Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Search for Canada's Best Premier

After much discussion, I’ve decided to go with a “Canada’s Best Premier” contest for my summer fun activity (some people travel, some take up volleyball…I blog about history…). I recognize there may not be a ton of name recognition for all of these guys (and I say “guys” because they’re pretty much all guys), but part of the purpose is to learn a little bit too.

As for format, the first round will select one Premier from each province to enter the knock-out bracket. As a twist this year, I’m going to outsource the first round. So if anyone would like to host the first round for their home province, please drop me an e-mail []. My goal is to find bloggers from 10 provinces, to each run a poll for a couple of days on their blog, to crown a winner. I’ll co-ordinate and post links to all the individual battles.

Once 10 winners have been selected, the six longest serving Premiers will earn the top 6 seeds and the four shortest servers will duke it out for the final 2 spots. This will set us up for three rounds of knock-out matches until Canada’s Best Premier is crowned.

So, for now, I need to hear from bloggers coast to coast (Liberal, Tory, Dipper, you name it) interested in hosting a first round matchup. For simplicity’s sake, I want to limit the field for the first round to 5 or 6 Premiers per province so if there's a man out there who you're afraid will be left out, speak now or forever hold your peace (I'm looking at all you Harry Nixon fans out there).

Hopefully things can get rolling in a week or so.



  • Why is there even voting? The Harry Strom juggernaut is unbeatable!

    By Blogger Glen, at 8:52 p.m.  

  • Hey, this sounds like it'll be fun. Good planning!

    By Blogger Josh, at 10:23 p.m.  

  • Three words. Bill Vander Zalm.

    By Blogger Duncan, at 10:25 p.m.  

  • Woah woah woah. 10? 10? There're three other bits and pieces of this country that have premiers, you know. I doubt that any of the premiers from the territories stand much of a shot, for lack of name recognition if nothing else - a decent case could probably be made for Tony Penikett, for instance, except that I imagine not many people outside the North remember who he was beyond his federal NDP credentials. But c'mon, for completeness' sake if nothing else, how about some love for the territories?

    By Blogger Andrew Matthews, at 10:44 p.m.  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Bob McInnis, at 12:02 a.m.  

  • I'm amusing Duncan is joking. Try W.A.C. Bennett instead.

    By Blogger Red Tory, at 8:54 a.m.  

  • Ok, here goes:

    BC: W.A.C. Bennett
    AB: Ernest Manning
    SK: Tommy Douglas
    MB: Howard Pawley
    ON: Oliver Mowat
    QC: Jean Lesage
    NB: Richard Hatfield
    NS: George H. Murray
    PE: Pat Binns
    NL: Joey Smallwood
    YT: Tony Penikett
    NT: Frederick W. A. G. Haultain
    NU: Paul Okalik

    By Blogger Scott Blurton, at 10:31 a.m.  

  • I'll host Saskatchewan if nobody has volunteered yet.

    By Blogger rob, at 10:57 a.m.  

  • CG - I sent you an email volunteering to host NB if you would have me.

    andrew - maybe an 11th category to cover the premiers of the territories?

    By Blogger nbpolitico, at 12:57 p.m.  

  • I think the territories should be included somehow.

    And I'll take PEI is no one's interested. Having to a some research into former premiers would be fun.

    By Blogger Mark Greenan, at 2:18 p.m.  

  • I will do Quebec

    There are 5 Premiers that could be classified as the best...

    By Blogger Anthony, at 2:31 p.m.  

  • Whether you want me or not, I started to do some of the leg work...

    Hope you don't mind :)

    By Blogger nbpolitico, at 3:45 p.m.  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Les Dionistas, at 3:51 p.m.  

  • I'll host a province.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:52 p.m.  

  • I love it. Just like the NCAA tournament, the first round is at various locations across the country and then everything comes to one central site for the finals. I'm looking forward to voting once everything is up and running.

    As a former 'Toban my list for top premiers from the Keystone Province would include: John Bracken, Duff Roblin, Howard Pawley and Thomas Greenway (if only to spark debate on the Manitoba Schools Question). The two Garys (Filmon and Doer) might also deserve some consideration...

    By Blogger Pete, at 4:23 p.m.  

  • I generally agree with Blurton.

    Wacky Bennett has to be in there for BC, same with Manning for AB (although maybe Lougheed), and (maybe) Jimmy Gardiner in Saskabush instead of St. Tommy.

    For Manitoba, what about Duff Roblin (4 terms)?

    I love the choice of Oliver Mowat in Ontario (let's hear it for the 19th century!), but any one of Frost, Robarts and Davis would do well too.

