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Posts Tagged ‘Stephen Harper’

ChretienIt helps to have thick skin if you’re contemplating serving as Prime Minister of Canada. One only has to look at the many books about recent leaders that take a negative — even hostile — stance. In fact, in the past 50 years the number of diatribes about PMs has kept pace with the number of dispassionate biographies.

Here’s a sampling:

  • His Pride, Our Fall: Recovering from the Trudeau Revolution 
  • Breaking Faith: The Mulroney Legacy of Deceit, Destruction and Disunity
  • Jean Chretien: A Legacy of Scandal
  • Paul Martin: CEO for Canada?
  • Rogue in Power: Why Stephen Harper is Remaking Canada by Stealth
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feb122010: Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his family were at the opening of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver. Sharing the dais with the Harpers were Governor General Michaelle Jean and the chiefs of the Lil’wat, Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh nations.

Harper, Jean and the four chiefs were back 16 days later to see the closing ceremony, which means they got to see Bryan Adams, Sarah McLauchlan, Neil Young and Michael Bublé perform over a two-week period.

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As of today, only eight Prime Ministers have served longer than Stephen Harper as the country’s leader. He passed John Diefenbaker‘s record of 5 years, 10 months, 1 day in the role. Earlier this year he passed Lester Pearson, Alexander Mackenzie and then R.B. Bennett to reach the top 10 on the longevity list.

But the streak is over for the next few years. He won’t pass Louis St. Laurent‘s term of 8 years, 7 months, 6 days until 2014. Should he be looking to overtake William Lyon Mackenzie King, with his more than 21 years in power, it won’t happen until 2027. Of course, King did that in three separate terms of office. Harper could best Sir Wilfrid Laurier‘s record for the longest continuous term (15 years, 2 months, 25 days) in 2021.

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Realistically, there were eight. Four of them were francophones: Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Louis St. Laurent, Pierre Trudeau and Jean Chretien. Four were English: Joe Clark, Brian Mulroney, Paul Martin and Stephen Harper.

The PM with the broadest facility for languages was English-speaking Sir Robert Borden who had a working knowledge of French, German, Greek and Latin.

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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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Every Canadian Prime Minister has served as a Member of Parliament prior to assuming the leadership, but five of them — all Conservatives — reached the top job with no experience as a cabinet minister. They are Sir Robert Borden, John Diefenbaker, Joe Clark, Brian Mulroney and Stephen Harper.

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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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