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Today in History (September)


1843 – Sir John A. Macdonald marries Isabella Clark

1900 – Lord Minto opens an irrigation canal from Kimball to Lethbridge in Alberta

1919 – Edward, Prince of Wales, lays cornerstone of Peace Tower in Ottawa

1939 – William Lyon Mackenzie King proclaims the War Measures Act

1961 – Leslie Frost brings in a 3% sales tax

1981 – Pierre Trudeau and Alberta Premier sign 2-tiered energy pricing agreement

1981 – Peter Lougheed and Prime Minister sign 2-tiered energy pricing agreement

1983 – Henry “Scoop” Jackson passes away

1996 – Amy Carter marries Jim Wentzel


1864 – While in Charlottetown, George-Etienne Cartier makes case for Confederation

1944 – George H. W. Bush bails from a burning plain during a mission in the Pacific

1959 – Dwight Eisenhower arrives in Paris

1963 – George Wallace prevents integration of Tuskegee High School

1972 – Pierre Trudeau watches team Canada lose game 1 of the Canada-Soviet Summit Series

1974 – Gerald Ford signs Employee Retirement Income Security Act

2015 – Barack Obama become first President to visit Arctic Circle at Kotzebue, Alaska


HAPPY BIRTHDAY George Foster, former Conservative Minister

1940 – Franklin Roosevelt announces the Lend Lease Program

1957 – John Diefenbaker welcomes scientists to the General Assembly of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics

1962 – John Diefenbaker officially opens the Trans-Canada Highway at Rogers Pass

1964 – Robert Kennedy resigns as Attorney General

1964 – Lyndon Johnson signs the Wilderness Act

1992 – Brian Mulroney announces a national referendum on the Charlottetown Accord


HAPPY BIRTHDAY – Thomas Eagleton, former US Senator

1880 – Sir John A. Macdonald signs agreement with CPR Syndicate

1905 – Earl Grey officially proclaims the Saskatchewan Act

1946 – Louis St. Laurent appointed Minister of External Affairs

1951 – Harry Truman participates in first transcontinental TV broadcast

1951 – Harry Truman addresses opening of Japanese Peace Treaty Conference

1984 – Brian Mulroney wins election for PC Party

1985 – Mila Mulroney gives birth to son

1990 – Brian Mulroney announces Operation Scimitar to provide air cover during Gulf War

2008 – Erik Nielsen passes away


1939 – Franklin Roosevelt declares US neutrality in World War II

1945 – Maurice Duplessis brings in Quebec family allowance

1945 – William Lyon Mackenzie King authorizes use of red ensign until new Canadian flag adopted

1957 – Louis St. Laurent resigns as leader of Liberal Party

1961 – John Kennedy begins underground nuclear testing

1961 – John Kennedy signs law against hijacking

1975 – Assassination attempt on Gerald Ford by Squeaky Fromme

1978 – Jimmy Carter begins Israel-Egypt peace process

1988 – Brian Mulroney signs letter of agreement granting Dene and Metis land and money


HAPPY BIRTHDAY Sir George-Etienne Cartier, Father of Confederation

HAPPY BIRTHDAY W.A.C. Bennett, 25th British Columbia Premier

1775 – George Washington issues his “Address to the Inhabitants of Canada”

1919 – George-Etienne Cartier statue unveiled in Mount Royal

1920 – George-Etienne Cartier statue erected in Quebec City

1939 – Charles Dunning resigns as finance minister

1957 – Louis St. Laurent announces retirement as Liberal leader

1964 – W.A.C. Bennett accepts cheque from US President for Columbia River Power Agreement

1964 – Lyndon Johnson presents cheque to BC Premier for Columbia River Power agreement

1990 – Bob Rae and the Ontario New Democratic Party win election

1991 – Bob Rae announces reversal of government auto-insurance pledge

2012 – Barack Obama accepts Democratic Presidential nomination

2014 – Jim Prentice wins leadership of Alberta Progressive Conservative Party


HAPPY BIRTHDAY Allan Blakeney, 10th Saskatchewan Premier

1936 – Herbert Hoover Dam begins operation

1939 – William Lyon Mackenzie King calls special session of Parliament to declare war against Nazi Germany

1959 – Maurice Duplessis passes away

1965 – Lester Pearson dissolves Parliament

1977 – Jimmy Carter signs Panama Canal treaties

1990 – Richard Hatfield appointed to the Senate

1993 – Kim Campbell dissolves Parliament

1995 – Jacques Parizeau tables law allowing legislature to proclaim sovereignty after referendum

2008 – Stephen Harper has writs of election issued


1858 – Abraham Lincoln give speech about when you can fool people

1930 – Richard Bennett retaliates against US with new tariffs on 130 items

1939 – Franklin Roosevelt declares “limited national emergency” due to war in Europe

1939 – William Lyon Mackenzie King says no conscription

1951 – Lester Pearson signs Japan Peace Treaty for Canada

1974 – Gerald Ford pardons his predecessor

1974 – Richard Nixon accepts a pardon from his successor

1993 – Kim Campbell calls an election


HAPPY BIRTHDAY Alf Landon, 26th Kansas Governor

1957 – Dwight Eisenhower signs first Civil Rights Bill since Reconstruction

1963 – George Wallace served injunction against preventing Black students from attending white schools

1966 – Lyndon Johnson signs National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act

1967 – Robert Stanfield selected as leader of PC Party

1977 – Maurice Duplessis statue unveiled in Quebec City

1981 – Vernon Jordan resigns as head of National Urban League

1985 – Ronald Reagan orders sanctions against South Africa

1987 – Gary Hart admits to being unfaithful to his wife

1990 – George H. W. Bush meets with Mikhail Gorbachev to discuss Iraq

1992 – Don Getty announces retirement as Alberta Premier


1776 – George Washington asks for a volunteer spy, gets Nathan Hale

1939 – William Lyon Mackenzie King announces that Canada is at war with Germany

1939 – William Lyon Mackenzie King creates the Department of Supply

1948 – Lester Pearson becomes Minister of External Affairs

1957 – Jean Chretien married Aline Chaine

1971 – Peter Lougheed sworn in as Alberta’s 10th Premier

1982 – Jean Chretien becomes Minister of Energy and Mines

1987 – David Peterson and the Ontario Liberal Party win election

1992 – Referendum Bill for the Charlottetown Accord passes the House of Commons

2001 – Joe Clark forms a coalition of Progressive Conservative and Canadian Alliance MPs


1936 – Franklin Roosevelt dedicates Boulder (Hoover) Dam

1941 – Franklin Roosevelt orders Axis ships in US waters shot on site

1944 – William Lyon Mackenzie King hosts US President & Winston Churchill at 2nd Quebec Conference

1944 – Franklin Roosevelt & Winston Churchill hosted by Canadian Prime Minister at 2nd Quebec Conference

1975 – John Turner resigns as finance minister

1977 – Sterling Lyon and the Manitoba Progressive Conservative Party win election

1990 – Gary Filmon and the Manitoba Progressive Conservative Party win election

1995 – Jacques Parizeau announces referendum date

1998 – Ken Starr sends report indicating 11 possible impeachable offences against Bill Clinton


1953 – John Kennedy marries Jacqueline Bouvier

1960 – John Kennedy says he doesn’t speak for Catholic Church and it doesn’t speak for him

1960 – W. A. C. Bennett and the British Columbia Social Credit win re-election

1966 – W. A. C. Bennett and the British Columbia Social Credit win re-election

1990 – John Buchanan resigns as Nova Scotia Premier

1990 – John Buchanan appointed to the Senate

1991 – Bill Vander Zalm charged with breach of trust over Fantasy Gardens theme park

1994 – Jacques Parizeau and the Parti Quebecois win election


1919 – Edward, Prince of Wales, visits Calgary

1967 – George “Ike” Smith sworn in as Nova Scotia’s 18th Premier

1973 – Richard Nixon receives Bill from Congress to lift football’s blackout

1980 – Pierre Trudeau and the Provincial Premiers break off constitutional talks

1998 – George Wallace passed away

2004 – Paul Martin hosts health care conference with Provincial Premiers

2012 – Peter Lougheed passes away


1926 – William Lyon Mackenzie King and the Liberal Party win election

1926 – Arthur Meighen resigns as Conservative leader after losing election

1948 – Gerald Ford wins Michigan 5th Republican Primary

1964 – Lyndon Johnson presents Walter Lippmann with Presidential Medal of Freedom

