Joseph (Joe) Clark

The Right Honourable Joseph Clark

Born: June 5, 1939, High River, Alberta.

Education: University of Alberta, B.A., 1960; M.A. in Political Science, 1973.

Marriage: Maureen McTeer (1952-____) in 1973.  They have one daughter.

Director Organization, Alberta Progressive Conservative Party, 1966-1967.

Special Assistant to Davie Fulton, M.P., 1967.

Executive Assistant to Robert Stanfield, M.P., 1967-1970.

Constituencies:  Rocky Mountain, Alberta, 1972-1979; Yellowhead, Alberta, 1979-1993.

Progressive Conservative Party Leader, 1976-1983.

Clark’s first order of business was to reunite the Conservative Party, which had been badly split following the Diefenbaker years (see Diefenbaker); he reorganized the Party’s structure and overhauled the fundraising campaigns; he introduced executive caucus meetings which concentrated their efforts on attacking government policy in the House of Commons.

Despite his abilities as an organizer and a parliamentary debater, Clark found it hard to compete with Trudeau’s charismatic hold on Canada and was often lampooned by the media as an awkward, inept mumbler who spoke French at a high school level.

He won a minority government, 1979. At 39 years of age, Clark became Canada’s youngest prime minister.

Reorganized the structure of Cabinet committees; he introduced a system of government spending controls; drafted the Freedom of Information Act, but did not have time to introduce it into the House of Commons. The Act was adopted by the Liberals in the next government; he appointed Lincoln Alexander, Canada’s first black cabinet minister, 1979.

He was instrumental in drafting and gaining approval of the Constitutional Accord (Charlottetown Agreement), 1992.

 

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