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Archive for the ‘Bowell’ Category

apr041895: The Canada-Newfoundland Confederation Conference opens in Ottawa, offering the colony at least its second crack at joining Canada since 1867. The Prime Minister, Sir Mackenzie Bowell — the “Sir” is still just  a few months old — offers to cover up to $10 million of Newfoundland’s debt if it joins Confederation.

Not good enough. The colony asks Canada to assume its entire $16-million debt. Britain, anxious to unload another costly colony, urges Canada to accept the terms. But Bowell refuses and Newfoundland turns Confederation down. The island doesn’t join Canada for another 64 years.

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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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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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MackenzieNewspaper editors among past PMs were Alexander Mackenzie (Lambton Shield), Mackenzie Bowell (Belleville Intelligencer), Charles Tupper (British Colonist), and Wilfrid Laurier (Le Défricheur).

John A. Macdonald founded the Toronto Mail, William Lyon Mackenzie King edited the government’s Labour Gazette, Pierre Trudeau was heavily involved with Cité libre, Joe Clark wrote for the Albertan and various other publications, and John Turner edited his high school and university papers.

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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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Only Lester Pearson and John Diefenbaker served in the armed forces, as part of the Canadian Army in the First World War. Pearson was hit by a bus during a London air raid and sent home with leg wounds. Diefenbaker returned home after being hit in the back with a shovel while digging trenches in France.

Four early Prime Ministers served in the militia. Sir John A. Macdonald was called up to help quell the Rebellion of 1837, but saw no action. Sir John Abbott served in a volunteer regiment and later commanded the Argenteuil Rangers. Other members of the militia were Alexander Mackenzie and Mackenzie Bowell.

PMs who served as Canada’s militia or defence minister were Macdonald, Bowell and Kim Campbell.

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