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Posts Tagged ‘Canadian Prime Ministers’

trudeauPierre Trudeau always had a way of grabbing headlines. As the Unconventional Prime Minister, he attracted attention from the start of his political career, capturing his first Newsmaker of the Year nod in 1968, the year he became PM. He went on to win the designation 10 more times, being chosen an impressive eight years in row from 1968 to 1975, then again three years later. In 1999, he was picked again — as well as crowned Canadian Newsmaker of the Century. Trudeau received the title one last time in 2000, the year he died.

The PM with the second most Newsmaker titles is Lester Pearson, clocking in with nine wins. Interestingly, he received six of those while serving as a foreign affairs diplomat or minister, and just three as leader. Other PMs to be CP’s Newsmaker of the Year have been John Diefenbaker (5 times), Brian Mulroney (3), Jean Chrétien (2), Paul Martin (2), Stephen Harper (2), William Lyon Mackenzie King (1), Louis St. Laurent (1), Joe Clark (1), Kim Campbell (1) and Justin Trudeau (1).

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TurnerNo, they haven’t. But two came very close. Lester Pearson enjoyed a prolific and competitive hockey career, particularly during his years studying at Oxford, playing for Switzerland in the European championships in 1922. The following year, he was approached to play for England’s hockey team in the 1924 Winter Olympic Games in Chamonix, France. He turned it down, having just accepted a job as a lecturer at the University of Toronto.

John Turner won the national 100-yard and 200-yard dashes in 1947, ultimately running the 100 in 9.7 seconds. Then, in February 1948, he injured his knee in a car accident. He trained hard to run in Canada’s Olympic trials that spring, but collapsed on the track, ending his chance to compete in the Summer Olympic Games in London.

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July221950: Canada’s longest-serving Prime Minister, William Lyon Mackenzie King, 75, died in the farmhouse at his Kingsmere summer residence shortly before 10 p.m. King’s death had a paranormal twist, much like aspects of his life.

“It was lovely evening,” his steady companion Joan Patterson told a friend. “but at the moment he died thunder and lightning and torrents of rain came without warning … the rain fell only at Kingsmere — not Ottawa even.”

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July81896: Although the Conservatives clearly lost the election on June 23, 117 to 86 seats against Wilfrid Laurier‘s Liberal party, Prime Minister Sir Charles Tupper has been clinging to power ever since. He has been determined to get approval for a few initiatives before stepping down, namely a new steamship line and raft of patronage appointments.

Governor General Lord Aberdeen, who dislikes Tupper, refuses to grant his wishes. So, Tupper spent his 75th birthday two days ago arguing his case one last time before the Queen’s representative. No go. Aberdeen has finally been able to force Tupper’s resignation as Canada’s sixth and briefest Prime Minister.

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July61885: The government of Sir John A. Macdonald passes the Dominion Franchise Act, moving the criteria for voting eligibility from the provinces to Ottawa. As a result, some groups who have had the vote in parts of the country – widows, spinsters and some indigenous groups – lose it.

Concern about letting indigenous peoples vote was heightened by the recent Northwest Rebellion in western Canada. The influence of British Columbia also ensured that ‘Asiatics’ and ‘Chinamen’ would be excluded. Many, but not enough, MPs were in favour of expanding voter eligibility. Macdonald was for the idea, but  unwilling to push for it. Opposition Leader Wilfrid Laurier objected to opening it up. In 1898, responsibility for eligibility will return to the provinces.

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July41873: Several Canadian newspapers publish a telegram sent by Sir John A. Macdonald during last year’s election campaign to CPR solicitor (and future Prime Minister) John Abbott begging for more campaign funds. “I must have another ten thousand,” urged Macdonald. “Will be the last time of calling. Do not fail me.”

It isn’t a plea that can be misconstrued and turns out to be the smoking gun the Liberals have been looking for since the Pacific Scandal broke three months ago. The pressure will build and by year’s end Macdonald will avoid a non-confidence vote by resigning — the only Prime Minister ever to do so.

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July11983: The first Canada Day is celebrated on Parliament Hill with Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau there as an observer with his three sons including Justin Trudeau. The holiday was renamed Canada Day in legislation passed October 27, 1982.

Although Canada’s birthday was often observed municipally in the early years, it didn’t become a statutory holiday with the name Dominion Day until 1879. Even then, it didn’t get much official support except for major milestones like the 50th and 60th anniversaries. A private member’s bill in 1946 attempted to rename it to Canada Day, but died in the Senate. It wasn’t until 1958 that an official celebration — this one attended by John Diefenbaker — became an annual ritual.

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