Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Stockwell Burt Day (born August 16, 1950, in Barrie, Ontario), is a Canadian politician. He served as leader of the Canadian Alliance party, before being ousted from that position. He remains a prominent member of the Conservative Party of Canada.
Day had a number of careers before being elected to the Alberta legislature for the riding of Red Deer North in 1986. He continued to hold that seat for many years and in 1997 he was appointed Provincial Treasurer (Minister of Finance).
On July 8, 2000, Day left Alberta politics after being elected as the first leader of the Canadian Alliance, defeating former Reform Party leader Preston Manning in the Canadian Alliance leadership election.
Day was subsequently elected as MP for the riding of Okanagan—Coquihalla in British Columbia. During his initial days as leader, Day gained much popularity, and appeared poised to mount a formidable challenge to the incumbent Liberal Party. In the period before the September 2000 general election, however, Day attracted the most attention when he showed up at a news conference on a Jet Ski wearing a wetsuit, advocating that Members of Parliament spend less time in session in Ottawa and more at home in their constituencies.
One of his policies was famously satirized during the 2000 federal election campaign by Rick Mercer when he was on the political satire troupe This Hour Has 22 Minutes. Day had proposed that the federal government be required to hold a referendum on any subject if 4% of the electorate signed a petition requesting this. The comedy show riposted by putting a petition on their website calling for a referendum to require Day to change his first name to Doris. Although such a petition would not have been recognized by Elections Canada, the troupe considered their point made when, in the end, the website's counter claimed more than a million signatures - substantially more than the 4% that Day had proposed.
Day also ran into trouble with his remark that Canadian jobs were flowing south just like the Niagara River, when in fact the river flows north. He was also mocked for holding up a handwritten sign which said "NO 2-TIER HEALTHCARE" in large letters during the leadership debate. As props were against the rules, he claimed it was his lecture notes.
The election resulted in an increase of seats for the Alliance, but the hoped for breakthrough in Ontario did not occur. The night of the election, prior to Day speaking to party faithful, a producer for the CBC which was covering the speech got into trouble when a live microphone in the control room caught him making a sexually related comment about Day's daughter-in-law, Julianna Thiessen Day, who had once represented Canada at the Miss Universe pageant. The CBC later apologized.
After the election, Day ran into problems over the funding by Alberta taxpayers of his defence in a defamation of character lawsuit. It was discovered that the Alberta government had paid $792,000 to settle a lawsuit filed against him. The lawsuit, filed by lawyer Lorne Goddard, arose as the result of a letter Day wrote criticizing following Goddard defending a pedophile. Goddard expressed in public his client had a right to possess child pornography. These views were justified following the ruling of the highest court in British Columbia. (This decision was overturned by the Supreme Court of Canada after the Goddard v. Day case was settled out of court.) On the other hand, previous to this case the Supreme court of Canada had found on a number of occasions both school administrators and governments were liable for the actions of pedophiles in their employ. As such, Goddard, who was both a lawyer and a member of the school board, was open to criticism. He failed to bring to the attention of board members the potential problem and liability faced by the school board when staffing schools.
Questions also arose over whether Day knew about a private investigator who had been hired by the Alliance to dig up dirt to smear the Liberals.
During the summer of 2001, a split occurred within the party ranks in which Chuck Strahl and Deborah Grey led a group of dissident MPs who split with the Canadian Alliance and sat as the Democratic Representative Caucus in the House of Commons, entering a short-lived coalition agreement with the Tories.
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. Day remained an MP and a prominent member of the Canadian Alliance shadow cabinet, serving as critic for Foreign Affairs. In March of 2003, Day and Harper co-wrote a letter to The Wall Street Journal in which they condemmned the Canadian government's unwillingness to participate in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Day later appeared as a speaker at a "Canadians for Bush" rally in the Niagara region, organized by controversial right-wing minister Tristan Emmanuel.
In December of 2003 the Canadian Alliance and the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada merged to become the Conservative Party of Canada. Day did not run for the leadership of the new party and he continues to serve as both a Member of Parliament and as the Foreign Affairs critic for the Conservative Party of Canada.
|Leader of the Opposition in the Canadian House of Commons||Succeded by:|
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