John Diefenbaker

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John Diefenbaker

John George Diefenbaker (September 18, 1895 – August 16, 1979) was the 13th Prime Minister of Canada. He was born in Neustadt, Ontario on September 18, 1895, the son of William Diefenbaker and Mary Florence Bannernman. He would move with his parents to western Canada in 1903. He served in the 105th Saskatoon Fusiliers' Regiment from 1916 - 1917 in World War I. He was called to the Bar in 1919 and moved to Prince Albert, Saskatoon.

Diefenbaker was elected to the Canadian House of Commons in 1940 from the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada, and would run for leader in the 1942 and 1948 leadership conventions. He eventually won the Nomination on December 14, 1956. The Conservatives won the election in June 1957 and would win a massive majority in March 1958. Following this election, one of the Diefenbaker government's first acts was to pass the Broadcasting Act of 1958, which led to the formation of the Board of Broadcast Governors as an independent broadcasting regulator (taking over those duties from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Canada's public broadcaster) that year, then to the formation of privately owned TV network CTV in 1961 as a viewing alternative to the CBC. By the 1962 election Diefenbaker's Conservatives were reduced to a minority government again, and in 1963 he would lose to Liberal Party of Canada leader Lester Pearson. He remained the Leader of the Official Opposition until 1967, when he was succeeded by Robert Stanfield in a Conservative leadership convention that year.

Diefenbaker passed the Canadian Bill of Rights (which was superseded by Pierre Trudeau's broader "Charter of Rights and Freedoms") and worked to improve the public works of Canada, including opening many areas of the vast Canadian Arctic.

Diefenbaker died on August 16, 1979 in Ottawa, Ontario.