As of today, only eight Prime Ministers have served longer than Stephen Harper as the country’s leader. He passed John Diefenbaker‘s record of 5 years, 10 months, 1 day in the role. Earlier this year he passed Lester Pearson, Alexander Mackenzie and then R.B. Bennett to reach the top 10 on the longevity list.
But the streak is over for the next few years. He won’t pass Louis St. Laurent‘s term of 8 years, 7 months, 6 days until 2014. Should he be looking to overtake William Lyon Mackenzie King, with his more than 21 years in power, it won’t happen until 2027. Of course, King did that in three separate terms of office. Harper could best Sir Wilfrid Laurier‘s record for the longest continuous term (15 years, 2 months, 25 days) in 2021.
Posted in Bennett, Diefenbaker, Harper, King, Laurier, Mackenzie, Pearson, St. Laurent | Tagged Canadian Prime Ministers, Gary Schlee, Stephen Harper | Leave a Comment »
Five Prime Ministers died while sitting as Members of Parliament. Two of them were still Prime Minister at the time: Sir John A. Macdonald in 1891 and Sir John Thompson in 1894. The second PM, Alexander Mackenzie died in 1892 while serving as MP for York East. Sir Wilfrid Laurier was Leader of the Opposition when he died in 1919. John Diefenbaker died on the job, doing constituency work in his Ottawa study in 1979.
In all, 317 Members of the House of Commons have died in office since 1867. The first one, in 1868, was Thomas D’Arcy McGee — Canada’s first political assassination. The most recent was Jack Layton, Leader of the Opposition, on August 22.
Posted in Diefenbaker, Laurier, Macdonald, Mackenzie, Thompson | Tagged Alexander Mackenzie, Canadian Prime Ministers, Gary Schlee, Jack Layton, John A. Macdonald, John Diefenbaker, John Thompson, Wilfrid Laurier | Leave a Comment »
The mansion at 24 Sussex Drive in Ottawa would stand for 80 years before becoming the official residence of the Prime Minister. However, when it was built in 1868, one of its first visitors was Sir John A. Macdonald, the first PM. The owner, successful lumber baron Joseph Currier, built the house for his wife and soon after celebrated the occasion by hosting a large reception for 500. Among the guests were Sir John and Lady Macdonald.
The government expropriated the house in the 1940s (to prevent the riverfront property from falling into commercial hands) and eventually made it the official residence of the Prime Minister. Louis St. Laurent became the first PM to occupy the house, in 1951. Since then, every PM, except Kim Campbell, has lived in the house. Campbell lived at Harrington Lake for the summer of 1993 while the Mulroneys remained on Sussex Drive until their home renovations in Montreal were complete. By then, Campbell was no longer PM.
Posted in Campbell, Macdonald, Mulroney, St. Laurent | Tagged 24 Sussex Drive, Brian Mulroney, Canadian Prime Ministers, Gary Schlee, John A. Macdonald, Kim Campbell, Louis St. Laurent | Leave a Comment »
In his Speech from the Throne for the Opening of the 6th Session of Canada’s 18th Parliament on January 25, 1940, Governor General Lord Tweedsmuir promptly announced that Parliament was being dissolved. The Session was over before it even started and the Liberal government of William Lyon Mackenzie King was going to the polls.
Half a year earlier, the 5th Session of the 18th Parliament lasted only six days. King had it prorogued shortly after Canada declared war on Germany. He assured the Opposition Leader, Robert Manion, that there would be another session held before an election was called. It’s doubtful Manion anticipated that the next session would actually last for 0 days.
Posted in King | Tagged Canadian Prime Ministers, Gary Schlee, Second World War, William Lyon Mackenzie King | Leave a Comment »
Sir Charles Tupper can boast to having the longest marriage of any Canadian Prime Minister. He was already married for 48 years when he became the head of government and ended up being together with Frances Morse for 66 years. The second longest marriage is that of Jean Chrétien and Aline Chainé, married for 53 years and counting. Aline recently became chancellor of Laurentian University.
The record for the shortest marriage goes to Kim Campbell, married to Howard Eddy for seven years. And the second briefest coupling? Kim Campbell again, to her first husband Nathan Divinsky, for 11 years.
Posted in Campbell, Chrétien, Tupper | Tagged Canadian Prime Ministers, Charles Tupper, Gary Schlee, Jean Chrétien, Kim Campbell | Leave a Comment »
A growing number of people are aware that January 11 is Sir John A. Macdonald‘s birthday. The government has declared the date to be Sir John A. Macdonald Day. The celebration of his birthday gets bigger every year in his Canadian hometown: Kingston. Canada’s first Prime Minister was born in 1815 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Less well known is the fact that Jean Chrétien shares the same birthday. The 20th Prime Minister was born January 11, 1934, in Shawinigan, Quebec.
Posted in Chrétien, Macdonald | Tagged Canadian Prime Ministers, Gary Schlee, Jean Chrétien, John A. Macdonald | Leave a Comment »
Until 1930, any MP appointed to cabinet was required by law to seek re-election in a by-election. Only one Prime Minister failed to win such a by-election. Wilfrid Laurier was appointed Inland Revenue minister in 1877 by Alexander Mackenzie and lost his attempt to retain his seat for Drummond-Arthabaska. The riding of Quebec East was made available to him and he won that by-election — holding the seat until his death in 1919.
The cabinet by-election necessity proved to a be a major headache for Arthur Meighen in 1926. Asked by Governor-General Lord Byng to form a government, he avoided the risk of losing any by-elections by appointing ‘acting’ ministers. A few days later, the Liberals under William Lyon Mackenzie King passed a motion in the House, by one vote, censuring the gambit. So, Meighen decided to call an election — which he lost.
Posted in King, Laurier, Mackenzie, Meighen | Tagged Alexander Mackenzie, Arthur Meighen, Canadian Prime Ministers, Gary Schlee, Wilfrid Laurier, William Lyon Mackenzie King | Leave a Comment »