Tuesday, September 20, 2005

And The Winner Is...

In a 403-340 decision, the tournament's number 4 seed, Wilfrid Laurier, has emerged as the winner of the Greatest Prime Minister.

After cruising through Arthur Meighen, Jean Chretien, and Mackenzie King, Laurier finally found a tough fight but managed to maintain around 55% of the vote throughout the week.

Unlike other polarizing figures (*cough*Trudeau*cough*), Laurier is still respected by both liberals and conservatives alike today. While Macdonald oversaw the birth of Canada, Laurier led the country through prosperous years, at a time when Canada really started to come of age. He was a nation builder - moving us away from Britain and towards the US, bringing the West into Canada, and welcoming in thousands of immigrants.

Laurier championed the "sunny compromise", resolving what could have been explosive English/French disputes by searching for the middle ground. As the first French Canadian Prime Minister, Laurier changed the very nature of confederation by ensuring that Quebec would have a voice at the national level. He also changed the very nature of politics by turning the Liberal Party into Canada's dominant political machine.

You could make a list of accomplishments for any of the final four in this contest as impressive as Laurier's. What likely pushed him over the top is the admiration that Canadians feel for Laurier, the person. He was a man of principle, going down in defeat over free trade and conscription. In an age when there is a startling lack of vision among our national leaders, Laurier had a vision: "The 20th century will belong to Canada".

Previous Posts in "The Greatest Prime Minister" contest:
The Voters Speak - Macdonald vs Laurier
PM Rankings - Various rankings of all the Prime Ministers
The Great One - Announcing the final round matchup
Back To The Beginning - Semi-Final results
King of the World - A case for Mackenzie King
When Nation Builders Collide - Profile on the Trudeau/Macdonald matchup
Semi-Finals - Announcing the semi-final matchups
Final Four - Quarter-final results
The Elite Eight - Quarter-final matchups announced
Round One Results - Round one results (duh)
Borden vs Pearson - A profile of the first round Borden/Pearson matchup
Greatest Prime Minister - The contest is launched


  • Well done, CG. A little bit of fun, a sprinkle of education, a dash of ideological rant and add a pinch of controversy, and voila a great poll and contest that, despite the controversy over "stacking the vote" and being only an online blogger poll, probably comes close to reflecting the true sentiments of Canadians. The first two founders of the country facing off against each other, with a tip of the hat to the one who was less corrupt and had a stronger personal character.

    Now when are you going to start your tournament on best Canadian bloggers? You can count on some controversy there for sure (and you can count on my vote for CalgaryGrit!).


    By Blogger Cerberus, at 4:29 PM  

  • There's already My Blahg's Canadian Blog Awards when it comes to bloggers...

    ...although come next summer, I may want to try "Greatest Premier" or "Greatest Prime Minister we never had" or something like that.

    But enough polls for now - the House will be siting next week and there's an election on the way.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 4:45 PM  

  • This has been a really intersting exercise.

    I'm suitably amused by the (far) right's desparate campaign to knock off Trudeau. And further amused by quite how few of them there are.

    Of course, I'm more amused by the sad first round defeat of Paul Martin. Looks good on him.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:46 PM  

  • Congrats to Laurier!

    "...although come next summer, I may want to try "Greatest Premier" or "Greatest Prime Minister we never had" or something like that."

    Hmm...Lougheed, Bill Davis, Mowatt, Lesage...and sure, why not...Tommy Douglas for greatest Premiers.

    Stanfield I think would be my choice for greatest PM we never had. I'm sure NDPers could make a case for Tommy Douglas or Ed Broadbent (probably Mulroney's real opponent as he actually had some leadership and campaigning skills).

    By Anonymous Tory Matt, at 6:35 PM  

  • Greatest Prime Minister we never had? Well, if you make it "never will have had" I might consider Harper. Nah... He doesn't even make that list. ;-)

    How about a poll on most interesting/fair/balanced mainstream media journalist? Now that would be very interesting both in voting and commentary.

    By Blogger Cerberus, at 9:22 PM  

  • The contest was great CG, thanks for hosting it. Laurier was a sharp dresser too.

    If you go for a Greatest Canadian Who Should Have Been Prime Minister, be sure to include Joseph Howe and J.S. Woodsworth.

    By Blogger Simon Pole, at 12:47 AM  

  • Does Pierre Bourque count as a "mainstream" media journalist?

    By Blogger Toronto Tory, at 9:49 AM  

  • Great little exercise.

    And as between the two finalists, I actually agree that Laurier was the better. In my ranking, I place him #3 overall anyway. After all -- he was a free trader!

    Given that most of the greatest PMs are the ones we "never had," I think it would be cool to do a contest like that.

    By Blogger Liam O'Brien, at 2:15 PM  

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