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Posts Tagged ‘Kim Campbell’

MacdonaldIn 2004, three of Canada’s Prime Ministers made the 50 Most Important Leaders in History listed in the annual National Geographic Almanac of World History. Quite an achievement in a list that starts with the mythological first Chinese Emperor Fuxi (anywhere from 29,000 BCE to 12,000 BCE) and ends with South Africa’s Nelson Mandella.

The three Canadian leaders: Sir John A. Macdonald, William Lyon Mackenzie King and — are you ready? — Kim Campbell. See the whole list here.

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CampbellSix Prime Ministers did not use their first given names. They were Henry (Wilfrid) Laurier, Joseph (Pierre) Trudeau, Charles (Joe) Clark, Martin (Brian) Mulroney, Avril (Kim) Clark and Joseph (Jean) Chrétien.

William King preferred his third name Mackenzie, while Lester Pearson was more comfortable with the nickname Mike.

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The mansion at 24 Sussex Drive in Ottawa would stand for 80 years before becoming the official residence of the Prime Minister. However, when it was built in 1868, one of its first visitors was Sir John A. Macdonald, the first PM. The owner, successful lumber baron Joseph Currier, built the house for his wife and soon after celebrated the occasion by hosting a large reception for 500. Among the guests were Sir John and Lady Macdonald.

The government expropriated the house in the 1940s (to prevent the riverfront property from falling into commercial hands) and eventually made it the official residence of the Prime Minister. Louis St. Laurent became the first PM to occupy the house, in 1951. Since then, every PM, except Kim Campbell, has lived in the house. Campbell lived at Harrington Lake for the summer of 1993 while the Mulroneys remained on Sussex Drive until their home renovations in Montreal were complete. By then, Campbell was no longer PM.

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Sir Charles Tupper can boast to having the longest marriage of any Canadian Prime Minister. He was already married for 48 years when he became the head of government and ended up being together with Frances Morse for 66 years. The second longest marriage is that of Jean Chrétien and Aline Chainé, married for 53 years and counting. Aline recently became chancellor of Laurentian University.

The record for the shortest marriage goes to Kim Campbell, married to Howard Eddy for seven years. And the second briefest coupling? Kim Campbell again, to her first husband Nathan Divinsky, for 11 years.

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There have been eight.

Since the creation of the Order of Canada on July 1, 1967, only two former Prime Ministers have not received it. John Diefenbaker was still an MP at the time of his death in 1979; sitting politicians are ineligible for the honour. Paul Martin stepped down as an MP in 2008; presumably he’ll receive the recognition in the next few years. His father was made a Companion of the Order in 1976.

For the record, PM Companions have been Louis St. Laurent, Lester Pearson, Pierre Trudeau, Joe Clark, John Turner, Brian Mulroney, Kim Campbell and Jean Chretien.

Interesting side note: Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party and a sitting politician, belongs to the Order. She received the honour before entering politics.

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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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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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