The powerful gifts and glaring flaws of JOHN DIEFENBAKER

PETER C. NEWMAN March 23 1963

The powerful gifts and glaring flaws of JOHN DIEFENBAKER

PETER C. NEWMAN March 23 1963

The powerful gifts and glaring flaws of JOHN DIEFENBAKER

The story of how one unusual man's personality shaped the course of Canada from the triumphs of the late Fifties to the argry chaos of the 1963 campaign


Maclean’s Ottawa editor

THE POLITICAL CONVULSIONS of the last few weeks — the embittered cabinet resignations, the attempted coup d’état, the sudden fall of parliament, the calling of an election which few voters really wanted, and the rowdy campaign that has followed — all these events have left many Canadians disturbed and baffled. At the centre of their perplexity are two particularly puzzling questions:

Is John Diefenbaker the villain or the victim of this debacle?

And if he’s the villain, how did he manage to get himself — and us — into such a mess?

To people who've seen Diefenbaker only as a platform campaigner or a television performer, the two roles in which he’s supremely effective, the vilification to which he has been subjected in the past two months is particularly bewildering, because it seems so sudden. But those who have observed the prime minister closely and have come to know him well realize that the torrent of accusations against him have not been prompted by an overnight transformation in his personality.

It's not John Diefenbaker who has changed; it is the times.

For most citizens it was the mix-up over Canada’s acquisition of nuclear warheads that first revealed the extent of Diefenbaker’s indecision. But ever since he took office it’s been well known in Ottawa that he suffers from an almost morbid inability to make up his mind. (At one point in 1959, for example, fortyseven senior federal government appointments — all of them the prerogative of the prime minister — were vacant at the same time, simply because Diefenbaker couldn't decide among the suggested nominees.)

Although the resignations of Douglas Harkness, George Hees and Pierre Scvigny from Diefenbaker’s cabinet early in February were the first intimation most Canadians had of dissension among his CONTINUED OVERLEAF

ministers, it has been common knowledge on Parliament Hill for years that his ministers exist in a state of undeclared revolt, kept in constant turmoil by Diefenbaker’s threats to change their portfolios. (Only three ministers, in fact, arc still in their original jobs: Starr in Labor, Monteith in Health, MacLean in Fisheries.)

Much of the current confusion in government affairs has been blamed on the prime minister’s lack of administrative skill. This is not a recently acquired failing. Diefenbaker took office at the age of sixty-one, too late to erase the habits of a lifetime. (Macdonald became prime minister at fifty-two, Laurier at fifty-four, King at forty-seven.) His twenty years as a defense lawyer in the rough tomorrow' country of northern Saskatchewan have indelibly colored Diefenbaker’s approach to all

that he does. He came to the toughest job in the country without having worked for anybody else in his life; he had never hired or fired anyone and never administered anything more complicated than a walk-up law office.

Then too, it may be hard to understand how the country was allowed to get into such a state when it’s well known that Canada’s civil service is one of the most competent in the world. The explanation is that Diefenbaker has never fully trusted his civil service advisors. He knows that nearly all of them rose to positions of responsibility during the two decades of Liberal administration, and he regards everything in this world with a political bias.

Neither is Diefenbaker’s current campaign against Bay Street really surprising. The sight of a Tory prime minister condemning Toronto financial interests is indeed a strange one in Canadian history. But then Diefenbaker has always been a maverick in his own party. When he was in opposition he shocked his fellow Conservatives by advocating that businessmen convicted of monopoly practices should be jailed, not just fined. His overriding consider-

ation in power has been to ally his office and himself with the welfare of “the average Canadian.” He is unalterably convinced that the identification of the Conservatives with big business (and therefore, at least by implication, against the little man) could hurl his party back into the political wilderness, where R. B. Bennett’s associations with Bay and St. James streets pushed it for twenty-two years.

But the most puzzling question of all about John Diefenbaker’s present behavior is this: why, when the odds are so heavily stacked against him, does he insist on clinging to the prime ministership, thus risking not only his own humiliation but permanent damage to his party? The answer is buried deep in the complexities of his character and the experiences of a harsh lifetime in politics. Even now, no matter who or what goes against him, he adheres with scarcely diminished faith to an old belief that he is bound to win on April 8 because he is somehow meant to have power.

