The Right Honourable
John Napier Turner


"Any country that is willing to surrender economic levers inevitably yields levers politically and surrenders a large chunk of its ability to remain a sovereign nation. I don't believe our future depends on our yielding those economic levers of sovereignty to become a junior partner in Fortress North America to the United States." John Turner, October 12, 1988

Private Life

Did You Know?

Whilst vacationing in Barbados with his wife in 1965, Turner became aware of an older man, out for a swim, who appeared to be in serious trouble. Turner was aware of the powerful undertows, but, being a competitive swimmer during his university years, he plunged into the surf and was soon pulling the grateful man to shore. The man was former prime minister and leader of the Progressive Conservative party, John Diefenbaker. Had Turner failed in his rescue, Canada's recent history may have been drastically different.

  • Born: June 7, 1929, Richmond, Surrey, England.
    • Emigrated to Canada in 1932. Turner's mother was Canadian, and when John's father died in 1932, his mother returned with her family to her hometown in British Columbia.
  • Education: University of British Columbia, B.A., 1949; Oxford University, Rhodes Scholar, B.A. in Jurisprudence, 1951, B.C.L., 1952, M.A. 1957; University of Paris, 1952-1953.
  • Marriage: Geills McCrae Kilgour (1937-____) in 1963.
    • One daughter and three sons.
  • Called to the Quebec Bar, 1954.
  • Called to the Ontario Bar, 1968.
  • Died: ____

Political Career
  • Constituencies: St-Laurent-St-Georges, Québec, 1962-1968; Ottawa-Carleton, Ontario, 1968-1976; Vancouver Quadra, British Columbia, 1984-1993.
    • Once in Ottawa, Turner was quick to join a rather vocal group of young Liberals whom the media dubbed 'The Young Turks'. This 'rebel' group strongly advocated reforms in party policy.
  • Minister Without Portfolio, 1965-1967.
  • Registrar General, 1967.
  • Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs, 1967-1968.
  • Lost Liberal Party Leadership to Pierre Trudeau.
  • Solicitor General, 1968.
  • Minister of Justice, 1968-1972.
    • Criminal Code Amendment (against hate propaganda), 1970.
    • Appointed Bora Laskin as the first Jewish Justice of the Supreme Court, 1970.
    • Created the Law Reform Commission, 1971.
    • Directed the Justice Department under the War Measures Act (see Trudeau) during the FLQ Crisis.
  • Minister of Finance, 1972-1975.
    • As a minority government, Turner's budget required acceptance by at least one of the opposition parties. He succeeded in 1973, but was voted down by the New Democratic Party (NDP) in 1974.
    • A new election was called, and, despite hating the job as Minister of Finance, Turner continued until his resignation in 1975.
    • Turner resigned from politics in 1976 and returned to practicing law in Toronto.
    • When Trudeau resigned in 1979, Turner had no interest to return to politics and declined nomination as party leader.
    • The Conservatives were soon defeated in the House of Commons and Trudeau returned to resume his place as party leader for the Liberals.
  • Liberal Party Leader, 1984-1990.
    • When Trudeau retired once again, Turner was convinced to return. He was elected Liberal Party leader and, therefore, prime minister.
    • Turner gambled and called an early election and the Liberals suffered an overwhelming defeat in the 1984 election.
  • Leader of the Opposition, 1984-1990.
  • Turner tried to rebuild the Liberal Party during his stint as Opposition leader and took advantage of the scandals which plagued the Conservative Party. In the 1988 election campaign, Turner condemned the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Unfortunately, he was unable to topple the Conservatives, and, after two defeats, Turner resigned from politics again in 1990 and returned to his law career.

*(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