Robert Coates
Member of the Parliament of Canada
In office
1957–1988
Cumberland (1957–1966)
Cumberland—Colchester North (1966–1976)
Cumberland—Colchester (1976–1988)
Preceded byAzel Randolph Lusby
Succeeded byBill Casey
Personal details
Born
Robert Carman Coates

(1928-03-10)March 10, 1928
Amherst, Nova Scotia, Canada
DiedJanuary 12, 2016(2016-01-12) (aged 87)
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Political partyProgressive Conservative Party of Canada
ProfessionAuthor, barrister, lawyer

Robert Carman Coates, PC QC (March 10, 1928 – January 12, 2016) was a Canadian politician and Cabinet minister.

Early life and education

Coates was born in Amherst, Nova Scotia, the son of a cattle buyer.

In 1951 Coates received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Mount Allison University in nearby Sackville, New Brunswick. In 1954, Coates graduated from Dalhousie Law School in Halifax. Prior to his election, Coates was a lawyer and member of the Nova Scotia Barristers' Society.[1]

Political career

Coates was first elected to the House of Commons of Canada in the 1957 election as the Progressive Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) for Cumberland, Nova Scotia. Coates was a backbencher during the John Diefenbaker and Joe Clark governments. He was appointed to the Cabinet of Brian Mulroney as Defence Minister following the Tory victory in the 1984 election.[2]

Coates' main initiative was the re-introduction of separate uniforms for the naval, land and air branches of the military.[3] Liberal Paul Hellyer had unified the Royal Canadian Navy, Canadian Army and Royal Canadian Air Force into an integrated Canadian Forces with a single uniform in 1967. Hellyer had scrapped the traditional British style uniforms and ranks of the Canadian Army, Royal Canadian Navy and Royal Canadian Air Force. The new uniforms resembled those of the US air force.[4]

Coates resigned from the Cabinet on February 12, 1985, after it emerged that he visited several strip clubs during a trip to West Germany in November 1984.[5][6][7][8] Coates did not run in the 1988 election.[9][10]

Death

Coates died in Halifax on January 12, 2016 after a short illness, at the age of 87.[11][12]

Personal life

In 1954, Coates married Mary Blanche Wade of Perth Junction, New Brunswick. The couple had two children, David Wade and Jodi.

Archives

There is Robert C. Coates fonds at Library and Archives Canada.[13]

Electoral record

1957 Canadian federal election: Cumberland
Party Candidate Votes
Progressive Conservative Robert Carman Coates 10,065
Liberal Randolph Lusby 8,398
1958 Canadian federal election: Cumberland
Party Candidate Votes
Progressive Conservative Robert Carman Coates 11,379
Liberal Azel Randolph Lusby 7,525
1962 Canadian federal election: Cumberland
Party Candidate Votes
Progressive Conservative Robert Carman Coates 9,524
Liberal H. Keith Russell 7,817
New Democratic Carson Carlyle Spicer 1,265
Social Credit John Vincent Forbes 165
1963 Canadian federal election: Cumberland
Party Candidate Votes
Progressive Conservative Robert Carman Coates 9,034
Liberal H. Keith Russell 8,082
New Democratic Carson Carlyle Spicer 874
1965 Canadian federal election: Cumberland
Party Candidate Votes
Progressive Conservative Robert Carman Coates 9,560
Liberal C. Elmer Bragg 7,088
New Democratic Carson C. Spicer 1,327

References

  1. ^ Janigan, Mary (February 25, 1985). "The man who would not fit". macleans.ca. MacLeans. Retrieved October 21, 2019.
  2. ^ "40-member Cabinet includes 23 first-time ministers". The Globe and Mail. September 18, 1984.
  3. ^ "Coates makes first moves to change forces' uniforms". The Globe and Mail. September 21, 1984.
  4. ^ Morton, Desmond A Military History of Canada, Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1999 page 252
  5. ^ Miller, Robert (February 25, 1985). "The downfall of a minister". macleans.ca. MacLeans. Retrieved October 21, 2019.
  6. ^ Morton, Desmond A Military History of Canada, Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1999 page 265
  7. ^ "Coates resigns over nightclub visit". The Globe and Mail. February 13, 1985.
  8. ^ Wren, Christopher S. (February 13, 1985). "Canadian Defense Minister resigns in a scandal". The New York Times. Retrieved 2016-01-12.
  9. ^ "Coates touted for Senate seat after deciding to resign as MP". The Globe and Mail. September 20, 1988.
  10. ^ "Conservative Coates feted by colleagues". Amherst Daily News. March 26, 2012. Retrieved 2018-05-20.
  11. ^ Cole, Darrell (January 13, 2016). "Mourning a people's politician". Amherst News Citizen-Record. Retrieved May 20, 2018.
  12. ^ "Former MP Robert Coates dies at 87". The Chronicle Herald. January 12, 2016. Retrieved 2016-01-12.
  13. ^ "Robert C. Coates fonds, Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 2020-09-02.
24th Ministry – Cabinet of Brian Mulroney Cabinet post (1) Predecessor Office Successor Jean-Jacques Blais Minister of Defence1984–1985 Erik Nielsen