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Posts Tagged ‘Lester B. Pearson’

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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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.

PearsonPennant

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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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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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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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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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The cabinet of Sir John A. Macdonald in 1987-88 included John Abbott (Without Portfolio), John Thompson (Justice), Mackenzie Bowell (Customs) and Sir Charles Tupper (Finance).

The next largest collection of PMs-to-be was in the cabinet of Lester Pearson in 1967-68. They were Pierre Trudeau (Justice), John Turner (Consumer & Corporate Affairs) and Jean Chrétien (Without Portfolio, then National Revenue).

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