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Archive for the ‘Bennett’ Category

As of today, only eight Prime Ministers have served longer than Stephen Harper as the country’s leader. He passed John Diefenbaker‘s record of 5 years, 10 months, 1 day in the role. Earlier this year he passed Lester Pearson, Alexander Mackenzie and then R.B. Bennett to reach the top 10 on the longevity list.

But the streak is over for the next few years. He won’t pass Louis St. Laurent‘s term of 8 years, 7 months, 6 days until 2014. Should he be looking to overtake William Lyon Mackenzie King, with his more than 21 years in power, it won’t happen until 2027. Of course, King did that in three separate terms of office. Harper could best Sir Wilfrid Laurier‘s record for the longest continuous term (15 years, 2 months, 25 days) in 2021.

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Twenty Prime Ministers in all have had their official portraits hung in the Centre Block. Only the two most recent — Paul Martin and Stephen Harper — await their turns.

There is no set schedule for determining when a Prime Minister will have his or her portrait painted and added to the collection. Two PMs — Sir John A. Macdonald and William Lyon Mackenzie King — had their portraits done while still in office. Two others — Sir John Abbott and Sir Mackenzie Bowell — waited more than 100 years for their canvases to be done. Both were unveiled in 2002.

Only two artists have more than one portrait in the collection. John Wycliffe Lowes Forster painted Alexander Mackenzie and Sir John Thompson, while Kenneth Keith Forbes painted Sir Robert Borden and R.B. Bennett.

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There were three. Sir John Abbott and Sir Mackenzie Bowell both served as Prime Minister while sitting in the Senate as that chamber’s government leader. Arthur Meighen became a Senator six years after his final term as PM. After sitting in the red chamber for a decade, he resigned so that he could again run for Parliament as the reinstalled Leader of the Conservative party. He lost the 1942 by-election and later that year  stepped down as party leader

R.B. Bennett didn’t sit in the Canadian Senate, but did acquire a seat in the British House of Lords after becoming Viscount Bennett.

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Five of the seven Prime Ministers still living are Roman Catholics. Although, historically, most Catholic leaders tended to be French Canadians, that profile began to disappear by the late 1970s. Of the five living Catholic PMs — Joe Clark, John Turner, Brian Mulroney, Jean Chretien and Paul Martin — only one is French Canadian.

For the record, we have had 9 Roman Catholics (the others are Thompson, Laurier, St. Laurent, Trudeau), 4 Anglicans (Abbott, Tupper, Borden, Campbell), 3 Presbyterians (Macdonald, Meighen, King), 3 Methodists/Uniteds (Bowell, Bennett, Pearson), 2 Baptists (Mackenzie, Diefenbaker), and 1 Christian & Missionary Alliance (Harper) in the Prime Minister’s office.

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Interested in being the Canadian Prime Minister? Consider becoming a lawyer. That’s the exactly the kind of job training two-thirds of the country’s leaders had prior to their shift into politics. Prime Ministers called to the bar were Sir John A. Macdonald, Sir John Abbott, Sir John Thompson, Sir WIlfrid Laurier, Sir Robert Borden, Arthur Meighen, R.B. Bennett, Louis St. Laurent, John Diefenbaker, Pierre Trudeau, John Turner, Brian Mulroney, Kim Campbell, Jean Chretien, and Paul Martin.

All five Prime Ministers named John were lawyers.

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There were three and all of them died in England.

Sir John S.D. Thompson died of a heart attack shortly after being sworn in as a member of the Imperial Privy Council in 1894 by Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle. Sir Charles Tupper died at his daughter’s estate at Bexleyheath in Kent County a month after having a heart attack in 1915. At 94, he was the last surviving Father of Confederation. Viscount Bennett of Mickleham, Surrey and of Calgary and Hopewell, Canada died at his Juniper Hill estate in Surrey in 1947.

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1941R.B. Bennett becomes Viscount Bennett of Mickleham, Calgary & Hopewell. The title, awarded because of his work with Lord Beaverbrook’s Ministry of Aircraft Production in Britain, embraces the names of his retirement home, the city of his business and political success, and his birthplace.

Bennett attends the House of Lords sittings regularly, enjoying taking part in the debates.

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