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Stockwell Day

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Title: Stockwell Day  
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Subject: Canadian Alliance candidates, 2000 Canadian federal election, Joe Clark, Jean Chrétien, Canadian federal election, 2000, Peter Van Loan
Collection: 1950 Births, Canadian Alliance Mps, Canadian Pentecostals, Canadian Pro-Life Activists, Christian Creationists, Conservative Party of Canada Mps, Critics of Islam, Leaders of the Opposition (Canada), Living People, Members of the Executive Council of Alberta, Members of the House of Commons of Canada from British Columbia, Members of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada, People from Barrie, People from Penticton, Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta Mlas, University of Victoria Alumni
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Stockwell Day

The Honourable
Stockwell Day
Stockwell Day, July 2010
Leader of the Canadian Alliance
In office
July 8, 2000 – December 11, 2001
Preceded by Deborah Grey (interim)
Succeeded by John Reynolds (interim)
Minister of Public Safety
In office
February 6, 2006 – October 30, 2008
Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Preceded by Anne McLellan
Succeeded by Peter Van Loan
Minister of International Trade
In office
October 30, 2008 – January 19, 2010
Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Preceded by Michael Fortier
Succeeded by Peter Van Loan
President of the Treasury Board
In office
January 29, 2010 – May 18, 2011
Preceded by Vic Toews
Succeeded by Tony Clement
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Okanagan—Coquihalla
In office
September 11, 2000 – March 26, 2011
Preceded by Jim Hart
Succeeded by Dan Albas
Personal details
Born Stockwell Burt Day, Jr.
(1950-08-16) August 16, 1950
Barrie, Ontario
Political party Conservative (2003–2011)
Other political
Canadian Alliance (2000–2003),
Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta
Spouse(s) Valorie Day
Residence Penticton, British Columbia
Profession Auctioneer, businessman, contractor, school administrator
Religion Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada

Stockwell Burt Day, Jr., PC (born August 16, 1950) is a former Canadian politician, and a member of the Conservative Party of Canada. He is a former cabinet minister in Alberta, and a former leader of the Canadian Alliance. Day was MP for the riding of Okanagan—Coquihalla in British Columbia and the president of the Treasury Board. He was widely seen as a prominent voice for social conservatives within the Conservative Party. On March 12, 2011, Day announced that he would not be seeking re-election in the 2011 federal election.[1]


  • Early life and career 1
  • Career in provincial politics 2
  • Leadership of the Canadian Alliance 3
    • 2000 election 3.1
    • Post-election 3.2
  • Political career after leadership 4
    • Minister of Public Safety 4.1
    • Minister of International Trade 4.2
    • President of Treasury Board 4.3
  • Post-political career 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Early life and career

Day was born in Barrie, Ontario, the son of Gwendolyn "Gwen" (Gilbert) and Stockwell Day, Sr.[2] He lived in a number of places in Canada during his youth, including Atlantic Canada; Ottawa, where he attended Ashbury College; and Montreal, where he graduated from Westmount High School. He attended the University of Victoria[3] and Vanguard College, then known as Northwest Bible College, in Edmonton, Alberta, but did not graduate from either.

His father, who was born in Montreal, was long associated with the Social Credit Party of Canada. In the 1972 federal election he was the Social Credit candidate running against New Democratic Party leader Tommy Douglas in the riding of Nanaimo—Cowichan—The Islands. Day, Sr., supported Doug Christie and was a member of the Western Canada Concept.

From 1978 to 1985, Day was assistant pastor and school administrator at the Bentley Christian Centre in Bentley, Alberta. His school taught the Accelerated Christian Education curriculum.

In his political career, Day has never campaigned on Sundays, choosing instead to set them aside as time for worship and to be with his family. This came under scrutiny in the 2000 election, when his religion became an election issue.[4]

Career in provincial politics

In 1986, Day was elected to represent Red Deer North in the Legislative Assembly of Alberta as a Progressive Conservative (PC), a position that he held until 2000.

In December 1992, newly elected Alberta premier Ralph Klein brought Day into cabinet as his Minister of Labour, a position in which he oversaw controversial changes in his ministry, including layoffs in the civil service. As Minister of Labour, Day was credited with working with all of Alberta's Public Service Unions to achieve an unprecedented 5% voluntary reduction in their collective agreements. While Day was Minister of Labour, Alberta had the lowest number of days lost due to labour disputes of any province. As Minister Responsible for the Worker's Compensation Board, Day oversaw the elimination of the Compensation Board's unfunded liability of $600 million. This led to a general reduction in premiums for businesses and a general increase in workers' benefits.

In October 1994 Government House Leader was added to his responsibility. In May 1996, Day was made Minister of Social Services, and in March 1997, he became Treasurer. As Treasurer, Day oversaw a continued paying down of Alberta's debt while he cut taxes, instituting a flat tax rate in 1999.

