Over Canada’s 150 years of existence, we have had some truly weird leaders, and I don’t mean weird because they slice off their crust or wear eccentric clothing.
I’m talking about seances with your dead mom, vanishing for weeks at a time, and believing aliens can solve climate change weird. So to help you become an expert in Canada’s most bizarre historical leaders, I’ve
Number One: William Lyon Mackenzie King
Role: Prime Minister of Canada, 1921–1926, 1926–1930 and 1935–1948
Mackenzie King led Canada through the second world war, was Canada’s longest serving Prime Minister and is warmly remembered by most Canadians.
According to his published personal diaries, he also had seances with his dead mother(and many others) and wrote that Hitler “is really one who truly loves his fellow man.”
Number Two: John A. Macdonald
Role: Prime Minister of Canada, 1826–1873
Sir John A. Macdonald was Canada’s first Prime Minister, established the transcontinental railway (accepting large bribes to do it though), and arguably established the nation as what we know it to be today.
He also had a well-documented drinking problem which would cause the Prime Minister to actually disappear from the job for weeks at a time, leading parliament staff to wonder, where has the Prime Minister gone?
One of the most famous stories on Macdonald’s drinking, involve him walking on stage during the 1864 election debate, and vomiting on stage.
“Is this the man you want running your country?” asked his opponent. “A drunk?”
“I get sick (…) not because of drink [but because] I am forced to listen to the ranting of my honourable opponent,” Macdonald retorted, according to the story.
He may have been a corrupt drunk, but he certainly had a way with words.
Number Three: Paul Theodore Hellyer
Role: Minister of Transport & Minister of Defense, 1963–1969
Paul Hellyer is an engineer, politician, writer, and commentator who has had a long and varied career including high ranking ministries in the government of Lester B. Pearson. He is the
He also believes that the government is hiding information regarding their meetings with extraterrestrial life.
Mr Hellyer has even gone on record stating his belief that there are at least four extraterrestrial species living on earth.
Number Four: John Diefenbaker
Role: Prime Minister, 1957–1963
Diefenbaker spent most of his life losing elections throughout almost every level of government in the 1920s-30s, until winning his seat in the 1940 election, and once again contested the PC leadership multiple times before finally winning in 1956.
The Chief managed to gave Indigenous peoples the right to vote in 1960 and to keep apartheid South Africa out of the Commonwealth.
He did all that with near to no allies and a truly cold personality, ensuring Canada’s first largest ever majority followed by two successive minorities.
Even when Lester Pearson died in 1972, his only comment was “he shouldn’t have won the Nobel Prize.”
Number Five: Pierre Trudeau
Role: Prime Minister, 1968–1979 & 1980–1984
While his name is still controversial in certain parts of the country, Pierre Trudeau established what many consider as modern Canada, by developing the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, implementing official bilingualism, and opposing the Quebec
He was also friends with Fidel Castro and was endorsed by John Lennon as “a beautiful person”. He dated Barbara Streisand, and in his youth supported the ideas of corporatism states such Nazi Germany and Mussolini’s Italy, alongside an independent Quebec.
In 1942 for example, when he was 23, Pierre Trudeau was a leading organizer of a revolutionary cell called “LX,” whose purpose was to conduct a coup leading to a corporatist, independent Catholic and French Quebec.
In an anti-conscription speech given to thousands, Trudeau said that government were “traitors”, who should be “impaled alive.
Trudeau did obviously abandon many of these views later on in life, becoming a central figure in Canadian politics.
A young nation with a big story
With so many interesting and bizarre figures, you sometimes truly wonder how Canada is only 150 years old.
We had to skip out on a lot of important leaders, who else do you think should be on the list?
Join the conversation by commenting below!