This assurance in everything he does — that some greater providence than personal ambition is guiding his career — is Diefenbaker’s

A nostalgic tour of The Diefenbaker in news photographs

predominant characteristic. Unlike most C anadians in public service, he went into politics not by chance but by choice. It was a choice so stubbornly maintained that he was willing to spend fifteen years in the desultory scuffle of unsuccessful electoral combat before gaining office of any kind, and a further sixteen years as an impotent opposition backbencher before he finally captured the leadership of his party.

When, on December 14, 1956, he strode down the centre aisle of Ottawa's Coliseum behind two pipers blowing “Cock O' the Walk" to be hailed as the new chief of the Conservative Party, Diefenbaker must have felt that his entire life had been ordained for this moment. And when, six months later, he was sworn as the nation's thirteenth prime minister, it must have seemed that at long last his destiny had been fulfilled. How else was it possible to explain the fact that if any of his eight previous political defeats had been a victory, he would almost certainly never have become the head of his country's government?

If as a neophyte lawyer he had succeeded in his fights to win the Prince Albert seat in

the federal elections of 1925 and '26, when the Conservative Party was run by such giants as Arthur Meighen and R. B. Bennett, Diefenbaker would probably now be remembered only as an obscure minister in Bennett's Depression cabinet. If he hadn't lost the provincial seat of Prince Albert in 1929, he would have been tarred for life by political association with J. T. M. Anderson and his Saskatchewan Ku Klux Klan supporters. If he had managed to carry his hometown mayoralty against J. H. Fraser in 1933 (he lost it by only forty-eight votes) he'd possibly now not be remembered at all. except by a few of the city's older inhabitants as the best mayor Prince Albert ever had. If as leader of the Saskatchewan Conservative Party he had won his own seat in the 1938 provincial election, he would have survived no more than a few years in opposition to the ruthless Liberal machine established by Jimmy Gardiner. If he had succeeded in his bid for the national party leadership at the Winnipeg convention in 1942, Diefenbaker might have taken the place of John Bracken in his six-year march to oblivion as

leader of a party which had not then changed itself enough to follow a Prairie radical — even as moderate a one as poor Bracken. If Diefenbaker had beaten Gordon Graydon for the Tory house leadership in 1943 (to fill in before Bracken could get a seat) he might have had a better chance of winning over George Drew at the party's 1948 leadership convention. He would then almost certainly have gone under to Louis St. Laurent in 1949 and 1953.

No politician in Canadian history ever rose so steadily through a succession of personal defeats. But Diefenbaker knew how to wait and he had a nose for power. Virtually alone in his confidence that he would eventually achieve his lifelong dream of becoming prime minister, Diefenbaker fought the 1957 campaign on metaphysical grounds, insisting that he had an “appointment with destiny."

That spring of 1957 when the man from Prince Albert first soared into our collective awareness now seems curiously long ago. Watching Diefenbaker on the hustings today — saying essentially the same things in the same way he did


These are the dramatic climaxes of our recent political history

continued from pape 17

The best government we ever had — for the first six months

then — it's not easy to remember just how he managed to win our loyalty. The man and his message were the same, but the circumstances were far

different. In 1957. as voters prepared for Canada’s twenty-third general election, there was widespread uneasiness across the country. Sated with the easy materialism of the lush Fifties, many Canadians were groping for some deeper national purpose. John Diefenbaker successfully drew upon this widespread frustration to create a shared vision of a more vigorous and more noble future.

To understand the man now, it's essential to see him as he was then.

The economic reasoning of his hustings pledges was sometimes shaky and there was never any good reason to suppose that as prime minister he could become an able administrator, lint he caught the mood of the people at a time when they were anxious to follow a strong leader. The voters thought they recognized in the outraged advocate from the Prairies a man aspiring to become a leader with the clear sense of mission of a Winston Churchill or an F.D.R.

Diefenbaker made sure there would be few ideological barriers to those who wanted to become his disciples. In order to involve non-Conservatives in his struggle, he deliberately discarded most of his party's traditional policies and transformed it into an organ of personal aggrandizement. "It s time for a Diefenbaker government!” — the main Tory campaign slogan — became something of a nonpartisan rallying cry.