1973 – Richard Nixon signs law lifting pro football’s blackout

1990 – Brian Mulroney sends squadron of F-18 fighters and crews to Persian Gulf

1991 – Grant Devine grants $431 million to Saskatchewan native bands

1992 – Paul Martin Sr. passes away

1993 – Robert Bourassa announces his retirement

2015 – Barack Obama sends out supportive tweet for 14 year old arrested for homemade clock mistaken for bomb


1905 – Earl Grey and Lady Grey visit Crowsnest Pass by train

1922 – William Lyon Mackenzie King refuses to support British in Chanak Affair

1957 – John Diefenbaker appointed to Imperial Privy Council

1961 – John Diefenbaker opens new Post Office Headquarters

1966 – Lyndon Johnson urges Congress to enact gun control legislation

1971 – David Barrett sworn in as British Columbia’s 26th Premier

1977 – Jimmy Carter meets with 15 record executives

2004 – Paul Martin and Provincial Premiers sign medicare deal

2013 – David Johnston unveils a new badge for the Royal Canadian Air Force

2014 – Barack Obama announces US will send 3000 troops to fight spread of Ebola virus


1890 – Lord and Lady Aberdeen officially open Hamilton’s first public library

1901 – Sir Wilfrid Laurier welcomes Duke and Duchess of Cornwall to Canada

1940 – Franklin Roosevelt signs Selective Training & Service Act

1964 – Lester Pearson, BC Premier & US President implement Columbia River Treaty

1964 – W.A.C. Bennett, Canadian Prime Minister & US President implement Columbia River Treaty

1964 – Canadian Prime Minister, BC Premier & Lyndon Johnson implement Columbia River Treaty

1968 – Richard Nixon appears on Laugh-In

1974 – Gerald Ford grants conditional amnesty to Vietnam War deserters

1990 – Iraq televises unedited 8 minute speech by George H. W. Bush

1992 – Taped conversation of bureaucrat criticizing Robert Bourassa over Charlottetown Accord is leaked

1996 – Sheila Copps opens Canadian Information Office in Ottawa

1997 – Sheila Copps rejects business development plan for Banff

1999 – Roy Romanow and the Saskatchewan New Democratic Party win re-election


1878 – Sir John A. Macdonald wins federal election

1949 – Lester Pearson attends first NATO meeting

1963 – Lester Pearson addresses United Nations

1978 – Jimmy Carter signs Camp David Accord with Menachem Begin & Anwar Sadat

1984 – Brian Mulroney sworn in as Canada’s 17th Prime Minister

1996 – Spiro Agnew passed away


HAPPY BIRTHDAY John Diefenbaker, Canada’s 13th Prime Minister

1793 – George Washington lays cornerstone of Capital Building

1867 – Sir John A. Macdonald wins first Dominion election

1867 – Sir Charles Tupper elected to the House of Commons for the first time

1975 – Bill Davis and the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party win election

1989 – Bob Rae arrested at Temagami Wilderness Society anti-logging protest

1992 – Michael Wilson announces that South Korea purchasing 2 CANDU Reactors


1796 – George Washington gives farewell address as President

1838 – Lord Durham learns he is being recalled to London

1950 – Lester Pearson chairs Canadian delegation at United Nations General Assembly

1956 – W. A. C. Bennett and the British Columbia Social Credit win re-election

1956 – Leslie Frost turns sod on Ontario’s first nuclear station

1962 – John Diefenbaker opposes Britain’s entry into European Economic Community

1978 – John Buchanan and the Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative Party win election

1980 – Ed Schreyer invests Terry Fox as a Companion of the Order of Canada

1985 – John Fraser recalls 1,000,000 cans of tainted tuna

1991 – Kim Campbell announces funding for particle accelerator in Vancouver

2000 – Joe Clark returns to the House of Commons after a seven year absence

2014 – David Johnston officially opens the Canadian Museum of Human Rights


HAPPY BIRTHDAY Leslie Frost, 16th Premier of Ontario

1917 – Arthur Meighen presents Military Voters Act expanding the franchise

1956 – George Drew resigns as leader of PC Party

1963 – John Kennedy proposes joint US-USSR mission to the moon

1966 – Paul Martin Sr. chairs 21st session of UN General Assembly

1976 – Jimmy Carter interview in Playboy is released

1991 – Bob Rae proposes social charter in Constitution

2001 – George W. Bush declares war on terror

2011 – Stephan Harper’s government introduces The Safe Streets and Communities Act


1911 – Sir Robert Borden and the Conservative Party win federal election

1979 – Rene Levesque appoints Lise Payette as Quebec’s first Minister for Status of Women

1992 – Brian Mulroney, BC Premier and first nations announce BC Treaty Commission

1992 – Mike Harcourt, Canadian Prime Minister and first nations announce BC Treaty Commission

1992 – Pierre Trudeau publishes essays calling for No vote on Charlottetown Accord

2006 – Stephen Harper makes his first address to the United Nations

2012 – Peter Lougheed’s state funeral


1817 – John Quincy Adams becomes Secretary of State

1862 – Abraham Lincoln says he will free all slaves in all states on January 1

1930 – Richard Bennett passes Unemployment Relief Act

1970 – Richard Nixon calls for 1000 new FBI agents for college campuses

1975 – Second assassination attempt on Gerald Ford

1976 – Peter Lougheed opens Glenbow Centre

1988 – Brian Mulroney apologizes to Japanese-Canadians for WW II internment

1992 – Canada Committee formed to support Charlottetown Accord

1992 – Brian Mulroney & Saskatchewan Premier sign land claims deal with Federation of Saskatchewan Indians

1992 – Roy Romanow & Prime Minister sign land claims deal with Federation of Saskatchewan Indians

2015 – Barack Obama welcomes Pope Francis to the US


1862 – Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation published in Northern newspapers

1925 – William Lyon Mackenzie King address Liberal Party conference in Quebec

1949 – Harry Truman announces evidence of USSR’s first nuclear detonation

1952 – Richard Nixon makes “Checkers” speech

1957 – John Diefenbaker addresses UN General Assembly for the first time

1985 – John Fraser resigns as Fisheries Minister over Tunagate

1990 – Brian Mulroney names 5 new Senators

2008 – Stephen Harper says ordinary Canadians aren’t impressed by artists at rich galas


1789 – George Washington nominates first Chief Justice

1932 – Franklin Roosevelt visits Louisiana

1939 – Maurice Duplessis calls Quebec election

1941 – Franklin Roosevelt’s Atlantic Charter is joined by Canada

1955 – Dwight Eisenhower suffers a heart attack

1957 – Dwight Eisenhower orders troops to desegregate Little Rock schools

1962 – John Diefenbaker opens Garden of the Provinces

1990 – Jean Chretien announces he will run in Beausejour by-election

1990 – George H. W. Bush meets with South Africa’s F. W. de Klerk in Washington

1991 – Brian Mulroney presents outline for constitutional talks to parliamentary committee

1996 – Bill Clinton signs Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty at United Nations

2001 – Jean Chretien meets US President offering help in fight against terrorism

2001 – George W. Bush hosts Canadian Prime Minister who offers help in fight against terrorism


1889 – Sir Robert Borden marries Laura Bond

1911 – Parade held in Ottawa for Sir Robert Borden to celebrate election victory

1926 – William Lyon Mackenzie King sworn in as Prime Minister for the second time

1963 – John Robarts leads Ontario Progressive Conservative Party to 6th straight election win

1974 – Lester B. Pearson College of the Pacific opens

1985 – Peter Lougheed opens the Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology

1989 – Robert Bourassa and the Quebec Liberal Party win re-election


1904 – Earl Grey appointed Governor General of Canada

1917 – Sir Robert Borden’s Military Service Act comes into effect, bringing in conscription

