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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. 29

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.


Pierre Elliott Trudeau, because he was a man of vision and stood up for what he believed in. He made politics interesting. M.B. Hamilton, Ont. Pierre Elliot Trudeau. He shaped a Canadian identity that was meaningfully different from the U.S. He believed in a just society. Through his intellect and personality he increased awareness globally of Canada. I vote for a national holiday in celebration of a Canadian prime minister. We need to celebrate (believe in) ourselves more. Winston Klass It is not necessary to single out every deserving Prime Minister, or for that matter, only one. Canadians do not honour their nation builders and there should be a national holiday to celebrate their collective contributions. Kathy Findlay Yes, I agree there should be another day somewhere during February. Americans have a 'President's day', why not Canadians? L. Neumann Pierre Elliot Trudeau for the changes he made in our country. He will go down in history as the greatest one we have had. Sylvia Gabriel I don't have a favorite. They all had a hand in creating our country. I agree to celebrating on a Monday or Friday, providing a day is chosen that does not conflict with other religious or provincial holidays. Shari A. My favourite Prime Minister was John Diefenbaker. The last prime Minister to be a true leader among men. He was altruistic in the holding of office, seeing it as a gift and not his right of ascension, as many peons in parliament do today. The end of his tenure was a demarcation line, a line we have long since crossed over, into the nothingness and meaninglessness which Canada is. Though it's too cold in many regions to grow bananas, we have become a republic of said fruit(s), like some of those in the southern tropics. William Brown I do support a statutory day off in February, I do not agree that it should be used to honour our deceased Prime Ministers, or that it should be in the second week in February. Any Statutory holiday in February should be in the third weekend in February - in line with the American Presidents Day holiday. This just makes economic sense, why have business's/markets closed on two different days one week apart? Alberta has had a Statutory Holiday in February for many years now - it is the Family Day Weekend. A day dedicated for people to spend time with their families, doing family related activities. Although skeptical at first, I have to admit this has turned out to be a huge success. What do you think will lead to a better Canada in the future, worshipping deceased leaders or building a stronger family? Myself, I'd rather worship my children then someone I've never met. Do I think we need a day off to worship the accomplishments of Kim Campbell, Joe Clark or John Turner (who will all some day pass on)? No I do not. Take the day and spend it with your family, the nation will be better off for it. R. Carter Ahh… Freedom of Speech. It is a wonderful thing. To read all the comments of fellow Canadians shows one how different we all feel about life and this particular political question. We want or don't want an extra day off, we love or hate a certain Prime Minister, we agree or disagree on having Prime Minister's day, we want to recognize one or all the PM's, we would rather have a day off to celebrate Remembrance Day/Family Day/Flag Day/Great Canadians Day and the list goes on. I pity the person/people who has/have to gather all of this information and make some sort of decision from these comments! Good luck! And to my fellow Canadians, keep up with your distinct opinions. It shows us all how truly unique or similar we are. Oh, and my opinion is to have Prime Minister's Day when you have suggested, but commemorate different PMs each year. One great idea I've seen in the last couple of years is the Heritage commercials CBC has. These could be shown before and leading up to the PM day for the particular PM that is about to be remembered. Love them or hate them, they are part of our history. Roxanne As a retired local politician of fifteen years, I don't believe that any particular Prime Minister, dead or alive should be singled out. I'm not even sure that Prime Ministers should have a holiday named after them. Some would argue that some of our Prime Ministers don't deserve to be recognized. We should be honouring all those who helped create this great country that is Canada. After all, there are a large number of individuals, elected or not, from small and large communities who have enriched the lives of those who came after them. We should be celebrating their contribution to Canada's Heritage. That way, the efforts of all who helped create this beautiful country, without singling out a particular group. We do need an official holiday to help boost those who feel the weight of long, cold winter nights and the short, sometimes bright and crispy days of February. Maybe a Canadian version of the Canada loves New York Rally.What about 'Canadians love Canada' by celebrating Heritage Day? Richard G. Cantin Ottawa While honouring a former Canadian Prime Minister is one idea for a holiday in February, many Canadians already celebrate Heritage Day on the third Monday in February. This day is supported by the Department of Canadian Heritage. Linda Badcock I don't support a holiday for politicians, no matter how wonderful they were or are. If some sort of observation is selected it should commemorate Viscount Bennett, who was PM at the time of the Statute of Westminster, which gave Canada defacto independence within the Empire. Nick If you can create a day for our dead Prime Ministers, then I think we should seriously, think about having a holiday for Black History Month Kathy W. Trudeau . He was a simple man and did not hide behind politics for any of his decisions. He did not have to smile because he had too he was a ordinary man full of grace and kindness. He was taking our language. Sylvie Brien Pierre Elliott Trudeau. He was charismatic, the envy of all other Nations, who, right or wrong, was not afraid to speak up, would not be bullied by those who would divide our Country. We have never had, or ever will have, another Leader of his caliber. He made us proud, which alone would put him high above all others. Christina Colantonio History was never my forte in school - remembering dates seems to be a shortcoming of mine. If Canada were to have a Prime Ministers' Day I would think that we should start with our first minister and perhaps have an information page available via the internet or a pamphlet mailed out to outline the basic facts (eg: 1st minister, born X to X, brief life history leading to his career, major accomplishments etc...) to educate us about our history and who our leaders were that have contributed to our country as we know it today - and a great country it is. I am proud to be Canadian and would be interested in knowing more about the people that got us here. I spent a few minutes going over the comments made already by the other readers, and yes our leaders have made some mistakes. We all do - but what makes us a great people are the lessons learned and the achievements that are made as a result of some of the mistakes.
Mellissa Hughes

