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Behind the Scenes

Behind the Scenes: The Life and Work of William Clifford Clark

Robert A. Wardhaugh
Douglas MacEwan
William Johnston
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  • Book Info
    Behind the Scenes
    Book Description:

    Robert A. Wardhaugh chronicles Clark's contributions to Canada's modern state in Behind the Scenes, which reconstructs the public life and ideas of one of Canada's most important bureaucrats.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8676-2
    Subjects: History, Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. vii-viii)

    The work of government is often portrayed as bloodless and driven by organization charts, economic imperatives, and broad ideological constructs. This book shows that it is also a story about people. Indeed, with this volume, the Institute of Public Administration of Canada (IPAC) renews its acquaintance with its old friend Clifford Clark. Clark knew IPAC very well in its stirring first years of the late 1940s. He saw it brought to life by his counterpart in Ontario, Deputy Treasurer Chester Walters and his able deputy, Philip Clark (no relation to Clifford). Clifford Clark eagerly showed his support by becoming a...

  4. Preface
    (pp. ix-xii)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-2)
  6. 1 An Academic Mind, 1889–1922
    (pp. 3-30)

    William Clifford Clark was born on 18 April 1889, at Glen Falloch, Glengarry County, Ontario. The Scottish influence on Clark’s birthplace was unmistakable and it existed in more than name. According to a local history, Glen Falloch is Gaelic for ‘The Hidden Glen’ and is ‘symbolic of all Glengarry. It is buried in quiet shade, beautiful, bewitching; and its heart is entirely Highland.’¹ The Clark family descended from Highland Scottish immigrants and this identity was very much part of young Clifford’s childhood: ‘When I was a very young lad I remember that when my grandmother was “blue” she used to...

  7. 2 American Financier, 1922–1932
    (pp. 31-60)

    Clifford Clark was about a month into the 1922–3 academic year when he received a letter that would dramatically change his future plans. It was from S.W. Straus and Company, one of the largest real estate firms in the United States. Clark was being offered a new career.

    The Straus company, founded by F.W. Straus, since 1898 had been under the control of his son, S.W. Straus. In 1909 the company originated the idea of real estate bonds used to finance building projects. The company sold industrial bonds while also initiating the underwriting of bond issues on high-grade apartments,...

  8. 3 Civil Servant, 1932–1935
    (pp. 61-92)

    In the summer of 1932 O.D. Skelton, as undersecretary of state for external affairs, was assigned the task of organizing the work of the Imperial Economic Conference in Ottawa. Since the inception of the imperial conferences in the aftermath of the Great War, there had never been a full-scale gathering held outside London. Nine delegations were now set to arrive from Britain, and the dominions and colonies of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Ireland, India, Southern Rhodesia, and Newfoundland. The delegations numbered 280 people, including advisers and support staff, to which were added some two hundred representatives of business...

  9. 4 A New Boss, 1935–1939
    (pp. 93-140)

    Political events in Canada were moving quickly. The Depression had not only devastated the Prairie west and the Canadian economy in general; it had destroyed the Conservative government of R.B. Bennett. Even though an election was not held until October 1935, Liberal leader Mackenzie King was already preparing to enter office. In particular, he was scanning the horizon (and the federal civil service) for potential people to remain in their positions. On 2 August King met with O.D. Skelton for breakfast. Skelton had proven his worth far beyond partisan politics and had set a precedent by surviving the transition in...

  10. 5 Preparing for War, 1939–1940
    (pp. 141-170)

    War had come again. Twenty years after ‘the war to end all wars,’ it was difficult to believe, but it was happening all over again. In Ottawa the Cabinet ministers and their chief advisors were summoned for a 9:00 a.m. meeting on 1 September 1939. It was agreed that Parliament would be called at the earliest opportunity, which in the days before regular air travel was 7 September.¹ Britain was certain to declare war and there was no doubt as to what Canada would do. As Prime Minister Mackenzie King made clear in a press statement, his government would seek...

  11. 6 Dark Days, 1940–1941
    (pp. 171-198)

    On 9 April 1940 the ‘phoney war’ came to an abrupt end. Germany delivered an ultimatum for surrender to Denmark and Norway; Denmark capitulated immediately, while Norway resisted but was soon overrun. Britain landed two brigades on 20 April but barely managed to evacuate them by 2 May. The conflict entered a new phase and the artificial period of calm, which had provided Canada crucial time to prepare for war, was over. Dark days lay ahead.

