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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. 30

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.


My favourite Canadian prime minister was Pierre Elliott Trudeau. I didn't always agree with all of his policies, and I felt that he was far- removed from his fellow Canadians -his attitude seemed haughty at times. But - more than any other influence I've experienced - he made me feel like I am Canadian. Pierre E. Trudeau challenged his own countrymen, and the people he met in his world travels, to recognize the characteristics, qualities, and historical events that make us truly unique as Canadians. He literally put Canada on the map for me.
Carolyn Burke

I think a Prime Ministers day is an excellent idea, I also go along with the idea that it should be on January 11th rather then the stated day in February. January 11th for the reason because it was Sir John A.'s birthday, and he was the first Prime Minister. In a way, he paved the path for Canada and for future Prime Ministers. He is also the only PM a lot of people remember because he was so great. I don't think it should be Feb 11th because plenty goes on in Feb already. Valentines Day, Presidents Day in the U.S. and Flag Day. I say, why not have a day where we can learn all about the Prime Ministers of Past and Present and exactly a month later, honour our Canadian Flag? I was reading the posts for earlier days, and on Jan 11, somebody said that it shouldn't be a holiday but rather a commemorative day. I agree, if it were a holiday many school kids would blow the day off by hanging at the mall, but if it were a commemorative day, kids could be in school and learn about our Prime Ministers and Canadian History. I'm in high school and when I'm asked who is the PM I most remember, I say Sir John A. He is the most talked about in a worthy way, and I say, if we could give back for all the things he did for us, why not give him (and the other PM's) a day of honour and a day in their name?
Sophia

I would Vote "NO" Not because that Canada and it's people could use another day of rest. God knows we all need this. All of our Prime Ministers have been servants to a foreign Power. The "CROWN' and puppets to big business and big central banks. They all spout political rhetoric about "we the people" yet when push comes to shove, they have all turned their backs on Canadians. Celebrate their memory? Hogwash! You need a history lesson!
Jack W. Peach

How can I be expected to select my "favourite" Prime Minister? Do I choose MacDonald who led us into Confederation of this great land, or Trudeau who repatriated our constitution? Do I recognize Borden who guided us through the first Great War or Mackenzie-King who led us through the second? Perhaps I should celebrate the careers of Laurier, our first French-Canadian, or Campbell, our first woman. Or maybe, I should recognize Pearson who was from my part of the country. Let's forget this nonsense about honouring our dead prime ministers. Instead, let's recognize a National Heritage Day on which we honour all of our Prime Ministers, living and deceased, on which we celebrate our symbols of Canada, beginning with the flag, and on which we celebrate the heritage we share as Canadians, not the diversities which tear us apart. And while we're at it, let's push to start celebrating July 1 -- Canada Day -- on July 1. There's too much of a move to celebrate this great country on the nearest day to a weekend just so we can extend a holiday. What this country truly needs is citizens who will stand up and shout proudly -- "I stand on guard for thee."
Dale W. Pepin
Sudbury, ON

Get real! Which Prime Minister should I want to hold in reverence? -Jean Chretien? -as minister of finance in the Trudeau era he was holding the reins of financial power when the Canadian debt began to skyrocket! -Brian Mulroney? - responsible for the horribly botched free trade agreement that has sold the last of any sovereignty Canada had down the drain (along with our water rights)Let's not even talk about the skybus thing -Joe Clark?- WHO? -Pierre Trudeau? Responsible for the beginning of the huge national debt. Openly alienating the West (incidently Winnipeg is in the center of the country!) and screwing the Alberta oil patch for decades - Go back a couple of years and read about the Avro Arrow and tell me which one of these things, as a Canadian, I should be the most proud. Give me a system where I can actually vote for a Prime Minister, instead of get one as a booby prize, because of the number of MPs elected in that particular party!
Gordon

I think we need to be more loyal to our country and show support for where we live. We are lucky to be living in one of the cleanest, politest, supportive countries in the world. We embrace each race, colour and creed. Lets celebrate a day for the people who make this happen, our government.
Audra Dunleavy Leslie

There should be a Sir John A MacDonald's day and the children will at least get to learn of our best Prime Minister.
Lorna

We have not gotten to where we are as a Nation today by creating more "U.S. copy cat" holidays. Use Canada Day to teach history, although one does not learn history through a holiday. As a Nation we should insist all Provinces celebrate Remembrance Day all day on Nov. 11th. That would honour Canadians in a way that would be respected by other Nations. It is embarrassing to read comments from Canadians saying "Yes, great idea, we need a holiday in February".
R. Sharpe

Another holiday? Why not? We Canadians work hard and deserve it! Prime Ministers' Day? Well, we could do a lot worse, the Americans celebrate President's Day and they had Nixon and Clinton.
RD

Pierre Trudeau because he was his own man. He was recognized the world over as an intelligent man of the world. He had great charisma and he was not afraid of anyone.
Eleonore Bryson

Note about PM's: Statutory holidays are a matter of perspective. Groovy if you are an employee; yet another paid non-work day. For the small business owner it is an additional expense that would be most unwelcome.
Laurence Wilkins

My favourite Prime Minister would have to be Lester B. Pearson. I wasn't alive when he was in office but to me he had more of the qualities of a leader I admire than any of the other Prime Ministers before him or after. Pearson helped to avoid a war during the Suez Crisis. He came up with, or popularized, the concept of peace keeping. He was a strong leader, even if he wasn't as flashy or entertaining to listen to as a Macdonald or a Trudeau. He led by quiet example. He stood up for what was right even when those to the South tried to intimidate him, particularly Lyndon Johnson ("You pissed on my rug!"). In my opinion, Lester B. Pearson was the quintessential Canadian Prime Minister with (hopefully) Canadian values - substance over flash, pro-active solutions instead of reactive retaliations and a catalyst for positive change.
Bri-anne Swan