1958 – John Diefenbaker becomes first sitting Prime Minister to visit Yukon

1960 – John Kennedy has first televised debate

1960 – Richard Nixon has first televised debate

1960 – John Diefenbaker asks USSR to resume nuclear disarmament talks

1984 – Ronald Reagan vetoes sanctions against South Africa

1990 – Lester Pearson statue unveiled on Parliament Hill

1994 – Jacques Parizeau sworn in as Quebec’s 26th Premier

2000 – Roy Romanow steps down as Saskatchewan Premier


HAPPY BIRTHDAY Peter MacKay, former Conservative Minister

1964 – Earl Warren releases findings on presidential assassination

1964 – Commission of John Kennedy’s assassination releases report

1972 – Lester Pearson passes away

1990 – Brian Mulroney increases size of the Senate

1990 – Robert Bourassa has operation to remove cancer from back

1991 – George H. W. Bush ends full time B-52 Bomber alert


HAPPY BIRTHDAY Stephane Dion, former leader Liberal Party of Canada

1869 – George-Etienne Cartier makes speech supporting British connection

1872 – George-Etienne Cartier departs for London for treatment of Bright’s Disease

1937 – Franklin Roosevelt dedicates Bonneville Dam

1968 – W.A.C. Bennett opens Dr. Gordon M. Schrum Powerhouse

1974 – Betty Ford undergoes radical mastectomy

1981 – Pierre Trudeau’s unilateral constitutional proposal deemed constitutional

2000 – Pierre Trudeau passes away

1990 – George H. W. Bush hosts exiled Emir of Kuwait at White House

1996 – Lucien Bouchard rejects hard-liners who want a unilingual Quebec

2003 – Jean Chretien unveils monument to Canadians who lost their lives in Korean War


1922 – William Lyon Mackenzie King states Canada not automatically at war if Britain is

1941 – Sir William Hearst passes away

1943 – Dwight Eisenhower signs armistice with Italian Marshal Pietro Badoglio

1962 – John Kennedy authorizes troops to integrate University of Mississippi

1983 – Ronald Reagan receives authorization to keep troops in Lebanon

1985 – Pierre-Marc Johnson elected leader of Parti Quebecois

1989 – Ed Broadbent announces his retirement from politics

1990 – Barbara Bush’s “Millie’s Book”, written for the president’s dog, becomes a best seller

2005 – John Hamm announces his retirement from politics


1935 – Franklin Roosevelt dedicates the Hoover Dam

1952 – Earl Warren appointed Chief Justice of US Supreme Court

1955 – Lester Pearson leaves Canada for 12 country tour

1962 – John Kennedy routes 3000 troops to Mississippi

1992 – 52 Charlottetown Accord Yes committees registered

1996 – Jean Chretien asks Supreme Court to rule on unilateral declaration of independence by Quebec

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Today in History (August)


1897 – Sir William Fielding brings in a heavy tariff, but with reciprocal provisions

1946 – Harry Truman establishes Atomic Energy Commission

1952 – William Bennett sworn in as British Columbia’s 25th Premier

1972 – Bob Woodward & Carl Bernstein have their first Watergate article published


HAPPY BIRTHDAY Bob Rae, 21st Ontario Premier, Liberal Party of Canada leader

1782 – George Washington creates honorary Badge of Distinction

1864 – Thomas D’Arcy McGee organizes goodwill tour of Atlantic Canada to promote Confederation

1909 – Abraham Lincoln pennies first minted

1943 – John Kennedy’s PT-boat 109 sinks at Solomon Islands

1945 – Harry Truman ends Potsdam Conference with Winston Churchill and Josef Stalin

1961 – Leslie Frost resigns as Ontario Premier

1969 – Richard Nixon visits Romania

1988 – Joe Clark lights candle at Rekindle the Light Festival protesting apartheid

