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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, Jan. 25

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.

To add your opinion, go to our submissions page.


Mulroney, because he was right in his visions.
Tomek

This national holiday should fall in the month of February, and should be known as Sir John A. Macdonald Day, period. To celebrate a different dead prime minister every year is nothing short of stupid and confusing, to say the least.
Susan

Pierre Trudeau is my favourite Prime Minister. If it had not been for him, my mother would not have been able to come to Canada with us. I am a proud Canadian of El Salvadorean heritage. This Nation has allowed me to choose freely what I do, say and act without fear of death and poverty. My daughters, who are part French-Canadian (their father) part El Salvadorean and all Canadian are going to be well versed in all (not just the euro-centric based version) aspects of Canadian history. It is not only their birthright, but also my privilege to teach them about their history. I have learned about the explorers of our Nation and about our leaders from history in university. Unfortunately, I did not learn this in public school. I look forward to having PM's day so that we can stand up and be proud of who we are as Canadians. If we chose to celebrate our nations leaders, we should celebrate all of our nations leaders, French, English and Aboriginal.
Arely Ayala-Dugre

Pierre Trudeau was my favourite Canadian Prime Minister not only because he always stood up for what he believed was right. He spoke out candidly, sometimes too candidly. The media loved him. He was never dull, he was real. He had an "air" about him that made him stand out where ever he was. He was a loving father and proud Canadian. He managed to raise two sons (who loved him dearly) while living in a fish bowl. His sons were raise to become wonderful, caring human beings, a testament to a great man.
Bev Hurst

Well to tell the truth there really is not one of them I would pick. I think the most decent of them was Lester B. Pearson.
Margaret Patterson

When will there ever be a holiday to honour Canadian soldiers? That's been a question I have pondered on for years...My Dad is an 82 yr old Second World War vet has never had any honour bestowed upon him. And if not for he and others we would all be speaking German - or dead.
Mrs. E. Naylor

Why not a Great Canadian's Day or Great Canadian Hero's Day, or some such name. Just a day to learn about and acknowledge people who promoted Canada or its values and made a difference. Then we could include persons like: Peter Gzowski, June Callwood, Terry Fox, etc. Nominees and ballots could both be submitted by ballot and the most votes by deadline gets the honour (Cheap and easy: just use an e-mail ballot, plus a few temp. workers to data entry other submissions). The day could be the first Monday in Feb. or as someone else suggested the second Monday to coincide with the 1965 Flag raising anniversary. The residual benefits would include: inspiring people to learn more about our heritage, etc.
Karen Kelly
Kelowna, BC

Another holiday in the name of national pride? I don't think so. In my opinion, the existing statutory holidays are already in grave contradictions with our constitutional and civil rights. Our governments have worked hard to promote this land as multicultural, multilingual and multifarious, yet most of our public holidays are based on Christian beliefs, ie: Christmas, New Years, Easter... Some have even gone so far as wanting to take Christ out of Christmas to accommodate other religions. It's no longer 'Merry Christmas' but 'Happy Holidays'. We can no longer say the Lord's prayer in schools. Why not just give a set number of statutory holidays to everybody and let each individual decide when they would take them according to their faith? That way business need never be interrupted and we would truly be as a nation, accepting of all our citizens. Come on Canada, do we have strength behind our convictions or are we guilty of ethnocentrism?
Lucille Brett
Sudbury, ON

Pierre Trudeau. had flair; he had charisma; he truly loved this country and its diversity - both people and geography-wise. He dared to be different. He handled his marital discord with dignity, and was able to be an outstanding parent to his sons, while still running a country. Canadians gained a greater sense of self-esteem during Mr. Trudeau's tenure, as, to coin another Canadian's comment, "Canada had the coolest leader in the world"!
G. Page

If Canada dares to commemorate the drunken fool, namely John A. Macdonald, I will seriously reconsider my citizenship! We should find a way of eliminating that corrupt, drunk and total fool from our history. He is an embarrassment to anything decent about Canada.
Brian Ranville

I highly support Prime Ministers Day. Are we not as proud of our leader as the Americans are? My favourite PM was Trudeau. He was a great man.
Lynne Holmes

My favourite PM is Jean Chretien, our current Prime Minister. John A. Macdonald should never be considered. He was a proven racist against the Metis in the West. He did everything to discredit us as a people.
Gérard Lavallée

I agree in principle to having a day in which we as a nation recognize the Canadians who have made Canada the nation that it is today. However I think to some extent we already have that, although unfortunately its importance and significance seems to get lost on a greater and greater number of Canadians each and every year. Remembrance Day is that day for me. Lest we forget.
Richard Wagg

My favourite Prime Minister has to be Sir John A. Macdonald. He was the official first Father of Confederation and the first Prime Minister. If the holiday needed a name, it should be Sir John A. Macdonald Day.
Mark

As proud Canadian's, I do believe that we should honor our Prime Ministers. It is our Prime Ministers that have built Canada up to what it is today. Other countries are proud enough to honor their presidents. We as Canadian's and the great country that we are should be doing the same.
Susy Nagy

