#79 – Crime Ministers, Part Two: John Abbott

English Canadians have rightfully forgotten about this blossoming poop-stank of a Prime Minister.

John Abbott was a self-declared caretaker Prime Minister. His awesome majesty happened to be the lawyer of Hugh Allen. You know, the one that John Macdonald called upon for the infamous $10,000 plz telegram. Because there’s nobody better to take care of your government than a guy implicit in a scandal. He also hung around like an eggy fart on a lift, being the all-important Minister Without Portfolio in John Macdonald’s Cabinet. Because nothing is a better indicator of quality than having a nameless-but-important job in the Cabinet of a corrupt patronage man. He was also a Senator, which is great considering that he therefore couldn’t be where the debate was. Genius!

He also oversaw a nifty corruption scandal called the McGreevy-Langevin Scandal wherein the former Minister of Public Works was implicated in a scam to defraud the Canadian government. Whoops! Yet another global economic recession hit during Abbott’s tenure which didn’t score him a whole lot of popularity. He “hated politics”, except for public service which he loved so much that the wild patronage system in the civil service was allowed to continue. Nothing better than a leader who hates the whole “talking to people” part of politics. That stuff isn’t important, right?

Abbott is also a nifty example of anti-Catholic sentiment in early Canada. That’s right – merely being a white dude wasn’t good enough; you also had to go to the austere church with the bad food or else you were a weenie. Abbott was chosen for the role of Prime Minister not only because he sat in the wrong chamber of Parliament but also because he went to the right church. The next dude on the list, John Sparrow Thompson, was a *gasp* Catholic and therefore was completely unacceptable to sit in the Prime Minister’s seat. Even though Abbott hated the job and was no good at it, the Party refused to let him go away until he came down with a nasty case of brain cancer. Then, finally, he was liberated from the office he never wanted in the first place.

Of course, the fact that his elections were marred by allegations of fraud and that he was a key player in the syndicate that finally got the railroad built (through Macdonald’s tried and true method of mad corruption) doesn’t matter. The Canadian page on Prime Ministers has less info on the guy than this post does.

Somehow, I don’t see myself taking over curation of the government’s webpages anytime soon.

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