George Hees

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George Harris Hees
George Hees.jpg
Member of Parliament
for Northumberland (2nd time)
In office
1976–1988
Preceded by Riding created
Succeeded by Christine Stewart
Member of Parliament
for Prince Edward—Hastings
In office
1968–1976
Preceded by Riding created
Succeeded by Riding abolished
Member of Parliament
for Northumberland (1st time)
In office
1965–1968
Preceded by Pauline Jewett
Succeeded by Riding abolished
Member of Parliament
for Broadview
In office
1950–1962
Preceded by Thomas Church
Succeeded by David Hahn
Personal details
Born (1910-06-17)June 17, 1910
Toronto, Ontario
Died June 11, 1996(1996-06-11) (aged 85)
Political party Conservative
Profession Soldier, businessman
George Hees
Date of birth: (1910-06-17)June 17, 1910
Place of birth: Toronto, Ontario
Date of death: June 11, 1996(1996-06-11) (aged 85)
Career information
Position(s): C
Height: 6 ft 3 in (191 cm)
Weight: 200 lb (91 kg)
College: University of Toronto & Royal Military College
Organizations
As player:
1934, 1937-38 Toronto Argonauts
Career highlights and awards
Honours: Grey Cup champion - 1938

George Harris Hees, PC, OC (June 17, 1910 - June 11, 1996) was a Canadian politician.

Background[edit]

Born in Toronto to a patrician family, Hees earned a playboy image during his youth (nicknamed Gorgeous George), but then became a stalwart member of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada. He was educated at the exclusive Crescent School in Toronto, Trinity College School in Port Hope, Ontario, the Royal Military College, student # 1976 (where he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Military Science in 1986), the University of Toronto, and spent a year at Cambridge University in 1933.

Athlete[edit]

He was a noted athlete, winning championships in boxing and lacrosse at Cambridge. As a professional football player he played 3 seasons with the Toronto Argonauts (11 regular season and 3 playoff games)[1] and won the Grey Cup in 1938. And while serving during the Second World War, he also had the good fortune to play in the famed Tea Bowl for the Canadian Army football team against American Army team at White City Stadium on February 13, 1944 in London, England (the Canadians won 16-6).[2]

Military service[edit]

He served in the Canadian Army in North-West Europe during the Second World War. During the Battle of the Scheldt, he served as the Brigade Major of the 5th Canadian Infantry Brigade. On 1 November 1944, he volunteered to take over command of a company of The Calgary Highlanders when all their officers were killed or wounded after crossing the Walcheren Causeway. He was later wounded by a sniper and was repatriated to Canada and discharged.

Politics[edit]

After placing second to David Croll in the Toronto riding of Spadina in the 1945 federal election, he won election to the Canadian House of Commons in a 1950 by-election in the nearby riding of Broadview. He was also President of the Progressive Conservative Party from 1953 to 1956.

With the election of the Diefenbaker government in 1957, Hees was named Minister of Transport, and oversaw the opening of the St Lawrence Seaway. In 1960, he was appointed Minister of Trade and Commerce. During this period, Hees was regarded as the second most powerful man in the Tory party. However, in 1963, he had falling out with Diefenbaker, and became embroiled in the Munsinger Affair and elected to sit out the 1963 election, which the Tories lost to Lester Pearson.

After considering a defection to the Liberals, he became President of the Montreal Stock Exchange, he returned to Parliament in the 1965 election as a PC, defeating Pauline Jewett in the rural riding of Northumberland, and remained in the front rows of the opposition ranks for almost two decades.

He ran for the leadership of the PC Party at its 1967 leadership convention, and placed fourth in a field of eleven on the first ballot. He remained for two further ballots before withdrawing, and supporting the eventual winner, Robert Stanfield.

He was noted as being involved in a memorable case of battery, in which he forcefully ejected a campaign worker from his room, striking his head against the door. Hees tried to plead self-defence, which failed due to the lack of imminent harm anticipated by him (MacDonald v. Hees (1974), 46 D.L.R. (3d) (N.S.T.D.)).

He was not named to Cabinet during the Joe Clark government in 1979, and was quoted as Clark stepped down in the 1983 leadership race; "We've got him! We've got the s.o.b."

When Brian Mulroney led the party to a majority government in 1984, Hees was named Minister of Veterans Affairs. Hees retired from politics in 1988. In 1989 he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.

There is a veterans wing at Toronto's Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre bearing his name, and in close proximity to the relocated Crescent School he attended as a child.

Election results (partial)[edit]

Canadian federal election, 1958: Broadview
Party Candidate Votes
Progressive Conservative HEES, George 15,364
Liberal TAYLOR, George A. 4,738
Co-operative Commonwealth LEE, John A. 3,356
Socialist DOWSON, Ross 447

External links[edit]

References[edit]