Saturday, September 18, 2010

John Diefenbaker's Vision



Where there is no vision, the people perish.
          Proverbs 29:18

John George Diefenbaker, Canada’s 13th prime minister, was born on this day in 1895, exactly 115 years ago. Diefenbaker’s birthplace was Neustadt, Ontario. His family moved to the Northwest Territories in 1903 and then to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in 1910. He eventually settled in Prince Albert and became known as “the man from Prince Albert”.  His last name is German and he described himself as "the first prime minister of this country of neither altogether English or French origin."

I don’t agree with everything Diefenbaker said. I certainly don’t like everything about him. However, the man was a leader and he had a vision. He is responsible for several achievements that Canadians should never take for granted. That is why I wish to pay tribute to him today.

An ardent civil libertarian, John Diefenbaker gave Canada a Bill of Rights in 1960. Thanks to him, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Canadian Bill of Rights this year. Diefenbaker also appointed the first woman federal cabinet minister in Canadian history (Ellen Fairclough in 1957).

John Diefenbaker was prime minister from June 22, 1957 until the defeat of his government in the electon of 1963.  It was he who granted the federal franchise to Canada's native peoples.  As a a tireless advocate for increased public awareness of Canada’s Arctic, .it was he who proposed a "Northern Vision" for this country and called for a bold strategy to develop the natural resources of the Far North.  A man with a strong sense of social justice, it was also Diefenbaker who played a significant role in the 1961 anti apartheid statement that let to South Africa’s withdrawal from the Commonwealth.

John George Diefenbaker revered and respected parliament. He served as a member of the House of Commons until his death in Ottawa on August 16, 1979 at the age of 83.  As prime minister, he never put ideology over the interests of Canada (take note, Stephen Harper). Diefenbaker was a conservative, but he was not by any means a neoconservative. A defence lawyer for many years in Saskatchewan, Diefenbaker opposed capital punishment. To hear him speak about capital punishment the Stephen Truscott case, click the link below.

In a previous blog entry (see May 18, 2010), I lamented the lack of leadership in Canada. As I stated then, I can’t think of one single Canadian politician who strongly inspires me. That, my friends, is a sad state of affairs.

Here’s to you, Dief. We could sure use you in the House of Commons today.


Can it really be 40 years since the death of Jimi Hendrix? Yes, it can. Hendrix died on this day in 1970. He died at the Samarkand Hotel in the Notting Hill area of London, England. He was only 27 years of age at the time of his death and many consider him to be the greatest electric guitarist in rock and roll history. Click below to view a video of the news broadcast of Hendrix’s death.


The Blue Jays managed to win the first game of their series against the Boston Red Sox last night at Fenway Park by a score of 11-9. Although the Jays had 17 hits in the game, they were still in danger of losing it. They almost let a 10-2 lead slip away from them.

Congratulations to slugger Jose Bautista for breaking a Blue Jays club record. He hit his 48th home run of the season last night to surpass George Bell’s 47 homers. It’s too bad Bautista broke his record in Boston and not at home in Toronto. Most of the crowd at Fenway had no idea of the significance of that home run, including the fan who retrieved it. Next stop for Jose – 50 homers.

- Joanne