P.M. #16 – PM, but not for very long

Name Charles Joseph Clark
Born: June 5, 1939 in High River, Alberta
Died: hasn’t
Party: Progressive Conservative
Held Office: June 4, 1979 – March 3, 1980
Best known for: – his very short tenure as PM. His minority government was taken down by a non-confidence vote after then-NDP-Finance Critic Bob Rae attached a rider to the budget: “”this House has lost confidence in the government.” Several Tory MPs were away and the Liberals ensured that all except one of their members were there, including two who were brought from hospital by ambulance to take part in the vote.-his wife, Maureen McTeer, caused scandal (SCANDAL!) by not taking Joe’s last name when they married. Scandal I tells ya!

-being a “Red Tory” – e.g., he was the first Canadian politician to call for decriminalization of pot

-declaring that he would govern his minority government as if he had a majority. Um, yeah.

-after the decimation of the Mulroney/Campbell government, Clark again became PC party leader, but could not rebuild the party in the face ot he splitting of the right with the Reform/Alliance

-he staunchly opposed merging with the Reform/Alliance and retired after the PCs did eventually merge with the R/A

Some Things I Didn’t Know About This P.M. -according to Wikipedia, he “unsuccessful pursued” first year law school at both Dalhousie University and one of my alma maters, UBC. I’m not sure if “unsucessfully pursued” means he tried to get in and couldn’t, or if he got in and then flunked out. Looks like I may have to do more reading than just the illustrious Wikipedia on this one. {pause} OK, found it1. He went to Dalhousie for a year, then transferred to UBC, then, <quote> “concluded that law was too dull for him” <unquote>.-was given the nickname “Joe Who?” after the Toronto Star newspaper used that as their headline when Clark, a relative unknown, became leader of the Progressive Conservative party in 1976

-he is the youngest person to become Canadian PM at 39 years (1 day before his 40th birthday)

-he is the only ex-PM to later go onto be a cabinet minister (he was Secretary of State for External Affairs and Minisiter of Constituional Affairs in the Mulroney government)

-he goes by his second name (Joe). So do I. Yet another sign that I’m destined to be PM someday

If you are just dying to read more about Joe Who?, check out:

Five former P.M.s: Right Hon. Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Right Honourable John N. Turner, Right Honourable Kim Campbell, Right Honourable Jean Chrétien, and Right Honourable Joe Clark.

Image credits: Image of Clark as the marshall for the Calgary Pride Parada in 2001 is by Grant Neufeld, published under a Creative Commons license. Go Creative Commons! Image of the 5 PMs is from the Library and Archives Canada, no restrictions on use.

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