Yesterday we marked an anniversary that makes all Conservatives proud, so today I have one of equal pride for my Liberal readers. It was, of course, on this date in 1958 that Lester Pearson was elected leader of the national Liberal Party, becoming Leader of the Opposition facing off against Prime Minister John Diefenbaker.
Years later, writing in his memoirs, Mr. Pearson recalled the day.
“The convention was exciting and for me successful, since I was chosen leader by 1084 votes to Paul Martin Sr.’s 305,” he wrote. “He was naturally disappointed and I could not help but share some of his disappointment because I knew how he felt, and he was a friend. He was also a trouper in the political arena and became my right-hand man, the indispensable party tactician in the House of Commons. I needed all the support I could get.”
Arthur Milnes is an accomplished public historian and award-winning journalist. He was research assistant on The Rt. Hon. Brian Mulroney’s best-selling Memoirs and also served as a speechwriter to then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper and as a Fellow of the Queen’s Centre for the Study of Democracy under the leadership of Tom Axworthy. A resident of Kingston, Ontario, Milnes serves as the in-house historian at the 175 year-old Frontenac Club Hotel.