Archive for August, 2009

Aug311964: Prime Minister Lester Pearson officially opens the federal-provincial conference being held in Charlottetown to mark to 100th anniversary of the first Confederation conference.

The focus of the gathering is the search for an elusive formula for amending the British North America Act. Pearson continues to promote the Fulton-Favreau formula proposed by the current and former federal justice ministers. Ultimately, it is rejected by Quebec, delaying constitutional reform for nearly two more decades.


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Aug301916 — John King, a former lecturer at Osgoode Hall, dies in Toronto only a few weeks after his son moves his parents into a house on Avenue Road. The son, William Lyon Mackenzie King, is a consultant to John D. Rockefeller Jr. in the United States.

John had difficulties running a successful law firm, which meant the family often encountered financial hardship. His father-in-law was William Lyon Mackenzie, leader of Upper Canada’s Rebellion of 1837.

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Aug291950 — The government of Louis St. Laurent has called for an emergency session of Parliament to legislate Canada’s 125,000 striking railway and telegraph workers back to work. Employees are back on the job the next day after being off the job for nine days.

Exactly 16 years later, in 1966, the government of Lester Pearson calls for an emergency session of Parliament to legislate 118,000 striking railway employees back to work. Employees are back on the job three days later after being off the job for seven days.

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Aug281938Paul Edgar Philippe Martin is born in Windsor, Ontario. He is the son of Paul Sr., a lawyer who is the Liberal MP for Essex East. Martin’s mother is Nelly Adams who has a Scottish-Irish-Métis background.

The Martin family soon moves to Ottawa where Paul Jr. is enrolled in a private French middle school to hone his bilingualism. While his father will go on to contest the leadership of the federal Liberal Party three times, it is Paul Jr. who will finally succeed in 2003.

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Aug271987 — Appearing before a Senate-Commons hearing into the proposed Meech Lake Accord, former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau attacks the agreement as a sell-out by Prime Minister Brian Mulroney to the provinces.

While he agrees that Quebec could be considered a ‘distinct society’ — another proposal within the Accord — he says the same description could also be made about many other parts of Canada. Opposition to the Meech Lake Accord continues to grow and it fails to pass before the proposed 1990 deadline.

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Aug261872 — In the midst of an election campaign, Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald sends a desparate telegram to John Abbott, the solicitor for the Canada Pacific Railway syndicate. Macdonald’s Liberal-Conservative party has been receiving election funds from the consortium and needs more.

“I must have another $10,000. Will be the last time of calling. Do not fail me. Answer today,” pleads Macdonald. The damning telegram comes to light the following year and plays a role in toppling the government.

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Aug251917 — Former Portage La Prairie lawyer Arthur Meighen becomes Secretary of State in Sir Robert Borden’s cabinet. Meighen, who was Solicitor-General, has been playing an active role in managing the war effort, including introducing the Military Services Bill into Parliament.

His stint as Secretary of State will be shortlived. In two months, Borden will form his Union government in a coalition with the Liberals, and Meighen will become the Interior minister and Supertintendant-General of Indian Affairs.

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