1990 – George H. W. Bush orders troops to Saudi Arabia

2005 – Paul Martin appoints 5 new Senators


HAPPY BIRTHDAY Lord Aberdeen, 7th Governor General of Canada

1863 – Abraham Lincoln asked to suspend draft in New York
1923 – Baseball games cancelled to honour the death of Warren Harding
1948 – Franklin Roosevelt advisor Alger Hiss accused of being a Communist
1961 – Tommy Douglas elected leader of New Democratic Party
1981 – Ronald Reagan gives striking air traffic controllers 48 hours to get back to work
2001 – George W. Bush signs the Iran and Libya Sanctions Act Extension Act into law
2005 – Paul Martin announces Michaelle Jean as Canada’s new Governor General
2015 – Barack Obama unveils his Clean Power Plan
2015 – Barack Obama gives Isabel Allende the US Presidential Medal of Freedom
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States
1753 – George Washington becomes a Master Mason
1943 – George Drew and the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party win election
1955 – Dwight Eisenhower authorizes money for building new CIA headquarters
1960 – John Diefenbaker’s Bill of Rights approved by Parliament
1977 – Jimmy Carter establishes Department of Energy
1991 – Robert Bourassa re-joins constitutional talks
2009 – Bill Clinton meets with Kim Jong-il
1861 – Abraham Lincoln signs the first federal income tax, 3%, into law
1919 – William Lyon Mackenzie King elected leader of Liberal Party
1960 – Arthur Meighen passes away
1974 – Richard Nixon admits he withheld information about Watergate break-in
1981 – Ronald Reagan fires 11,500 striking air traffic controllers
2003 – John Hamm and the Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative Party are re-elected
2004 – Bill Clinton has a book signing in Toronto
2014 – Barack Obama signs the Iron Dome Bill, providing military aid to Israel
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Lord Lorne, 9th Duke of Argyle, 4th Governor General of Canada
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Paul Hellyer, former Liberal cabinet minister
1858 – John A. Macdonald-George-Etienne Cartier government resigns for one day
1930 – William Lyon Mackenzie King resigns as Prime Minister
1965 – Lyndon Johnson signs Voting Rights Act
1986 – Bill Vander Zalm sworn in as British Columbia’s 28th Premier
1991 – Jean Charest announces new Aulavik National Park
1991 – Bob Rae recognizes First Nations right to self government
1996 – Bill Clinton imposes sanctions on non US companies investing in Libya and Iran
2002 – Joe Clark announces resignation as leader of Progressive Conservative Party of Canada
1782 – George Washington creates the Purple Heart
1858 – George-Etienne Cartier adopts confederation as part of party platform
1858 – John A. Macdonald-George-Etienne Cartier ministry re-sworn in after one day resignation
1865 – Narcisse-Fortunat Belleau joins John A. Macdonald’s ministry as co-premier
1867 – Sir John A. Macdonald begins campaigning in first post-confederation election
1929 – William Lyon Mackenzie King dedicates Peace Bridge
1930 – Richard Bennett invited to form a government
1948 – Louis St. Laurent wins leadership of Liberal Party
1959 – Abraham Lincoln Memorial penny goes into circulation
1975 – Pierre Trudeau announces intent to set up 200 mile economic coastal zone
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Joan Mondale, wife of former Vice-President
1922 – John Bracken sworn in as Manitoba’s 11th Premier
1944 – Maurice Duplessis and the Union National win Quebec election
1945 – Harry Truman signs UN Charter
1968 – Richard Nixon nominated for President by Republicans
1973 – Spiro Agnew denies that he took kick backs from contracts while in Maryland
1974 – Richard Nixon announces he will resign at “noon tomorrow”
1982 – Pierre Trudeau gives one finger salute to protesters
1987 – Pierre Trudeau attends wedding of Rene Simard and Marie-Joseph Taillefer
1996 – Jean Chretien appoints a former Prime Minister as Canadian consul general in Los Angeles
1996 – Kim Campbell named as Canadian Consul General in Los Angeles
1996 – Jean Chretien appoints Jean-Louis Roux as Lieutenant Governor of Quebec
2005 – George W. Bush’s Energy Policy Act is passed by Congress calling the oil sands a strategic continental resource
2013 – Barack Obama names Ben Bradlee as a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Jacques Parizeau , 26th Quebec Premier
HAPPY BIRTHDAY John Gomery, headed commission investigating sponsorship scandal
1870 – George-Etienne Cartier negotiates Imperial Loan Act for Canadian defences
1941 – Franklin Roosevelt meets with Winston Churchill in Newfoundland
1974 – Richard Nixon resigns the presidency
1974 – Gerald Ford sworn in as President
1988 – Peter Pocklington trades Wayne Gretzky
2001 – George W. Bush announces federal funding for research of embryonic stem cells
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Herbert Hoover, 34th US President
1838 – Crown disallows Lord Durham’s ordinance banishing rebels without trial
1891 – Hector Langevin retires
1910 – Sir Wilfrid Laurier drives the first spike on the Alberta Central Railway
1921 – Franklin Roosevelt stricken with polio
1935 – John Buchan, Lord Tweedsmuir, appointed Governor General of Canada
1941 – Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill hold second meeting in Newfoundland
1953 – Louis St. Laurent and the Liberal Party win election
1960 – John Diefenbaker’s Bill of Rights becomes law
1963 – Estes Kefauver passes away
1981 – Richard Nixon library in San Clemente closes
1996 – Jack Kemp announced as Republican Vice-Presidential candidate
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Alexa McDonough, former leader New Democratic Party of Canada, Nova Scotia NDP
1943 – William Lyon Mackenzie King welcomes Winston Churchill and US President to Quebec Conference
1943 – Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill to Quebec Conference by Canadian Prime Minister
1984 – Ronald Reagan says signed legislation that would outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in 5 minutes
1997 – Jean Chretien warns Quebec Premier about the partitioning of Quebec
1997 – Lucien Bouchard warned by the Prime Minister about the partitioning of Quebec
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Roy Romanow, 12th Saskatchewan Premier
1919 – The Prince of Wales arrives in St. John’s on official visit
1955 – Dwight Eisenhower raises minimum wage to $1.00 an hour
1986 – Brian Mulroney & Premiers agree that Quebec be subject of constitutional talks
1992 – Michael Wilson signs NAFTA
2015 – Jimmy Carter reveals he has cancer
1863 – George-Etienne Cartier’s Militia Act includes all males aged 18-60
1868 – Wilfrid Laurier marries Zoe Lafontaine
1886 – Sir John A. Macdonald drives in last spike of Esquimault-Naniamo railway in BC
1950 – Harry Truman gives military aid to Bao-Dai regime in Vietnam
1953 – Dwight Eisenhower establishes Government Contract Compliance Committee
1990 – Gilles Duceppe wins by-election becoming first elected Bloc Quebecois MP
1991 – Dan Quayle makes speech attacking lawyers
1992 – Donald Cameron announces that Nova Scotia Power Corp. is fully privatized
1862 – Abraham Lincoln receives first group of Blacks to confer with US President
1914 – Richard Bennett financed Princess Patricia’s Own Light Infantry leave for European front
1937 – William Lyon Mackenzie King sets up Rowell-Sirois Commission
1941 – Franklin Roosevelt & Winston Churchill sign Atlantic Charter
1942 – Dwight Eisenhower named commander for invasion of North Africa
1943 – William Lyon Mackenzie King opens Quebec conference
1974 – Robert Stanfield announces resignation as PC Party leader
1980 – Jimmy Carter officially re-nominated for President by Democrats
2007 – Stephen Harper announces a new cabinet
1861 – Abraham Lincoln sends reinforcements to Missouri
1881 – Sir John A. Macdonald’s Act to Provide for the Extension of the Boundaries of the Province of Manitoba comes into effect
1930 – William Lyon Mackenzie King urged to accept Rowell-Sirois recommendations
1971 – Richard Nixon announces 90 day freeze on wage & prices
1986 – Ronald Reagan supports replacement for Challenger space shuttle
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Arthur Meighen, 9th Prime Minister of Canada
1861 – Abraham Lincoln bans trade with Confederacy
1910 – Sir Wilfrid Laurier opens first Pacific National Exhibition
1913 – Sir Wilfrid Laurier greeted by 10 000 in St-Hyacinthe
1956 – Adlai Stevenson nominated for president by Democratic Party
1979 – John Diefenbaker passes away
1991 – George H. W. Bush declares that recession is near an end
1999 – John Hamm sworn in as Nova Scotia’s 25th Premier
1911 – Sir Wilfrid Laurier kicks off re-election campaign in Three Rivers
1936 – Maurice Duplessis and the Union Nationale win Quebec Election
1940 – William Lyon Mackenzie King meets with US President on North American defence
1940 –  Franklin Roosevelt meets with Canadian Prime Minister on North American defence
1943 – William Lyon Mackenzie King hosts US President & Winston Churchill at War Conference
1943 – Canadian Prime Minister hosts Franklin Roosevelt & Winston Churchill at War Conference
1943 – George Drew sworn in as Ontario’s 14th Premier
1961 – John Kennedy establishes Alliance for Progress
1987 – Bill Vander Zalm opens the Mascot Gold Mining Company’s open pit mine
1988 – George H. W. Bush nominated for president by Republican Party
1998 – Bill Clinton admits to an “improper physical relationship” with an intern
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Rosalynn Carter, former first lady
HAPPY BIRTHDAY William R. Bennett, 27th British Columbia Premier
1938 – William Lyon Mackenzie King & US President dedicate Thousand Islands Bridge
1938 – Franklin Roosevelt & Canadian Prime Minister dedicate Thousand Islands Bridge

1940 – William Lyon Mackenzie King & US President sign Joint Board of Defence agreement

