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Canada's prime ministers: A day of honor

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  Saturday, Feb. 4, 2006

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Have your say - responses, Part 6

Here is what some globeandmail.com visitors had to say about who their favorite prime minister is and why. You can find links to other responses at the bottom and below:

Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5 • Part 6

To add your opinion, go to our submissions page.


My comment pertains not to the creation of a day to commemorate PMs, which I think is a lovely idea, but to the suggested date, the same as the States' Presidential commemoration. Do we really always have to emulate American practices? What about a rotating holiday, each year on the birthday of the PM being celebrated that year? That way, the holiday would be something of an unexpected treat, and would confuse the hell out of cross-border tourists.
K.G.

Mr. Mulroney might be lucky the question isn't "Who is your least favourite Canadian Prime Minister? Why?" It's remarkable that so many aspects of Robert L. Borden's noble character that Mr. Mulroney applauds - he was sorely lacking himself at times during his leadership. But I must agree with Mr. Mulroney in his favourite Prime Minister. Mr. Borden had a vision for our nation and battled for our sovereignty. He was the epitome of courageous leadership and applied his resolve for the good of our nation even during dark times. Any future Prime Minister could certainly lead by Mr. Borden's example of leadership, in motivating his countrymen and the political force of Canada and in his stalwart dedication to the future of our nation.
Chris Bubinas

Why do we have to make this holiday in favour of anybody? Why not just have a holiday, and call it 'the February Holiday' or 'the Winter Holiday.' I have only been around for Diefenbaker and on, so I do not know how all the Prime Ministers performed. I am sure some were good, some not so good, but all were paid for their work, and lately some have been paid more than they deserve, especially with some of the graft and corruption that has come to the surface and in view of their now overly generous pension benefits. While the idea of a Holiday appeals to me, I am not particularly in favour of making it a Prime Minister's Day.
Gitsi

I have many favourites. Many of them have helped to make Canada the great country it is. Yes, we should have a Prime Ministers' Day, a holiday to remember and celebrate many of our past prime ministers. Parades, fireworks, free Canadian history lessons, (maybe short televised ones, keeping in mind the average Canadian's attention span). This holiday should be named, Sir John A. Macdonald Day, showing our Canadian creativity, in not copying the American way, as in 'President's Day'. After the first S.J.A.M. Day, each holiday should highlight, the next Prime Minister; the one that made a difference in Canada, from Sir Wilfrid Laurier to Brian Mulroney.
Mary

With all due respect, why are we not making Remembrance Day a holiday to be observed as a statutory holiday. It once was, has the importance of this date been taken for granted and no longer necessary to honour in the way it once was. I cannot remember a single school year that this was not studied and covered extensively, and honoured, in school so that we all understood why we were living in this wonderful country of Canada.
L. Abate
Toronto ON

Pierre Elliott Trudeau. He was a very important part of my adult years. I admired him even when I did not always agree with his decisions. He was an intelligent and articulate statesman. He was a great political asset on the world stage at a time when it was dearly needed. There has been no one like him since, mores the pity. I believe he is an excellent candidate.
C. Hill

I think we should have Valentine's Day as a holiday, put Prime Minister's Day in some other month, maybe July, near Canada Day.
S. Colwell

Pierre Elliott Trudeau because he made real attempts to create a unique, independent and united Canada. He was eloquent, intelligent and did not ply to the whims of party whips or political analysts. This country needs to take a day to reflect and learn about our country's great leaders and their contributions to our nation.
R. McLeod

Pierre Elliot Trudeau - He was charismatic, a strong leader, and was not afraid to voice his opinion, even if some people didn't agree with what he had to say. I was proud to have him represent our great country.
Maria De Marinis

Who in the world would say no to adding a paid holiday for workers? I can't believe that 19 per cent of the people who answered the poll would actually say no. They must not be born and raised Canadians. It would be wonderful to see our past Prime Ministers honored with a special day of their own. I think that it is a great idea, not only because it would mean a day off, but it would also give Canadians a chance to pay tribute to men who have made our lives better.
Sandy Picard

While I'm all for having another long weekend, I have some reservations about the Prime Minister's Day proposal. 1) Why pick February? Wouldn't most people prefer a sunny warm day off in the summer? 2) I spent 13 years in the Ontario education system and was never taught anything about our past Prime Ministers. I therefore have no patriotic urge to celebrate their achievements, nor could I pass on such to our next generation. 3) Finally, many other national holidays have been suggested that have equal promise, such as Flag Day, Earth Day, World Peace Day or a NYC Trade Centre Memorial Day. Personally, I like Earth Day.
Karen Farmer

I reject the idea of honouring Prime Ministers; however, I support the idea of honouring democracy or "Democracy Day". Such a day would pay respect to all Canadians who work to support our ideals whether they are politicians, those called to military service, our police forces, judges, down to the voting Canadian. Such a day would be welcome by all Canadians because all Canadians are responsible for the type of country we live in.
Mark Saigeon

I think we should have a Sir John A. Day, instead of a PM Day. PMs are elected to serve the country and represent only the government he (and soon she) leads. It would be unfair to have a PM Day without a Finance Minister Day or Premiers' Day, for example. At the same time, even though Sir John A. was just one of the PM's, he was the first one and represented the beginning of modern Canada. What would be best is if we had a MacDonald-Cartier Day.

