Posts Tagged ‘John Diefenbaker’

jan311958: Prime Minister John Diefenbaker appointed Akay-na-muka (James Gladstone) of the Blackfoot nation as Canada’s first Indigenous Senator. It would be another two years before Status Indians would be given the right to vote in federal elections.

Gladstone served as an “independent Conservative” Senator until retiring in 1971.


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nov301899: Born in Wawanesa, Manitoba, Edna Mae Brower grew up to be a school teacher in Langham, Saskatchewan. At age 29, she quietly married John Diefenbaker in Toronto. At the time, he was prairie lawyer attempting, without luck, to get into politics.

Edna proved to be major asset in helping Diefenbaker succeed at the polls, even though it took 11 more years and three more tries. Her support of his career, which often included sitting in House of Commons gallery to watch him perform, remained constant until she died of leukemia in 1951 at age 51.

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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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may211964: The cabinet of Lester Pearson approves his favoured design for a Canadian national flag. It’s three red maple leaves flanked by blue vertical bars. But his proposed flag is about to get a very rough ride.

The opposition leader, John Diefenbaker, is adamantly against it, as are many members of the Canadian Legion. By the fall, the flag design will have morphed into one red leaf between two red bars. A marathon flag debate in the House of Commons in December will result in the revised flag’s adoption.


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feb051964: Having lost last year’s election to the Liberals, former prime minister John Diefenbaker wins a leadership review vote in Ottawa.

The president of the Progressive Conservative Student Federation, Joe Clark, introduces the Chief at the annual meeting.

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feb031963: Douglas Harkness resigns as Minister of National Defence in the cabinet of John Diefenbaker, protesting the Prime Minister’s continued opposition to installing U.S. nuclear warheads in Canada.

The move is quickly followed by two non-confidence votes on the nuclear warheads issue and within days Diefenbaker dissolves Parliament and calls an election. His Conservative government loses to Pearson’s Liberals.

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Five Prime Ministers died while sitting as Members of Parliament. Two of them were still Prime Minister at the time: Sir John A. Macdonald in 1891 and Sir John Thompson in 1894. The second PM, Alexander Mackenzie died in 1892 while serving as MP for York East. Sir Wilfrid Laurier was Leader of the Opposition when he died in 1919. John Diefenbaker died on the job, doing constituency work in his Ottawa study in 1979.

In all, 317 Members of the House of Commons have died in office since 1867. The first one, in 1868, was Thomas D’Arcy McGee — Canada’s first political assassination. The most recent was Jack Layton, Leader of the Opposition, on August 22.

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