1940 – Franklin Roosevelt & Canadian Prime Minister sign Joint Board of Defence agreement
1992 – Constitutional talks begin in Charlottetown
2011 – Simon de Jong passed away
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Bill Clinton, 42nd US President
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Tipper Gore, former US 2nd lady
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Fred Thompson, former US Senator
1872 – Election riot in Montreal between supporters and opponents of George-Etienne Cartier
1961 – Lyndon Johnson visits West Berlin
1968 – Lester Pearson appointed head of World Bank commission on aid to developing countries
1976 – Gerald Ford wins Republican presidential nomination
1977 – Rene Levesque offers English education in Quebec for French Education in other provinces
1984 – Ronald Reagan nominated for president by Republican party
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Ron Paul, former US Congressman
1781 – George Washington begins moving troops for fight against Cornwallis
1872 – George-Etienne Cartier meets with Monsignor Bourget
1941 – William Lyon Mackenzie King arrives in England
1964 – Marian Pearson & US first lady open Roosevelt Campobello International Airport
1964 – Lady Bird Johnson & Canadian first lady open Roosevelt Campobello International Airport
1964 – Lyndon Johnson signs Economic Opportunity Act
1972 – Dave Barrett sworn in as 26th British Columbia Premier
1974 – Gerald Ford assumes office
1974 – Nelson Rockefeller selected to be Vice-President
1982 – John Munro wins libel suit against Toronto Sun
1983 – Robert Bourassa announces return to politics
1858 – Abraham Lincoln & Stephen Douglas have first debate
1919 – Edward, Prince of Wales, arrives in Quebec City
1945 – Harry Truman ends Lend Lease program
1999 – Glen Clark resigns as British Columbia Premier
2002 – Jean Chretien announces he will not seek a 4th term
1919 – Edward, Prince of Wales, opens the Quebec Bridge
1925 – Lester Pearson marries Maryon Elspeth Moody
1950 – Louis St. Laurent calls emergency session of Parliament regarding rail strike
1956 – Dwight Eisenhower & Richard Nixon renominated by Republican convention
1979 – John Diefenbaker laid to rest at University of Saskatchewan campus
1984 – Ronald Reagan & George H. W. Bush renominated by Republican convention
1990 – George H. W. Bush calls up military reserves
1992 – Brian Mulroney & the Premiers sign the Charlottetown Accord
2011 – Jack Layton passes away
1939 – William Lyon Mackenzie King warns cabinet of possible war in Europe
1941 – William Lyon Mackenzie King booed by Canadian troops in England
1944 – Dwight Eisenhower meets with Generals Montgomery & Bradley
1947 – Harry Truman’s daughter Margaret gives first public singing concert
1956 – John Kennedy’s newborn daughter passes away
1957 – Tommy Douglas opens Saskatchewan portion of Trans-Canada Highway
1958 – Robert Bourassa marries Andree Simard
1972 – Republican convention renominates Spiro Agnew for Vice-President
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Rene Levesque, 23rd Quebec Premier
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Mike Huckabee, 44th Arkansas Governor
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Gary Filmon, 19th Manitoba Premier
1936 – Franklin Roosevelt gives FBI expanded authority to pursue fascists & communists
1954 – Dwight Eisenhower signs Communist Control Act
1967 – John Robarts announces French secondary schooling for Ontario
1990 – Brian Mulroney sends destroyers to Persian Gulf to participate in Gulf War
2005 – Paul Martin formally acknowledges wrong doings against Ukrainian-Canadians during World War I
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Hector Langevin, Father of Confederation
HAPPY BIRTHDAY George Wallace, 45th Alabama Governor, independent Presidential candidate
1919 – Edward, Prince of Wales, visits Toronto City Hall
1940 – William Lyon Mackenzie King urged to release French gold to British
1943 – Franklin Roosevelt makes first “official” visit to Canada by a US President
1950 – Harry Truman orders army to take control of railways to avert a strike
1984 – Brian Mulroney tells Liberal leader “you had an option” in election debate
1991 – Jean Charest announces money to protect ozone layer
2003 – Jean Chretien signs agreement providing self government to Tlicho First Nation in Northwest Territories
2009 – Ted Kennedy passes away
HAPPY BIRTHDAY John Buchan, Lord Tweedsmuir, 15th Governor General of Canada
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Geraldine Ferraro, former member US House of Representatives
1834 – John A. Macdonald begins practising law in Kingston
1872 – Sir John A. Macdonald sends the telegram that led to Pacific Scandal
1936 – Maurice Duplessis sworn in as Quebec Premier
1939 – William Lyon Mackenzie King sends personal peace appeals to Hitler, Musolini & President of Poland
1961 – John Diefenbaker opens the International Hockey Hall of Fame at CNE
1964 – Lyndon Johnson nominated for President by Democrats
1996 – Bill Clinton signs welfare reform into law
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Lyndon Johnson, 36th President of the United States
1984 – Ronald Reagan announces the Teacher in Space program
1991 – Brian Mulroney announces Royal Commission on Native Issues
1991 – Brian Mulroney urged to call conference on the economy by Premiers (minus Quebec)
2008 – Barack Obama nominated for President by Democratic Party
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Paul Martin, Canada’s 21st Prime Minister
1872 – George-Etienne Cartier loses seat of Montreal East
1945 – William Lyon Mackenzie King meets with Charles de Gaulle in Ottawa
1981 – Ronald Reagan’s shooter John Hinkley pleads innocent
HAPPY BIRTHDAY John McCain, AZ Senator
1864 – Sir John A. Macdonald leaves Quebec for Charlottetown
1917 – Sir Robert Borden’s Military Service Act receives royal assent
1917 – Sir Robert Borden passes the Soldier Settlement Act
1917 – Earl Grey passed away
1964 – Dick Cheney marries Lynne Ann Vincent
1968 – Hubert Humphrey nominated for President by Democratic Party
1969 – William Bennett and the British Columbia Social Credit win re-election
1983 – Brian Mulroney wins Central Nova by-election
1992 – Robert Bourassa gets Quebec Liberal Party to approve Charlottetown Accord
1996 – Bill Bennett found guilty of insider trading by British Columbia securities commission
2002 – Glen Clark acquitted of charges that led to his resignation
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Don Getty, Alberta’s 11th Premier
1873 – Lord Dufferin issues Order-In-Council constituting the Northwest Mounted Police
1944 – Maurice Duplessis sworn in as Quebec Premier
1968 – Pierre Trudeau cancels Winter Works Program
1971 – Peter Lougheed and the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party win election
1972 – Dave Barrett and the British Columbia New Democratic Party win election
1979 – Jimmy Carter attacked by a rabbit on a canoe trip
1990 – Brian Mulroney appoints 5 new Senators
1935 – Franklin Roosevelt signs act preventing export of arms to belligerents
1993 – Brian Mulroney completely bans all cod fishing
2015 – Barack Obama re-designates Mount McKinley as Denali
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Sitting Presidents Challenged from Within

For this week’s blog, I think I have another fun topic.  I will be looking at Presidents that faced serious challenges to their party’s presidential nomination from within their party.  This only happened three times in the twentieth century.  Sorry John Ashbrooke in 1972 against Richard Nixon, but, I don’t consider your challenge serious.  Same with Pat Buchanan’s challenge of George H. W. Bush in 1992.  And, sorry Eugene McCarthy in 1968, but, Lyndon Johnson dropped out, before your challenge could be considered serious.  William Taft had Teddy Roosevelt.  Gerald Ford had Ronald Reagan.  Jimmy Carter had Ted Kennedy.

Teddy Roosevelt decided not to see another term as president in 1908.  His hand picked successor was William Taft.  Taft won the election of 1908.  Roosevelt’s expectation was that Taft would carry on the policies that he has espoused.  After 4 years, Roosevelt was not happy with the record that Taft had built for himself.  He chose to challenge him for he Republican party presidential nomination that year.  Taft held onto the nomination.  This wasn’t good enough for Roosevelt, so, he decided to run as a third party candidate.  In the end, Taft lost the presidency to Woodrow Wilson, finishing third behind both Wilson and Roosevelt.  The challenge hurt him.  The entry of a third party candidate killed him.

Gerald Ford had never gone through a primary.  He had never been vetted for national office by the public, his party or the media.  He was vetted by the Nixon administration and by congress.  He became Vice-President after the resignation of Spiro Agnew.  He became President after the resignation of Richard Nixon.  In 1976, he decided that he would seek a full mandate under his own name.   For Gerald Ford items CLICK HERE!  However, someone else wanted the job.  Former California Governor decided that he was better suited to lead the United States of America through those difficult times.  Early on, Ford won primary after primary.  The Reagan campaign seemed over before a race really began.  Suddenly, Reagan started winning primaries.  The two candidates would disagree over key policy points.  Going into the convention, the two were neck and neck.  After the votes were counted, they remained close, but, Ford prevailed.  However, Reagan would have more followers than ever before.  The battle cost Ford.  In the end, the debate he was forced to engage in probably cost him the presidency (that, and the Nixon pardon).

Jimmy Carter won a hard fought battle for his party’s presidential nomination in 1976.  He emerged stronger for the fight and won the presidency against a weakened Gerald Ford.  His presidency saw, as he put it, a malaise over the nation.  The economy was sluggish.  Oil prices were rising, when it was available.  The Soviets invaded Afghanistan and Iran took American Embassy staff hostage.  Many a crises rose.  Most beyond his direct control.  He could do little but watch.  For Jimmy Carter items CLICK HERE!  Enter a candidate with the most famous name in the Democratic party.  Ted Kennedy would challenge Cater for his party’s presidential nomination.  Kennedy called for even more government intervention.  Kennedy spoke to the fears of the nation and the party.  For Ted Kennedy items CLICK HERE!Carter ultimately won the race for the nomination, but not before feeling Kennedy’s sting.  He was badly weakened going into the general election.  He lost the presidency to Ronald Reagan.

In each instance, the major challenge cost the person their job.  In the case of the latter two, Reagan and Kennedy, the challengers based the opposition on appealing to their party’s base; Reagan from the right, Kennedy from left.  The lessons have not been lost.  How often do we hear about candidates appealing to their base during primary season only to move to the centre for the general election?  Challenges can be healthy and welcome.  However, they hurt the incumbent and cost them their jobs.

What do you think?  Share your comments below.

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Remembering Herb Gray

A week after we lost Jim Flaherty, we lost Herb Gray.  Mr. Gray hadn’t served in the House of Commons since 2002.  However, for the previous 40 years, he was a fixture as a Member of Parliament from Windsor.  The discussions over Mr. Gray, his career, and his legacy, were less than those of Mr. Flaherty.  That, I contend, had more to do with the passage of time than anything else.

Herb Gray was the first Jewish person to hold a cabinet post in the Canadian Government.  In today’s society, that may not sound like much, but at the time, it was a considered a huge deal.  In the period following the resignation of John Turner and the selection of Jean Chretien, Mr. Gray led the Liberal party in the House.  He continued to lead it until Mr. Chretien won a seat in the House of Commons.