Kwan Ho Leung
Markham, ON

Canadian Pride has experienced a welcomed growth in the last few years thanks to some very creative advertising people. Our Government could take a valuable lesson here. The Canadian people's pride is a valuable resource left untapped by our own Government. The lesson: A "Proud" Country is a "Strong" Country. Educate the people. Remind them of how far we have come as a nation, and what we have accomplished. Armed with this knowledge, we become a confident nation ready to seize our future. A national holiday to celebrate our "past" and our "future" Prime Ministers is a wonderful idea. Let the people reflect, let our teachers inform our youngest citizens and most of all let our families have one more day "together" instead of "apart."
Karen McCulley

Pierre Trudeau. In my opinion he was and is what Canada is all about. He made Canada a strong nation. There was no pretence about him. You got what you saw and he is the only honest pm we have ever had. Too bad it was downhill after he left. R.M.
Toronto

Not so much a commentary on who my favorite prime minister is, but just to pose a question--Does anyone realize that Alberta has a provincial holiday the third weekend in February? And I have to wonder what another stat holiday will do to businesses (particularly small ones) and their expenses in this province. Just a thought.
Jacqueline J. Stewart

I would have to say Sir John A. Macdonald for the following reasons: 1. He was the first PM of Canada. Nobody else will be able to do that and it is questionable as to whether anyone else could do it as well as he. 2. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Sir John A. (1st term) has been out of office longer than any other PM, therefore Canadians (including me) are more attuned to the fact that he was the "Godfather" of Confederation than they are of any in discrepancies he may have fostered or participated in. 3. We need to remember our beginnings and Sir John A. is synonymous with the birth of Canada. 4. If we were to pick Diefenbaker, I don't believe that many Central Canadians would tolerate it, simply because John Diefenbaker was a Western Canadian. If you named it Trudeau day, myself and many other Western Canadians would likely choke our way to the U.S. border and claim refugee status. You could probably drag up something that someone would find distasteful about many of the choices you mentioned, in spite of the fact that most of them (including the 2 I mentioned) have done some great things for Canada. It's just that they've done some things to certain regions, provinces or groups that have left them (deservedly or not) etched in our minds as "unpopular" individuals. If Chretien or Mulroney were on the list, Canadians would have their activities fresh in their mind and if common sense and decency prevailed, they would remain vote-less. Having said all of this, how about if we just call it "Taxpayers' Day". Without us to foot their bills, vote for them, go to war for them, take the risk of going into business, raising families, donating (as well as paying taxes for) to under-funded medical/education needs and volunteering our time, they wouldn't exist anyway.
Dale Nesbitt

I like the idea of honouring Canadian Prime Ministers with a national holiday; however instead of creating a new holiday, why not do away with Victoria Day and replace it with Prime Ministers' Day? Few people even know or care who Queen Victoria was.
C. Lesyk

Yes we need a stat holiday in February. It can be Prime Minister's day or winter break day.
Marilyn Roebuck

William Lyon Mackenzie King appears to be overlooked among the list of prominent Canadian Prime Ministers. I find this amazing, given the impact he has had on our history. With the possible exception of Sir John A. MacDonald, he is in my opinion the most influential Canadian Prime Minister. He is he Canada's longest reigning Prime Minister, and governed during World War II. Perhaps more significantly though, he created the welfare state as we know it today. During his tenure, government became far more active in social policy, economic development initiatives, and business-labour relations. And while there were no constitutional changes during his tenure, the agreements developed between the federal and provincial governments during his tenure have guided federal-provincial responsibilities for years after his term in office. We can laugh about his eccentric behaviour in private, but he remains one of Canada's most skilled political figures.
Paul Coleman

Times have changed, we don't need a Prime Minister in the position of dictator for the term. Get rid of the non-confidence vote and let a true democracy emerge where all MP's can vote the way they and their constituents wish them to vote. Voting along party lines makes a mockery out of our so-called democracy. It also makes the Prime Minister a dictator. The entire country will never be happy with a one or two province rule. A situation where one and his crew call the shots in this big and diverse country of ours is a backward process which has caused deep divisions amongst the regions of this great nation. The only way to heal Canada is to become a true democracy. As it is now, we democratically vote in new or used dictators every four or five years. It's a sham. Instead of trying to honour an individual because of our need for heroes, we should concentrate on making our system work better. Our advances in communication leaves or old system of governing obsolete, let's move forward!
Conrad Riffel

