"I've lived history, I've made history, and I know I'll have my place in history. That's not egoism." -- John Diefenbaker, 1973
Only two Canadian prime ministers have died in office (Macdonald and Thompson). The others either retired from the position or were defeated in elections. Many served for a time as leader of the opposition, and a few even managed to regain the prime minister's office. Nonetheless, the time eventually comes when our leaders must give up the reins of power. Once retired from leadership, prime ministers either remain in Parliament or return to private life. It is only at this point, as they withdraw from the public stage, that we can start to assess their accomplishments and failures. This process is later followed by commemoration in both public art and popular culture. The desire to celebrate politicians who had previously been the object of criticism, if not hostility, results from a sometimes grudging recognition of their contributions to Canada.
Life After Leadership