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Sketches of Canada for June 30th!

Canadian History for Kids - John Turner

June 30th, 1984 John Turner is sworn in as Prime Minister. This Canadian History for Kids, Sketches of Canada, looks at the life of Canada’s 17th Prime Minister.

John Turner was born in Richmond, Surrey (England), on June 7, 1929. Before becoming Prime Minister he held several senior cabinet posts throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s with the Trudeau government. In 1970, as Minister of Justice, he amended the Criminal Code of Canada making improvements in hate propaganda laws.

He waited many years for his opportunity to become the Leader of the Liberal party, but due to the incredible popularity of Pierre Trudeau, he had to wait. By the time John Turner had waited out the Trudeau era he was finally elected Leader of the Liberal Party and became Prime Minister in 1984. However, the country was fed up with Liberal government. Turner seemed out of touch, made a number of political gaffes, including calling an early election, and the Conservatives won a massive majority.

Turner was the Leader of the Opposition for the next six year, fighting, unsuccessfully, against free trade with the United States. In the 1988 election the Liberals returned to Parliament with twice as many seats, but lost the election, and Turner stepped down as leader, making way for Jean Chrétien.

Political Career of John Turner:

  • John Turner was first elected to the House of Commons in 1962.
  • John Turner ran for the leadership of the Liberal Party in 1968 but lost to Pierre Trudeau.
  • In 1968, John Turner became Solicitor General of Canada.
  • He was Minister of Justice from 1968 to 1972.
  • From 1972 to 1975, John Turner was Minister of Finance.
  • Unhappy with the job of Minister of Finance and the economic policy of the government, John Turner resigned in 1975 to return to the practice of law in Toronto.
  • When Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau retired in 1984, John Turner was elected Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada.
  • John Turner was sworn in as Prime Minister of Canada in 1984.
  • A series of patronage appointments by both Pierre Trudeau and John Turner, and an electorate tired of 16 years of Liberal government, led to a Conservative victory in the 1984 general election. Brian Mulroney became Prime Minister.
  • John Turner stayed as Leader of the Opposition for six years from 1984 to 1990.
  • John Turner retired from politics in 1993 and returned to the practice of law.

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