#85 – Crime Ministers, Part Three: John Sparrow David Thompson

English Canada pumped out Canada’s third Crime Minister with the unthinkably shit John Sparrow Thompson. You just know that a leader is going to be good when they say that they are “reluctant politicians”. Just like Abbott before him just had to take the job! He also got his first federal posting from the combined affectations of Johnny Mac and Lady Aberdeen, the wife of the governor-general at the time. Great start, team!

His first speech in the House of Commons of any note as the minister of justice carries the same baffling, mystifying legal stupidity that Macdonald had put together – that is, that Indians engaged in anti-Canadian guerilla warfare because they are the only people in Canada giving Ottawa the trust it deserves are an a priori part of Canada and thus deserved to hang. If you can murder Indian resistance, which Thompson as per Canadian tradition had no problem with, you can also murder Metis resistance behind the Indian one. Thus, Riel can be hanged. Genius!

Thompson also created the first Criminal Code in 1892 – over 20 years after Confederation. Geez, was Macdonald too busy handing out appointments to deal with such trivialities as a Criminal Code? Why his boss and Don Corleone-esque backer Johnny Mac selected Thompson the reluctant leader who, again, just had to be Prime Minister because everyone else would literally drive the Dominion into the ground eludes me. Why look for interest when selecting a Prime Minister, right? Actually having ideas about how a country should work is so un-Canadian. In fact, the only reason that Thompson isn’t just an obscure figure in Nova Scotian history is because he chose Ottawa over Halifax – he had another patronage appointment on the province’s Supreme Court waiting for him that he turned down. Again, turned down reluctantly, because, as the narrative goes, everyone who wasn’t foaming at the mouth because of his Catholicism was begging him to appear in the House despite not knowing who he is. The Johnny machine may have created that mythology – I simply couldn’t find anything about the event.

He also took the all-Canadian swing and miss at integrating Newfoundland. His incredible “sense of justice” saw him do basic shit like trivial negotiations with neighbors and arguing before an international tribunal while receiving a mass of praise for it. Doing your job with the backing of the world’s most powerful empire is amazing, you guys! Thompson’s paranoia about American annexation coupled with his total failure to grasp that his patron-father figure had already practically ensured that American capital and cultural force would dominate Canada evermore made him the usual over-British, save Canadian British cultural norms PoS that Canada tends to shit out. Seriously – Canadians are more British than Brits are. It’s kind of embarrassing.

Thompson was so important to Canada that the government’s own webpages can’t be arsed to have any information that Wikipedia doesn’t already. What few other sources exist that are readily available are unduly glowing, proclaiming over and over again that Thompson was a “hard worker” and “fair”. So “fair” that he even commuted the death sentences of two white criminals! Making people swing when it legally doesn’t make sense is fair though. Isn’t Sparrow awesome?

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