Although I think that Sir John Macdonald should be honoured on the inaugural Prime Minister's day as he was the first Prime Minister of Canada and because of his long, dedicated service to our country, my favourite Prime Minister is Mr. Pierre Trudeau. He essentially put Canada "on the map". He was a great statesman, who had charisma and who was flamboyant and unforgettable! All the world knew of him, loved him (or hated him!) with a passion, admired him and followed his every move. He was a fantastic leader, both nationally and internationally. Some may disagree with this, but that shows that even Mr. Trudeau was only human! On the whole, I think that Mr. Trudeau was a very capable and successful Prime Minister who "did Canada proud"! (I am re-submitting this again as my first attempt at it suddenly disappeared from the screen!).
Karminie de Silva

I truly do not have a "favorite" Prime Minister. I think each one have given a little good and a little bad to our government. I certainly do not want to honour Mulroney in any way. I think he was the worst one ever. What he did to this country he should have been jailed and not honoured. Then you have Kim Campbell, Joe Clark just to say a few that never got to achieve anything so why should we honour them.
Joanne

In Yukon we already have a general holiday on the last weekend of February called Heritage Day. Perhaps this should be the name of the proposed holiday instead of Prime Ministers' Day. I am sorry but I do not think I would in any sense have any appreciation for Brian Mulroney (nor Kim Campbell) as examples of prime ministers to honour especially in today's context when Canada seems to be slipping more and more under the control of our U.S. neighbours as a result of Free (?) Trade and Sept 11 events.
Matt

If this holiday is going to come into effect, shouldn't we be honouring all of the dead (and alive) Canadian prime ministers? Why are we choosing one prime minister at a time? Many of the prime ministers don't deserve any recognition though, so this is difficult to choose a prime minister. Maybe we should be celebrating a day that recognizes Canadian people who do something great for our country, and that is usually not a prime minister.
P. Klein

My favourite Prime Minister was Sir John A. MacDonald. Never since have we had a Prime Minister who was so well loved and so talented. This man built our nation without sacrificing his principles. Since his day, I have seen small-minded petty men and women who think only of their careers and their interests ahead of those of Canada. Its time we honoured those Prime Minister who created this nation and cared for this nation ahead of anything else. I think Sir John must be the first Prime Minister honoured. It's the right thing to do.
Ewen Lasalle

Among the passed, Mackenzie King. Steered us through a war, and got advice from his dog and dead people. Was in office longer than any other PM. Now that's skill! Among the living, Joe Clark. Probably the most decent and honorable PM we had (despite his 200-day office) in a long time. And I've never voted Tory.
Jeff Hubbell

Is the government is really so blind/naive to believe that we all care so very deeply about dead prime ministers? Do we even care about the live ones? Want to know why so many people are voting yes? Can we say money… stat holiday! I say vote yes so we can have more of those days where we are finally getting paid what we are worth!
Collette RN, BScN

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