Canadian politician, former Prime Minister.
The Right Honourable Charles Joseph Clark, leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada from 1976 to 1983, also the party's interim leader from 1998 to 2003. Clark was Canada's 16th Prime Minister, in a 7-month Tory government in 1979-80. Clark's minority government was defeated by Pierre Trudeau's Liberal party on a no-confidence motion, and lost the subsequent election.
Joe Clark was first elected to the Canadian federal House of Commons in 1972, as member for Rocky Mountain, and reelected there in 1974. 'Rocky Mountain' was gerrymandered out of existence in 1979, whereupon Clark had to seek a new riding. He became the successful PC candidate in Yellowhead, a riding he held until it was taken from him by the Reform party in 1993, during the massive PC party wipeout of that year's election.
Clark ran in the 1976 PC party leadership race to replace the departing Robert Stanfield. A socially-liberal 'Red Tory', Clark was given little chance to win by pundits. Over the course of the balloting, though, Clark became the compromise candidate for delegates fleeing the brash Brian Mulroney campaign. Clark won on the 5th ballot, and became Opposition Leader in the House of Commons.
Canadian disgust with the arrogance of the Trudeau Liberals led to Clark's party winning a minority in the 1979 election, thwarted from a majority by the Liberal 'red rock' of Quebec, which gave the PCs only 2 seats out of 75. Clark famously announced his intention to govern 'as if he held a majority' and refused to bargain with or accommodate the smaller parties. This, in turn, led to his government's defeat only 7 months later, when they could not muster the votes to survive a motion of non-confidence.
In 1983 Clark initiated a review of his own leadership, which ultimately led to his replacement by Brian Mulroney as PC party leader. Mulroney won the subsequent election, and Clark served the Mulroney government as a cabinet minister until Canadian voter disgust at the arrogance of the Mulroney government (sense a pattern?) led to the party's stunning repudiation of the 1993 election.
Clark returned to lead the shattered party in 1998, working to rebuild it over the next 5 years. He stepped aside in 2003, replaced by Peter MacKay.
Clark objected to the subsequent merger of the PC and Reform parties into the Canadian Alliance, and did not join the new entity. He retired from parliament prior to the 2004 election.
Previous and Next Prime Minister: Pierre Elliott Trudeau (1968), (1980).