John MacLean (Ontario politician)

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John MacLean (born c.1927) was a Canadian politician and businessperson.

Biography[edit]

He was a candidate at the 1967 leadership convention of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada, a centre-right party that formed the official opposition in the Canadian House of Commons at the time. He was also the operator of a Hertz car rental agency and British Petroleum gas station in Brockville, Ontario.

The convention had been called after a revolt by party members against the leadership of John Diefenbaker. The party was badly divided between supporters and opponents of the former prime minister.

MacLean had worked as a journalist for the Toronto Telegram, Quebec Chronicle, Ottawa Journal, Financial Post and Toronto Star newspapers.

MacLean was an unsuccessful PC candidate in the 1965 election in which he won 10,066 votes (47.1% of the total vote), compared to Liberal candidate Ross Matheson's 10,365.

MacLean was the first to declare his candidacy for the party leadership in 1967. MacLean set himself up as the spokesperson for youth in the party, and ran largely in order to create a larger role for himself in the party. He was not successful in doing this: he failed to win a delegateship from his home riding of Leeds. During he campaign, he was also defeated for the PC nomination in Leeds riding by Desmond Code, who was the sitting MP for neighbouring Lanark riding.

He said that the party should declare a moratorium on tax increases, and aim to “squeeze” government spending in order to reduce taxes, and train a corps of military specialists for civilian emergencies in Canada and abroad. His speech at the convention also did not increase the party’s respect for him: he spoke without a prepared text for only 12 of the 19 minutes allotted to him. He funded the $10,000 cost of his campaign by himself.

References[edit]

Toronto Star and Globe and Mail newspapers, August–September 1967.