We need the holiday. A late January or better yet a February long weekend is an excellent idea. We should not be honouring anybody in or the whole of, that rogues gallery, of Canadian PMs. PMs are a necessary evil of our political system. Neither they nor the institutions they represent should be honoured. They and the institutions are the process by which the liberties of individuals are curtailed. The PMs and government institutions acquire power through the curtailment of our liberties. This is fundamentally evil! The polls already exercise fame and glory out of all proportion to their contributions to society.
Tim

Perhaps a real Veterans Day, or honor our fathers of confederation including Riel. Maybe then, the west and Indigenous Peoples might consider itself a party to confederation as its version of history would be considered rather than a sanitized "Ontario/Quebec" perspective. Our current Prime Ministers lack my respect and support.
Lloyd Gamble

Obviously, the first prime minister deserves our attention for his strength of vision, ability to translate and hold an otherwise provincial group of politicians in formation long enough to get it started. Sir John ended his life in sacrifice to his party and thus in his vision of a Canada from sea to sea, loyal (if I can be allowed to modernize one aspect) to a parlimentary style of democracy that was required, & arguably still is, to be strongly central in order to solve challenges that still exist between geography and, culture. One cannot honour Sir John without giving equal (after all Macdonald needed the votes) attention to M. George Cartier, who outside of his home province and perhaps language seems to have faded into an old black and white photograph. As a prime minister, I think the next choice should be Sir Wilfrid Laurier. I think of fathers of Confederation such as George Brown, Darcy MacGee, Joey Smallwood. Other leaders come to mind such as Baldwin. LaFontaine, Papineau, perhaps William Lyon Mackenzie is a little too republican. I do not wish to suggest every prominent person from our history, but Confederation was not built by one man (what ever his ego), nor has Canada been ruled by one, there have been scores who have served at the highest level whose stories are necessary to be told as they perhaps shaped the shapers.
Chris Harrison

I'd like to show you a copy of an email I received today that's circulating around Canada in regard to 'prime minister's day': "GO TO THE WEBSITE AND CLICK YES... The government is considering a new holiday and the Globe and Mail is doing a poll on if we as Canadians would like to have another national holiday same as US Presidents day but ours would be Prime Minister day. Please go to the attached link and vote "yes" and maybe we will get another long weekend. Pass this on to everybody you know!!!" Hmmmmm maybe we can have another long weekend...... sounds like people will certainly be utilizing the new holiday to bone up on Canadian history doesn't it? Who are we kidding here?
Crystal S.

This is so bogus. You take a poll that shows most people don't even know who the first prime minister was, yet you have dozens of people writing to tell you all about who their favorite one is. Fascinating! I have to echo Andrew MacSkimming who said in one of your opinion letters "Until this changes, along with the quality of our leadership, the 'Bastards and Boneheads' that hold the office will not be deserving of such respect." I totally agree with Andrew. We do not elect these slime balls, they are simply the leader of the party whose member we have voted for. Yes, I would like another stat holiday... most people would. If you want to call it prime ministers day in order to give it to me then so be it.
Chris T

I agree on having a Prime Ministers holiday. First of all the U.S. has a Presidents day, why shouldn't we honor our country's heritage also and it would motivate youngsters to learn and study more our history. I vote, yes!
Chrysa

It is about time - we are long overdue for a holiday in February. I vote YES.
Karl

I'm in favour of a holiday in February, Prime Ministers day. February is the most difficult hump of the year to get over. Dark skies, cold weather. A long weekend would be good for everyone.
Lilita

I think that would have to be Pierre Trudeau. Whether one was English or French, he was one of us. He was quintessentially Canadian; I think he's what we all aspired to be. Frankly, I don't think there should be a Prime Minister's Day. I keep hoping we'll have a Flag Day instead in mid-February.
Jack Shallist

Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson is my favourite P.M. He was humble and hard-working and a "quiet" hero. Canadians were very proud when he won the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in the Middle East.
Eileen Egerer

Sir John A. Without him, no Canada. More than Washington, whose military prowess was essential, but not moreso than such greats as Ben Franklin's insight and statecraft. Of course, Canada had other leaders who were necessary to help frame Confederation, but MacDonald was the driving and persuasive force. An imperfect leader, perhaps. But he had the stuff to get Canada going. [see Donald Creighton's biograpy of MacDonald]
Randal Johnsrton

I have to say something different but the same idea. We have Father's day and Mother's day. How about a "Family" day to promote the value of family, i.e a family with both father and mother together with their children growing in good and bad times, solving different life problems together?
W.C. Yee

Pierre Trudeau He brought the Constitution from Britain, broke slightly away from the Monarchy
Joe Taddeo

Before I start, I think this "Prime Ministers' Day" is a great idea for Canadians. We seem to know more about the U.S. Presidents and American history than we know about our own Prime Ministers and Canada's History! If we do get awarded this holiday, we should hold it in February - the only month of the year we don't seem to have a holiday in.
June Dowd

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