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Know Your Onion


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8) On the morning of November 5, 1995, Canada almost bore witness to its first Prime Ministerial assassination. It was shortly after the referendum on Quebec sovereignty. The Prime Minister and his wife, snugly asleep in their home at 24 Sussex Drive, were preparing to go to Israel to attend the funeral of Yitzhak Rabin in Israel the next morning. They heard footsteps. The Prime Minister's wife confronted a man with a large knife outside their bedroom door, and quickly closed and locked the bedroom door. It's believed the Prime Minister grabbed a sharp-edged Inuit carving to defend himself, but their RCMP guards responded to a panic alarm before that was necessary. Which Prime Minister was it who narrowly avoided death on that fateful morning?

9) If nothing else, Canada's Prime Ministers are unique characters. One in particular used to talk to spirits - specifically those of Leonardo da Vinci, Sir Wilfrid Laurier and several of his deceased dogs. He'd also communicate with his dead mother - just like Norman Bates. He was nevertheless one of the most successful Prime Ministers in Canadian history, holding power for a whopping six terms, a tenure as yet unrivalled in this county's history. Who was this quirky, yet ultimately successful Prime Minister?

10) Canadians enjoy a great privilege through their health care system. Our publicly-funded system allows virtually everyone to get medical care. It unfortunately puts people through a lot of lineups but it at least gives everyone a chance. It came to Canada thanks to the efforts of a former Saskatchewan Premier who helped pioneer the idea of public health insurance. It was later adopted at the federal level and now we all enjoy its fruits. Who was that Saskatchewan Premier who helped make this happen for all Canadians?

Politics Answers

1) That would be Sir John A. Macdonald, who's face graces our always popular $10 bill - behind Queen Elizabeth II ($20), William Lyon Mackenzie King ($50) and Sir Robert Borden, but ahead of Sir Wilfrid Laurier ($5), polar bears, waterfowl, caribou, sailing ships and beavers. Sir John A. Macdonald was our first Prime Minister and reigned for 18 years, off and on. These days we're lucky to keep the same PM for 18 months.