Donald Stovel Macdonald
Macdonald with President Gerald Ford in 1975.
Canadian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom
In office
Prime MinisterBrian Mulroney
Preceded byRoy McMurtry
Succeeded byFredrik S. Eaton
Minister of Finance
In office
September 26, 1975 – September 16, 1977
Prime MinisterPierre Trudeau
Preceded byCharles Drury (acting)
Succeeded byJean Chrétien
Member of Parliament
for Rosedale
In office
June 18, 1962 – January 3, 1978
Preceded byDavid James Walker
Succeeded byDavid Crombie
Personal details
Born(1932-03-01)March 1, 1932
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
DiedOctober 14, 2018(2018-10-14) (aged 86)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Political partyLiberal
Spouse(s)Ruth Hutchison (dec.)
Adrian Merchant Lang
ChildrenLeigh Macdonald, Nikki Macdonald, Althea Macdonald, Sonja Macdonald
Residence(s)Toronto, Ontario
Alma mater

Donald Stovel Macdonald PC CC (March 1, 1932 – October 14, 2018) was a Canadian lawyer, politician and diplomat. Macdonald was a long-time Liberal party Member of Parliament and Cabinet minister. In the early 1980s, he headed a royal commission (the Macdonald Commission) which recommended that Canada enter a free trade agreement with the United States.

Early life and education

Macdonald was born in Ottawa, Ontario. He graduated from the University of Trinity College in the University of Toronto in 1952. He subsequently attended Harvard Law School (LLM), as well as the University of Cambridge in England (Diploma in International Law).

Political career

He was first elected to the House of Commons of Canada in the 1962 election as the Liberal Member of Parliament for the Rosedale riding in Toronto. In 1967, he was the parliamentary secretary of Paul Martin, Secretary of State for External Affairs. He joined the Cabinet of Pierre Trudeau in 1968 and served successively as President of the Privy Council, Minister of National Defence, Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources and Minister of Finance. As Finance Minister, Macdonald introduced tougher Employment insurance rules in his 1976 budget,[1] and wage and price controls in an attempt to control inflation in his 1977 budget.[2]

Macdonald resigned from Cabinet in 1977 to return to his law practice. When Pierre Trudeau announced his resignation as leader of the Liberal Party of Canada following his defeat in the 1979 election, Macdonald would have declared his candidacy for the position. However, with the unexpected defeat of Joe Clark's Progressive Conservative government on a motion of no confidence, the Liberals asked Trudeau to lead them into the 1980 election and cancelled the leadership campaign. Macdonald was not a candidate for the party leadership when Trudeau resigned again in 1984.

Subsequent career

In 1982, Prime Minister Trudeau appointed Macdonald as chairman of a Royal Commission on the Economic Union and Development Prospects for Canada (the Macdonald Commission). The report was released in September 1985 and recommended, among other things, that Canada enter into a free trade agreement with the United States. Progressive Conservative Brian Mulroney was Prime Minister by this time. He accepted the recommendation and pursued what became the Canada–US Free Trade Agreement.

Macdonald was appointed High Commissioner of Canada to the United Kingdom in 1988. He held that position until 1991, when he returned to his law practice in Toronto. He is also a past member of the Steering Committee of the Bilderberg Group.[3]

Honours and awards

In 1994, Macdonald was made a Companion of the Order of Canada.[4] He received honorary degrees from the Colorado School of Mines, the University of New Brunswick, Carleton University, and the University of Toronto (Doctor of Sacred Letters, Trinity College, University of Toronto).

Personal life

Macdonald married Ruth Hutchison (dec.) in 1961, and their four daughters are Leigh, Nikki, Althea, and Sonja. Nikki Macdonald served as a senior advisor to Jean Chrétien during his time as Prime Minister.

In 1988, he married Adrian Merchant Lang, the daughter of Sally Merchant. From her prior marriage to Otto Lang, she had seven children: Maria (d. 1991), Timothy, Gregory, Andrew, Elisabeth, Adrian, and Amanda Lang. They have fifteen grandchildren.

Macdonald died at his home in Toronto on October 14, 2018.[5]

Electoral record

1972 Canadian federal election: Rosedale
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Donald S. Macdonald 16,073 44.02
Progressive Conservative Warren Beamish 14,856 40.69
New Democratic Ron Sabourin 4,598 12.59
Independent Aline Gregory 892 2.44
Marxist–Leninist David Starbuck 95 0.26
Total valid votes 36,514 100.00
Total rejected ballots 612
Turnout 37,126 74.00
Electors on the lists 50,169
Source: Official Voting Results, Office of the Chief Electoral Officer (Canada), 1972.


There is a Donald Stovel MacDonald fonds at Library and Archives Canada.[6]


  1. ^ "The Leader-Post". 26 May 1976. Retrieved 17 June 2020.
  2. ^ "The Leader-Post". 1 April 1977. Retrieved 17 June 2020.
  3. ^ "Former Steering Committee Members". Bilderberg Group. Archived from the original on 30 June 2009. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
  4. ^ Office of the Governor General of Canada. Order of Canada citation. Queen's Printer for Canada. Retrieved 3 January 2021.
  5. ^ "Former Liberal cabinet minister Donald Macdonald dead at 86, family says |".
  6. ^ "Finding aid to Donald Stovel MacDonald fonds, Library and Archives Canada" (PDF). Retrieved 17 August 2020.

Further reading

20th Ministry – First cabinet of Pierre Trudeau Cabinet posts (5) Predecessor Office Successor Charles Drury (acting) Minister of Finance1975–1977 Jean Chrétien Joe Greene Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources1972–1975 Alastair Gillespie Charles Drury (acting) Minister of National Defence1970–1972 Edgar Benson Allan MacEachen (acting) President of the Queen's Privy Council for CanadaJuly 6, 1968 – September 23, 1970 Allan MacEachen   Minister Without PortfolioApril 20, 1968 – July 5, 1968   Special Parliamentary Responsibilities Predecessor Title Successor Allan MacEachen Leader of the Government in the House of CommonsSeptember 12, 1968 – September 23, 1970 Allan MacEachen Diplomatic posts Preceded byRoy McMurtry Canadian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom 1988–1991 Succeeded byFredrik Stefan Eaton