While Louis St. Laurent stumbled across the country reading his speeches like legal briefs that he had never seen before, Diefenbaker pummeled his audiences with highly evocative pledges of momentous (and quick) action on their behalf. (“We have a choice! A road to greatness in faith and dedication — or the road to nonfulfillment of Canada’s destiny.”) The contrast was accentuated by St. Laurent’s attempts to poke fun at his opponent. “An election promise, after all,” he patiently explained to his dwindling audiences, “is a mere cream-puff of a thing, with more air than substance in it.” Diefenbaker, meanwhile, was announcing positive policies at every whistle stop. His strongest attacks were on the Liberals’ shameful handling of the 1956 pipeline debate. He pledged that he would “restore parliament to the people” by appointing a “permanent” speaker, abolishing the closure rule, and reforming the Senate.

Forty-one rounds of applause

During the six years he’s been in power he hasn't redeemed any of these promises, but in 1957 he seemed to mean what he said. The turning point in his campaign came as he entered the Georgia Street Auditorium in Vancouver on May 24. A surging crowd of three thousand gave him the loudest ovation of his career. Another two thousand supporters milled around outside, sitting on curbs, car fenders and tree branches, listening over outdoor loud-speakers. In the awed tones of a prophet witnessing a miracle Diefenbaker declared: “It is a deep inspiration for me to see this vast audience. This is the kind of thing that gives me the strength to continue to work on behalf of the average men and women of this country. From the bottom of my heart I thank you. 1 won’t let you down.” His speech broke little new ground but he was interrupted by applause forty-one times.

As his appeal was gathering momentum, his opponents’ campaign was falling apart. The Liberals had been so confident of victory that they went into the election with sixteen Senate vacancies — an unheard-of audacity. The Liberals deliberately ignored television while the Conservatives exploited the medium, which then still had the advantage of novelty. “I will be more interested in seeing people than in talking to cameras,” St. Laurent huffily told a reporter at the start of the campaign.

The Tory victory on June 10 was far from decisive and the Liberals might have managed to hold onto power for a limited period, but no one could imagine standing between Diefenbaker and his people. It was obvious that the Prairie politician had

in their power to bestow, the electors sat back expecting Diefenbaker to continue the dynamic leadership he had displayed during the brief parliamentary session of 1957-58. But something went terribly wrong. The topheavy Commons began to slow down as if the political violence of the past twelve months had preempted all potential statesmanship.

Diefenbaker himself was still flying high. In the fall of 1958. when he decided to take a trip around the world, he was hailed everywhere his plane set down. He went on a tiger hunt down the Chambal River in India and rode an elephant in Ceylon.

Not long after his return to Ottawa on Dec. 19, however, the political atmosphere began to change. Unemployment statistics for November showed a walloping twenty-two percent jump in the number of jobless Canadians since the same month of 1957; Paul Hellyer, the former Liberal associate minister of national defense. won the first by-election from the Tories; the cost of living was rising sharply; the Unemployment Insurance Fund was doling out funds at such a rate that it hovered near bankruptcy; members of the RC'MP and the armed forces were restless because their pay increase requests had been flatly rejected. At the Six Nations Reserve near Brantford, Ont., the Iroquois Indians invited television crews in to record their revolt against federal authority and a delegation of a thousand western farmers w'as being marshaled for a march on Ottawa to demand three hundred million dollars in deficiency payments.

For the first time the real burdens of leadership began to press on Diefenbaker. In quick succession he was faced by three difficult decisions and he showed unexpected ineptitude in handling every one of them. His cruelly abrupt cancellation of the CF105 Arrow fighter left thousands out of work, virtually overnight. He rejected Newfoundland’s demands for an indefinite extension of a special eight million dollar grant given as part of the province’s condition of entry into Confederation, and he did it in such an undiplomatic manner that Premier Joey Smallwood ordered black crepe to be hung in the streets of St. John’s. At the same time, the federal government was squabbling with the Newfoundland administration over whether or not RCMP reinforcements should be sent to quell the riots that had developed out of a loggers’ strike.

The twenty-fourth parliament meanwhile was prosily drifting through its second session which finally ended in midsummer 1959, having made little legislative progress. On the very last day of the sitting, the prime minister confessed he had temporarily abandoned any plan to enact his cherished Bill of Rights, which was to have been the session's legislative showpiece. On Nov. 28, 1959, as Diefenbaker prepared for the official kickoff at the Grey Cup football game in Toronto’s CNE Stadium, scattered boos greeted his appearance. (Two years later at the same event, the CBC had to turn down its crowd microphones so that the jeers would not be carried into the nation’s living oon» ) The turning point was near.