Trudeau - He gave us a vision and a sense of purpose. He made us feel proud, both because of his own intelligence and panache, and because he had a vision for Canada. For the only time that I can think of a Canadian prime minister was a person of international stature and we all stood taller because of him. Oh how desperately we need such a leader now.
Alma Norman

I am all for a national holiday that all Canadians can celebrate. If we call it the "Prime Minister's Day", as someone has already pointed out, it seems that we are honouring the PM of the day, not necessarily ALL the PMs. There is so much disagreement in politics today, I think we should name this new holiday, as a suggestion, National Heritage Day. This can include our personal history, our ancestors, our municipal, provincial and/or national history. This way, if people want to focus on their personal history without including specific politicians, we can do so. The main name of the holiday can be "National Heritage Day", but there are many sub-themes to play with.
L.I.M.

Yes! Lets do it! I support anything that gets people involved in the affairs of government even at this level - thank you for asking. I don't actually care about commemorating past prime ministers (per se) - because so many people deserve our respect (and get it everyday from someone in a quieter way). I love it that Canada does not engage in "hero-worshipping" their leaders like our great but sometimes silly neighbours to the south, but I'm sure one more holiday won't lead to that.
Jill Campbell

My favourite Prime Minister was undoubtedly Mr. Pierre Trudeau. He was by far the most positive thinking PM whose aim was to place Canada firmly on the map as one of the leading Nations of the world, which he succeeded in achieving during his term of office. I agree 100 per cent that a public holiday should be declared in honour of the Nation's Prime Ministers.
John Barsotti

Although I am definitely not opposed to having another day off and a long weekend, I strongly believe that it should be a day to honour the soldiers who fought and died for our freedom. Remembrance Day should not be just 1 minute of silence, it should be a whole day, at the very least.
Uliana

Forget Prime Minister's Day. I agree with the suggestion that Remembrance Day be made a stat holiday. These men and women were willing to sacrifice everything for this country and we do not do enough to honour them. Why should we have a holiday to celebrate some guy that happened to be the leader of whatever party got into power?
Brian Yott

I say yes to a holiday in February for everyone's mental and physical health.
Mary Van Gaal

Pierre Trudeau. He was far and away the coolest of the PM's, and certainly the only one anyone outside of the country would be likely to recognize. If there was a PM day, I would strongly encourage not including Brian Mulroney because the very thought of him still inspires so much anger in so many people that it would totally ruin the holiday. Personally, I would opt to go to work and work unpaid overtime on the holiday than spend five seconds even thinking about that man, let alone honoring him.
Lori S.

I think it is a shame that Remembrance Day is not a national holiday in Canada. The dead from two world wars and numerous other engagements as well as those who give their lives on peacekeeping missions deserve more respect. Sure we have had many Prime Ministers worthy of our respect and praise but we also have cemeteries across our nation and overseas full of our dead who gave their lives for Canada.
Matt

I think we should celebrate Native Canadian Day. Celebrate the Native Indian, Inuit and Metis culture. Our Country promotes itself as a welcoming to all and says it is so tolerant and also proud of its history. History shows that we have not always done things that we can be proud of. Why not, in this new Century, really promote the diversity of culture in an enlightening and uplifting way. Of course this is just my opinion and in this wonderful Country - I can state my opinion. We cannot change history.....but we can influence the future. I am Canadian - and I care.
Linda Cooper

Louis Riel. He should be the first Prime Minister commemorated. His record is only now being cleared, and his status in the making of a nation was profound. What better time to bridge old feuds, address old wounds (that continue to be felt today in terms of Western alienation etc.) and reaffirm a Canadian identity which includes a commitment to justice for all citizens. This country cannot progress until it makes deep changes in how it counts First Nations people in on the deal. I'm talking tax exemptions for off reserve First Nations people, I'm talking self government for First Nations people. Also, Louis had a vision for Canada that saw Manitoba as the epi-centre. With the recent creation of Nunavut, Manitoba continues to be the geographical centre. Why not explore how this could be manifest in political terms, so that the core of the political/economic country is solid. Currently the country seems to be pulled apart by centrifugal forces that we don't have a grip on. The country can be rejuvenated, revisioned with Louis Riel as a symbol of integration, alliances, inclusion, radical independent thinker, some northern mystique thrown in, passion. He's the best.
Sonia Smee

Pierre Trudeau He really was the first Prime Minister that I paid any attention to. I was in my 3rd year of University when he was elected and I'm afraid I was one of the thousands caught up in "Trudeaumania"! He was passionate about his country and a world statesman. He made me realize that Canada is a country highly regarded throughout the world and a country to be proud of. I continue to wear my Canadian Flag proudly wherever I travel. He ignited enthusiasm amongst the young and old, and from coast to coast.
Jackie

A holiday in February would be nice. A break we would all appreciate. It was discussed a few years ago to have a holiday in February and call it Family Day.
Brenda Hanson

I don't have one in particular and we have had some great leaders and we also have some which just wasted time and money (theirs and ours), holding office. Those would be the ones that didn't do much or didn't last long enough to see a complete change of seasons while holding office. I wonder if the vote on this holiday would have similar results if it wasn't a paid holiday? I am a government worker and I voted no. How many other government workers voted the same way? We would all have the time off with pay. How about those who would work on this holiday, did they vote yes?
Wally Corey

BackJan. 28th Responses  
 
 


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