Archive for October, 2009

oct311894 — Prime Minister Sir John Thompson sails for England to spend time with his daughter Helena. They visit France, Monaco and the Vatican City where Thompson suffers from breathlessness climbing to the top of the St. Peter’s Basilica dome.

His exhaustion persists when he returns to London. After being installed as a member of the Imperial Privy Council by Queen Victoria, he dies of a heart attack.


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oct301893 & 1915 — Two caretaker Prime Ministers from the 1890s die on this date. Sir John Abbott‘s stomach cancer had forced him to resign as Prime Minister in November 1892; he dies 11 months later.

Sir Charles Tupper is the same age as Abbott, but lives nearly a quarter-century longer, passing away in his sleep at Bexley Heath, his English estate. He is the last of the 36 Fathers of Conderation to die.

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oct291925Arthur Meighen and the Conservatives end up winning the most seats in Canada’s 15th federal election, but Liberal Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King refuses to step down. Instead, King courts the Progressive Party for support and the alliance gives him a majority.

The coalition soon unravels and Meighen is appointed Prime Minister by Governor-General Byng in 1926. He holds on to power for only three months before King wins re-election.

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oct281895 –Prime Minister Sir Mackenzie Bowell visits Washington in an effort to obtain the compensation won by former Prime Minister Sir John Thompson for Canada in the Bering Sea Arbitration of 1893.

With him is his Justice minister, Charles Hibbert Tupper, son of the British High Commissioner Sir Charles Tupper. Although they fail to get the settlement, it is finally negotiated four months later. Canada receives $473,000 (worth $12 million today).

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oct271877 Wilfrid Laurier is defeated by 24 votes in the Drummond-Arthabaska by-election required to confirm his appointment as Inland Revenue minister. He loses to Désiré-Olivier Bourbeau, Conservative.

Three days later, Prime Minister Alexander Mackenzie offers him the chance to contest the Quebec East riding after convincing incumbent Isidore Thibaudeau to step down. Laurier wins this time, holding Quebec East until his death four decades later.

Wilfrid Laurier is defeated in the by-election for his cabinet seat, losing by 87 votes in Drummond-Arthabaska

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oct261992 — More than 54% of Canadians do not agree that “the Constitution of Canada should be renewed on the basis of the agreement reached on August 28.” And so, the Charlottetown Accord chauffeured by Prime Minister Brian Mulroney is dead by referendum.

Despite its endorsement by the federal government and all 10 provincial premiers, the complex deal made it hard for most voters to give it across-the-board approval.

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oct251993Jean Chrétien‘s Liberals win Canada’s 35th federal election, reducing Prime Minister Kim Campbell‘s Progressive Conservatives to fifth-party status with only two seats — held by Jean Charest and Elsie Wayne.

Campbell becomes the second sitting Prime Minister to lose at both the national and constituency level. (It happened to Arthur Meighen twice: in 1921 and 1926.) The Conservative vote went largely to two new parties, Bloc Québécois (becoming the Official Opposition) and Reform. Newly elected on the Reform ticket is Stephen Harper in Calgary West.

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