    Quebec: You *have* to include Maruice Duplessis. Seriously. I have a soft spot for the guy, but that doesn't change the fact that Lesage is overrated - the right guy in the right place at the right time. If we're going for Quebec Grits - and Grits who held positions for long periods of time - then you should go with either Taschereau. And if not him, Robert Bourassa.

    NB: How can we NOT choose Louis Robichaud in NB?

    NS: Bob Stanfield was actually a pretty popular premier. Or... what about Charles Tupper?

    By Blogger Jarrett, at 5:13 p.m.  

  • Well, none of the NS premiers from the last 20 years or so deserve inclusion (certainly not any from the last 10). John Hamm was alright, though he spend most of his later years in office reacting to and then implementing NDP legislation. How about Angus Macdonald?

    Ontario: Robarts and Davis are certainly good nominees. No one post-Davis.

    Quebec: Levesque

    BC: Dave Barrett - he changed BC forever in three short years by forming ICBC among other enduring institutions. And if he'd won the federal NDP leadership in 1989, the 1993 election might have been very different.

    By Blogger JG, at 8:40 p.m.  

  • Howard Pawley??? Are you serious?? He is by far the weakest of the three Dipper premiers Manitoba has had, and does not deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as Duff Roblin, John Bracken and Thomas Greenway.

    Bracken: let's not confuse longevity with greatness. He was Manitoba's Mackenzie King, and ran an extremely conservative, do-nothing government that was in thrall to farmers and farmers alone.

    Greenway: I suppose if we're looking for ballsy leaders, OK, but at the end of the day he was a shameless panderer to the province's Orange Lodge majority.

    My list (in historical order)

    John Norquay
    Rodmond Roblin
    Duff Roblin
    Ed Schreyer

    The jury's still out on Gary Doer, of course...

    By Blogger ghoris, at 7:21 p.m.  

  • Good idea.

    I agree with WAC Bennett for BC.

    Manning or Lougheed for AB.

    I know so little about the rest that I would be hard pressed to pick somebody, although I do agree that there are some selections that appear to be front runners such as Smallwood for NL, and Robichaud for NB.


    By Blogger Tomm, at 2:25 a.m.  

  • "premiers from the territories"

    *Sigh*. Can someone define the terms to be used here? Someone, sometime, seems to have decided that the territorial leaders are "Premiers". Even though, as territories, they are fully under Federal jurisdiction (rather than peers to the federal government, as are the other Canadian governments).

    Then again, the leader of the Province of Quebec, of course, is properly referred to as the Prime Minister of Quebec.

    And finally, there are questions about the calendar: as of what year is a "premier" of a geographical division to be recognized?

    By Blogger Paul, at 3:32 a.m.  

  • Honore Mercier from Quebec should be on any list of best premiers in Canada. He was the first nationalist Quebec Premier, first to resist the power of the federal government, and the first to stage an interprovincial conference with the other premiers. While he resigned in a cloud of controversy, he was later cleared of any wrong-doing.

    By Blogger Mike White, at 10:22 a.m.  

  • For Ontario, George Drew deserves recognition for starting the Big Blue Machine of 43 years. Mitch Hepburn has to be there, as a Liberal that drove Mackenzie King crazy.

    Klein deserves a shot in Alberta, due to electoral success.

    Don't forget Ed Schreyer in Manitoba. Has the edge over Pawley. Gary Doer due to his political success. Filmon is weak in comparison to his Tory counterparts.

    How about the present for Newfoundland? Frank Moores, Peckford, and Danny Williams over the Liberal ones (Clyde Wells and Brian Tobin). Note the importance of the offshore revenue in framing this debate.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:49 p.m.  

  • If Parizeau loses, it'll be because of money and the ethnic vote.

    By Blogger Glen, at 11:20 p.m.  

  • Duncan's right: BVZ hands down.

    By Blogger sir john a., at 2:44 p.m.  

  • Richard Hatfield for N.B. and the whole Canada-wide ball of wax. He was both gay and smoked dope before they were popular.

    He also did good works for the province and yada yada yada...

    By Blogger bigcitylib, at 9:34 p.m.  

  • From Newfoundland and Labrador:

    Though most Canadians can probably recognize Joseph R. Smallwood better than any other, my personal vote for the premiere that did the most for building a sence of provincial pride and a sence of worth as a province would be Clyde Wells.

    Hardly has the country ever had the pleasure of company of a man of such conviction.

    Clyde recognized what must be done, and did it. Usually while running head-on into the Ottawa universe, and public opinion (both in his home province and across the country).

    Few people in the world have earned my respect more than Clyde Wells.

    My $0.02.

    By Blogger Kevin Dunphy, at 7:29 p.m.  

  • I have the same question, Why is there even voting? And how about crystal shops? Why nobody talks about crystals and gemstones?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:58 a.m.  

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