Our ninth prime minister, Arthur Meighen, died fifty years ago this month. The anniversary itself, August 5, passed unnoticed, even in his little hometown of St Marys. I chose to recognize the day by sending an email to the folks at Crayola PLC, pointing out that their Arthur Meighen "coloring" page lists the wrong year of death. No response. No correction, either. I just checked... and then took a look at the rest of Crayola's Canadian Prime Ministers. Turns out that Meighen's page is not unique.
Things get off to a bad start with the misspelling of John A. Macdonald's surname, an error repeated on the page of his rival, Alexander Mackenzie.
Don't know why such a big deal is made over
Tintin's Mackenzie's editorship of The Lambton Shield; he certainly had much greater accomplishments. Not that the creation of the North-West Mounted Police was one of them. Credit belongs to Macdonald.
Things improve slightly with prime minister #3, John Abbott, though I will quibble with the term "natively born" and point out the misplaced accent in "Quebéc".
All told, thirteen of Crayola's twenty-two prime ministerial profiles contain errors. John Thompson's year of birth is wrong, Laurier and Chrétien's terms of office are incorrect, and poor Louis St. Laurent is not only robbed of his moustache, but is made over as a dischevelled old man in pajamas and bathrobe. We're also told that he was an advocate of something called the "North Atlantic Pact".
He's referred to elsewhere as "Prime Minister Laurent".
The greatest indignity is done to Robert Laird Borden. Sure, his middle name is misspelled... yes, he was the eighth prime minister, not the ninth... but what I find particularly galling is that the man who led the country through the Great War is recognized for nothing more than having been born.
In Crayola's Canada there's a place in Nova Scotia called "Amnerst", a Member of Parliament is a "Parliament member", majority governments are known as "Majority votes" and the Official Languages Act was adopted in "the 1970's [sic]". We're told that King "prevented a separation between French and English Canadians" and Pearson worked as a diplomat right up to the moment he took office. It's a familiar, yet foreign country, one that has been blessed with prime ministers named William King and Charles Clark.
William King was before my time, but I do remember Chuck Clark; in the 1970s he led a Minority vote.
The new school year begins in eleven days.
Related post: Meighen as Monster