Jump to content

Former Canada PM Turner, who was in office for just 11 weeks, dies aged 91

Recommended Posts

Former Canada PM Turner, who was in office for just 11 weeks, dies aged 91

By David Ljunggren



FILE PHOTO: Former Canadian prime minister John Turner addresses the Liberal convention in Montreal, December 2, 2006. REUTERS/Shaun Best


OTTAWA - Former Canadian Prime Minister John Turner, who was in office for just 11 weeks and led his Liberal Party to a massive electoral defeat in 1984, died on Saturday aged 91.


Turner took over from Pierre Trudeau in late June 1984 at a time of increasing voter fatigue with the Liberals, who had been in power for 20 of the previous 21 years. Before becoming prime minister, he had held the posts of finance and justice minister.


Current Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Pierre's son, offered his condolences and called Turner "a humble man with a strong social conscience."


"His contributions to Canada will not be forgotten," Trudeau said in a statement.


In 1984, Turner called an election for September and then presided over what many political observers consider to be one of the worst campaigns in Canadian history, marred by a series of gaffes.


One turning point came during a televised debate when Turner, under fire from Conservative leader Brian Mulroney, said he had no option but to approve a mass of patronage appointments proposed by Trudeau before he left office.


"You could have said 'I am not going to do it. This is wrong for Canada' ... you had an option, sir, to say no. And you chose to say yes," responded Mulroney in one of the most memorable moments in Canadian politics. The Conservatives swept to power with 211 seats of the 282 in the House of Commons.


The Liberals fell to just 40 seats from 135 but Turner hung onto his position. His 79-day tenure as prime minister is the second shortest in Canadian history.


In the 1988 election campaign he took a strong stance against a proposed free trade agreement with the United States but lost again to Mulroney, although not as badly.


He resigned as Liberal leader in 1990 and was replaced by Jean Chretien, who led the Liberals to victory in 1993.


Turner, a lawyer by training, served as finance minister from 1972 to 1975 but quit amid disagreements over policy with Trudeau. He returned to legal work for nine years before winning the Liberal Party leadership in June 1984.


John Napier Wyndham Turner was born on June 7, 1929. He is survived by his wife Geills and four children.


(Reporting by David Ljunggren; editing by Diane Craft and David Gregorio)



-- © Copyright Reuters 2020-09-20
Link to post
Share on other sites

It was unfortunate for Canada that he lost in 1984. Mulroney turned out to be very corrupt. Thai politicians may take brown envelopes but Mulroney took it a step further taking brown paper bags full of cash. Closest I ever got to John Turner was having pre banquet cocktails across the room from him a couple times. RIP sir.   

Link to post
Share on other sites

The ifs and buts of history.  Turner lost to the corrupt Mulroney, but the disastrous reign of Mulroney led to the huge cleansing of the Augean stables of Ottawa in 1993, when the Tories were reduced to 2 seats in the Commons and lost their party status. 


This in turn led to the relatively uncorrupt reign of Chrétien and the efficient fiscal realm of Paul Martin, which put the Canadian economy back on a healthy footing.  There is of course no way of knowing how things would have turned out if Turner had won that 1984 election. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Create New...