Today in Canada's Political History - June 15, 1950: Arthur Meighen’s 80th birthday celebrated

  • National Newswatch

Canada’s 9th Prime Minister, Arthur Meighen, was born in smalltown Ontario in June of 1874. After a career that took him to the Prime Minister’s Office twice, he eventually left politics and enjoyed a remarkable career of success in the business world. To mark his 80th birthday in 1950, Meighen’s friends and admirers at the Conservative-leaning Ottawa Journal, paused to pay tribute to the former PM ahead of his special day.

Meighen's greatest talent for speech was undoubtedly in debate and no one who watched the flash of his sword in the 1920's and 30's when he was at the height of his fame could ever forget his skill,” a Journal editorial published on June 15, 1950 said. “Yet there were other occasions when outside politics he became, as somebody said, neighbour to the sun soaring to the heights of purest eloquence, the peer of Laurier, Howe and McGee. He never in all his long procession of oratorical triumphs used notes much less a manuscript; his ordered disciplined passages, his use of the inevitable word all were forged in his mind as he piled argument upon argument to his final syllable. To hear him at his best, to watch and feel the play of his intellect; was an event the witnessing of a near perfect speaker.”

And so, today, on the eve of the Rt. Hon. Arthur Meighen’s 150th birthday, I know all readers of Art’s History will join with me in sending birthday greetings all the way to the great House of Commons in the sky to a great Canadian and parliamentarian. 

Arthur Milnes is an accomplished public historian and award-winning journalist. He was research assistant on The Rt. Hon. Brian Mulroney’s best-selling Memoirs and also served as a speechwriter to then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper and as a Fellow of the Queen’s Centre for the Study of Democracy under the leadership of Tom Axworthy. A resident of Kingston, Ontario, Milnes serves as the in-house historian at the 175 year-old Frontenac Club Hotel.