Canadian statesman; leader of the Progressive Conservative Party (1976–83) and prime minister (1979–80).
Clark was born in High River, Alberta, the son of a local newspaper publisher. He graduated in history from the University of Alberta and went on to study law at Halifax, Nova Scotia, and at the University of British Columbia. He worked for Conservative leaders in Alberta and British Columbia in the mid-1960s and became executive assistant to Robert Stanfield (1914–2003), the national leader of the Conservative Party, in 1967. He served as MP for the Alberta seat of Rocky Mountain in 1972 and 1974, and on Stanfield's resignation in 1976 Clark embarked on a vigorous and successful campaign for the party leadership. Following the downfall of Pierre Trudeau's Liberal government in 1979, Clark became the youngest prime minister in Canadian history. His reign was brief: in early 1980 his party was defeated on the issue of higher energy prices, and in the subsequent election Trudeau was returned to power. Clark's support within the party fell off, and in February 1983 he resigned as party leader. In an attempt to regain the leadership in June of that year he was defeated by Brian Mulroney, who subsequently became prime minister. From 1984 to 1991 Clark served as secretary of state for external affairs and from 1991 to 1993 as minister responsible for constitutional affairs and president of the Queen's Privy Council.
Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).