Upon Sir John A. Macdonald’s death, (the soon-to-be Prime Minister) Wilfred Laurier paid tribute to him in the House of Commons (June 8, 1891):
“The place of Sir John A. Macdonald in this country was so large and so absorbing that it is almost impossible to conceive that the politics of this country – the fate of this country – will continue without him. His loss overwhelms us. For my part, I say, with all truth, his loss overwhelms me, and that it also overwhelms this Parliament, as if indeed one of the institutions of the land had given way. Sir John A. Macdonald now belongs to the ages, and it can be said with certainty that the career which has just been closed is one of the most remarkable careers of this century. . .
“As to his statesmanship, it is written in the history of Canada. It may be said without any exaggeration whatever, that the life of Sir John Macdonald, from the time he entered Parliament, is the history of Canada.”
And, so that you may discuss this great man at your next social, here are some interesting trivia most may not know about Sir John A.
- While there is some debate over his actual birthdate, January 10 is the official date recorded and January 11 is the day Macdonald celebrated it.
- Having personally written the largest part of the Canadian constitution ( BNA act ), and having been the main lobbyist for its adoption at London, Macdonald can truly be called “THE Father of his country.”
- Macdonald’s nicknames included Old Chieftain and Old Tomorrow – the latter for his habit of putting off any large political problems until conditions were personally favourable to him.
- Sir John A.Macdonald is one of two Canadian prime-ministers to die in office (The other is John Thompson).
- Macdonald’s nephew Newton Ford was the father of iconic Canadian-American actor Glenn Ford.
Chris George is an Ottawa-based government affairs advisor and wordsmith, president of CG&A COMMUNICATIONS. Contact: ChrisG.George@gmail.com