Manley, John

Manley, John
▪ 2003

      After Canadian Foreign Minister John Manley was appointed deputy prime minister in January 2002 and minister of finance in June, he emerged as the most powerful minister in the Liberal government of Prime Minister Jean Chrétien. Manley replaced longtime Finance Minister Paul Martin and was seen by many as Chrétien's logical successor.

      Manley's spectacular rise in government was attributed to the decisive stand that he took after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States. As foreign minister, Manley formulated Canada's response to the terrorist threat and immediately tightened controls on Canada's long land border with the U.S. Working with American officials concerned with homeland security, he explored the concept of a North American security perimeter. He piloted antiterrorist legislation through the Canadian Parliament and took an active part in the decision in January 2002 to send a Canadian combat mission to Afghanistan to operate beside U.S. forces there. Through these efforts he helped to dispel a degree of coolness that had developed in Canadian-American security cooperation.

      As deputy prime minister, Manley presided over the cabinet when Chrétien was out of the country and served as chair of the two most important cabinet committees, those dealing with economic and social policy. He was given supervision over a long list of Crown (public) corporations and agencies. He was also named political minister for Ontario, a responsibility that enabled him to control federal grants and appointments in Canada's most populated province.

      In June, when Manley moved from foreign affairs to replace Martin at finance, Manley retained his other duties to become, in effect, the chief operating officer of the Chrétien administration. Manley became Chrétien's right-hand man and the prime minister's closest colleague in the cabinet.

      Manley was born on Jan. 5, 1950, in Ottawa. He was educated there at Carleton University (B.A., 1971) and the University of Ottawa, where he earned a degree in law in 1976. He entered Parliament in 1988 and five years later, when the Liberals came to power, was appointed minister of industry. In that capacity he worked to promote the adoption of new technology and innovation in Canadian industry to meet global competition. He was also responsible for strengthening economic development in regions of Canada with special problems, such as the Atlantic provinces, the four Western provinces, and Quebec. His performance in this post was unspectacular but gave him a solid grounding in Canadian economic and social affairs that would serve him well in his new broader responsibilities. Though some of Manley's responsibilities were redistributed in August, including the oversight of Canada's infrastructure program, he remained one of the most prominent politicians in the country.

David M.L. Farr

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Universalium. 2010.

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