Regardless of ones political leanings, it should be agreed that the success of government is, in large part, dependent upon a strong opposition to hold it in check.  From 1984 through 1993, an historically long period for the Liberal party in opposition, Herb Gray ensured a strong opposition.  Even when his party was down to 40 seats after the 1984 election, Herb Gray followed his leader into battle each and every day, ensuring that the Mulroney government was held to account.

Under Jean Chretien, he rose to the job of Deputy Prime Minister.  He was the first person to hold that position without holding another ministry.  He articulated the government’s positions on a wide variety of issues.  He was the first man of the house.

He managed to stay out of the leadership battles that plagued the Liberal party.  None knew where his allegiance lay.  He was under suspicion from all sides.  He always performed.  His allegiance was to Canada first, last and always.  Then, to the people of Windsor.  Then to his party, and then to his leader.  He would support his leader, because it was good for the party.  He supported his party, because he felt that they were best for the people of Windsor.  If it was good for Windsor, it was definitely good for Canada.

I had the privilege of meeting Mr. Gray on a number of occasions when I was younger.  One story he tells stands out in my memory…

“I was driving home with my wife after serving as the guest speaker at an event.  I thought that I had done an especially good job that evening.  The crowd laughed, they cheered, they rose to their feet.  I was really feeling good about the performance I had given.  I turned to my wife and said, “there are a lot of great people in the world”.  There was a moment of silence.  Then she turned to me and responded, “there’s one less than you think there is”.”

That was Herb Gray.  Yes poking fun at his opponents, but always poking fun at himself.  Well Mr. Gray, with your loss, there’s one less great person in the world  You will be missed.  Thank you for the love you showed our country and thank you for your contribution to our public service.

Share your thoughts on Herb Gray in the comment section below.

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Adding To Your Political Memorabilia Collection

This past weekend would be considered a success for any collector.  I probably spent more money than I should have, but, I got a lot of great new items for my collection.  The highlights would be a press pass from the 1971 NDP national convention, a Manitobans  for Clark button from the 1983 leadership convention, a Paul Godfrey for Metro Chairman button and a really cool 1995 Bob Rae button that I had never seen before.  But, how can one be so lucky.  This was my weekend…

To begin with, I have to go back a few months.  I was in Ottawa, where I attended a Nostalgia Show that I used to attend on a regular basis before moving away.  At the event, the only item I purchased was a 1960 Quebec Liberal convention delegate badge.  However, there was another vendor that had a lot of buttons on his table.  I asked if he had any political items.  I was told that he did, but, that he hadn’t brought them.  He gave me his contact info.  I followed up.

This past weekend, I finally had a free moment to re-connect and go get the stuff.  As well as there being over 100 buttons, there were some posters  An original Dalton Camp poster from his constituency campaign when he ran for Parliament.  A David Crombie poster, also from his constituency campaign.

That was part one of the excitement.  Part two was my visit to a flea market about an hour outside of Ottawa.

I was over half way through the flea market before I saw anything.  That’s when I saw the NDP convention press pass.  I asked if he had anything else.  He didn’t at that time, but he’s always finding stuff.  I gave him my contact info.  Hopefully he finds more.  I continued on my search.  A guy had a huge box of buttons, and some binders of lapel pins.  There was a really cool Young Liberals of Canada lapel pin that I had never seen before.  I had to have that.  Going through the buttons, there were about 40 political.  I made an offer and they are now mine.

The moral of this story is that you shouldn’t just assume that no one has political memorabilia.  Always ask.  Always look real hard…there may just be more than you think.  The truth is, I had most of the items, but, the ones that I didn’t I really wanted.  Many of the duplicates will be coming soon on the site.

Do you have any collecting ideas?  Share them in the comment section below.

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Jim Flaherty Remembered

The parliament of Canada lost one their own last week with the passing of former Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty.  I know that I’ve said that I wouldn’t discuss current politics in my blogs.  However, with his passing, Jim Flaherty no longer belongs to the present…Jim Flaherty now belongs to history.  I will discuss his life in politics, his record and his legacy.  I will conclude with the story of the one time I was fortunate enough to meet him.

Mr. Flaherty’s life in politics has been discussed at length in the past number of days.  For that reason, I will only touch on it.  He was first elected to Queen’s Park as part of the Mike Harris win in 1995.  He was re-elected in 1999 and 2003.  He held a number of cabinet posts including treasurer.  He left provincial politics to run federally.  In 2006, the same election that brought Stephen Harper’s Conservatives to power, saw Jim Flaherty elected to the House of Commons.  He was the first and, until 3 weeks ago, the only Minister of Finance to serve under Stephen Harper.

Jim Flaherty was a true believer in smaller government and he acted to put in place policies that would fulfill that belief.  As a member of the Harris government, he sought to make government smaller and less intrusive in the private sector.  He brought this passion to the federal scene.  When faced with the economic crises, he recognized a need for the government to step in.  But, the intervention was geared towards helping the private sector create jobs.  And, he had a plan to wind down the dramatic increases in government spending.  He retired as he brought the budget back into balance.

What is his legacy?  He was one of the longest serving finance ministers in Canadian history.  In that time, he faced numerous challenges.  If one word were used to describe his tenure, it would be “fairness”.  He implemented the campaign promise on lowering the GST, even though a majority of economists that it a bad idea.  He did so because it treated everyone the same…it was fair that everyone’s purchases would drop by an equal amount  He reversed the promise on income trusts.  He did this because the government wasn’t prepared to maintin revenues on the backs of families.  Corporations had to pay their fair share.  He created the tax-free savings accounts.  As a former investment professional, I believe that these are actually BETTER savings methods than RRSPs (this is not intended as investment advice…for investment advice, consult a professional).  Everyone could put money aside and not worry about the tax consequenses in the future.  Tax free, meant tax free.

Then came the global economic crises.  Though nothing in Canada caused the problems, Canada was not immune.  Jim Flaherty had a plan.  By now, everyone in Canada knows of “Canada’s Economic Action Plan”.  He worked more closely with the Governor of the Bank of Canada than had ever been done before.  Canada’s fiscal and monetary policies were married to ensure growth; to ensure opportunity for all Canadians.  Spending was dramatically increased.  Record deficits were reached.  Jim Flaherty had become the ultimate Keynesian.  Unlike previous Keynesians, he had a plan to eliminate the deficits.  And, he did it.  He was an acknowledged leader in the world.

The reason that emotions ran high so high across the political spectrum is that everyone acknowledged his belief in fairness.  As some opposition members acknowledged, even where we disagreed, he always took the time to listen.  He truly believed that the policies he was bringing forward were to the benefit of the people of Canada.  No greater legacy can exist for a politician.

I only met Jim Flaherty one time.  This is that story.  I was one of the 350 people invited to attend the state dinner for Queen Elizabeth II in 2009.  Before the dinner, there was a reception.  In the room were most members of the government of Canada, many opposition leaders and members (I was right behind Jack Layton on the way to the receiving line).  There were 5 former Ontario Premiers and a former Prime Minister.  There were military leaders, police chiefs, fire chiefs and aboriginal leaders.  Ontario’s Lieutenant Governor and a future Governor General….And me.  While I wasn’t alone in not being a “leader” in some field, looking around the room, there weren’t many of us.  I commented that, of the 350 guests, I probably ranked dead last in importance (though, that didn’t detract from my being there).  While standing there, in awe of my surroundings, but, not socializing with anyone, Jim Flaherty and his wife came up to me and introduced themselves.  He took the time to introduce himself to someone who, no doubt, appeared to feel he was out of place (I was the only one staring with bulging eyes of those around me).  He took the time to talk with me.  He treated me as an equal, though, clearly I was not…especially in that room.  He could have spoken with his former bosses, Premiers Harris or Eves.  Instead, he was talking to me.  It was largely him asking me about myself, but, as recent stories has confirmed, he really cared about people.  Not for a moment did he make me feel like a lesser.  He seemed genuinely interested in what I was saying.  That was Jim Flaherty.  A man who worked with the most powerful people in the world, was at home with everyone.  No opinion was rejected outright.   No person turned away.  He embraced all.

