Canada’s last government prime minister John Turner died on Friday at his home in Vancouver. He was 91.
He served as prime minister between 1971 and 1976, a period that includes major struggles with the Soviets, the Vietnam War and a largely failed bid to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement.Prime Minister Stephen Harper called Turner “a fearless and deeply principled leader” who “took on the Communist threat” during his time in office, even as his government faced fierce opposition from within the Liberal Party. “I have never met anyone like him,” Harper said, adding that “his legacy will live on.”
Canada is mourning Turner’s passing, and if you want to read more about his legacy, you can read this post from Harper’s office.We are deeply saddened to announce that Prime Minister John Turner has passed away. The Prime Minister and the entire government will be standing up for his legacy today. https://t.co/U9yEvmOGtF — Stephen Harper (@pmharper) September 20, 2018 John Turner died at his home in Vancouver today at the age of 91. Out of generations of former prime ministers, this is the one we will remember. We will fight to ensure his dream of free trade with the USA is realized. And we will fight to secure a free trade agreement with the Americas with Mexico and Canada. Together, we have a shared responsibility. #LongLiveTradeNow https://t.co/w8iiq3Fr0i — Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) September 20, 2018
Harper: Former Canadian PM John Turner died today at the age of 91.The PM has released the following statement: https://t.co/W1Yv5s8JJl pic.twitter.com/nCUJzTBKzg — Abigail Phelps (@napaocser) September 20, 2018
Turner first assumed office as prime minister of Canada in the early 1960s, but resigned due to his efforts to renegotiate the treaty with the United States.
“If Canada had not negotiated a treaty with the United States, we would have an effective case” in court, the prime minister told the Financial Times in 1979.We know John Turner is missed. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time. https://t.co/dynKDRdQgE — Vancouver Sun (@vancsun) September 20, 2018 Trudeau, in particular, was fond of quoting Turner, describing him as someone who “stood up to the Communists.” “He provided economic leadership and a focus on Canadian values,” Trudeau said. “No one led this country through the hard times more than John Turner.”
Turner’s is also what these days is referred to as “Senior Conservative Policies.” By focusing on more austerity measures to deal with the economic effects of NAFTA, the leader of the governing Conservative Party was prepared to provide growth at a time when that seemed unlikely.
According to the Globe and Mail, the relationship between the Canadian Party and the Conservative Party has had its ups and downs, but Turner always remained at the top of Conservative policies, as the party was widely seen as more committed to the interests of the Canadian people.
Turner is survived by his son and two grandsons.