I would be in favour of a new national holiday if there was some assurance that we would not honour individual former Prime Ministers but rather just call it "Prime Ministers day". That way we wouldn't have to include some of the embarrassments to Canada such as the one we have now and the one who caused us to give up promoting our heritage in the first place, Pierre Trudeau !!!
Don Carruthers

Prime Minister's Day? I don't think there has been one since Pearson worth commemorating! We remember our war dead in November, why not "Peacekeepers" just before Spring breaks, signifying the new life they have given many parts of the world. A February Public Holiday? Do I have a date for you! February 14! Make Valentine's Day a public holiday!
D.B.

Pierre Elliott Trudeau is my favourite Although he had embraced socialism, he was very intellectual, charming, a gentleman most of the time and he was good for the country as well as people of every walk of life.
Juliette Walker

Sure, another holiday would be nice but instead of honouring dead Presidents (oops, I mean Prime Ministers) I think we should concentrate on the 'greatest generation' and make Remembrance Day a national statutory holiday. November 11 has turned into a 'business as usual' day. I take it as a days vacation and our family attends the Remembrance Day parade and service to pay respect to the true heroes of our country - the men and women that sacrificed years of their youth, and for some their lives, so that we could sit around in the comfort that we take for granted and debate about whether or not we need another day off.
Carol Young

Do you want to celebrate a holiday in memory of PM's? Lets celebrate and honor the person(s) who make this a safer world, the person(s) who find a cure for aids, the person(s) who find a way to help the homeless, who improves the living conditions of native peoples, who finds a way to rid students of student debt, who helps the poor, who finds a cure for cancer. And we want to celebrate PM.'s Gibe me a break. Have we lost our minds - Remember this! They are just politicians and often - too often - self-serving to boot.
T.W.

February is in need of a holiday. People will respond positively to this because it means time off of work. Unfortunately the government is determined to nationalize a day paying homage to Prime Ministers. I believe that there is enough reason to celebrate Black History Month with a national holiday praising African Canadians. Canada's commitment to understanding and praise its population has been overshadowed once again by misguided patriotism.
Peter Notaro

I would say Trudeau because he brought about change and he got involved. He may not have pleased everyone but he had great ideas and a great personality that our current PM is lacking in.
Jen

Favorite Prime Minister? Pierre Elliot Trudeau of course. No other PM has ever had the guts to effect change for the common man the way he did. I am disgusted that the Globe would run an article by Brian Mulroney on sovereignty. This is the man who sold us out lock stock and barrel to the Americans.
D. LeBouthillier

Unfortunately your poll is going to be based on emotion or the pretext of another holiday and not by the virtue of true celebration of the achievements of a person or an event. By the way, why do we have to celebrate those who get paid well, who travel well at our expense and who lived handsomely on pensions we provided. They got elected and that should be enough recognition.
Thomas Grigg

Pierre Elliott Trudeau will always remain as my favorite Prime Minister. As to the question do we need a holiday patterned after our American cousin's (President's Day) to have a Prime Minister is just insane. We can have another holiday, but why always copy from our southern neighbour? There are zillions of topics to choose from to make an extra holiday but a Prime Minister's day? Can we ever think of something Canadian (idea that is) for a start?
Benny Ryan

Yes I would be in favor of this day. I feel not only does it provide a break at this time but it is an opportunity for we Canadians to celebrate our leader. Why should we not have the same pride as our United States neighbors?
Hoole, Elizabeth

Pierre Elliott Trudeau because of his flamboyant and diplomatic style. As a Canadian, I would like to be viewed as the person he was. Intelligent, witty, full of charm and candor. I respected this man, as father, humanitarian and politician.
Catherine McGuire

I don't have a favourite because they were all good and bad in their day. I really want to state that I think having a Prime Ministers' Day is a silly idea. Why not proclaim Ground Hog Day as a national holiday instead? You know, Wiarton Willie Day.
Randy M.

May I suggest that you do not refer to our former Prime Ministers as "dead Prime Ministers". Granted they are deceased but I would pity the thought as so often is the case in this great country of ours that a holiday would come to be know as the The Dead Prime Ministers' Day. Over the years, that could have applied to one or two of the truly living. My thoughts, the idea for the day is great, just the name lacks a whole lot of smarts.
Frank Walsh

I am all in favour of another holiday in February. However, I dislike and distrust even more any politician. Perhaps we could honour scientific achievements or even Canada's contributions to significant inventions such as the telephone or hockey.
Gerald Wintermeyer

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