Much of this growing disenchantment with Diefenbaker was due to the impression he had fostered in two election campaigns that there would be jobs for all. “I’m an artist for Diefenbaker, I draw unemployment insurance,” became a common unfunny quip in those areas of the country where the number of jobless was climbing to new post-depression highs. Between 1950 and 1956. unemployment in Canada averaged 3.4 percent of the labor force; the aver-

age during the Diefenbaker years has been 6.4 percent — nearly twice as high.

While much of this high unemployment was due to structural weaknesses in the economy, most economists agree that the Conservatives made an error in attempting to combat it by attacking its effects instead of its causes. According to many experts, one of the chief reasons for the sour job picture between October 1958 and December 1960 was former

Bank of Canada Governor James Coyne’s policy of tight money, which pushed interest rates to their highest levels in forty years. As a result, there was a relatively fixed money supply during a period of heavy unemployment. At the same time the Diefenbaker government was running huge budgetary deficits designed to generate economic expansion in the country. The two policies tended to work against each other.

Instead of trying to overrule the

obstinate governor, the Diefenbaker government merely absolved itself of responsibility. “Under Can a d i a n law,” Donald Fleming, then minister of finance, told the Commons on April 27, 1959, “the federal government does not exercise control over the money supply ... In the matter of monetary policy this parliament has placed the responsibility, and indeed the power, in the hands of the Bank of Canada.”

The carnage created by the manner Diefenbaker finally chose to remove Coyne in the summer of 1961 —-a phony charge that Coyne had tried to raise his own pension payment—probably was the turning point for the prime minister.

Investors outside our borders saw the Coyne affair as evidence that Canada's national affairs were no longer being properly managed, and began the slow withdrawal of money from this country which culminated in the currency crisis of June 1962. At home the business community interpreted the government’s attitude as final proof that Diefenbaker was not a man who could be trusted. Most important of all, Diefenbakcr's incredibly inept political handling of Coyne's firing instilled new hope in Pearson’s dispirited Liberals. For the first time, John Diefenbaker and his immense parliamentary majority began to look vulnerable.

The Coyne affair induced a new spirit of combat into Commons debates and ( 'anada's twenty-fourth parliament sat for 605 days — longer than any previous parliament. Since the Conservatives had the largest majority in Canadian political history, Diefenbaker might have been expected to repair the damage done to parliament by the Liberals during the 1956 pipeline debate, when they humiliated the office of speaker, treated the Senate as a rubber-stamp and in general treated the parliamentary rule book as if it had never been written. Instead, the House of Commons under Dicfenbaker’s direction became a hectic arena with the Tories alternating between defiant legislative haste and the torpor of indecision.

Diefenbaker seemed to treat the Commons with the impatience of a ringmaster not quite in control of his troupe. Baiting by the opposition—at which he himself had been such a master — seldom stirred him to bold, imaginative replies. It just aggravated him. His temper frayed often in the House, but never more noticeably than on May 25, 1959, when he overruled the speaker. Roland Michener, who was trying to make him sit down according to parliamentary rules. "Will you allow me to finish now!” Diefenbaker snapped at the speaker, and it was Michener who sat down.

As Diefenbakcr's difficulties mounted. it became increasingly evident to those who were observing his actions closely that he was hampered not by external forces but by the peculiarities of his own past. Everything he has done as prime minister has been profoundly influenced by the formative years of his life, spent pleading before impressionable juries in the dusty courtrooms of Prairie towns. While his forensic talents were an asset on the hustings, they soon proved to be a liability in office.

Because law is a discipline based on established precedent, Diefenbaker was incapable of the bold innovations that successful leadership demands. He tried to treat the nation's difficulties like legal problems that could be disposed of by a reasonable presentation to parliament, or in a forceful television broadcast.

The lifelong habits of a lone-wolf defense lawyer made it difficult for him to delegate authority—an essential of cabinet government. His intimates insist that throughout most of his regime he has regarded himself as a beleaguered figure, continually threatened by would-be successors. This attitude has gradually brought him to regard his office as a refuge, where his power can be kept away from the reach of potential rivals. This view of the office of prime minister as a sanctuary has been chiefly responsible for Diefenbakcr’s extraordinary reluctance to make major or even minor decisions. He seems to feel that each unresolved national problem represents an addition to his power, since it leaves the advocates of alternative solutions at his mercy. A decision once taken, on the other hand, represents a dilution of that power, since it lines up the dissatisfied factions against him. As a result he has come to regard commitments on important issues as highly dangerous intrusions into his state of self-imposed siege.

