John C. Turner, the Progressive Conservative leader who was temporarily elected prime minister of Canada in 1988, has died. He was 91.
Mr. Turner, who moved to Toronto from Ottawa in 2015, died late Sunday night of natural causes, the province’s Ministry of Finance announced Monday.
Mr. Turner was Ontario’s education minister when he won the Progressive Conservative leadership in 1976, beaten just a few months before in the Quebec election by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. He then won a weak majority in Quebec’s 1980 provincial election.
He moved to Toronto, where he became chairman of the National Post newspaper’s board of directors and associate director of the Canada School of Public Policy, a graduate school for public administration. In 1994, he joined the board of the Toronto Blue Jays and four years later retired as an adviser to its principal owner, Peter Paul Rubens, Jr.
Mr. Turner had an opportunity to make history the next year. After a series of ups and downs in his bid to appeal to the country’s growing South Asian community, he persuaded the country’s foreign affairs ministers to decide on a replacement for the nation’s first black prime minister, Pierre Trudeau. He then secured a Reform Party-Liberal coalition to defeat the governing Liberal Party.
He was re-elected as premier of the Province of Ontario, the most populous province in Canada, only to have the federal Liberal Party, helped by his Conservative opponents, win the 1987 federal election.
In 1993, the Reform Party split in two, angering Mr. Turner, and he later resigned as leader of his party. Mr. Turner remained a constant critic of the federal Liberal Party. He joined a Conservative-supporting think tank and later lobbied for improvements in the federal government’s emergency preparedness in the face of future forest fires.
He was born on Jan. 22, 1924, in Toronto. After his early education, he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force. His father, John C. Turner, was the mayor of Toronto in the 1940s and 1950s. Mr. Turner was a special advisor on management and progress for the Federal Reserve Board of Governors in Washington.
He leaves his wife, Maureen Lalonde, and a daughter.