A defamation suit in 1999 by Red Deer lawyer Lorne Goddard was brought against Stockwell Day, then a senior Cabinet Minister and a member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta. The suit was eventually settled on December 22, 2000 in the plaintiffs favour. According to a Government News Release of January 16, 2001, the total settlement cost was $792,064.40 including $60,000 in damages paid to the plaintiff. Those costs were paid by Alberta taxpayers although Mr. Day did eventually pay back the Alberta Government the $60,000 in damages out of his own pocket.

Leadership of the Canadian Alliance

In 2000, Day decided to run for leader of the newly formed Canadian Alliance party. After a heavily-publicized campaign, Day came in first on the June 24 first ballot of the leadership election with about 44% of the vote, in front of former Reform Party leader Preston Manning and Ontario PC strategist Tom Long. In the following runoff election against Manning, held on July 8, 2000, Day received 63.4%.

Looking for a way to get into Parliament, Day decided against running in his hometown riding of Red Deer, even though it was comfortably safe for the Alliance. Instead, he ran in a by-election in the equally safe riding of Okanagan—Coquihalla, British Columbia after incumbent Reform/CA MP Jim Hart stood down in his favour—a standard practice in most parliamentary systems when a newly elected leader doesn't have a seat in Parliament. Day won the by-election on September 11, 2000, arriving at his first news conference on a Jet Ski wearing a wetsuit.[5]

2000 election

Stockwell Day, December 2000

A few weeks after Day entered the House of Commons, Jean Chrétien called a snap election for November 27, 2000, which would not give the newly formed Canadian Alliance time to consolidate itself. Nonetheless, the new party went into the election with high hopes, as Day was expected to appeal far more to the crucial Ontario voters than his predecessors.

There were few if any important issues when the election was called, nonetheless the Liberals frequently alleged that Day had a hidden agenda, identifying Day with the Christian right, and drawing attention to his past comments about homosexuality and abortion.

In an interview published in the alternative weekly Montreal Mirror on June 8, Day addressed some of the perceptions that he was homophobic. He began by denying that he had ever referred to homosexuality as a "mental disorder". He acknowledged having gay staffers working on his campaign: "First of all, as far as my campaign, I don't ask people if they're homosexual, lesbian or heterosexual. People who are working on my campaign are doing so because they believe in me. That doesn't mean that they necessarily agree 100 per cent with everything I believe. But in principle they're saying we think you can take this Alliance to the next step and we think you'd be good for Canada. So I don't ask. Nobody has to pass a sex test to be on this campaign." But the statement that made headlines in newspapers across the country was Day's acknowledgment that he would indeed consider using the Notwithstanding Clause to block a Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage, then a distinct possibility that was unnerving many social conservatives. After being pressed by journalist Matthew Hays on the Notwithstanding Clause question, Day replied "Yes, and the reason I say that is because such a significant number of constituents would reflect concern on that and would want the discussion. The Alberta position on this is that the definition of marriage changing would allow for the use of the Notwithstanding Clause. That's because the sense of the elected officials in Alberta is that the people would be significantly motivated on that issue."

Joe Clark and Day in the debates for the 2000 election

Liberal activist Warren Kinsella mocked Day's belief in Young Earth creationism by pulling out a Barney doll during a television interview and stating that "this was the only dinosaur ever to be on Earth with humans". Media covering the Day campaign bus, nicknamed "Prayer Force One", whistled The Flintstones theme song to mock the idea that humans and dinosaurs co-existed.[6]

During the 2000 election the CBC ran an extended documentary purporting to review Day's religious beliefs. In this documentary the CBC interviewed Professor Pliny Hayes, Chair of the Department of Natural Sciences at Red Deer College, who reported that Day said in a speech at the college that there is scientific proof that the world is about 6,000 years old and that early man co-existed with dinosaurs. Day filed a complaint with the CBC for the fact that he was at no time asked for comment on the matter.[7]

When subsequently asked by reporters about his beliefs, Day said he didn't think his beliefs "should be used in any kind of detrimental way in an election campaign." Day's spokesman Phil Von Finckenstein said the Alliance believes that other theories of creation should be taught alongside evolution in schools, but he also recognizes education is a provincial jurisdiction.[8]

The Alliance's direct democracy proposals, which would have required a referendum on any proposal supported by a petition signed by 3% of Canadian voters, was also frequently targeted as a suggestion of a hidden agenda. Some asserted that "special interest" groups would use the low requirements to put contentious subjects to a national referendum. Day himself never did support the threshold, explaining that he would need to consult with Canadians over what the threshold should be.[9] The proposal was satirized by Rick Mercer of This Hour Has 22 Minutes, where he proposed a national petition for a referendum to demand that Day change his first name to Doris, which reached the threshold advocated by The Alliance.[10]

