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Thursday, October 22, 2020

Former Canadian Prime Minister John Turner dead at 91

Former Canadian Prime Minister John Turner, who served just 79 days in office, has died at the age of 91, his family reported Saturday.

The Liberal Party politician also served as Canada’s justice and finance ministers while on the rise to his brief stint as country’s 17th prime minister in 1984 — only for his party to then be dealt to a massive electoral defeat.

Marc Kealey, a former aide speaking on behalf of the family, said Turner died peacefully in his sleep Friday night at home in Toronto.

Turner was a track star while attending the University of British Columbia in 1949 and won a Rhodes scholarship to Oxford University thereafter.

He served as justice minister in Pierre Trudeau’s cabinet from 1968 to 1972, during which he proposed a national legal aid system and created the federal court. He also defended the decriminalization of homosexuality and abortion.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement he had “learned with great sadness today of the death of the Right Honourable John Turner, former Prime Minister of Canada.”

“He was deeply committed to the law and democratic process, bringing about much-needed reforms to the Criminal Code,” Trudeau went on.

“Mr. Turner was a humble man with a strong social conscience. He supported many charitable organizations, including Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto,” he added.

“He was also an honorary director of World Wildlife Fund Canada and an ardent advocate for the protection of Canada’s lakes and rivers.”

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