Special Sub-Topic: Colourful Canadian Politicians
|The Canadian political nickname "Sir John A." stands for _________ .|
John Macdonald. Sir John Alexander Macdonald, the first prime minister (1867-1891, but with a 5-year gap), has always had a unique place in Canadian politics. No public figure nowadays could get away with his heavy drinking and scandalous connections with business interests. He always claimed he could function better drunk than his opponents could sober!
|Named for a famous grandfather, this prime minister was "Willie" to his family, but never to his colleagues.|
Mackenzie King. William Lyon Mackenzie was the first mayor of the new city of Toronto, was tossed out of the Legislature of Upper Canada several times, even though he had been elected to a seat! He was a firebrand newspaper editor, and had to leave the country for a time after the failed Rebellion in 1837. Naturally one of his daughter named her only son after her charismatic father. William Lyon Mackenzie King was always called Willie by his parents and sisters. He is still Canada's longest-serving prime minister, and he held office for 22 years between 1921 and 1948. Political colleagues called him Mackenzie, or Mac if they were daring. He never married, so no one knows what name a wife would have preferred.
|This Depression-era prime minister had his name tied to Depression-era problems such as cars without engines. He was also known as "Iron Heel".|
R B Bennett. Richard Bedford Bennett was hated by many because he was in the wrong office at the wrong time (1930 - 1935). His policies were not responsible for causing the Depression, but he was unable to improve anything. His name is associated with the Bennett buggy (a horse-drawn defunct car), the Bennett borough (shantytowns for the jobless in urban centres), and Bennett barnyards, which were abandoned prairie farms. No wonder he retired from Canadian politics and moved to Britain! He was awarded a peerage and served in the House of Lords until his death in 1947.
|His style was always low-key, but he was the first Canadian to win a Nobel Peace Prize. Which prime minister was always known as "Mike" by his many friends?
Lester Pearson. Lester Bowles Pearson naturally preferred to call himself Mike. He won his Nobel Peace Prize in 1957, while he was a Canadian Member of Parliament and Minister of External Affairs for Louis St Laurent's government. He proposed the creation of the United Nations Emergency Force as a way to keep peace in the Middle East during the Suez Crisis of 1956. That was the start of Canada's long-term role of world peace-keeper. His term as PM was from 1963 to 1968, when he retired from politics.
|Which prime minister was "The Chief"? There is even a song with his full nickname in the title.|
John George Diefenbaker. "Dief the Chief" was a PM (1957-1963) who was more popular out of office than in it. He was leader of the Progressive Conservative party for 11 years, and continued to be a respected figure until he died in 1979. "Dief Is the Chief", written by Bob Bossin of Stringband in 1975, is Bossin's tribute to the "old-fashioned, thundering Tory populist." There is a sample of the rousing song on Bob Bossin's Old folksinger's homepage.
|Who was "the greatest prime minister Canada never had"?|
Robert Stanfield. Stanfield was a popular premier of Nova Scotia before he entered federal politics. He was known as "Rapid Robert", for his slow, laconic style of speaking, and "Honest Bob"; but was much more respected than voted for nationally. Too bad! He was leader of the opposition for 9 years (1967-1976), but managed to lose two elections to Pierre Trudeau. His name is well known to Canadians because his family operated a clothing manufacturing company. Many generations of Canadians have kept warm by wearing their Stanfields all winter long! The other 3 choices all did serve as prime ministers, but for very short terms.
|Which prime minister came into power during the era of the Beatles and had a "Mania" added to his name?|
Pierre Elliott Trudeau. Trudeaumania began in 1968, when the young and inexperienced, but flamboyant Minister of Justice ran to succeed Pearson as leader of the Liberal Party. Even though he was unpopular in many parts of the country, his flair and bachelor lifestyle captured the attention of the world. The other prime ministers named were all very worthy and hard-working people, but all three combined didn't have as much charisma as Trudeau, with a red rose always in his lapel!
|Which premier of British Colombia was "Wacky"?|
Cecil Bennett. Cecil Bennett was the name his friends called William Andrew Cecil Bennett, but W A C Bennett was the usual public form of his name. Naturally it was shortened to Wacky! He served from 1952 to 1972, representing the Social Credit party. His son, William Richards Bennett, also became the Socred party leader and later B. C. premier. Not surprisingly, he preferred to be called Bill. Amor De Cosmos really was a nineteenth-century premier, although his original name was William Alexander Smith.
| She was not a prime minister, but still managed to make a big impression! Which Ontario mayor shares a nickname with a powerful force of nature?|
Hazel McCallion, Mississauga. "Hurricane Hazel" McCallion began her term as mayor of Mississauga in 1978. She has served as mayor for more than 30 years, and as of 2010, she is 89 years old and still mayor of the sixth-largest city in Canada. She is yet another larger-than-life character. Even though many disagree with her politics, she has a personal popularity over a large part of the country. The other Hazel, the hurricane, devastated the province in October, 1954 and still sets the standard for severe weather. The other 3 mayors were each the first woman to hold that office for their cities, and had long and successful political careers.
|Which long-serving prime minister was known as "Old Tomorrow"?|
Macdonald. Yes, for the last question it felt right to go back to the beginning, with Sir John A again. The other three choices have nicknames as well, but it was hard to work in "Joe Who?" (Clark), Lyin' Brian (Mulroney) and Uncle Louis (St Laurent), so I'll leave them for another time. Macdonald was famous for delaying political actions until conditions were ripe for him and his party, hence this nickname. He was prime minister from Confiederation in 1867 until 1891, with gaps filled by the Liberal party, but there is no official recognition of his special role as our first prime minister. Here's hoping that January 11, his birthday, will soon become a federal holiday!
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