C abinet ministers complain that the prime minister often leaves over for renewed debate subjects on which there has been more than ample discussion and even decision. “Instead of discussing ‘what should we do

next.’ we'd spend most of our time arguing ‘how do we get out of this one,' ” a former Diefenbaker minister says now.

Cabinet difficulties during the last six years have been considerably complicated by the fact that Diefenbaker divides his ministers into three main groups, in descending order of trust:

I. The 4.S'crs: those who had fought with him against George Drew at the 'f948 leadership convention (only Alvin Hamilton. Howard Green, George Pearkcs and David Walker were in this select category); 2. The '56ers: Those who supported him at the 1956 leadership convention (Gordon Churchill, Angus MacLean. Michael Starr. Alfred Brooks. William Browne were in this group, plus George Hees. Doug Harkncss and Pierre Sevigny— who have since resigned); 3. The others.

The ministers who declared themselves for Diefenbaker before he assumed power are also the members of cabinet who have advocated expanded government spending for more national development projects, more welfare handouts and more agricultural subsidies. They are opposed by a conventionally minded group in cabinet (led by George Nowlan and Wallace McCutcheon) who believe that these things should be done, but only within the fiscal capacity of the budget. The free spenders won so many decisions that if the Diefenbaker government were to continue to spend money at the average rate of the past six years tor one more year, the total expenditures incurred would equal the amount of money spent by Canadian governments between Confederation and 1946 — including the cost of two world wars.

Diefenbaker, of course, usually is on the side of the high spenders and in the process he has brought Canada closer to a welfare state than any previous government. During his long years in opposition Diefenbaker heard his own party so often vilified for being reactionary that once in power he indulged freely in his inner compulsion to be a radical.

The trappings of Tory philosophy which had survived for nearly a hundred years were swept away as the backwoods Baptist from Prince Albert laid down his personal testament of what Canadian Conservatism meant to him. By picking Diefenbaker as their leader in 1956. the C onservatives committed themselves to an ideological and emotional upheaval. But the transfiguration Diefenbaker has brought about in his party is far more extreme than even his own supporters anticipated. He thinks of himself as the sacrosanct head of a people's government and distrusts most of the great power groupings in contemporary Canada.

The roots of Diefenbaker's political dogma stretch back to the graingrowing west of the Twenties and Thirties. He came to maturity among men who had cursed their isolation and damned their unavoidable dependence on the goods and services of Ioronto manufacturing interests. He felt — and continues to be profoundly influenced by—the economic calamity of the Depression, which hit no part of Canada more severely than Saskatchewan. Like many others of

his generation and upbringing, Diefenbaker became convinced that the only way for Prairie farmers to help themselves is through collective political action.

It is this obsession with politics that has brought Diefenbaker into conflict with Ottawa’s civil servants, on whose good advice every prime minister must ultimately depend. By successfully enlisting the proffered energies of the senior bureaucrats, Diefenbaker might have been able to carry forward the momentum of his electoral triumphs into the kind of leadership that could have burst the bonds of the nation’s economic difficulties. Instead, he has rejected most of their advice.

But the knowledge that few civil servants agree with his decisions doesn’t particularly dismay Diefenbaker. He realizes that every Canadian prime minister must always have two separate reputations: the professional

prestige that exists in Ottawa among the officials who spend their days working in close contact with him, and the popular image the Canadian public has of him.

Diefenbaker has downgraded the importance of bureaucratic prestige, since his time in opposition when he witnessed the erosion of the Liberal government’s mandate despite its high professional reputation. Diefenbaker believes that Ottawa professionals tend to be aloof from the goings-on that touch, in a vital way, the private life of the average Canadian. He is far more interested in fashioning an image of himself as a man capable of reflecting regional aspirations and local idiosyncrasies.

Misjudging the national mind

Diefenbaker has tried in every one of his election campaigns — and in none harder than the one he’s fighting now — to appeal over the heads of both his cabinet and his party directly to “the average Canadian.” He sees himself as a genuine folk hero in direct, spiritual communion with this mythical “average Canadian.” On Nov. 15, 1961. for instance, he participated in a realistic civil defense exercise which called for him and six ministers to huddle in the basement of his official residence, and go through the motions of invoking the War Measures Act. Since it was obvious that if the practise alert had been real the piime minister would have been killed, reporters asked him whether he really intended to remain at 24 Sussex Street if war came. “This is one of those decisions not subject to change,” was the reply. “I would not take any more precaution than is available to the average Canadian.”

