Here is a selection of some of the older comments that have been posted to Diefenbaker Web since it opened in the summer of 1996.
- From: Kim
My father used to work for Diefenbaker and he would come over to our house
from time to time. One Christmas he and Olive brought me this really
fabulous gingerbread house. I remember him fondly though he died when I
was 9. He left me some money in his will that I had access to when I turned
18, I used it to take the train across Canada to BC. It was special passing
through Sask, I thought of Dief, and how incredible it was that because of
him I was able to make my first journey out west (where I now reside).
- From: François Morin
It was one of the rare chances for Canada to take great pride in its
abilities and you critics just like to push Canada down and jump on the
Americans... You should go criticize Clinton and his testosterone level
rather than criticizing a great and beautiful Canadian symbol...
- From: email@example.com
I was reading some of these coments, and the one about the moon landings caught my eye. He stated that they would have been delayed had the Arrow program been continued. Well personaly I think
that if the Arrow had been continued, it would have eventually led to an aircraft capable of flying into space
without the use of rockets.
- From: Bill Kinsman
Just thought I'd let you know what great memories your website brings to
me. I was very lucky as a teenager to get to know Dief...I was once
snowed in at the Hotel Bessborough and was introduced to him by friends
of my parents...as we had nothing to do he spent a lot of time with me.
In the afternoon, dressed in his underwear and a robe, he had me in his
suite for two hours as he spun tales of his boyhood on the Prairies (he
actually met Gabriel Dumont..Riel's right hand man), visits with The
Queen, supper with Churchill and so on. The next morning he had me up to
breakfast with him, his wife, and secretary Bunny Pound. I could go on
and on with the stories about that meal.
Some years later when I was a student at Carleton we spent even more
time together..again too many stories to tell, but I will tell you one
interesting thing he did (of many). He often invited me up to the
Parliamentary Restaurant for lunch and often asked me to bring along two
or three fellow students. There was one rule though...they all had to be
from different disciplines and different majors if arts students. He
then would quiz each one during the meal. (He usually ate fried chicken
livers on rice).
Some years later I worked on Parliament Hill for an M.P. and again we
resumed our friendship. In some ways those were sad years as he lost
Olive. I remember he told me he had taken a winter vacation in a spot
they had visited often together, but had to leave early as "...I saw her
face around every corner."
History will debate him....but few may ever realize what a warm and
generous man he could be.
- From: John G. Spragge
George Grant considered Diefenbaker the last Prime Minister not to sell out to "globalism"; some of your correspondents consider him the first to do so. I believe that Diefenbaker's merits or mistakes have less to do with Canadians' submergence in the "global" pot than our willingness to believe in ourselves; and that if we end up "ingested" as Farley Mowat said in the '60s, either by the US or by "globalism", it won't happen because of any one decision, or any one Prime Minister: it'll happen because too many of us listened to that spiteful little negative hiss, believed that trying for greatness on Canadian terms can only end in grief, and accepted, once too often, a subordinate position, giving the "Yanks" (or whoever else in the "global marketplace" a hand.
- From: John Baird, MPP
Just a short note to congratulate you on your great web site. The Chief would be proud!!!!!
- From: Cliff Oldbridge
This very colourful gentleman well deserves his own webpage. I was trying
to recall what a Diefenbuck looked like. Thought I might find it on this
website. It is probably time to introduce the Chretienbuck. Given what
is happening to the dollar, I would expect to see a loonie with a big bite
- From: Jason Mizener
I haven't gone to the different links yet but I had to laugh when I saw the one about the dog
named Diefenbaker. You should make a website about him and other television dogs as well.
- From: R. E. Heath
Diefenbaker was among the worst of Canadian prime ministers. He was a master of rhetoric and a pygmy as an administrator. Fortunately he did very little real harm because he accomplished so little during his mandates.
- From: Michael Dolenga
Kudos to Diefenbaker from both NASA and British Airways. Were it not for
the cancellation of the Avro Arrow, and the ensuing departure of many of
the world's finest aerospace engineers, it is quite likely that the Apollo
moon landing and the development of the Concorde would have been
It's ironic that the modern marvel of the internet is being used to promote
the legacy of the most backward-thinking and small-minded leader this
country has had the misfortune of enduring.