Another gaffe took place when the Day campaign used the hit single "Ordinary Day" by Great Big Sea at a rally without permission. The band demanded that Day's campaign cease using the song for campaigning purposes.[11]

Day was also a victim of an incident during the election. When making a "grand entrance" for a speech at Conestoga College, activist Julian Ichim splashed him with two litres of chocolate milk from the front of the stage, saying he did it to protest Day's "homophobic, anti-immigrant and anti-poor agenda".[12][13][14][15] Afterward, again on This Hour Has 22 Minutes, actress Mary Walsh jokingly offered Day chocolate milk, saying: "All they had was homo, and I knew [Day] wouldn't like that."[16]

Day stumbled during two campaign appearances in the first week. A photo-op at a technology firm meant to illustrate a "brain drain" to the US was undermined when the owner reported that he had moved to Canada from the United States eight years earlier. The next day, at Niagara Falls, Day remarked that Canadian jobs were flowing south "just like the Niagara River", when in fact the river flows north. In mid-campaign, the Alliance candidate in Winnipeg South Centre, Betty Granger, was quoted as voicing concerns about an "Asian invasion" in Canada. And in the televised leaders' debate, Day held up a handwritten sign saying "NO 2-TIER HEALTHCARE" in large letters to counter a Globe and Mail newspaper headline earlier in the campaign. As props were against the rules, he claimed it was his briefing notes.

At one point, the Alliance was at 30.5% in the polls, and some thought they could win a minority government. On election night, the Alliance increased their seats over Reform totals from 60 to 66, and kept Reform's strong representation in western Canada, but the hoped-for breakthrough in Ontario did not occur, with the party electing just two MPs in that province. However, the Alliance increased their overall vote totals by over one million and reduced the Progressive Conservatives to 12 seats in the House of Commons. The Liberals' attacks on Day ended up decimating the NDP and Progressive Conservatives, as many voters who would otherwise have supported those parties voted strategically for the Liberals to prevent an Alliance victory.


Further controversies plagued Day following the election. While he had been a government minister in Alberta he wrote a letter to the editor of the Red Deer Advocate in April 1999 in which he criticized Lorne Goddard, a lawyer and Red Deer school trustee, for defending a man accused of possessing child pornography.[17] In it he alleged that Goddard himself supported child pornography. When Goddard sued for libel, the Alberta government covered Day's legal bills. In December, the government lawyers settled out of court, but the legal costs and settlement totalled $792,000. A citizen's fund was set up on behalf of taxpayers to cover the lawyers' charges. Even though thousands of dollars began coming in from across the country, Alberta's Ethics Commissioner ruled that the voluntary fund could not be used. Day was criticized for the costs and eventually re-paid the province $60,000, the settlement amount excluding legal fees. Further controversy ensued in February when it was reported that Bennett Jones, the law firm that had represented Day at taxpayer expense, donated $70,000 to the Canadian Alliance Fund shortly after Day settled. The Alliance launched an internal review that determined that nothing inappropriate had occurred.

In April it was reported that Day had approved the hiring of a private investigator to dig up dirt to smear the Liberals. After confirming that he had met the man on April 7, Day denied this on the 8th, claiming on the 9th that he had read of the meeting in The Globe and Mail and had assumed that it was correct. Day later made it clear that he never did hire or approve of the hiring of an investigator.

Given the string of negative stories, many Alliance members became increasingly critical of Day's leadership. In late April, several members of Day's Shadow Cabinet, including deputy leader Deborah Grey, resigned their posts. In the following months, Grey and eleven other MPs either resigned or were suspended from caucus for criticizing Day. This group, led by Chuck Strahl and Grey, formed the "Independent Alliance Caucus" during the summer. Day offered an amnesty, but seven of them turned it down and formed the Democratic Representative Caucus, led by Strahl and Grey. The DRC entered a short-lived coalition agreement with the Tories, which was seen as an attempt by PC leader Joe Clark to reunite the Canadian right on his terms.

Political career after leadership

Day arrives for his swearing in at Rideau Hall on February 6, 2006.

In the fall of 2001 Day agreed to step aside and recontest the leadership, and in the March 2002 Alliance leadership election, Day was defeated by Stephen Harper on the first ballot. As a concession to Day, Harper appointed him as Foreign Affairs critic. Most of the DRC MPs, with the exception of Inky Mark and Jim Pankiw, rejoined the Alliance caucus on April 10.

In March 2003 Day and Harper co-wrote a letter to Tristan Emmanuel.

In December 2003, the Canadian Alliance and the Progressive Conservative Party merged to become the Conservative Party of Canada. Day did not run for the leadership of the new party, but remained as Foreign Affairs critic. He was easily re-elected to Parliament in the 2004, 2006, and 2008 elections.

