“Old Tomorrow”


Description of an aging politician whose ubiquity on the political scene seems never ending.

Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada’s first prime minister, was the first to wear this moniker. Depending on your perspective, it was either a compliment or a lament.  Macdonald just kept elections throughout a long career. That is, if you forget about the Pacific Scandal, the bump in the road that pushed him out of office from 1873-1878.

Some Conservative Party colleagues couldn’t foresee a Canada without Macdonald’s quick mind, perhaps lubricated by a tipple (or two). His political foes were often stymied by Macdonald’s canny ability to wear them down. The nickname “Old Tomorrow” was as much a testament to his parliamentary skills as it was to his sheer longevity.

In the 1891 campaign, the 76-year-old Macdonald won his sixth majority in the post-Confederation era. He died not long after, replaced by a political insider – Sir John Abbott – who said he hated politics. Nobody in the US has yet thought to apply the moniker to President Joe Biden, who was 78 years old when elected in 2020.

Macdonald’s nickname lived on for more than a century. In 2014, a Toronto-based brewer adopted “Old Tomorrow” as the moniker of its new venture. They even put a picture of Macdonald on the can.

But it was a short-lived homage. On the heels of heated controversy over Macdonald’s role in creating Canada’s residential schools, the Old Tomorrow Brewing Company changed its name in 2021 to Tomorrow Beer Company – a sign that Macdonald’s legacy has lost much of its fizz.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons


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