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John Robarts

From Academic Kids

For the recipient of the Victoria Cross see John Robarts (VC).

The Honourable John Robarts, PC , CC (January 11 1917 to October 18 1982) was a Canadian lawyer and statesman.

The Hon. John Robarts
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Robarts.jpg
John Robarts

Rank:17th
Term of Office:November 8, 1961 - March 1, 1971
Predecessor:Leslie Frost
Successor:William Davis
Date of Birth:1917
Place of Birth:Banff, Alberta
Profession:Lawyer
Political Party:PC

Born John Parmenter Robarts in 1917 in Banff, Alberta, Canada. As a young man, he moved to London, Ontario with his family, where he studied at Central Collegiate and the University of Western Ontario.

He enrolled at Osgoode Hall to study law, but his education was interrupted by service with the Royal Canadian Navy during the World War II. He served as an officer on the HMCS Uganda. After the war, he returned to university, graduating in 1948.

He practised law in London, Ontario, and was elected a city alderman. In 1951, he was elected as a Ontario Progressive Conservative Party member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

In 1961, he became the 17th premier of Ontario, and served in that capacity until 1971. A popular leader, Robarts epitomized power and dignity. As a staunch conservative, he was an advocate of individual freedoms and opposed to centralist initiatives of the federal government. He initially opposed Canadian Medicare when it was proposed, but later endorsed it fully. As a civil libertarian, and a strong believer in the promotion of both official languages, he opened the door to French education in Ontario schools. In 1972 he was made a Companion of the Order of Canada.

Remembered for his steps to promote and improve education, he was responsible for the construction of York University, the Ontario Science Centre, the expansion of numerous teacher colleges, and launching the Ontario Scholarship fund.

After retiring from office, John Robarts co-chaired the Task Force on Canadian Unity with Jean-Luc Pépin before joining the boards of directors of several major corporations.

Later in his life, he suffered a series of debilitating strokes, and took his own life on October 18, 1982.

The John P. Robarts Research Institute at the University of Western Ontario was officially opened in 1986. He served as Chancellor of UWO from 1971 to 1976. Also in London is the Robarts School for the Deaf, and the John P. Robarts elementary school. The 14-storey John P. Robarts library at the University of Toronto is also named in his honour.

Preceded by:
Leslie Frost
1949-1961

Premier of Ontario
1961-1971

Succeeded by:
William Davis
1971-1985

Preceded by:
Leslie Frost

Ontario Conservative Leaders

Succeeded by:
William Davis

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