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Archive for March, 2016

mar271865: John A. Macdonald mails a letter to the President of the Grand Trunk Railway, Edward Watkin, letting him know that the land west of Lake Superior “is of no present value to Canada”.

It’s a view that changes dramatically for him in the next few years. His vision of a Canada stretching to the Pacific Ocean pushes him to purchase the vast land holdings of the Hudson’s Bay Company from which he creates Manitoba. It also guides his determination to build a transcontinental railway, which closes the deal on British Columbia’s entry into Confederation.

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CampbellSix Prime Ministers did not use their first given names. They were Henry (Wilfrid) Laurier, Joseph (Pierre) Trudeau, Charles (Joe) Clark, Martin (Brian) Mulroney, Avril (Kim) Clark and Joseph (Jean) Chrétien.

William King preferred his third name Mackenzie, while Lester Pearson was more comfortable with the nickname Mike.

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mar121860: A legislative committee agrees to give the Quebec riding of Argenteuil to Conservative John Abbott. He lost the Province of Canada election two years earlier to fellow Conservative Sydney Bellingham by 200 votes, then promptly contested the result, accusing his opponent of bringing in voters who didn’t own property or live in the riding.

In the 1874 election, Abbott wins by four votes. His opponent, Liberal Lemuel Cushing succeeds in having the results declared void and wins the by-election. That, too, is voided and a second by-election is won by Thomas Christie. Abbott loses to Christie in the 1878 election, challenges the results and beats Christie in a by-election two years later. No surprise, that is also declared void. He wins an 1881 by-election by acclamation and Argenteuil’s history of challenged results and voided elections comes to an end.

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ClarkYoung Joe Clark, a speechwriter for Conservative leader Robert Stanfield had been dating Catriona Gibson for four years, even though he was in Ottawa and she was studying law in Toronto. One of their rendezvous, in fall 1969, was in Huntsville, Ontario. On the return to Toronto, Gibson was killed in a car accident. It was two days before Clark heard the news.

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mar041843: Mackenzie Bowell joins the Royal Scarlet Lodge of the Orange Order in Belleville. The strident Protestant organization becomes an important part of his life, culminating in his term as Most Worshipful Grand Master and Sovereign of the Orange Association of British America in 1870.

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ChretienIn 1888, Sir John A. Macdonald appointed 33-year-old Charles Hibbert Tupper to be his Minister of Marine & Fisheries. Tupper, the son of Sir Charles Tupper, became the country’s youngest cabinet member, a record that remained his throughout Canada’s first century.

In 1967, another 33-year-old (although a few months older), joined cabinet. Lester Pearson appointed Jean Chrétien to be a Minister Without Portfolio.

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