Thursday, May 26, 2005

Prime Ministers...Number 14 thrugh 11

Number 14- Sir Arthur Meighen

Two brief stints as Prime Minister, one as short as they can be (under a month and that also includes an election campaign. As Minister of Justice he quashed the Winnipeg General Strike by force, not sure that was a good thing at all. You have to give Meighen credit, he never gave up. Lost his seat in 1921 after King came to power, after Byng let him form government and he was defeated right after he still did not give up. Took a senate seat and in 1941 ran to be leader of the Tories again and won but lost his by-election to return to the House.

Number 13- R.B. Bennett

Well little could anger a country more so then a wealthy business man coming to power in the height of the depression. R.B. was fearful of communism and succumb to the red scare. He amended the criminal code to allow for immediate imprisonment for anyone who even looked like a commie. Bennett’s government also got in trouble when they ordered an assassination attempt against the Communist Party Leader Tim Buck who had been arrested. He did have some noteworthy accomplishments though such as the Bank of Canada, Canadian Wheat Board and the processor to the CBC.

Number 12- Sir John Thompson

I guess he gets to be number twelve because he was not a bad Prime Minister. Then again he was not a good one either. Then again what did he do? I guess the highlight of his two year legacy is that he died in office while on a trip to England.

Number 11-John Diefenbaker

You either like Dief or you do not. I do not like him at all. Although the Bill of Right is something which should be applauded as a principle piece of Canadian legislation, it was really all that Dief could be proud of. I guess in hindsight blunders like scrapping the Avro Arrow which shall ever be ingrained in my generations’ minds thanks to Heritage Moments and a CBC Mini-Series. Although NORAD is an important piece of our defense, Diefenbaker’s love affair with military integration with seen by many as a huge error in judgment.


  • At 5:58 AM, Blogger Matt said…

    Not that I'm one to jump on a Diefenbaker bandwagon (heaven knows that I'm not one of his biggest fans either), I would point out one or two items in his defence. First, NORAD was negotiated under St. Laurent, and then Diefenbaker was presented with a done deal when he arrive in office (indeed, the Americans had ratified it before the Canadian election). Second, Avro was already a financial boondoggle by the time he was elected, and I suspect that if he'd kept it alive, he would be known as the Prime Minister who kept investing in a financial turkey (although we might have the technological expertise now from that industry.) I would also give Dief his due credit (in line with the Bill of Human Rights), for the stance that he took in the Commonwealth against apartheid. He was really the only leader of the "white" Dominions to stand with the newly independent members from Asia and Africa against allowing South Africa to continue as a member with its apartheid policy.

    Other than those points, I would still find him a dud as PMs go, and #11 seems about right to me. But I do like to point out the good as well.

  • At 11:37 AM, Blogger calgarygrit said…

    Yeah, cancelling the Arrow was a smart move. The project had become extremelly costly and basically obsolete due to advances in missile technology.

    But the guy had a really tough time handling humans and things just sort of imploded on him. Give him credit though - he is the second longest serving Conservative PM in the last 85 years.

  • At 11:18 AM, Blogger Jason Cherniak said…

    Hold on, NORAD was not a done deal yet. The Liberals were going to read it over and Dief fell for a defence official who told him it was a done deal. No political leader who's party just gained power for the first time in over 20 yeras should have acted that quickly on such an important issue.

  • At 3:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

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