The Right Honourable
Charles Joseph Clark

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