Share your thoughts and memories of Jim Flaherty in the comment section below.

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Bill’s 6: Greatest Presidents the U.S. NEVER Had

And, now the U.S. version of last weeks blog.  The Bill 6 seems quite popular.  The beauty of this kind of topic is that there’s lots of room for discussion.  This week, I am looking at the greatest Presidents the U.S. never had.  These are people who never sought the presidency.  This means that persons that ran as their party nominee are disqualified (sorry Barry Goldwater and Al Gore).  It also precludes people that ran for their party’s nomination and lost (sorry Ron Paul and Edmund Muskie).  I’m also leaving out people that are young enough that they may still run in the future (sorry Hillary Clinton and John Kasich).  Voters had the option of making them President (or will) and rejected them (or may still elect them).  Here we go…

6.  William Sherman – William Sherman was a successful Civil War general.  He managed men.  He led people.  He was sought after by people on all sides to seek the presidency.  He declined.  “If nominated, I will not run.  If elected, I will not serve”.  He felt that he had done his part for God and country.  His renouncing of there being any possibility of his running remains the measure of denials to this day.  When asked, people are urged to give a “Sherman declaration” as their denial.  Most refuse to be so adamant.  Sherman gave his, and it was a loss to his nation.

5.  Mario Cuomo – The New York governor said that the plane was on the runway ready to go to New Hampshire to file his papers, but, there was too much work to do at home.  He staid out of the race.  The voters of New York ended up defeating him their next chance.  However, Cuomo represented something that politics was lacking.  He was true to his convictions.  He was an unabashed liberal when the term had become a dirty word.  He didn’t care.  He was who he was.  He won…and lost being himself.  

4.  Colin Powell – Colin Powell rose through the ranks of the military to serve in the highest offices in the land.  Many in the nation wanted him to seek the presidency.  He declined.  He held views that weren’t popular with many of the base of his party.  He wouldn’t back away.  He did back away from the race.  He offended many in his party by endorsing Barack Obama over his own party nominee.  He could have been the first African American President.  Instead, he helped elect someone else to that position.  For Barack Obama items CLICK HERE!

3.  Martin Luther King – Dr. King never ran for office.  He didn’t have too.  He led women and men.  He sought equality for all Americans.  He sought it through peaceful means.  He knew how to lead.  He knew how to achieve his goals, and the goals of his followers without resorting to name calling or negativity.  He was felled by an assassin’s bullet.  Had he lived, he may have sought office.  His death was a loss, not just to the people that he led, but, to all Americans.

2.  Eleanor Roosevelt – Before there was Hillary Clinton, there was Eleanor Roosevelt.  She was first lady to the longest serving President, Franklin.  She demonstrated leadership in this capacity.  After his passing, she showed strength.  She continued to lead.  She spoke out on the issues that were important to her.  Her party asked her to run for various offices.  She declined.  She felt that she could make a greater contribution to the well being of her country from outside elected office.  She made a great contribution.  Whether it could have been greater, we’ll never know.  For Franklin Roosevelt items CLICK HERE!

1.  Benjamin Franklin – Franklin was a founding father that never sought to lead the nation that he was so instrumental in forming.  He passed away while George Washington was still President, so, we’ll never know what aspirations he may have had for himself going forward.  He was a diplomat.  He was an inventor.  He was a negotiator.  He was a lover (just throwing that one in…really not relevant to being President).  He was a true father in his nation.  For George Washington items CLICK HERE!

What are your thoughts?  Should any of these have been excluded?  What other ones should have been added?  Leave your comments below.

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Bill’s 6: Greatest Prime Ministers Canada NEVER Had

The first of my political 6 seemed quite popular with everyone.  And, they’re fun to write.  Sooooo….this week, I’m going to pick the 6 greatest Prime Ministers that Canada never had.  First, the ground rules…It cannot be someone that led a party in an election.  Voters had the option of making them Prime Minister and decided against it (sorry Tommy Douglas and Robert Stanfield).  They cannot have sought a party leadership and lost…same reason (sorry Bob Rae and Jim Prentice).  They cannot be young enough that they could still, conceivably, become a party leader and Prime Minister (sorry Frank McKenna and Gary Doer).  This last one also fits into my, “not gonna discuss contemporary politics” rule.  To sum up, the only people I considered were people that never sought to be Prime Minister and likely never will. (this doesn’t preclude my making another list later on though…it’s my blog and I can do what I want to)

6.  Clyde Wells – Clyde Wells was the Liberal Premier of Newfoundland that, more than anyone else, is blamed for the collapse of the Meech Lake Accord constitutional package.  He demonstrated an ability to garner a great deal of attention for himself.  He managed a competent government in Newfoundland.  He had a national exposure not normally associated with a NL Premier.  He was, however, a polarizing figure.  No one was blaze about him.  He was loved or he was reviled.  He never sought the top job.  He went on to serve as the chief justice of the Newfoundland Supreme Court.

5.  Bill Davis – Bill Davis was the long time Premier of Ontario.  When the federal Progressive Conservative leadership race began in 1983, it was assumed he would make the leap.  He didn’t have a great relationship with other of his fellow PC premiers.  The government he led was the classical “red tory”.  To paraphrase Mackenzie King, “interventionist when necessary, but not necessarily interventionist”.  He didn’t seek the job with the federal party and retired as premier 2 years later.  For Bill Davis items CLICK HERE!

4.  Roy Romanow – Roy Romanow was the NDP Premier of Saskatchewan.  Prior to that, he was the provinces Minister of Justice.  He held that position in the early 80’s, during the talks that led to the repatriation of the Canadian Constitution.  He led a middle of the road government, while still holding to his New Democratic Party roots.  Every time the leadership of his federal party opened up, he was considered a contender.  He never took the leap.  After retiring, he was asked by Prime Minister Jean Chretien to look into Canada’s health care system (who better than the former leader of the province and party that brought socialized medicine to Canada).  The Romanow Report is still referenced by leaders today.  For Roy Romanow items CLICK HERE!

3.  Clarence (C. D.) Howe – C. D. Howe served as a federal cabinet minister under Prime Ministers Mackenzie King and St. Laurent.  He was the king of the cabinet table.  He had his hands in every department.  He knew everything that was going on.  No one had a greater knowledge of the inner workings of the Canadian government before, or since him.  Yet, he never wanted, nor sought the top job for himself.  And, in 1957, he would lose his seat, forever leaving public life.

2.  Stephen Lewis – This is likely to be the most “controversial” choice on the list.  He was never a provincial premier.  He was never a minister in any government.  He did, however, lead the Ontario NDP to official opposition status.  He brought the governing Tories to a minority position.  He achieved successes in opposition.  He demonstrated a profound knowledge of most areas of public policy.  And, when the federal leadership opened up, he backed away.  He would, however, bring his vast knowledge to serve Canadians in another manor…as Canadian Ambassador to the United Nations.

1.  Peter Lougheed – Peter Lougheed is the father of the 43 year (and counting) Progressive Conservative party dynasty in Alberta.  Elected to the Premier’s office in 1971, he went to work modernizing Alberta.  He updated resource agreements to ensure Alberta taxpayers got their fair share.  He advanced the health care system.  He set up a “rainy day” fund, to ensure money was available in the future.  Twice the federal party asked him to run.  Twice he said no.  Instead, he retired to the private sector.  For Peter Lougheed items CLICK HERE!

It’s not an exhaustive list, and, no doubt it could easily include so many others, including people who never sought elected office.  Next week, I’ll do the same for the US.

What are your thoughts?  Share your comments below.

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20th Century Vice Presidential Ascenders

Last week, I looked at Presidents that only served one term.  I excluded Presidents that rose to the office as a result of their predecessor passing (or resigning, as the case may be).  This week, I’ll take a look at the ones that rose to the office because of the constitution instead of an election.  And, I’ll look at their own electoral successes.  Four Vice-Presidents rose to the highest office as a result of the passing of their boss.  A fifth got the job because of a resignation.  The first four won a term in their own right.  The fifth barely lost (at least in the electoral college).  Lets look at Teddy Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge, Harry Truman, Lyndon Johnson and Gerald Ford.

