Archive for February, 2016

feb281984: Despite the typical winter blizzard in Ottawa, Pierre Trudeau takes a walk and makes a decision about stepping down as Prime Minister and leader of the Liberal Party. It is his second resignation, having reached a similar decision about four years earlier before reconsidering when Joe Clark’s government fell.

Exactly 30 years later, his grandson Hadrien is born to Justin Trudeau.


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feb251884: The Leader of the Opposition Edward Blake moves a resolution declaring the seat of MP Sir Charles Tupper to be  vacant, since he is now serving as High Commissioner in London.

The issue is referred to committee where Tupper successfully argues that there is no conflict because he is not being paid for his posting in Britain.

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feb191877: Prayers are included in the House of Commons routine for the first time.

Perhaps it’s not surprising that the initiative occurs during the government of Alexander Mackenzie, a devout Baptist. The Leader of the Opposition Sir John A. Macdonald, on the other hand, is an occasional Presbyterian – unless he attends church  with his Anglican wife Agnes.

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AbbottGraduating from  the University of McGill College in 1854 as a Bachelor of Civil Law, John Abbott later became the first Canadian Prime Minister with a university degree. He was typical of most of the country’s leaders who earned law degrees – 10 Prime Ministers in all.

Five PMs did not have a university degree (Macdonald, Mackenzie, Thompson, Bowell and Borden), while Mackenzie King had five.

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feb161965: The death of Ben Mulroney to cancer in Baie Comeau has a devastating effect on his son, 25-year-old Brian Mulroney. In addition to the personal loss, it makes him the head of the family.

In the spring he will move his mother Irene and his younger siblings Gary and Barbara to Montreal to live with him.

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feb151895: A motion by student William Lyon Mackenzie King to boycott lectures for a week is passed by University College at the University of Toronto.

The gesture is a response to the suspension of James Tucker, editor of The Varsity student newspaper and the dismissal of Latin professor William Dale who defended the claim of nepotism in hiring professors in The Globe. King is a member of The Varsity staff.

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feb141860: John A. Macdonald, the Attorney General of Canada West, holds a huge Valentine’s Day party at the St. Louis Hotel in Quebec. Of the 1,000 people he invited, 800 turn out for the celebration, paying $1 each to mingle with the elite.

The best part of the evening for Macdonald is having his secretary’s sister, Agnes Bernard make an appearance. He first met her two years earlier in Toronto, but it will be another seven years before they marry.

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