William Lyon Mackenize King is not William Lyon Mackenzie. You heard it here first.

I B in ur internets, writin’ abt ur Prime Ministrs.


Name William Lyon Mackenzie King
Born: December 17, 1874 in Berlin (now Kingston), ON
Died: July 22, 1950
Party: Liberal
Held Office: December 29, 1921 – June 28, 1926September 25, 1926 – August 6, 1930

October 23, 1935 – November 15, 1948

Best known for: -With more than 21 years as P.M., he was not only the longest serving Canadian Prime Minister, but the longest serving Prime Minister in the history of the British Commonwealth!-He led Canada through WWII.

-He was big into exerting Canadian autonomy – arguing for greater autonomy at the Imperial Conference of 1926, deciding that Parliament would vote before Canada went to war, and creating the idea of Canadian citizens (as opposed to British subjects) with the Citizenship Act of 1946.

-He held seances to talk to, among other people, his dead mother. Oh yeah, and his dead dogs.

-He’s on the $50 bill.

Some Things I Didn’t Know About This P.M. -Mackenize was one of his given names, not part of his last name (although it was his mother’s maiden name, so you can see where the confusion comes from)-his little brother’s name was Dougal MacDougall King. Who the hell names their kid Dougall MacDougall?

-he won the first ever Liberal Leadership Convention, which was held in 1919. All the Liberal Party leaders before that were chosen by the party caucus.

-he was never married and had no children… that he knows about.

-he led the first ever minority government in Canadian history.

-he introduced old age pensions

-in 1930, he appointed the first ever female senator, Cairine Wilson, in Canadian history

-he created the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) in 1936 and the National Film Board (NFB) in 1938 (yay CBC & NFB!). He also created the precursor to Air Canada (called Trans-Canadian Airlines) in 1937. I’m pretty sure it’s not actually his fault that Air Canada sucks so bad.

-he expanded the National Research Council, mostly with nuclear research

-4 jackass things that Mackenzie King did:

  1. Investigating narcotics in Vancouver after riots in Vancouver’s Chinatown & Japantown led to claims for damages by opium manufacturers, King freaked out that white women, not just Chinese men, were using opium. He then started a process that led to the first anti-narcotic legislation in Canada. Now, I’m not saying that I think narcotics should be legal, but rather I’m calling Mackenzie King a jackass for this racist behaviour.
  2. Speaking of racists, he said this about Adolf Friggin Hilter “I believe the world will yet come to see a very great man – mystic in Hitler […] His dictatorship is a means to and end – much needed perhaps to make the Germans conscious of themselves – much I cannot abide in Nazism – the regimentation – cruelty – oppression of Jews – attitude towards religion, etc., but Hitler him, the peasant will rank some day with Joan of Arc among the deliverers of his people, & if he is careful may yet be the deliverer of Europe.”(right from his journal, March 27, 1938, p. 4). Awesome.
  3. The limitation of immigration of Jewish people trying to escape the Holocaust under his government. It was consistent with other governments of the day, but that doesn’t make it right.
  4. His government interned Japanese-Canadians on the west coast, giving Japanese-Canadians 24 hrs to pack and get out and then sold all their property & possessions.

You can read William Lyon Mackenzie King’s diaries online! God, I hope my journal never ends up online1.
If you are just dying to read more about W.L.M.K. written by people who have read his diaries, then check these out:

I like top hats.

And if you think that reading is for suckers, you can watch this.

Image credits: From from the Library and Archives Canada, copyright is expired.

1Yeah, I keep a journal, where I write all the juicy stuff that I don’t want y’all on the internets to read about!

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  • Also, there was the whole conscription thing during WW2 – Quebec was vehemently opposed to it, but they needed the manpower for the war effort. He said something to the effect of “not necessarily conscription, but conscription if necessary” (I remember the quote because I got in a huge shouting match with some asshat about the war effort in my honours poli sci seminar, which was about the Canadian PMs.)


  • I remember reading excerpts from his diary in OAC history. All I can recall from it is that, at least when he was young, he was fixated on saving prostitutes from all that dirty prostituting. But all his efforts were met with failure. And by failure, I mean he would just end up having the sex with them. Then his journal would be all, “I tried so hard to save them, but I was weak. So weak…”


  • […] ON Died: July 22, 1950 Party: Liberal Held Office: December 29, 1921 ?? June 28, 1926September 25, 1http://drbethsnow.wordpress.com/2008/04/20/william-lyon-mackenize-king-is-not-william-lyon-mackenzie…Memories of a childhood lost Westport survivor hosts Jewish German teens Connecticut Jewish […]


  • His grandfather was William Lyon Mackenzie, instigator of the 1837 Upper Canadian Rebellion. Which was a total clusterf*ck where a bunch of drunk dudes marched down Yonge Street from about modern-day Lawrence to Maple Leaf Gardens, opened fire on some police and BOTH SIDES turned an ran. Woot!

    Both WLMK and Laurier lived in a house around the corner from our old apartment — Laurier House. Zoe Laurier left it to WLMK after Wilfrid’s dealth (WLMK was WL’s protégé). We’ve toured it, and you can see the door to the closet where he held his seances. SUCH A WEIRD Mama’s boy.


  • Sar, I totally need to recruit you to guest write one of my PM postings. Since you actually know this stuff and I’m doing such a half asses job (maybe I’ll update all these postings after I read Bastards & Boneheads – which is on my “to do” list, I swear!). Whose your fav PM?


  • Hmm…I have a soft spot for Trudeau. And old, drunken Sir John. A. And — though I didn’t comment on his post — Borden. He brought in the WIDELY unpopular conscription because he visited the battlefield hospitals of WWI and was HAUNTED by the suffering he saw there, and the fact that these guys who’d been put back together (frontiers of plastic surgery style) were getting sent back out to fight.

    But in terms of comedy – Dief. Man. He was a piece of work. I would LOVE to add some stuff to the Dief post!


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