One of Canada’s greatest 20th century Prime Ministers was honoured on Parliament Hill on this date in 1990. An audience that included sitting Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, past Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and future Prime Minister Jean Chrétien gathered for the official dedication of Parliament Hill’s statue in honour of Lester B. Pearson. The event came four-years after the statue of Mr. Pearson’s political opponent, John Diefenbaker, was unveiled.
Marking this anniversary allows me to again call for the statues of other Prime Ministers such as R.B. Bennett, Pierre Trudeau, Sir John Abbott, Sir Mackenzie Bowell, Sir John Thompson, Sir Charles Tupper and Arthur Meighen to be sculpted and placed on Parliament Hill. The fact, in particular, that Bennett, a majority Prime Minister, has never been honoured with a statue marking his public service to Canada remains a blight on our nation’s commemoration efforts involving our past leaders. I support delaying such statues until a past Prime Minister is deceased but Bennett’s statue should have been unveiled decades ago.
Birthday alert: Sending out birthday wishes today to one of the most significant Senators of our lifetimes, the retired Lowell Murray. He played key roles in various Progressive Conservative governments including those of Richard Hatfield in New Brunswick and both the Joe Clark and Brian Mulroney administrations. I have learned a great deal about Canadian history through knowing Mr. Murray and feel very privileged as a result.
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.