John Robarts

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John Robarts (1960)

John Parmenter Robarts , PC , CC , QC (born January 11, 1917 in Banff , † October 18, 1982 in Toronto ) was a Canadian lawyer, politician and from November 8, 1961 to March 1, 1971 the 17th Prime Minister of Ontario . Robarts was a member of the Ontario PC Party .


Robarts was born in Banff, Alberta , and moved with his parents to London at a young age , where he studied at the Central Collegiate and the University of Western Ontario . At Western University, he joined the Delta Upsilon fraternity . He later enrolled at Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto to study law. His studies were interrupted by World War II and served in the Royal Canadian Navy as an officer on the cruiser HMS Uganda . After the war he continued his studies, which he completed in 1948.

After graduating, he practiced as a lawyer in London and was elected to the city council in 1950. In 1951 he was elected to the Ontario Legislative Assembly as a member of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party . He became a member of the cabinet of Prime Minister Leslie Frost , from 1958 first as Minister without Portfolio , then in 1959 as Minister of Education. When Frost resigned as Prime Minister in 1961, Robarts was elected as the new Prime Minister of Ontario in six ballots by the party on October 25. In 1963 he was re-elected with 77% of the vote and again in 1967 with 69%. Robarts was a popular and respected leader and campaigned for the freedom and rights of the individual provinces and against tendencies of the government to centralize power in Canada . At the same time, he spoke out against separatism in Québec and initiated the Confederation of Tomorrow in Toronto, where an unsuccessful attempt was made to agree on a new constitution for Canada . He stayed in office until 1971; he was succeeded by Bill Davis . Robarts was responsible for the establishment of York University and the Ontario Science Center emerged on his initiative .

A year after retiring as Prime Minister, he was named Companion des Order of Canada . Together with Jean-Luc Pépin he founded the Task Force on Canadian Unity as a reaction to the 1976 election victory of the Parti Québécois at the provincial level. Robarts suffered several strokes during a trip to the United States in early 1981 and committed suicide as a result on October 18, 1982. He was buried in St. James' Cemetery.

In honor of John Robarts, a number of important institutions and schools have been named after him, including the Robarts Research Institute in London , which is part of the University of Western Ontario, and the Robarts Library .


  • Allan Kerr McDougall: John P. Robarts: his life and government , University of Toronto Press 1986, ISBN 978-0802034267 .
  • Steve Paikin: Public triumph, private tragedy: the double life of John P. Robarts , Penguin Canada 2006, ISBN 978-0143013259 .
  • Donald C. MacDonald: The happy warrior: political memoirs , Dundurn Press 1998, ISBN 978-1550023077 , p. 302 ff.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Delta Upsilon UWO alumni ( Memento of the original dated May 16, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  2. ^ Awards to the Royal Canadian Navy
  3. John P. Robarts
  4. ^ Task Force on Canadian Unity ( English, French ) In: The Canadian Encyclopedia .