Frank History – Prime Ministers: Joe Clark (1979-1980)
The story of the surprise rise to power, albeit brief and absurd, of the Member for Yellowhead really begins in Dalton Camp’s garage in the spring of 1967. Camp, occupied with thoughts of toppling Conservative leader John Diefenbaker while absently tinkering with a crystal radio kit, hit upon the idea of combining his passions and “build a leader responsive to the needs of today’s Canada I can listen to Leaf games on.”
The resulting JoeBot2000 – rechristened “Joe Clark” when Camp discovered “JoeBot2000” was a registered trademark of a personal massage manufacturer – won its party’s leadership on the strength of its slogan “Your Choice For Miniature Frequency Synthesizers.” Clark went on to defeat Pierre Trudeau and claim a minority government after voters were assured it would never attain self-awareness.
An untimely, catastrophic failure of Clark’s math coprocessor the night the House voted on its first budget resulted in Clark’s inability to add and the fall of its government. The event is known among Clark loyalists as “The Blue Screen Of Joe.”
In 1984, Clark became a senior minister in the cabinet of Brian Mulroney after having been refitted with 4 MB of RAM and two expansion slots. Clark left politics in 1993 to become a clock radio, but made a comeback in 1998 to lead the Progressive Conservatives and tell them what time it was.