Peter was born in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. After graduating with an Arts degree from Acadia University in 1987, Peter went on to study Law at Dalhousie University. He was called to the Nova Scotia Bar in June 1991.
With strong family ties to the local area, Peter returned to New Glasgow to open a private law practice specializing in criminal and family law. In 1993, accepted an appointment as Crown Attorney for the Central Region of Nova Scotia. He prosecuted cases at all levels, including youth and provincial courts as well as the Supreme Court of Canada.
Frustrated by shortcomings in the justice system, particularly the impact crime has on victims; Peter decided that he could make the greatest difference in the place where the laws themselves were made – the Parliament of Canada.
Peter ran for federal office and was elected Progressive Conservative Member of Parliament for Pictou-Antigonish-Guysborough in June 1997. He was re-elected in November 2000. In February of 2004 he was nominated to be the Conservative candidate in the Riding of Central Nova.
In his first five years in the House of Commons, Peter served as House Leader for the Progressive Conservative caucus. He has been policy critic for justice and law enforcement issues. In addition Peter was a member of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, as well as the Public Security sub-committee.
On May31st 2003 Peter became Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada. After becoming leader, Peter came to the realization that the only way to offer Canadians a real choice from a rudderless and arrogant Liberal government was to re-unite the Conservative family.
In October of 2003, Peter signed an Agreement in Principal that proposed the unification of Progressive Conservative Party and the Canadian Alliance Party. The agreement included 16 principles that came directly from the constitution of the Progressive Conservative Party. On December 6th, the PC membership ratified the Agreement in Principle with an overwhelming majority of over 90 percent. In March 2004, Peter was named the Deputy Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada
Long sensitive to the strength and health of his community, Peter has served on volunteer boards including New Leaf and Tearmann House. As well he has been active in Big Brothers-Big Sisters, the Pictou County Senior Rugby Club and the YMCA.
A sports enthusiast, Peter is active in rugby, baseball, football and hockey.