, serving as Ontario’s Energy Minister under Bob Rae in 1990 and 1991. Among her milestone achievements was the introduction of a government moratorium on new nuclear plants.
Cyril, meanwhile, was equally active, serving for 12 years with the Peterborough Utilities Commission, as both a commissioner and Chair. He played a major role in the Commission’s acquisition of the Wenonah property, ensuring its future use for the Riverview Park and Zoo.
In addition, Cyril served on the board of what was then Peterborough Civic Hospital, was a founding member of the Peterborough Solar Energy Society, was a director with the Canadian Solar Energy Society and co-founded the Environmental Studies Department at Trent University. With Jenny, he also helped establish the Peterborough Legal Clinic and was a charter member of Trent University’s Legacy Society.
Cyril Carter passed away in 1999.
- Photo of Jenny Carter courtesy of Clifford Skarstedt, The Peterborough Examiner