Thomson, Dale C.

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Thomson, Dale C.

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Dale Cairns Thomson was born in Westlock, Alberta on June 17, 1923 to Walter James Cairns Thomson and Margaret Charlotte (nee Falkson). Thomson had two siblings, Peggy Thomson Scott and Walter Thomson. He married Shirley Lavinia Cull in 1967 (divorced 1980), Hamidol Mena Syne in 1982 (died 1987) and Lizanne Ryan in 1996 (widowed 1999). Thomson had no children. Dale Thomson died on April 27, 1999 following a prolonged illness.


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He attended Fort Assiniboine Public School in Fort Assiniboine, Alberta from 1928 to 1937 and Barrhead High School in Barrhead, Alberta from 1937 to 1941. In 1941 he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force serving as a pilot officer in Coastal Command, and taking part in operations in the English Channel and Western Europe. He was discharged in August 1945, having obtained the rank of Flight Lieutenant and was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross.

After the War, Thomson studied history and political economy at the University of Alberta from 1945 to 1948, receiving a BA degree. He went on to study at the institute d'Etudes Politiques at the Universite de Paris from 1948 to 1950, where he earned a diploma in international relations. In 1951 he was awarded a doctorat from the Faculte des Lettres of the Universite de Paris; his thesis was entitled "General Haushofer and his Ideas on Geopolitics." From 1953 to 1958 he worked as an Associate Private Secretary to the Right Honourable Louis St. Laurent, both in the Prime Minister's Office (1953 -1957) and when St. Laurent was leader of the opposition (1957-1958). He continued to be involved in party politics throughout his life, specifically with the Liberal Party of Canada and the Quebec Liberals.

Canadian politics was also the central focus of his academic career. Thomson taught in the Département de science politique of the Université de Montréal from 1960 to 1969, and was departmental director from 1963 to 1967. He was then a professor of international relations and founding director of the Center of Canadian Studies at the School of Advanced International Studies of The Johns Hopkins University in Washington, D.C. from 1969 to 1973. Following this, he moved to McGill University in Montreal to fill the new post of Vice-Principal (Planning), a position that included developing the university's relations with contemporary Quebec society (1973-1976). He also taught in McGill's Political Science Department from 1973 until his retirement from teaching in 1994.

Dale Thomson published several books and numerous articles, mostly on Canadian politics and governance. His major works are: Alexander Mackenzie: Clear Grit (1960); Louis St. Laurent Canadian (1967), also published in French; Canadian Foreign Policy: Options and Perspectives (co-author). (1971); Quebec Society and Politics: Views from the Inside. (editor). (1973); Jean Lesage and the Quiet Revolution (1984). also published in French; and Vive Ie Quebec Libre (1988. French edition 1990). He also wrote articles in the Canadian press and appeared on television and radio. mostly as a commentator on Canadian politics.

During his academic career, Thomson belonged to several professional organisations, such as the Association for Canadian Studies in the United States, the Canadian Political Science Association. the International Society for Political Psychology, la Societe Canadienne de Science Politique and the International Association for Mass Communication Research, amongst others. He was on the Board of Directors of the International Centre for Ethnic Studies located in Sri Lanka. In addition, he lectured and carried out research in Latin America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia.

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