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Joe Clark

The Right Honourable Charles Joseph Clark (born June 5, 1939) was the sixteenth Prime Minister of Canada from June 4, 1979 to March 2, 1980.

Joe Clark
He was born in High River, Alberta.

Joe Clark was the son of the publisher of the local newspaper and attended local schools and the University of Alberta, where he earned a bachelor's and a master's degree in political science. He went on to study law at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, British Columbia. He was active in student politics and eventually left law school to work full time for the Progressive Conservative Party.

Joe Clark married Maureen McTeer, a well-known author and lawyer. Their daughter, Catherine, is an Art History graduate from the University of Toronto.

Politically active, at the Progressive Conservative Party convention in 1976 Clark was a compromise English-speaking candidate. He won, as most of the delegates from English Canada moved to him when their favorites were defeated.

At age 39, Joe Clark became Canada's youngest Prime Minister on June 4, 1979, succeeding Pierre Elliott Trudeau after the defeat of Trudeau's Liberal government in the general election of May 1979. Clark was the first Conservative to head a Canadian government since the defeat of John Diefenbaker in 1963.

With his party winning only a minority of seats in the House of Commons, as Prime Minister, Clark had to rely on the support of the Social Credit Party with its 6 seats or the New Democratic Party with its 26 seats. Without this support, he was subject to defeat by the Liberals at any time.

During his election campaign Clark had promised to cut taxes to stimulate the economy. But once in office he adopted a budget designed to curb inflation by slowing economic activity, and he also proposed additional taxes to help conserve energy. In December the minor parties combined with the Liberals to defeat a gasoline tax increase, and Clark resigned. In February 1980 new elections swept Trudeau and the Liberal party back into power with 146 seats, against 103 for Clark and the Progressive Conservatives.

In 1998, Clark was re-elected to the leadership of the Progressive Conservatives after the previous leader, Jean Charest, left federal politics to become leader of the Quebec Liberal Party. Clark was elected as Member of Parliament for Kings-Hants, Nova Scotia in a by-election on September 11, 2000, and in the general election two months later for Calgary Centre, Alberta.

Clark announced his intention to step down as PC leader on August 6, 2002 and was replaced by Peter MacKay on May 31, 2003.

External Link: Joe Clark (Progressive Conservative Party of Canada) (http://www.pcparty.ca/en/joe/index.asp)

Preceded by:
Pierre Trudeau
Prime Minister of Canada Followed by:
Pierre Trudeau

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