Tripti Joshi (Editor)

John McCallum

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
Prime Minister  Justin Trudeau
Succeeded by  Albina Guarnieri
Preceded by  Chris Alexander
Prime Minister  Jean Chretien

Prime Minister  Paul Martin
Name  John McCallum
Preceded by  Rey Pagtakhan
Spouse  Nancy Lim
John McCallum Charting corporate connections in the new Liberal cabinet

Role  Member of the Canadian House of Commons
Previous office  Member of the Canadian House of Commons (2001–2004)
Office  Member of the Canadian House of Commons since 2004
Education  University of Paris (1973), Queens' College, Cambridge, McGill University
Books  Belonging: Australian Playwritin, Unequal Beginnings: Agricultur, The Long Way Home: The Other, How the Lord Sent Christmas, Six Roads from Abilene
Similar People  Ralph Goodale, Mario Baldassarri, Christopher Green, Paul Samuelson, Gary Yohe

John mccallum stephane dion say goodbyes to house of commons

John McCallum PC (Chinese: 麦家廉, born April 9, 1950) is a Canadian politician, economist, university professor and diplomat. A former Liberal Member of Parliament (MP), McCallum is the current Canadian Ambassador to China. As an MP, he represented the electoral district of Markham—Thornhill, and has previously represented Markham—Unionville and Markham. He is a member of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada.


John McCallum httpswwwthestarcomcontentdamthestarnewsc

A veteran federal politician who began his political career in 2000, McCallum has served in the governments of Liberal prime ministers Jean Chrétien, Paul Martin, and Justin Trudeau. McCallum has previously been Secretary of State (International Financial Institutions), Minister of National Defence, Minister of Veterans Affairs, and Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.


McCallum was born in Montreal, Quebec, the son of Joan (Patteson) and Alexander Campbell McCallum. He received his secondary education at Selwyn House School and Trinity College School. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Queens' College, Cambridge University, a diplôme d'études supérieures from Université de Paris and a Doctorate in economics from McGill University. He was a professor of economics at the University of Manitoba from 1976 until 1978, Simon Fraser University from 1978 until 1982, the Université du Québec à Montréal from 1982 until 1987, and McGill University from 1987 until 1994. He is an honorary member of the Royal Military College of Canada, student #S139. He was also Dean of the Faculty of Arts at McGill University. He then became Senior Vice-President and Chief Economist of the Royal Bank of Canada.

Academic career (1976-94)

One of his most influential academic contributions was an article in The American Economic Review, which introduced the concept of the home bias in trade puzzle. It has spawned an ongoing international debate on whether trade within a nation state is greater than trade among nations, as compared with the predictions of standard economic models.

As McGill University’s Dean of Arts, McCallum secured a $10 million contribution from Charles Bronfman for the establishment of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada.

He also participated in the national unity debates of the early 1990s, editing the Canada Round Series of the C. D. Howe Institute and engaging in debate with then Opposition Leader Jacques Parizeau at Quebec's National Assembly.

Private sector career (1994-2000)

McCallum was the Royal Bank of Canada’s chief economist for six years. He consistently achieved the highest media coverage of bank chief economists, making regular appearances on CBC's The National as an economics panellist. He also engaged in social issues, notably a 1997 Royal Bank conference designed to align the business community with the recommendations of the 1996 Report on the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. His paper at that conference, "The Cost of Doing Nothing," was highlighted ten years later in Aboriginal Times Magazine.

Backbencher under Chretien

McCallum successfully nominated Nelson Mandela as the second honorary citizen in Canadian history.

McCallum was quite vocal in Canada's debate on same-sex marriage. He told the Edmonton Sun in August 2003, "If people want to do something and it doesn’t hurt other people, doesn’t reduce other people’s rights, we should let them do it. Why not?" He also significantly contributed to the final debate before the vote on same-sex marriage on 21 March 2005 saying:

I believe we should always seek to expand the rights of our fellow citizens as long as we do not thereby reduce the rights of others. We should seek to ensure that no group is denied full participation in society. As members of Parliament, we should not ask the question, why should we extend this right? Rather our question should be, why should we not extend the right? Let the burden of proof be on those who wish to limit fundamental rights.


Defence Minister (2002-2003)

As Defence Minister under Jean Chretien, McCallum achieved what was then the largest increase in the annual defence budget ($1 billion) in more than a decade in return for offering up $200 million in savings from reducing low priority spending. He also retroactively reversed an inequity which awarded up to $250,000 to military personnel who lost their eyesight or a limb while on active service - but only to those with the rank of colonel or above. Now all Canadian Forces members are covered by the plan regardless of rank. Working with Germany, he successfully persuaded NATO to take control over the security mission in Kabul, Afghanistan, while also ensuring that the mission was led by Canada. He also determined that the army, rather than the navy or air force, was to be the top priority in budget allocations.

He became widely known and criticized in 2002 when he admitted, while serving as the Minister of National Defence, that he had never heard of the 1942 Dieppe raid, a fateful and nationally significant operation for Canadian Forces during the Second World War. Ironically, he wrote a letter to the editor of the National Post in response, but committed a further gaffe, confusing Canadian participation in the 1917 Battle of Vimy Ridge in France with Vichy France from 1940 to 1944. Response at the continued historical ignorance prompted outrage and humour among the press.

In November 2002, while still serving as Defence Minister, McCallum encountered further controversy when officials refused to allow him to board an Air Canada flight because his breath smelt heavily of alcohol. McCallum announced soon thereafter that the incident prompted him to abstain completely from alcohol consumption. He reportedly also intended to lose weight and give up smoking.

In January 2003, McCallum suggested Canadian troops could avoid so-called "friendly fire" incidents by wearing some of female Conservative MP Elsie Wayne's clothes. McCallum later apologized both inside and outside the House of Commons for using inappropriate language, blaming the excitement of the moment, and had his apologies accepted by Wayne.

Veterans Affairs Minister (2003-2004)

Under Paul Martin, McCallum introduced a new charter for younger, postwar veterans who have been physically or mentally injured while serving in the Canadian Forces. This charter, which became law in 2005, is modelled on the range of services provided for returning veterans after World War II. This "new model" stripped veterans of a monthly pension opting for a lump sum payment.

Expenditure Review Committee

As Chair of the Cabinet's Expenditure Review Committee, McCallum achieved in 2005 expenditure reductions of $11 billion over the next five years.

In opposition, immigration critic (2006-2015)

When the Conservatives came to power in January 2006 under Stephen Harper, McCallum was made immigration critic.

Minister of Immigration, Citizenship and Refugees (2015 to 2017)

On 4 November 2015, he was appointed the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship in the newly-elected 29th Canadian Ministry of Justin Trudeau. As a senior cabinet minister, McCallum was then fourth in line in case of the PM's incapacity.

Ambassador to China

In the 10 January 2017 cabinet reshuffle, McCallum stepped down from his post at CIC and was announced as Canada’s ambassador to China.

Personal life

He is married to Nancy Lim and has three sons. McCallum resided in Oakville, Ontario while as MP and now in Beijing as Canadian ambassador to China.


John McCallum Wikipedia