Allan MacEachen

From Academic Kids

Allan Joseph MacEachen (born July 6, 1921) is one of Canada's elder statesmen and was the first Deputy Prime Minister of Canada.

MacEachen was first elected to the Canadian House of Commons on August 8, 1953, as a Liberal under the leadership of Prime Minister Louis St-Laurent. He was re-elected in 1957 but was defeated in the Progressive Conservative Diefenbaker sweep of 1958 -- the largest federal electoral victory in the history of Canada.

After a brief stint teaching at his alma mater, St. Francis Xavier University, MacEachen was re-elected to parliament in the 1962 general election and was re-elected in 1963, 1965, 1968, 1972, 1974, 1979 and 1980.

When Lester B. Pearson formed a government in 1963, he appointed MacEachen to cabinet as Minister of Labour. This was the beginning of a lengthy career in cabinet which would see MacEachen serve in several portfolios under prime ministers Pearson, Pierre Trudeau and John Turner. In addition to Labour, MacEachen held the following portfolios: National Health and Welfare, Manpower and Immigration, Privy Council, External Affairs and Finance.

In addition to his ministerial responsibilities MacEachen served as Government House Leader on three occasions and became the first Deputy Prime Minister of Canada in 1977 under Trudeau, a post he held whenever Trudeau was in office from that time until his retirement.

In 1968, MacEachen contested the leadership of the Liberal Party but did not do well largely because of a second Nova Scotian on the ballot. He was courted to run for leader again in 1984 but opted to support Turner, the eventual winner.

In 1979, when the Liberals lost the election to Joe Clark's Tories, MacEachen served as interim Leader of the Opposition when Trudeau announced he would retire from politics.

Turner named him to the Senate of Canada where he became Leader of the Government in the Senate. Although he was only in this position briefly, as Turner lost the 1984 election, he started the practice of allowing opposition senators to chair a number of committees, a practice that continues today.

From 1984-1991 he served as leader of the opposition in the Senate, where he was regarded as the primary opposition to Brian Mulroney's first term due to Mulroney's substantial majority in the Commons, with an opposition that was spread nearly equally between Turner's Liberals and Ed Broadbent's NDP. In 1988 MacEachen blocked the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement from passing in the Senate, resulting in that being the sole issue of the 1988 election.

He retired from the Senate in 1996 upon reaching the mandatory retirement age of 75 and became a one-dollar-per-year adviser to the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

St. Francis Xavier holds the annual Allan J. MacEachen lecture in his honour.


Preceded by:
vacant *
Deputy Prime Minister of Canada
19801984 (2nd time)
Succeeded by:
Jean Chrétien
Preceded by:
position created in 1977
Deputy Prime Minister of Canada
19771979 (1st time)
Succeeded by:
vacant *

Template:End box

* Joe Clark did not include the post of Deputy Prime Minister in his government of 1979 to 1980.

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