- From: Randal Owen, Memphis Tennessee.
I first became fascinated by [Dief] after seeing a program on PBS (I believe
it was sometime between 1988-1992, as I'm pretty sure I saw it in LA) down here some years back which pointed out his intransigence versus Kennedy over US weapons (missiles?) in Canada. I admire Canadians who'll stand up to the US (I consider myself a Confederate under continuing Yankee occupation) and
have little doubt that the CIA (as this program implied) under JFK played a part in electing him out of office...
...Wouldn't it be cool if JFK had been plugged by some pissed off
Tories from Saskatchewan as revcenge for the election?
- From: Kevin Middleton, Windsor, Ontario.
Great site dedicated to Canada's last great PM who loved his country, loved real freedom,and
who loved being called a CANADIAN without a hyphen... We will never have a PM again in
our history who loved the ordinary person more than socialist ideology... What a great country we would
have been what lost potential we have let our politicians achieve. Long Live the CHIEF.
- From: Doug Whitley, Gloucester, Ontario.
I was a newly-minted young military officer and patriot when Mr. Diefenbaker was in office. I remember his stirring speeches well and voted for him until strange things began to happen.
First it was the inquisition-like government austerity program: the fact that I was only allowed one ball-point pen which had to last me one year is something which stll leaves me scratching my head.
Second -- you guessed it -- the Arrow cancellation. What a disaster for a young man ready to defend this great land! Since then, I understand the reasons for the Arrow cancellation but I take exception to the destruction of the records and artifacts. It reminds me of Hitler burning books in Berlin.
- From: firstname.lastname@example.org
While the Arrow was reputed to be an outstanding airplane, Canada has never been known as a major producer of aircraft for the world marketplace. To be a financial success, the Arrow would have had to have been sold to many other countries. Did Canada of 1957-63 have those skills? I doubt it. Would the trade unions in Canada have allowed a manufacturer to make back its research and development costs? I doubt
It takes guts and foresight to see a dry hole ahead of time. Dief was right! While the chief was in office, I considered myself a liberal. How wrong was I then?
- From: email@example.com
I just had to check out this website after reading about it in Macleans. My history teacher has always
bashed Diefenbaker and I thought I would try to look at this Prime Minister from a different perspective.
- From: Mike McAllister, Toronto, Ontario.
...if you know where to find a Bomarc missile? (No kidding transport will be arranged, it's for display purposes on top of the Diefenbunker.) E-mail Mike McAllister, Toronto Aerospace Museum at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- From: Michael Boon.
Upon entering office as Canada's thirteenth Prime Minister, Diefenbaker had two goals with regards to foriegn policy. He wanted to repair relations with Britain and the Commonwealth while distancing Canada from the ever-increasing pull of the Americans. When he left office in 1963, Canada was even more distant from the Commonwealth and Britain and were tied even closer to the United States. Furthermore, relations with both were at their worst ever. Diefenbaker's government failed at foreign policy and fared little better with domestic issues. Thanks Dief, for nothing.
- From: Lloyd G. Ertel.
If Mr. Diefenbaker did not want the Arrow he should have found some way to keep
the design teams intact, maybe with the jetliner he cancelled, maybe he
was on drugs or something because he was not thinking when he did this.
If you have any questions, please e-mail me, I have alot of information
proving he was a goof.
- From: Kent Hodgson, Ottawa, Ontario.
Michael Bliss makes a few errors in his article. He states that
Avro had a bad track record as a company. This is untrue. Earlier, the
company had fabricated the famous Lancaster bomber, and at one point
even made the Avro Jetliner (like the Arrow, a plane ahead of its time,
but which, too, was scrapped because Canada developped "cold feet.")
