Before there was Trump, there was Pocklington

Canada had its own millionaire-political-leader wannabe: Peter Pocklington sought the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada and the office of prime minister in 1983.

He lost – lost big – but turned out to be a “kingmaker” at the convention, resulting in a win by Brian Mulroney who went on to defeat the Liberals in the national election and become Canada’s 18th prime minister.

Just as Trump was not a Republican, Pocklington was not a Conservative, describing himself as a libertarian, but he wanted to be prime minister so he sought the nomination with a platform based on, among other things:

  • flat income tax rate of 20%;
  • getting the government out of business;
  • privatizing health care;
  • selling national resources to pay down the national debt;
  • sending criminals to Arctic penal colonies;
  • restoring the branches of the then-unified Armed Forces;
  • letting Quebec separate.

“Government, he says, is for the protection of borders and to run law enforcement and the courts, to ensure the rule of law … . And so Peter Pocklington embarked on his leadership campaign secure in the conviction that the skills he mastered in the marketplace would serve him well in government. He felt it almost his duty to offer himself to his country.

“Gretzky agreed to go to Ottawa to lend Peter whatever moral support he could. … One advisor, when asked for a prediction on how many votes Peter would get on the first ballot, replied ’99.’ He wouldn’t be far off.”

Read more in The Puck Talks Here: The amazing life & turbulent times of Peter Pocklington

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