In 1972 Trudeau transferred Turner to the Department of finance. When the Trudeau government lost its majority in Nov 1972 Turner found it necessary to tailor policy to the demands of popularity, and tax reductions and pension increases followed. The government still ran a surplus, both in 1973 and 1974, but the overall effect of its policy was to stimulate inflation. Once the Trudeau government regained its majority in an election caused by the defeat of Turner's May 1974 budget in the Commons, Turner concentrated on restraining inflation, but policies had not yet been decided when, in Sept 1975, he suddenly resigned from Cabinet without explanation, quitting politics altogether in Feb 1976 to join a large Toronto law firm. He declined to contest the Liberal leadership in 1979 (a contest which was never held) after Trudeau's first resignation, but with the announcement of Trudeau's resignation in Feb 1984 Turner decided to try for the leadership, which he won on the second ballot on 16 June 1984, defeating Jean Chrétien. Becoming prime minister on June 30, Turner dissolved parliament on July 9. In the election that followed in early Sept, Turner directed a disorganized campaign which failed to recoup the Liberals' already massive unpopularity and they suffered a disastrous defeat, winning only 40 seats in the Commons. However, Turner, who was not able to convince voters that he represented innovation or decisive leadership, won his own seat in Vancouver Quadra. He left office 17 Sept 1984 and became Leader of the Opposition. This was the beginning of 2 years of discord in his own party, which was only temporarily quieted after the reconfirmation of Turner's leadership at a Liberal convention in Ottawa in Nov 1986. While Turner still faced the challenge of gaining wider acceptance of his leadership, his party rose to lead the polls through 1987. Turner led a revitalized party in the 1988 election, campaigning effectively against the Conservative's free-trade policy. The party doubled its number of seats from 40 to 82 but fell far short of the Conservatives. Turner resigned as leader in 1990, replaced by Jean Chrétien, but he kept his seat until dissolution in 1993. He returned to private law practise.
Author ROBERT BOTHWELL
Links to Other Sites
First Among Equals
Learn about the private lives and political careers of Canada’s Prime Ministers. Includes biographies, speeches, and other historical documents. A Library and Archives Canada website.
Last Lunch with Trudeau
Pierre Elliott Trudeau reflects on the October Crisis and related issues in this article by William Tetley, McGill law professor. Click on links on the left side of the page for additional articles about the October Crisis.
The website for Jean-Marc Carisse, official photographer to former Canadian Prime Ministers Pierre Elliott Trudeau, John Turner, and Jean Chrétien. Features many photographs of Canadian politicians and other prominent Canadian and international personalities.