With the death of former prime minister John Turner on Sept. 19, collectors are now turning to Canada Post to fulfill a long-time tradition.
For many decades, the Crown corporation has issued a commemorative stamp following the death of former prime ministers and governors general.
“It’s really an honour for us to be able to do this sort of thing for famous Canadians and someone who has given so much to Canada,” Jim Phillips, Canada Post director of stamp services, told CBC News in 2010.
That year, the Crown corporation issued a stamp commemorating Roméo LeBlanc, the most recently deceased governor general, who died in 2009.
The tradition dates to at least 1950 with the death of former prime minister William Lyon Mackenzie King, who was commemorated on a stamp in 1951.
Earlier prime minister’s deaths, including those of Richard Bennett, Robert Borden and Wilfrid Laurier, weren’t marked with stamps until several years later.
“An accomplished lawyer and politician, John Turner was recognized for his personal integrity and commitment to democracy,” reads a statement issued by the Department of Canadian Heritage to confirm Turner’s death. “Through three decades of public service as a cabinet minister, Leader of the Opposition, and 17th Prime Minister of Canada (1984), he was tirelessly devoted to upholding Canadian values and principles.”
Turner served as Canada’s prime minister in 1984 for 79 days, the second-shortest stint in Canadian history.
He’s the first Canadian prime minister to die since Pierre Trudeau’s death in 2000. An invite-only state funeral was held for Turner on Oct. 6 in Toronto.
Canada Post has since confirmed to CSN a Turner stamp has been suggested to the Stamp Advisory Committee, which evaluates and recommends the subjects for the annual stamp program.