In November 2004, Day provoked controversy by not offering condolences to Palestinians after the death of PLO leader Yasser Arafat. The controversy was heightened when it was leaked to the media that Day had attempted to justify his actions to his party colleagues by circulating an article by David Frum which suggested that Arafat had died of AIDS.[18]

In March 2007, the federal Liberals accused former Alliance MP CBC—did not deny the allegations or impeach the authenticity of the evidence the Liberals had obtained.[20] The entire matter was investigated by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police who found no evidence of wrongdoing.

In August 2010, Day caused some controversy when he stated the government was "very concerned ... about the increase in the amount of unreported crimes that surveys clearly show are happening".[21] Critics question the supporting evidence of the minister as data pertaining to unreported crimes for 2009 had not yet been released.[22]

On March 12, 2011, Day announced that he would not be seeking re-election in the 2011 federal election.[1]

Minister of Public Safety

Stockwell Day at a June 2008 announcement on Border Safety.

On February 6, 2006, Day was promoted to the Minister of Public Safety in the Conservative government and was sworn into the Privy Council. When, in May 2008, Israeli Ambassador Alan Baker warned that Canada's Muslim population will influence its policies, Day responded by saying that Canada was proud of its multicultural composition.[23]

Minister of International Trade

On October 30, 2008, Day was sworn in as Minister of International Trade in the Conservative Government. He was also appointed the Minister for the Asia–Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative.[24]

President of Treasury Board

Day was appointed president of the Treasury Board by Stephen Harper on January 19, 2010.[25]

During the controversy over the Harper government's decision to eliminate the mandatory long-form census, Day in a radio interview on CHED 630AM on July 23, 2010 defended the move by implying that online web searches are as effective as the national census: "We live in an information age where any 12-year-old kid can push any button on the Internet and find out any information he or she wants without threatening a citizen that they’re going to go to jail.” (Quoted in The Globe and Mail,[26] and Macleans Magazine[27] with audio archived online by 630CHED[28])

In March 2011, Day announced that he would not seek re-election in the next federal elections.[29]

Post-political career

After retiring from politics Day started a government relations firm, called Stockwell Day Connex.[30] On June 14, 2011 the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada appointed Day as a Distinguished Fellow.[31] On July 1, 2011, Day joined Canadian law firm McMillan LLP as a senior strategic advisor.[32] Day also currently holds a position on the board of directors of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs[33] as well as on the board of directors of the Canada-India Business Council,[34] the board of directors of TELUS,[35] and the Canada China Business Council.[36]

He continues to appear on occasion as a political panelist on CBC News Network's Power & Politics.


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ LifeSite Special Report – Attacks Against Party Leader's Christianity Continue
  5. ^
  6. ^ BBC News | AMERICAS | Stockwell Day: Preaching politician
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ Stockwell Day at AllExperts
  14. ^ – Ichim convicted of assault for milk attack on Day (Jon Willing)
  15. ^ October 6, 2000
  16. ^ Jump the Shark: Has Your Favorite TV Show Reached Its Peak? Jump The Shark |
  17. ^ NOW On / Newsfront / News Spread / Nov 16–22, 2000
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^ The Hon. Stockwell Day Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia–Pacific Gateway
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^ Stockwell Day, amateur statistician – Beyond The Commons –
  28. ^ 630 CHED: News, Talk, Sports
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^

External links

  • Official website
  • Parliamentary website
  • Stockwell Day – Parliament of Canada biography
  • How'd They Vote?: Stockwell Day's voting history and quotes
  • In Their Own Words: quotations by and about Canada's Conservatives
  • Climate quip puts Day on hot seat – Weblog joke gets chilly reception
  • Montreal Mirror interview with Day
  • The Centre For Israel and Jewish Affairs website
28th Ministry – Cabinet of Stephen Harper
Cabinet Posts (2)
Predecessor Office Successor
Michael Fortier Minister of International Trade
Peter Van Loan
Anne McLellan Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
styled as Minister of Public Safety
Peter Van Loan
Special Cabinet Responsibilities
Predecessor Title Successor
James Moore, as SoS Minister for the Asia–Pacific Gateway
Political offices
Preceded by
Deborah Grey (interim)
Leader of the Canadian Alliance
Succeeded by
John Reynolds (interim)
Parliament of Canada
Preceded by
Deborah Grey
Leader of the Opposition in the Canadian House of Commons
Succeeded by
John Reynolds
Preceded by
Jim Hart
Member of Parliament Okanagan—Coquihalla
Succeeded by
Dan Albas
Legislative Assembly of Alberta
Preceded by
New District
MLA Red Deer North
Succeeded by
Mary Anne Jablonski
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