Guest Commentary

Canada Day Quiz

It Only Looks Easy


Blacklock’s observes Canada Day with a patriotic quiz. There are only ten questions. They appear deceptively easy, yet few get better than 2 in 10 correct. Here goes!

A. What did they call the Peace Tower in World War II?

B. What Canadian capital is named for a queen with 15 children?

C. What is Canada Eastern Hard Red Winter?

D. What is the only province to become insolvent?

E. Since 1867 only one federal party leader has been ejected from Parliament for election fraud. Who?

F. Everybody knows John F. Kennedy was the first Roman Catholic U.S. president. Who was Canada’s first Catholic prime minister?

G. What is the minimum time required by Parliament to pass a bill into law?

H. Cabinet once passed an Order in Council forbidding children from crossing the Atlantic. Why?

I. Who was the first cabinet minister in Canada to be convicted and jailed while in office?

J. Who was the first prime minister to record an album?


A  N  S  W  E  R  S 


A. The Victory Tower

B. Not Victoria or Regina but Charlottetown, named for the wife of King George II.

C. A federal grade of wheat.

D. Alberta. In 1936 the province defaulted on two bond payments after being denied $18 million in federal aid. Alberta bonds were instantly barred from trading on the London Exchange. With the treasury unable to meet its payroll, Premier William Aberhart said: “We cannot go ahead paying the heavy toll placed on us by the money barons without ultimately losing all we have.” Alberta again defaulted on a second bond issue in 1938 worth $3.25 million, and was reduced to printing its own scrip. Newfoundland bankrupted itself in 1933, but was not yet a province of Canada.

E. John A. Macdonald. The Father of Confederation was stripped of his Commons seat in 1874 for bribery and ballot-stuffing in a Kingston, Ont. byelection that year. He was subsequently re-elected in 1874, by 17 votes.

F. Not Wilfrid Laurier but John Thompson, prime minister from 1892 to 1894. He was a Halifax attorney who fathered nine children and wrote the first Criminal Code. Thompson converted to marry his wife Annie, and became such a devout Catholic he climbed the 400 steps to the top of St. Peter’s Dome on an 1894 visit to the Vatican, collapsed with chest pains, and died two weeks later.

G. There is none. On June 17, 2015 MPs took 120 seconds to pass Bill C-61 creating a marine conservation area on the North Shore of Lake Superior. Another bill passed in 45 seconds on December 8, 2014, the Miscellaneous Statute Law Amendment Act. Both bills took slightly longer to pass the Senate. The parliamentary record for turning a bill into a law was set June 6, 1919 when a measure to deport leaders of the Winnipeg General Strike passed the Commons and Senate and was signed into law in 90 minutes flat.

H. U-boats. The order was enacted in 1917 after Germany declared unrestricted submarine warfare. In a single month, April 1917, enemy subs destroyed 354 ships in the Atlantic.

I. Robert Sommers, British Columbia Minister of Forestry. In 1957 Sommers was convicted of accepting furniture, carpets, vacations and unpaid “loans” from lobbyists and contractors. Sommers was sentenced to five years in federal prison, and paroled in 1961. The trial judge called Sommers a “scoundrel who befouled the political and moral atmosphere for years”.

J. Arthur Meighen. In 1936 he delivered a speech to the Canadian Club entitled The Greatest Englishman in History – a tribute to William Shakespeare – that was recorded on 16-inch disc. Two decades later, admirers dubbed it to vinyl and distributed copies to every college and university library in Canada.

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