World News – CA – « Grace and Dignity »: Former Prime Minister John Turner remembered at state funeral


TORONTO – Former Liberal Prime Minister John Turner was congratulated at the state funeral on Tuesday as a gifted politician with a strong social conscience who has spent decades serving his fellow citizens

A guest list of 170 mourners – including the current Prime Minister and Turner’s closest family – were on hand at St Basilica in Michael’s Cathedral for the televised service ahead of a private burial

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UK-born Turner, 17th Prime Minister of Canada, passed away peacefully at his home on September 19, his family said He was 91

“Today more than ever we need more people like John,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told mourners “His legacy calls us not to wait for change to happen, but to stand up and build a better country for all « 

Although the newly renovated cathedral can accommodate 1,600 people, concerns over the spread of COVID-19 have prompted organizers to limit the guest list Many of those present wore black masks and were spaced among the benches to maintain physical distance

As sunlight filtered through the stained glass windows, Turner’s daughter Elizabeth Turner greeted her father as a dedicated politician and public servant who, despite the demands of public life, never failed to find time for his family

« John Turner believed in taking the highways, » she said. « He behaved with great grace and dignity and he always maintained his sense of humor »

Once nicknamed ‘Canada’s Kennedy’ when he arrived in Ottawa in the 1960s, athlete John Turner eventually represented three provinces as a Liberal MP He served as Solicitor General and Minister of Justice and Finance in various cabinets before his brief 79-day stint as Prime Minister in 1984

Born in 1929 in England, John Napier Wyndham Turner moved to Canada in 1932 after the untimely death of his father, Olympic-caliber track star, he will continue his law studies

Turner first entered politics in 1962 when he won a seat in the Quebec riding of St-Laurent-St-Georges

In 1965, then Prime Minister Lester Pearson appointed Turner to cabinet, two years before Trudeau’s father, Pierre Trudeau, and his future Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, rose to cabinet positions

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Turner ran to succeed Pearson in 1968, but lost to Pierre Trudeau, who made him Minister of Justice, a post he used to help create the Federal Court

He defended martial law and the suspension of civil liberties during the October 1970 crisis, but also the decriminalization of homosexuality and abortion in the 1960s

Turner married his wife, Geills McCrae Kilgour, grand-niece of Col John McCrae who wrote « In Flanders Fields », in 1963 The couple had a daughter, Elizabeth, and three sons, Michael, David and Andrew

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After leaving politics in 1976, the outdoor enthusiast spent nearly a decade as a corporate lawyer on Bay Street before returning to politics after Pierre Trudeau resigned.Turner won the 1984 Liberal leadership race against Chrétien in a bitterly divided contest

Turner, who opposed free trade with the US, called an election nine days after being sworn in as Prime Minister The ill-prepared and divided party failed to live up to Brian Mulroney and his Progressive Conservatives

Turner resigned as party leader in 1990 and left politics three years later to join a Toronto law firm

Despite declining health, he has been a mainstay of many liberal events He gave speeches reminding the party of its golden years, interspersed with wild tales of life on the political track

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John Turner, Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, State Funeral

News from around the world – CA – « Grace and dignity »: former Prime Minister John Turner remembers during the state funeral



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