Former Canada PM John Turner, who was in office for just 11 weeks, dies aged 91

 thehindu.com  09/19/2020 22:35:52 

Former Canadian Prime Minister John Turner, who was in office for just 11 weeks and led his Liberal Party to a massive electoral defeat in 1984, died on Saturday aged 91.

Turner took over from Pierre Trudeau in late June 1984 at a time of increasing voter fatigue with the Liberals, who had been in power for 20 of the previous 21 years. Before becoming prime minister, he had held the posts of finance and justice minister.

Current Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Pierre's son, offered his condolences and called Turner a humble man with a strong social conscience.

His contributions to Canada will not be forgotten, Trudeau said in a statement.

In 1984, Turner called an election for September and then presided over what many political observers consider to be one of the worst campaigns in Canadian history, marred by a series of gaffes.

One turning point came during a televised debate when Turner, under fire from Conservative leader Brian Mulroney, said he had no option but to approve a mass of patronage appointments proposed by Trudeau before he left office.

You could have said 'I am not going to do it. This is wrong for Canada' ... you had an option, sir, to say no. And you chose to say yes, responded Mulroney in one of the most memorable moments in Canadian politics. The Conservatives swept to power with 211 seats of the 282 in the House of Commons.

The Liberals fell to just 40 seats from 135 but Turner hung onto his position. His 79-day tenure as prime minister is the second shortest in Canadian history.

In the 1988 election campaign he took a strong stance against a proposed free trade agreement with the United States but lost again to Mulroney, although not as badly.

He resigned as Liberal leader in 1990 and was replaced by Jean Chretien, who led the Liberals to victory in 1993.

Turner, a lawyer by training, served as finance minister from 1972 to 1975 but quit amid disagreements over policy with Trudeau. He returned to legal work for nine years before winning the Liberal Party leadership in June 1984.

John Napier Wyndham Turner was born on June 7, 1929. He is survived by his wife Geills and four children.

*Our Digital Subscription plans do not currently include the e-paper ,crossword, iPhone, iPad mobile applications and print. Our plans enhance your reading experience.

Dear reader,

We have been keeping you up-to-date with information on the developments in India and the world that have a bearing on our health and wellbeing, our lives and livelihoods, during these difficult times. To enable wide dissemination of news that is in public interest, we have increased the number of articles that can be read free, and extended free trial periods. However, we have a request for those who can afford to subscribe: please do. As we fight disinformation and misinformation, and keep apace with the happenings, we need to commit greater resources to news gathering operations. We promise to deliver quality journalism that stays away from vested interest and political propaganda.

Support Quality Journalism

Dear subscriber,

Thank you!

Your support for our journalism is invaluable. Its a support for truth and fairness in journalism. It has helped us keep apace with events and happenings.

The Hindu has always stood for journalism that is in the public interest. At this difficult time, it becomes even more important that we have access to information that has a bearing on our health and well-being, our lives, and livelihoods. As a subscriber, you are not only a beneficiary of our work but also its enabler.

We also reiterate here the promise that our team of reporters, copy editors, fact-checkers, designers, and photographers will deliver quality journalism that stays away from vested interest and political propaganda.

Suresh Nambath

« Go back