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Archive for the ‘Meighen’ Category

Until 1930, any MP appointed to cabinet was required by law to seek re-election in a by-election. Only one Prime Minister failed to win such a by-election. Wilfrid Laurier was appointed Inland Revenue minister in 1877 by Alexander Mackenzie and lost his attempt to retain his seat for Drummond-Arthabaska. The riding of Quebec East was made available to him and he won that by-election — holding the seat until his death in 1919.

The cabinet by-election necessity proved to a be a major headache for Arthur Meighen in 1926. Asked by Governor-General Lord Byng to form a government, he avoided the risk of losing any by-elections by appointing ‘acting’ ministers. A few days later, the Liberals under William Lyon Mackenzie King passed a motion in the House, by one vote, censuring the gambit. So, Meighen decided to call an election — which he lost.

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There were three — or four if one includes Macdonald who was contesting more than one seat.

Prime Minister Arthur Meighen lost his seat in Portage La Prairie, Manitoba as well as his majority government in 1921. He subsequently won a by-election in Grenville, Ontario, and in 1926 again became PM. Calling an election that year, he decided to recapture his former Portage La Prairie. Unfortunately, he once again lost the election locally and power federally.

In 1925, William Lyon Mackenzie King held on to power even thoughhe lost his seat in North York, Ontario, and  the Conservatives ended up with more seats . He won the Prince Albert, Saskatchewan seat in a by-election and soldiered on until Governor-General Byng insisted the Conservatives form a government. At the end of the Second World War, King lost his Prince Albert seat but won the most seats in the election. This time he continued in power, winning a by-election in Glengarry, Ontario. He retired three years later.

In 1993, Prime Minister Kim Campbell was defeated in Vancouver Centre. With only two Conservatives elected, she skipped the by-election process and resigned as leader.

Sir John A. Macdonald was actually the first PM to be unseated — in Kingston, Ontario, in 1878. However, it was common practice for high profile politicians at the time to seek election in more than one riding. Macdonald was also running in Marquette, Manitoba, and Victoria, British Columbia. He won both contests and decided to keep the Victoria seat.

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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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Arthur Meighen died in 1960, nearly 34 years after completing his second term as Prime Minister in 1926. The only other former Prime Minister to live more than three decades after resigning is Joe Clark, who was PM 30 years ago. And his meter is still running.

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Eight of the country’s 22 PMs were under the age of 50 when assuming office.

3rd youngest Prime Minister — Arthur Meighen, 46. PMs Kim Campbell and Stephen Harper were also 46 on assuming office.

2nd youngest Prime Minister — Brian Mulroney, 45.

Youngest Prime Minister — Joe Clark, 39. He turned 40 the day after becoming PM.

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