The employees of the company were also unparalleled in their
performance. This is proven through the prestigious jobs they secured
after being lured into the U.S. (e.g. such as at N.A.S.A.). One of the
primary designers, Floyd, even won the Wright Medal for his design of
Bliss also states that the Arrow never flew with its intended
Iroquois engines. In this, at least, he was being truthful. But he
states the fact in a negative way - as if it were one more reason to
have cancelled the Arrow project. Nothing could be further from the
truth. It is true that the Arrow never flew with its Iroquois engines.
But what Bliss leaves out of his article is the fact that the
Diefenbaker cancelled the project just weeks before the first
Iroquois-equipped test flight was to take place. Diefenbaker then, not
Avro, is to blame for never having the chance to demonstrate the Arrow's
full potential. But what is stunning is that, even without the Iroquois
engines, the Arrow still flew at a speed of Mach 1.98 (just with its
J-75 engines). Even at this speed, the Arrow was one of the fastest
jets ever to have been built... and that was at 20% less thrust than the
Iroquois engines would have provided. In another year, it was even
predicted that the Arrow would reach Mach 3.
- From: François Morin.
Great! Now some old guy [Pierre Sevigny, as quoted in this article] brings in his story to refine the already serious Avro Arrow conspiracy! Don't tell me, that after 40 years, a very serious blame like that didn't come up sooner. If Crawford Gordon was the one to order the destruction of the future of his company, then why didn't Diefenbaker work to get the blame off him? Don't tell me there wasn't anything to contradict, it's a whole bunch of crap! For cryin' out loud! There was 15000 jobs at stake here, and that wasn't enough to contradict on? 15000 voters who could have kept him in office, and he didn't do anything about it? Come on! And in the middle of all that, there was the greatest plane which had ever gone off a Canadian drawing board.
- From: Nick Tremblay, Sherbrooke, Qué.
....Mais, je ne peux toujours pas comprendre comment certaines personnes
puissent toujours croire que l'annulation du programme Arrow fut une
bonne décision. Jamais je n'accepterai un homme simple comme lui,
prendre la responsability de couper notre propre future en cet
incroyable essort aéronautique des années 1950 au Canada. Et je vous
prie de croire....OUI.... le Arrow était notre plus fabuleuse creation
de tyoute l'histoire canadienne and la restera probablement pour
toujours! Diefenbaker brisa ce rêve de pousser la technologie
aéronautique canadienne au sommet du monde. Plusieurs d'entre nous ne
peut même pas imaginer combien fantastique était cet avion...pas un
avion.....un pure symbole de réussite....combien nos ingénieurs et
techniciens aérotechniques pouvaint résoudrent des problèmes que les
américans n'avaient même pas encore envisagés!...
- From: Allison White,Ottawa, Ontario
This is a great page - very interesting. Diefenbaker was a good friend
of my great-grandfather J.V. Finley - but that's about all I really knew
about this former PM. I'm glad you've set up this web page so I can
- From: CWD Headquarters
Loved your page -- while most historians agree that Dief was not
an...(searching for most politic word)...effective...Prime Minister, he
was *certainly* one of the last Great Canadian Patriots and we here at
Canadian World Domination
appreciate his zealousness on behalf of his country, and even think
his scrunched-up, flabby visage is endearing. Besides, anyone who pissed
off the Americans so completely deserves credit.
- From: Jeff Boice
OK, I'm an American, so take my comments for what they're worth, but
I am intrigued by Mr. Diefenbaker. First, he was a criminal defense
lawyer-turned politician-(who continued to take cases after he was
elected to Parliament) can you imagine this happening today?
I have been reading "Rogue Tory", and was interested to learn that
the Tory platform in 1957 was labelled "New Frontiers". I wonder if
the Kennedy campaign in 1960 knowingly lifted that slogan.
Concerning Diefenbaker taking cases
while a MP; during the Korean War he defended a railroad employee who
was accused of causing a derailment of a troop train that killed a
number of soldiers. He got an acquittal by arguing the employee was
made the scapegoat by the railway to cover up their own incompetence.
Other topics I would like to see explored are the 1957 election campaign
and election night, and a comparison of Diefenbaker to Harry Truman (upbringing,
campaign style, personality).
