Ten Tidbits About Canada’s Prime Ministers

July 27, 2007

1. First Prime Minister of Canada (after Confederation in 1867) was Sir John A. Macdonald (see photo)

2. First and only (so far) prime minister forced to resign due to scandal – Sir John A. Macdonald

3. Most prime ministers from a party (Liberal Party – 11). Conservative – 9, Others – 2. Total number of prime ministers – 22 (as of 2007)

4. First female prime minister – Kim Campbell, Progressive Conservative Party, 1993

5. Shortest-serving prime minister – Sir Charles Tupper at 68 days

6. Longest unbroken term – Wilfred Laurier at 15 years, 87 days.

7. Longest serving prime minister – William Lyon Mackenzie King with three terms (21 years and 95 days)

8. Youngest prime minister – Joe Clark at 39 years of age (became prime minister the day before his 40th birthday).

9. Prime ministers who died in office – Sir John A. Macdonald (June 6, 1891) and Sir John Thompson (December 12, 1894).

10. Province with most prime ministers: Quebec (7), Ontario (6), Alberta and Nova Scotia (both with 3), British Columbia/Manitoba/Saskatchewan (each with 1).

The current Prime Minister of Canada is Stephen Harper (Conservative Party) from Calgary West who was elected January 23, 2006. His party has a minority government, but so far has managed to survive votes on major issues. Another general election is looming because minority governments do not last.

Canada has a multi-party system. At the present time there are four major parties in the elected House of Commons (equivalent to US. House of Representatives). They are the Liberals, Conservatives, New Democratic, and the Bloc Quebecois. The parties with the largest number of seats (representatives) are the Liberals and Conservatives.

StampShow 2007 – Stamp Collecting Heaven

July 27, 2007

Another of my interests besides writing is philately. What the heck is that many of you will wonder. Well it is the collecting of stamps and postal history. In a couple of weeks I am off to Portland, Oregon to attend the annual convention and show of the American Philatelic Society (APS).

The American Philatelic Society founded in 1886 is the largest nonprofit society in the world for stamp collectors. APS has 44,000+ members in over 110 countries. Membership benefits include a subscription to “The American Philatelist” (monthly magazine), ability to buy and sell stamps in their on-line StampStore, insurance for collections, and access to their American Philatelic Research Library. Just being a member gives opens doors with dealers and others because it means you are a reputable collector or dealer. APS requires references as part of their application process.

The show and convention is held annually at various locations in the United States. Usually it is held in the eastern U.S because that’s where the biggest population base is. This year it is relatively close to me, so I am taking the opportunity to attend. I am also exhibiting one of my collections at the show.

It will be held August 9 – 12, 2007 in the Oregon Convention Center, Portland, Oregon. The show will feature:

– about 150 dealers from throughout the U.S. and other countries

– public stamp auctions by major auction houses

– a couple of first day of issue for U.S. stamps

– more than 100 meetings and seminars

– 15,000 pages of exhibits

– unique block of four of the “Inverted Jenny” U.S. airmail stamp. This was sold at auction last year for 2.7 million US dollars. Other rarities from the Smithsonian will also be on display. The Inverted Jenny is presently owned by Donald Sunderland of Mystic Stamp Company.

Beginners and youth are especially welcome and there are many programs geared to them.

Admission is FREE and the public is welcome.

Further details or information about the APS is available on their website at:


How I Started Collecting Postal History

July 23, 2007


I have been collecting since age 8 years (50 years now). For most of that time I was a “general” collector, I was however, always attracted to the stamps of the United States and especially the airmail issues. In 2003 I finally decided that I wanted to become a specialist for a couple of reasons. One I wanted to learn a lot more about the stamps I collected, and second I wanted to focus my budget on obtaining the stamps I was really interested in. At that time I didn’t even collect covers, but only stamps. A stamp collector friend suggested that I should look into covers if I really wanted to be able to research and learn more about them.

A little skeptical at first, I started looking very closely at the exhibits at the shows and noticed that more and more of them were of covers and that those covers told a story that I was attracted to. I was a Second World War history buff This interest came from the fact that my father and a couple of his brothers had served in the Royal Canadian Air Force during the war.

It was at the Edmonton Spring National Stamp Show in April 2004 that I came across the cover that got me addicted to postal history and in particular to the United States Transport Airmail Issue of 1941-44 (Scott C25 – C31). I was looking through a dealer’s box of U.S. covers when I saw this cover that I just knew I had to have. It looked so very interesting being a registered airmail cover to an exotic destination, Brazil. Not only that, but it was dated October 9, 1944 and was censored. A Second World War cover.

Immediately I wanted to know more about the censorship of mail, the rates and how the cover was carried to Brazil during the war. The handwritten notation “Written in German Language” totally fascinated me. Could this be a letter from a spy or to a war criminal? All these fantastic thoughts went through my mind. Not only that, but it had a stamp with the plane on it. This also attracted my attention because it was a U.S. airmail stamp that I had seen before, but never postally used on cover. Also I just like planes. So how could I resist. I had to have this cover. I bought it even though I did not collect them.

On the three hour drive from Edmonton back to my home in Calgary, my minding was swirling with thoughts of this cover. I just had to learn more about it.

When I got home I immediately started researching using the Scott catalogue and the internet. I found in the Scott Specialized catalogue that the 30c Transport stamp on the cover was issued in 1941 and was part of a series issued during that year. At this time I knew nothing about rates. On the internet I found the book I needed. This was “The Transports” by GH Davis. I immediately ordered it from the United States Stamp Society and waited for it to arrive.

This particular cover it turns out is not a rarity or not even that uncommon because mail to South American was never interrupted during the war. I did find out that the valid airmail rate to Brazil at the time was 40c with the foreign registry fee being 15c. The postage on the cover totaled 55c. Therefore this cover had proper postage paid in the correct rate period. Turns out that the censorship regulations required that letters written in foreign languages had to have that noted on the outside front of the envelope so that the censors could make arrangements for a translator to be available to read the letter. Further research showed that South American countries, and in particular Brazil, had many German immigrants during the first part of the twentieth century, so it was not at all unusual for this letter to be written in German. That was a bit of a let down, I was expecting or hoping espionage might be related to my cover.

A couple of weeks later the book arrived. I read it from cover to cover, and back again. Totally fascinating. Here was all the rate information I needed and detailed data on each of the denominations of the Transport airmail issue. Away I went to eBay and other on-line auction sites and started searching “Transport” as a key word. Bingo! Lots of covers for not too much outlay of cash. Managing to pick up many covers over the next few months I started researching the covers as I got them for rates, routes and any history behind them. I especially enjoyed the APO covers and trying to find out about the various military units and the history behind them.

Here I am four years later and I am still hooked. Since starting in 2003, I have built my exhibit of “Usages of the U.S. Transport Issue 1941-44” that has evolved from being awarded a Silver (at two frames) at its first showing, to a Vermeil (at five frames) at its most recent showing in late 2005. Most of all though I have combined a couple of my interests, philately and WW II military history. The result is that I am just having way too much fun!!

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