To identify not only his audience but himself with the aspirations of the “average Canadian,” Diefenbaker usually tries to ally his own past with the area where he’s speaking. This is an old habit but it never sounded more preposterous than in a speech he made in Halifax, on July 1 1, 1947. Trying to establish his family contact with the Atlantic port, he earnestly proclaimed: “Had it not been for the trade winds between here and Newfoundland. my great - great - grandmother would have been born in Halifax. ’

Despite his deep and genuine affec tion for his “fellow Canadians,” the 1962 election campaign seemed to prove that Diefenbaker thought he understood the average people of this country better than he actually did. During his previous five years in power, he had managed to spread government spending into many constituencies and in his electioneering he took it for granted that the voters would repay him with their ballots. This left the impression with many voters that the prime minister no longer cared whether votes were bestowed on him with passion or indifference, just so long as they were bestowed.

This was a grave misjudgment of the national mood. In 1957 and 1958 Canada’s citizens were full of optimism and eager for the kind of imaginative leadership Diefenbaker seemed to be promising. But in 1962, after five years of his administration, they were becoming disillusioned and frightened by the uncertainties of the future. On election day, last June 18, Diefenbaker lost ninety-one seats and surrendered sixteen percent of the popular vote.

He found himself in office but not in power. For the first few weeks after the election he seemed in a state of uncomprehending shock. From that time until now everything he’s done has somehow gone wrong. In the fall he went to the London Commonwealth Prime Ministers’ Conference in good faith, only to become the victim of bad press relations which made it appear in Canada as if he was completely out of step with all the other Commonwealth leaders. Then came the week of Oct. 22, when President Kennedy virtually declared World War III against Russian missile installations in Cuba. The U. S. requested the Canadian government to order an immediate military alert. Under Canada’s NORAD agreement this would have included landing U. S. nuclear-equipped fighters on Canadian bases, allowing an unlimited number of U. S. bomber overflights, and bringing our own forces to something close to a wartime footing. The Conservative cabinet hesitated for the first vital forty-four hours before complying, thus drastically enhancing its reputation for indecision. Finally, Liberal Leader Lester Pearson’s defense policy declaration of last Jan. 12 brought out into the open the split on nuclear warheads within the Diefenbaker cabinet, which culminated in the resignations of three key ministers.

Now, as he moves into the last phase of the current election campaign, John Diefenbaker remains convinced that the political instincts which have carried him through his life are still holding true. He firmly believes that he will attract to his colors a majority of Canada’s uncommitted voters.

This is the real dimension of his task, since the 1962 election proved that his 1957 and 1958 victories failed to alter the fundamental political character of the country. There are still many more Grits than Tories. To win, the prime minister has to prevent the nation's electors from returning to the voting habits temporarily obliterated by his personal popularity in

..pliant campaign of 1958. - the same time, of course, Diefènbaker must somehow retain Canada’s traditional Conservative vote. Although he rescued Canadian Conservatism from two decades of decav — and no other man could have done it — under his leadership the party compromised many of its traditional principles without developing any new ones. After six years i>f Diefenbaker’s stewardship, the ordinary Canadian Tory who used to believe that his party stood for individual responsibility, the British connection, national sovereignty and free enterprise, must wonder whether these ideals are not, in fact, in greater danger than they were during two decades of Liberal administration.

During their six years in power, the Conservatives have amply demonstrated their ability to operate some government departments far more imaginatively than their Liberal predecessors. Justice under Davie Fulton, trade and commerce under George Hees, public works under Howard Green, national revenue under George Nowlan. post office under Bill Hamilton and agriculture under Alvin Hamilton have flourished during the Diefenbaker regime.

But no cabinet can advance very far beyond its head. And this month, as he pushes into the final, grueling lap of his tenth federal election campaign, Diefenbaker is being criticized on all sides, derided by his onetime disciples, abandoned by his closest colleagues. At home, newspapers that once sanctified his every idiosyncrasy are calling for his resignation. Abroad, usually circumspect statesmen are leaking the word that they would find his defeat highly desirable.

Although he has behind him a period of governing Canada with the most powerful administration its citizens have ever elected, Diefenbaker now stands almost as alone as he did more than two decades ago, when he first came out of the west. But John Diefenbaker has always felt that he stood alone. He fought his way into the party leadership by himself, tried to govern the country alone, and now he faces the climax of his life, still alone, and still fighting. ★