Teddy Roosevelt (William McKinley) – McKinley was the third president to be assassinated.  Roosevelt, the former governor of New York, hadn’t even been on the ticket the first time around.  He was added to strengthen the ticket for the 1900 election campaign.  It worked.  After assuming the presidency, he observed that the office provided a “bully pulpit” to the office holder.  He dramatically expanded the national park system.  He won the election of 1904 (name the guy he ran against-’nuff said).  He didn’t seek another term.  And, he could have.  In 1912, he tried a comeback as a third party candidate, finishing second.  His political career came to an end.

Calvin Coolidge (Warren Harding) – Harding went on a trip to the west coast, developed pneumonia, and never recovered.  Calvin Coolidge is the president that conservatives harken back to when they refer to the better days.  Even Ronald Reagan referred to him as his favourite president.  He won his own term in 1924 against Al Smith.  The country wasn’t ready for a Catholic president.  And, Coolidge would epitomize the “small government” conservative presidency that modern Republicans talk about.

Harry Truman (Franklin Roosevelt) – Harry Truman got his job by 82 days.  If Franklin Roosevelt had passed away earlier, there was another Vice-President (though, given the election was 2 1/2 months before that, he still would have, ultimately, become the President).  Roosevelt, had 3 different Vice-Presidents.  For Franklin Roosevelt items CLICK HERE!Truman was his last.  Truman would definitely put his stamp on the office.  “The Buck Stops Here”.  “Give Them Hell, Harry”.  He sought his own term in 1948.  Though the Chicago Sun Times called it for his opponent, Thomas Dewey, he won his own term.  For Thomas Dewey items CLICK HERE!  The Korean War began during his own term.  A constitutional amendment was adopted during his term limiting the time a President could serve in office.  He was exempted, but chose to not seek another term.  For Harry Truman items CLICK HERE!

Lyndon Johnson (John Kennedy) – John Kennedy was the fourth (and last) president to have his life taken from him while in office.  For John Kennedy items CLICK HERE!The assassination has still raised questions.  There are many who believe that there was a conspiracy afoot.  Many believe that his Vice-President, Lyndon Johnson, was part of that conspiracy.  It is believed by many of those conspiracy theorists that Johnson was to be dropped from the ticket.  There is no proof to substantiate any of the theories.  However, upon Kennedy’s death, Johnson rose to the presidency and, a year later, won a term in his own right against Barry Goldwater.  For Barry Goldwater items CLICK HERE!  Johnson came forward with an aggressive agenda.  The Civil Rights Act was adopted.  The “Just Society” programs came into place.  The Vietnam War expanded.  Then, his address to the nation.  “I will not seek, nor will I accept my party’s nomination”.  He would serve out his term and not seek another.  For Lyndon Johnson items CLICK HERE!

Gerald Ford (Richard Nixon) – Nixon remains the only president to have ever resigned the office.  Gerald Ford remains the only person to have assumed the office without winning a national office through a general election.  A corruption scandal forced Vice-President Spiro Agnew from office.  Under changes to the Constitution, a new person could be appointed to the office.  Gerald Ford became the first person to ever have that privilege.  Soon after, the Watergate scandal would force Nixon to resign his office.  For Richard Nixon items CLICK HERE!  Gerald Ford became president.  The final troops came home from Vietnam during his brief time in office.  What’s more often remembered about his time in office is his pardon of his former boss, Richard Nixon.  Given the closeness of the vote in the 1976 general election, it’s quite easy to believe that the pardon cost him the election.  His time in office was brief.  The Democrats used Watergate and defeated him.  For Gerald Ford items CLICK HERE!  Jimmy Carter became the 39th president of the United States.  For Jimmy Carter items CLICK HERE!

In the case of Gerald Ford, it’s clear he lost because of the scandal that elevated him to the presidency.  Though not involved in any way with it, his pardon of Nixon was enough to tie him to the scandal.  However, the four who made it because of the passing of the predecessor represent another story.  Roosevelt, Coolidge and Truman had opportunity to make the office their own.  Were their predecessors forgotten?  And, were people happy with what they saw?  Even Johnson had legislative victories prior to facing the voters.  Again, were voters happy with what they saw.  Did the four receive “sympathy” votes in honour of the men that passed? Was it a simple matter of voters being happy with the job they were doing in the office?  Were their opponents just weak?  This latter one is the most interesting of all.  Opponents always seem weak after they’ve lost.  If one looks closely, 3 of the four really were weak (I’m being generous to New York governor Thomas Dewey).

In the end, especially in the days before extensive internal polling was done, it’s really impossible to know why voters did what they did.  One thing is clear…in the twentieth century, having your boss die was good for ones own electoral prospects.

Do you agree?  Disagree?  Leave your thoughts in the comment section.

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20th Century One Term Presidents – Why They Failed to be Re-Elected

Back to a regular blog.  This week, I’m going to look at twentieth century one term U.S. Presidents.  For the purposes of this blog, a one term President is one who originally attained office in their own right and then lost their bid for re-election.  This precludes individuals that first rose to the office as a result of the passing or resignation of the sitting President (Teddy Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge, Harry Truman, Lyndon Johnson, Gerald Ford).  This leaves us with only 4 20th century one-termers, William Taft, Herbert Hoover, Jimmy Carter and George Bush.  There is one common element that all four faced, and a second that 3 of the four faced.  Here is my analysis.

William Taft (1909 – 1913) – The United States faced a significant economic downturn in the early part of the 20th century.  As is usually the case, the person at the top got the blame.  Taft inherited an economy that was doing okay, but, watched, helplessly as it fell into recession.  He faced a second challenge.  Third party candidate Teddy Roosevelt decided that he wanted his old job back.  He ran as a third party candidate.  He did so well, that the incumbent president finished third in the popular vote.  Both lost to Woodrow Wilson.

Herbert Hoover (1929 – 1933) – In the first year of Hoover’s presidency, the stock market crashed.  Whether you subscribe to the numerous economists who suggest that the crash was a result of the coming depression or whether you subscribe to the J. K. Galbraith theory that the crash caused the depression, the fact is, the economy went into the tank and the Hoover government was helpless to stop it.  Try as he might, the depression came about.  His opponent in the 1932 election provided hope.  Hoover lost his bid for re-election to Franklin Roosevelt.  For Franklin Roosevelt items CLICK HERE!

Jimmy Carter (1977 – 1981) – Under Jimmy Carter’s watch, the U.S. economy fell into recession.  Instead of offering the hope that Franklin Roosevelt would offer, he criticized the very people he would need to be re-elected.  He complained of a “ma-laze  in the nation”.  He was, of course, correct.  But voters don’t want to be blamed for their problem; they want to be offered solutions.  For Jimmy Carter items CLICK HERE!  Add to the fact that a liberal Republican (yes, there used to be those), having lost his own party’s nomination, ran as an independent.  IL congressman John Anderson would garner some of the votes from the left, votes that would more likely have gone to Carter.  For John Anderson items CLICK HERE!  In the end, both would lose to Ronald Reagan.  For Ronald Reagan items CLICK HERE!

George H. W. Bush (1989 – 1993) – Bush’s election was, in itself, an oddity.  Usually, Vice-Presidents don’t get elected after an 8 year term in the office.  Bush, however, bucked that trend.  He led an allied coalition in the Gulf War.  He seemed unbeatable going into the 1992 election.  Events overtook him.  After breaking his “no new taxes” pledge, the economy went into recession.  For George H. W. Bush items CLICK HERE!  Enter a third party candidate that had prior ties to the Republican party, Ross Perot.  He challenged the president from the right.  He mocked his economic policies.  He won almost 20% of the vote.  For Ross Perot items CLICK HERE!  In the end, both would lose to a new generation of American.  Bill Clinton would beat them both.  For Bill Clinton item CLICK HERE!

My thesis should be obvious.  James Carville was right when he said, “it’s the economy, stupid”.  Presidents lose office when the economy turns against them.  In three cases, the faltering economy led to third party challenges.  In every case, the President was unable to hold onto office.

Do you agree?  Share your thoughts in the comment section.