Former Prime Minister John Turner Dead At 91

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"The most unfortunate thing to happen to anybody is to come in at the top in politics," Turner said in 1967.
THE CANADIAN PRESS Former prime minister John Turner looks on during a photo op to mark the 150th anniversary of the first meeting of the first Parliament of Canada, in Ottawa on Nov. 6, 2017.

TORONTO — Former prime minister John Turner, whose odyssey from a "Liberal dream in motion" to a political anachronism spanned 30 years, has died at the age of 91. Marc Kealey, a former aide speaking on behalf of Turner's relatives as a family friend, says Turner died peacefully in his sleep at home in Toronto on Friday night. "He's in a much better place, and I can say on behalf of the family there was no struggle and it was very, very peaceful," Kealey said. Smart, athletic and blessed with movie-star good looks, Turner was dubbed "Canada's Kennedy" when he first arrived in Ottawa in the 1960s. But he failed to live up to the great expectations of his early career, governing for just 79 days after a difficult, decades-long climb to the top job. "The apprenticeship is absolutely vital. And yet, the longer the apprenticeship, the more the young politician risks tiring the public. So that by the time he's ready, the public may be tired of him." His words were prophetic.

THE CANADIAN PRESS Former Prime Minister John Turner stands during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on Nov. 6, 2017.

Despite his missteps, Turner guided the Liberals through some of their darkest days in the 1980s. His right-of-centre contribution to party policy would help pave the way for fiscally conservative prime ministers Jean Chretien — his longtime rival — and Paul Martin. Turner's journey began as a dashing young politician with the world at his feet and ended nearly 30 years later when he could no longer overcome his image as a relic of the past. There was a dichotomy to Turner's life. He was a jock who studied at Oxford and the Sorbonne, a staunch Catholic who defended the decriminalization of abortion and homosexuality and a Bay Street lawyer who campaigned…
Sima Shakeri
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