- From: Jerry St.Amour, Vancouver, B.C.
I stumbled on this web site by mistake and I am appalled at the thought
of honoring a man that ruined Canada in 1959....Diefenbaker, the dog has more sense than
that old farmer had. He brought the morale of the whole country down. He
bought missiles that were only good for outhouses if that. The man to me
is the lowest form of human being and I will never respect him. He had
no backbone and only looked after himself and his cronies in office. He
should have been charged as a traitor and executed. He commited
political stupidity and should have been shot.
- From: Eric Marceau
Please remove the remark about Diefenbaker the Dog. You are degrading the
Honourable image of a Canadian historical statesmen. To keep it is to
debase an institution.
I say this even when I hate him for having scrapped the Arrow.
I can accept that he made ONE very STUPID mistake early in his
political carreer. His subsequent actions show him to have
contributed positively and significantly to the fabric and
sense of what is Canada, the greatest nation on Earth.
- From: Barry Fortier (Calgary,
It's quite sad the way that the defenders of dief on the arrow can't
manage to get anything right... the presumed cost overruns are never
substantiated, the "aircraft-are-obsolete" lobbiests are not presented as one
viewpoint of many, but the only "expert" opinion who have been proven by
the subsequent years to be some of the biggest idiots of all time...
substantiated foolishness about the arrow not being capable of going
supersonic (Storms of Controversy)... the existing market for the orenda
developed engine... ignore and lie lie lie, until people give
up on trying to find the truth.
He was a pompous and untrustworthy idiot, who lied about his record as a
lawyer, and sold out his allies to his enemies, if he happened to dislike
he allies enough (on ANY issue). He should have his own web page, but only
so people can express their contempt for a louse who should have been spat
on by any decent human being.
- From: Tom.
Unlucky is the number 13, and that's just what Canada got when
they voted Diefenbaker as their 13th PM, ill luck. For
destroying the Avro Arrow project, the legacy of Diefenbaker will
forever be one of pure shame for me and many other Canadians.
You're right in saying this is not a page on the dog from Due
South. He's the PIG from out west!
- From: Mary Jane Pfeifer
I liked your page on Dief. My grandfather, R.L (Dinny) Hanbidge was
the party whip and the Member from Luceland in Dief's gov't. I'm interested to know if
you have any references to him in your Dief info as I know very little as
to what he did and was involved in. He did go on to be the Lt. Governor
- From: Steve
I suspect (and the feedback on your page suggests) that those who are not
supportive have been watching too much TV and too many made-for-TV movies
in which Dan Ackroyd plays a leading role.
- From: Michael McCaferty, Saskatchewan.
There is no doubt in my mind that The Chief would love your website.
Thank You for keeping his memory and legacy alive.
As one who served as a Special Assistant to John Diefenbaker I want to
express my heartfelt appreciation to you for your wonderful site.
Thank You, Thank You.
- From: Richard
I've been looking for this guy who sells Diefenbaker t-shirts
in Mississauga. I remember reading about him around the time of
the centenary of Dief's birthday. Any ideas where he might be
located? Sounds like a natural advertiser for your page.
I met Diefenbaker in Orangeville in 1974 at a PC rally. I was a
baby when he visited the Cookstown fall fair in 1957 or 1958.
- From: Beth Waller
I live in Neustadt, nice to see someone knows his real birth
place! Rumour has it that his original home may be made into a
- From: Bill Strong
John Diefenbaker was the first Prime Minister that I can remember. He
came to my small town during an election year (1960?) and I can remember
wondering what all the commotion was about! I would have been 8 years
old at the time.
What I have learned about Dief since then is that he was a man of
honesty and integrity and a true Canadian. No Anglo- or French-Canadians
for Dief! Just Canadians! If only we had more like him now!
- From: John Pomeroy (Gloversville, NY.)
Let me begin by saying what a page. I have long adored Dief as a
historical figure, and can remember seeing him when I was 5 or 6 in
Merrickville, Ont. with my grandparents at a fair. This was in '75 or