The Right Honourable
Charles Joseph Clark

1979-1980
Progressive Conservative

"We will not take this nation by storm, by stealth or by surprise. We will win it by work." Joe Clark, Februrary 1976


Private Life
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • Author.
  • Died: ____

Political Career
  • 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)
    • Clark reorganized the Party's structure and overhauled the fundraising campaigns.
    • 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.
  • Leader of the Opposition, 1976-1979.
  • Won a minority government, 1979. At 39 years of age, Clark became Canada's youngest prime minister.
    • Reorganized the structure of Cabinet committees.
    • Introduced a system of government spending controls (which was retained by the Liberals).
    • 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.
  • Appointed Lincoln Alexander, Canada's first black cabinet minister, 1979.
  • Canadian Embassy in Iran sheltered American embassy staff, 1979-1980.

    Did You Know?

    Often lampooned by the media as an awkward and inept mumbler who spoke French at a high school level, Joe Clark was actually an excellent organizer and had few equals in parliamentary debate.

  • Clark's main goal in office was to repair the care-free spending of the previous Liberals and proposed a very tight budget of program cuts and tax increases. The New Democratic Party would not support it, however, and Clark's government was defeated just 7 months after they were elected into power.
  • Leader of the Opposition 1980-1983.
    • Delayed Trudeau's constitutional reforms until the federal and provincial governments were in agreement and until a judicial review had been reached.
  • Clark's party leadership challenged, 1983. Clark called a leadership convention but lost to Brian Mulroney (see Mulroney)
    • Clark remained with the Conservative Party as an M.P. (Member of Parliament) and continued his fight to preserve party unity.
  • Minister of External Affairs, 1984-1991.
  • President of the Privy Council and Minister Responsible for Constitutional Affairs, 1991-1993.
  • Instrumental in drafting and gaining approval of the Constitutional Accord (Charlottetown Agreement), 1992.
  • Clark retired from politics in 1993 and returned to teaching. In November 1998, Clark once more became leader of the Progressive Conservatives replacing Jean Charest. He earned a seat in the House of Commons in September 2000.

*(Progressive) Conservative *Liberal *Unionist/Conservative

* Macdonald * Mackenzie * Abbott * Thompson * Bowell
* Tupper * Laurier * Borden * Meighen * King
* Bennett * St. Laurent * Diefenbaker * Pearson * Trudeau
* Clark * Turner * Mulroney * Campbell * Chrétien

Canadiana