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Archive for June, 2010

1973 — Rookie MP Joe Clark and one of his staffers, Maureen McTeer, are married quietly. He had hired the University of Ottawa Arts student, then 20, after she had been let go from the Conservatives’ Parliamentary research staff for moonlighting too heavily in last fall’s election campaign.

When Clark eventually asked McTeer out for dinner, she assumed he was likely going to be letting her go, again. She was juggling Clark’s constituency work with a slew of night courses to finish her degree. But the ‘date’ blossomed into a short, intense romance resulting in an early summer wedding. She retains her last name, the only wife of a PM to have done so.

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1929John Diefenbaker marries Edna Brower, a schoolteacher from Langham, Saskatchewan. She gives up her career in the classroom and devotes her time to help get her husband. It would take 11 more years for that to happen.

A familiar face in the visitors gallery of the House of Commons in the 1940s, she is poignantly remembered by MPs at the time of her death of leukemia at age 50.

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1926 — Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King resigns after Governor-General Lord Byng refuses to dissolve Parliament. Two days ago, King decided to seek dissolution as a way to sidestep a vote on two amendements censuring the government for inaction in the Customs department.

But Byng not only refused his request, he repeated his rejection yesterday and again today. He feels Arthur Meighen, Leader of the Opposition  — who actually has the most seats in the House of Commons — deserves a chance to form a government. Before the week is over, King succeeds in pushing Meighen’s new government into dissolving Parliament and calling an election — an election that will be won by King’s Liberals.

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1949 — The Liberals win their fourth majority government in a row, this time under new Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent. The Progressive Conservatives are destined to spend more years in opposition under their leader George Drew, the former premier of Ontario.

This is the first federal election to embrace 10 provinces, since Newfoundland joined Confederation three months ago. Among MPs re-elected to the Commons are future adversaries John Diefenbaker and Lester Pearson.

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1854 — The first child of Andrew Borden and Eunice Laird is born in Grand Pre, Nova Scotia. But, Robert Borden isn’t the only child in the household. Two children from Andrew’s first marriage — Thomas, 11, and Sophie, 9 — are part of the family.

Andrew and Eunice will have three more children — John, Julia and Hal — bringing the count to six. A farmer like his ancestors, Andrew also becomes a stationmaster with the advent of railways.

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1968 — In his first test since becoming Prime Minister, Pierre Trudeau wins Canada’s 28th federal election, defeating the Progressive Conservatives under their new leader, Robert Stanfield.

Benefiting from a national attack of Trudeaumania, he attracts enough votes to gain majority government status. Other former and future PMs re-elected are John Diefenbaker, John Turner and Jean Chrétien.

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2009 — Former Governor-General Roméo LeBlanc dies in Grand-Digue, New Brunswick. Originally recommended by former Prime Minister and cabinet colleague Jean Chrétien in 1995, LeBlanc was the first Speaker of the Senate to become Canada’s vice-regal representative, but not the first politician.

Other Governors-General who served as MPs were Roland Michener, Ed Schreyer, Jeanne Sauvé and Ray Hnatyshyn. LeBlanc, the first Acadian to serve as Governor-General, had once been press secretary to Lester Pearson and Pierre Trudeau.

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