John Dahmer

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John Roderick Dahmer
MP for Beaver River
In office
November 21 – November 26, 1988
Preceded by new district
Succeeded by Deborah Grey
Personal details
Born September 5, 1937
Red Deer, Alberta
Died November 26, 1988(1988-11-26) (aged 51)
Political party Progressive Conservative
Residence Elk Point, Alberta
Occupation Educator

John Roderick Dahmer (September 5, 1937 – November 26, 1988) was elected a member of the Canadian House of Commons in 1988. His background was in education. A school teacher, guidance councillor, principal, and later involved in adult education, correctional education and vocational training as a director at Lakeland College.

He was elected in the 1988 federal election at the Beaver River electoral district for the Progressive Conservative party; however, he was terminally stricken with pancreatic cancer and never saw the first day of the 34th Canadian Parliament.[1][2]

Dahmer had entered Edmonton's Royal Alexandra Hospital on October 28, 1988, after suffering symptoms similar to adult onset type two diabetes, but the extent of his condition was not widely known until after election night.[2] However, by the time cancer was discovered it was after the deadline to withdraw from the general election, and at that point it was not certain the cancer could not be successfully treated with chemotherapy.

Dahmer died five days after the election, before the Deputy Clerk of the House of Commons could arrive to conduct a swearing-in ceremony.[3] Despite this, parliamentary policy allowed Dahmer's widow to receive a $29,150 severance, which was equivalent to six months salary in office.[4] This money was used to establish the John Dahmer Community Involvement Scholarship at Lakeland College.

As of 2014, he continues to hold the record for the shortest term as a federal Member of Parliament in Canadian history.


Dahmer's widow, Donna Lynne (née Coulter), ran unsuccessfully for the Progressive Conservative nomination in the resulting by-election, losing to Dave Broda.

Broda lost the by-election to Deborah Grey, the first Reform Party candidate ever elected to the House of Commons. Grey had also been the Reform candidate in the 1988 election, but finished in fourth place.

Electoral record

Canadian federal election, 1988: Beaver River
Party Candidate Votes
Progressive Conservative John Dahmer 13,768
Liberal Ernie Sehn 6,528
New Democratic Brian Luther 6,492
Reform Deborah Grey 4,158
Confederation of Regions Les Johnston 131


  1. Schut, Jessie (November–December 1995). "Profile: Deborah Grey". Living Light News. Retrieved 2006-12-15.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 Canadian Press (November 24, 1988). "New MP victim of cancer". Ottawa Citizen. p. A4.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Robert Marleau, Camille Montpetit (2000). "The House of Commons and Its Members". House of Commons Procedure and Practice. pp. Section 4. Retrieved 2006-12-15.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Canadian Press (January 19, 1989). "Five-day MP's death leaves family $29,150". The Gazette. p. B1.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links