Posted at 01:40 p.m.
EST; Friday, August 6, 1999
SENATOR MACNAUGHTON PASSES AWAY
great Lennoxian from another era passed away during the summer.
The Honorable Alan Aylesworth Macnaughton
died at his home in Montreal on July 16, 1999. He was 95 years of age.
Senator Macnaughton was born in Napanee on July 30, 1903. The Senator
was the grandson of a former mayor of Napanee, Jehiel Aylesworth.
Through the Aylesworths the Senator could trace his roots to at least
four United Empire Loyalists; Robert Perry, Nathan Briscoe, Isaac
Briscoe, and Joseph Huffman. Senator Macnaughton’s mother , Louise,
lived for many years at Yellow Gables on Dundas Street west. Her yellow
blue shuttered home was well known for its extensive flower gardens.
Educated at Upper Canada College, McGill University and the London
School of Economics Senator Macnaughton started practicing law in
Montreal in 1931. Senator Macnaughton was the Member of Parliament for
Mount Royal from 1949 to 1966. In 1963 Senator Macnaughton was appointed
Speaker of the House where he presided over the well known flag debates.
He gave up his seat in 1966 for a young upstart named Pierre Elliott
Trudeau. The Senator was made an officer of the Order of Canada in 1995.
He is also remembered as the founder of the Canadian branch of the World
The Macnaughton Conservation Scholarship, presented by
World Wildlife Fund Canada.
The Macnaughton Conservation Scholarship is named in honour of
Senator Alan A. Macnaughton (1904-1999), who founded World Wildlife Fund
Canada (WWF) in 1967 and was Chairman of the Board from 1967 to 1981.
Senator Macnaughton was a tireless supporter of conservation in Canada
and of WWF's environmental education program. Two scholarships, each
valued at $5,000 are presented annually by WWF Canada to assist students
in their pursuit of research on Canada's wildlife at risk or on priority
habitat areas.These are some of the promising conservationists of
tomorrow. The deadline for applications is February 12, 2000 and winners
will be announced on March 31, 2000.
Tuesday, July 20, 1999
Former speaker took secret to the grave
By RICHARD CLEROUX
OTTAWA -- Former senator and one-time Commons Speaker Alan MacNaughton died the other day at age 95. And with him goes a story that
could have kept Pierre Trudeau from ever becoming prime minister and
changed the course of Canadian history.
MacNaughton was from the old school of politics, where political
careers were done and undone in backrooms and gentlemen went to their
graves with political secrets.
Alan Aylesworth MacNaughton was a respected pillar of the old
Anglo-Montreal, legal and business establishment. As a federal
politician, he had virtually owned the Liberal bastion of Mount-Royal as
its MP in Ottawa since 1949.
One day in 1965 he was approached discreetly by the party powers of
the day in the person of (the later Senator) Louis de Gonzague Giguere
known affectionately as "Giggery Bill" on account of his backroom
skills. He made MacNaughton an offer he could not refuse.
Alan Macnaughton, shown in this May, 1963 photo, a Speaker of the
House of Commons in the 1960s, died at his home in Montreal. He was 95.
(CP PHOTO) MacNaughton was told politely that old order had passed (and
so should he) and that a new face, a brilliant young university
professor by the name of "something or other" Trudeau had been recruited
by the party bosses to run for the Liberals in MacNaughton's safe-as-a-
house Liberal seat ... and would MacNaughton please announce his
retirement right away and get out of their face.
It was a rude blow to MacNaughton, a tough former crown prosecutor
who sat on the boards of several big companies and, at the time, was
Speaker of the House of Commons.
MacNaughton remembered that the last so-called "Jewish" riding in
Montreal, Cartier, had been wiped out a few years earlier by
redistribution and a backroom deal had been made with the city's Jewish
community to gerrymander Mount-Royal riding so that it would take in
most of the newer Jewish neighborhoods further west on Montreal Island
to ensure that whenever MacNaughton stepped down a Jew would take his
The gerrymander had made Mount-Royal the most Jewish riding in the
entire country -- fully 38 per cent of population was Jewish.
MacNaughton pointed out that since this Trudeau fellow was anything
but Jewish, and there would be hell to pay with the Jews if the secret
deal were busted by a bunch of scheming WASP and Franco back roomers.
MacNaughton was told that Trudeau was so promising that the Jews
would never object to having a Gentile as their MP, and that such secret
deals to create ethnic preserves were part of the old- style politics
and, after all, we were in the '60s now.
Objection was not only futile, but more important, it was beneath
MacNaughton's dignity as a gentleman. He asked one favour.
Would he be at least allowed meet this upstart replacement and
pretend that he knew him and endorsed him for the nomination?
Yes, it would be arranged. And so one fine night in Mount Royal, when
all the white bread sandwiches had been separated from their crusts and
the coffee percolated until properly bitter, the new upstart was ushered
in to meet MacNaughton and his riding association executive, all
bedecked in their finest evening attire.
MacNaughton would recall years later, and it would be confirmed in
part by Senator Giguere, that the new fellow Trudeau had the nerve to
show up that night in running shoes, and proceeded to ignore MacNaughton
and anybody else who mattered at the reception.
Trudeau had made it clear that he really wasn't all that interested
in federal politics and if the Liberal organization in Mount Royal
didn't want to hand him the riding on a silver platter, he would be glad
to call the whole thing off and stay at his cozy university post
forever, enjoying his late father's oil fortune into the next
The members of that executive were convinced they had been sold a
bill of goods that night, no matter what Giggery Bill might say to them.
But it was too late to fight.
Six months later MacNaughton went to his reward for stepping aside, a
Senate appointment, but by then he had already been proven wrong about
his chosen successor. Trudeau was no weirdo dud. He had won the riding,
and his star was already rising. He was doing a good job as justice
minister, and was even being touted as a possible future Liberal Party
leader, should the real heir apparent, Jean Marchand, falter along the
MacNaughton lived on in Montreal boardrooms for another 30 years, and
used to tell the story of how history might have been different if he
had tried to stop Trudeau that day in 1965 in Mount-Royal.
Copyright © 1999 Brandt Zštterberg, Napanee, Ontario
Second great-grandson of Jemima Hannah Aylesworth BENNETT