    The bad news reached Canadians over breakfast on 9 April. Mackenzie King had spoken with C.D. Howe and J.L. Ralston four days previous about...

  12. 7 Mobilizing the Nation, 1941–1942
    (pp. 199-230)

    The Hyde Park Agreement was signed between Prime Minister Mackenzie King and President Franklin D. Roosevelt on 20 April 1941, to solve a serious trade dilemma. Canada was purchasing vast amounts of American defence materials destined for Britain and was facing a shortage of American dollars as a result. The problem was exacerbated by the U.S. Lend-Lease policy, which threatened to divert war orders from Britain to the United States. The Hyde Park Agreement moved towards integrating the economic structures of Canada and the United States for the duration of the war. It sought to employ the most prompt and...

  13. 8 Building a Brave New World, 1942–1943
    (pp. 231-260)

    Clifford Clark was at the peak of his career. The rather modest economist and civil servant had become indispensable to the Canadian government. But this growing influence had not gone unnoticed by politicians and businessmen, and it did make some people uneasy. The prime minister, himself, was likely the best example. Any unease felt by Mackenzie King, however, was overridden by the value and weight Clark lent to the government. As Arnold Heeney observed, Clark ‘stood high in King’s confidence and no major economic measures were adopted without his advice. More than anyone else it was Clark, indefatigable and imaginative,...

  14. 9 Getting the Job Done, 1944–1945
    (pp. 261-294)

    Clifford Clark made his most significant contribution to the handling of the Canadian economy in 1944. As Bill Mackintosh later observed, ‘In many ways the culminating year of the war for the Finance Department was 1944. Some day some historian will discover what an impressive docket of financial legislation was passed by the House of Commons in that year.’¹ Bob Bryce came to the same conclusion: ‘The decision of the Government to introduce a programme of post-war legislation in 1944 gave Clark an opportunity to turn from the negative operations of war, which he always disliked, to constructive ideas for...

  15. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  16. 10 The Post-war World and New Beginnings, 1946
    (pp. 295-324)

    Early in 1946 Clifford Clark returned to work. In many ways it was a time of new beginnings. The workload and stresses of wartime had very nearly killed him. Those nearest now warned Clark that he would have to learn his lesson, slow down, and take a new, more relaxed approach to work. By the time he returned, Clark’s secretary had taken advantage of his absence to ‘revolutionize’ his office. This process included a good cleaning, new furniture, and even new carpet, a common topic of discussion with first-time visitors to the East Wing.¹ The war was over and Clark...

  17. 11 The Trials of Prosperity, 1947–1949
    (pp. 325-352)

    By 1947 the government’s desire to reduce expenditures (as well as the costs of living for Canadians) while delivering the social welfare agenda ran headlong into the realities of the Cold War. On 9 January the Cabinet Defence Committee met to consider the annual defence budget. Prime Minister King wanted major reductions in defence spending now that the Second World War was over, to accommodate other significant financial expenditures, including old age pensions and family allowances. In King’s eyes the federal government had a choice to make: ‘whether we were going in for increased military expenditures or to seek to...

  18. 12 The End of an Era, 1950–1952
    (pp. 353-372)

    It is often assumed that the preoccupation of the Canadian federal government in the post-war era was social security; in fact, it was defence.¹ By 1950 turf wars were again erupting between the finance and defence departments, much as they had during the Second World War. But Douglas Abbott was also having difficulty convincing the other departments to cut expenditures. The problem was compounded because the fixed expenditures were already high.² On 18 January Brooke Claxton asked for $425 million for defence in 1951–2, not including possible special assistance to NATO countries. This request reflected a significant increase from...

  19. 13 Conclusion
    (pp. 373-384)

    News of Clark’s death was relayed to Ottawa by the Canadian consulgeneral in Chicago. Doug Abbott and others including Bob Bryce, Ken Eaton, and John Deutsch met the Chicago train carrying his body at Union Station in Toronto early Monday morning, 29 December. The minister and his officials walked slowly behind the coffin as it was conveyed along the platform and through the station concourse. Ken Taylor and George Lowe accompanied the body from Toronto to Ottawa.¹ The funeral was held on 30 December at Chalmers United Church. Bryce, Eaton, Taylor, McIntyre, Deutsch, and Lowe served as pallbearers.² In Clark’s...

  20. Notes
    (pp. 385-440)
  21. Bibliography
    (pp. 441-460)
  22. Index
    (pp. 461-470)
  23. Back Matter
    (pp. 471-471)