Media Resources: Chapter 08

CBC Archives

1963: Diefenbaker government collapses
It's the end of the line for Prime Minister John Diefenbaker. His beleaguered minority government is falling apart over the issue of placing American nuclear warheads in Canada. The controversy has already prompted Dief's defence minister to resign. Now, the final blows: two no-confidence motions that topple his government. As we hear in this clip, the tense drama in the House has barely concluded when the campaigning for the next election begins.

Liberal rat pack invades parliament in 1985
The Canadian election of 1984 was a landslide for Brian Mulroney's Progressive Conservatives, but four young Liberals are digging their way out of political obscurity. Known collectively as the Rat Pack, the backbenchers—Don Boudria, Sheila Copps and John Nunziata from Ontario and Brian Tobin of Newfoundland—have become so notable for their vocal criticism in and out of Parliament that they've even made T-shirts.

Mulroney stacks senate to pass the GST
Liberal Senators have vowed to kill the Conservative government's bill to establish a goods and services tax. But they are caught off-guard when Prime Minister Brian Mulroney uses an obscure power to make eight appointments, creating an instant Conservative majority in the Senate. The unprecedented move, made with the consent of the Queen, has the Opposition fuming with outrage. But Mulroney is defiant. He accuses the Liberal senators of trying to subvert democracy.

Question Period goes live
Lights, camera, action! It's showtime in the House of Commons as parliamentary proceedings are broadcast live on television for the first time. In this TV special, the CBC asks parliamentarians whether the cameras will change the substance or the style of debate in the Commons. Then it's on to the main attraction: Question Period. Though he's a little uncomfortable under the glare of the TV lights, Opposition leader Joe Clark plays to the audience across Canada. Fellow Tory MPs thump their desks with gusto as Clark stands to preface a question to Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau on unemployment. "On this day when television is first reflecting the debates in the House of Commons, among the Canadians who are watching us here today are a large number of the army of Canadian unemployed who, because of the policies of this government, have nothing else to do with their time today," says Clark.

Lincoln Alexander Canada’s first black Lieutenant-Governor
Lincoln Alexander has achieved another first in Canadian politics. In 1968 he was the first black Canadian to be elected to the House of Commons, holding his Hamilton, Ont. seat as a member of the Progressive Conservatives for 12 years. Five years after leaving Parliament, he is appointed lieutenant-governor of Ontario—the first black person to hold a vice-regal position in the country. In this report from the CBC's Robert Fisher, Alexander is sworn in and gives a speech inside Queen's Park.

Clark Government Falls on Budget
In Canada's system of government, a prime minister must maintain the confidence of the House of Commons—this means that if a prime minister is defeated on an important piece of legislation, he or she has lost confidence and usually must resign and call an election. This is what happened to Prime Minister Joe Clark in 1979. With three Tories of 136 out of the House (in hospital and overseas) and five Social Credit abstentions, Clark was up against 112 Liberals and all 27 NDP members. His government was brought down, 139-133. Not seven months after he became prime minister, Clark was hitting the hustings once more after he saw the governor general to dissolve Parliament.

TVO's The Agenda

100 Days of Trudeau
The Agenda looks at Justin Trudeau's first 100 days as prime minister, reviewing his successes, failures and the tone he has set for the next four years.

The New Senators
The Agenda checks in with three new senators appointed by the new federal Liberal government: Peter Harder, Frances Lankin, and Ratna Omidvar.

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