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Prime Minister Joe Clark

Biography of Canada's Youngest Prime Minister

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Joe Clark, Prime Minister of Canada 1979-80

Joe Clark, Prime Minister of Canada 1979-80

Central Press / Getty Images

About Joe Clark

At the age of 39, Joe Clark became the youngest Prime Minister of Canada in 1979. A fiscal conservative, Joe Clark and his minority government were defeated after just nine months in power on a non-confidence motion on a budget of tax increases and program cuts.

After losing the 1980 election, Joe Clark stayed on as Leader of the Opposition. When Brian Mulroney took over as Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada in 1983 and then Prime Minister in 1984, Joe Clark continued as an effective Minister of External Relations and Minister for Constitutional Affairs. Joe Clark left politics in 1993 to work as an international business consultant, but returned as Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party from 1998 to 2003.

Prime Minister of Canada

1979-80

Birth

June 5, 1939 in High River, Alberta

Education

BA - Political Science - University of Alberta
MA - Political Science - University of Alberta

Professions

Professor and international business consultant

Political Affiliation

Progressive Conservative

Ridings (Electoral Districts)

Rocky Mountain 1972-79
Yellowhead 1979-93
Kings-Hants 2000
Calgary Centre 2000-04

Political Career of Joe Clark

  • Joe Clark began his political career as Director of Organization for the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party from 1966 to 1967.
  • He was Special Assistant to Conservative member of parliament Davie Fulton in 1967.
  • He served as Executive Assistant to Conservative member of parliament Robert Stanfield from 1967 to 1970.
  • Joe Clark was first elected to the House of Commons in 1972.
  • He was elected as Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada in 1976 and was Leader of the Opposition until 1979.
  • Joe Clark was sworn in as Prime Minister of Canada after the 1979 general election.
  • The Conservative government was defeated in 1980.
  • Joe Clark was again Leader of the Opposition from 1890 to 1983.
  • Joe Clark called a Progressive Conservative Party leadership convention, and lost the party leadership to Brian Mulroney in 1983.
  • In the Mulroney government, Joe Clark served as Minister of External Affairs from 1984 to 1991.
  • He was President of the Privy Council and Minister Responsible for Constitutional Affairs from 1991 to 1993.
  • Joe Clark did not run in the 1993 general election.
  • Joe Clark returned as Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada in 1998.
  • He was re-elected to the House of Commons in 2000.
  • In 2002, Joe Clark said he had carried the Progressive Conservative Party as far as he could. Joe Clark's resignation as Progressive Conservative Party leader was effective at the leadership convention in May 2003.
  • Unhappy with the subsequent merger of the Progressive Conservative Party and the Alliance Party into the new Conservative Party of Canada, Joe Clark decided not to run in the 2004 general election.

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