By Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press - Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 0 Comments
TORONTO – The winding saga of a man’s quest to prove former prime minister…
TORONTO – The winding saga of a man’s quest to prove former prime minister John Diefenbaker was his father seemed headed for the home stretch Wednesday with word of two new possibilities for genetic matching.
An excited George Dryden said he’s found a company that can do DNA tests on hairs that belonged to Diefenbaker, even though they no longer have the roots.
In addition, the museum in Saskatchewan that has the hair has also found a DNA report done on a tooth believed to have belonged to the former prime minister.
“We’ve got two irons in the fire,” Dryden said. “This will prove it definitely, once and for all.”
According to Dryden’s lawyer, the museum has opted to keep confidential the name of the person who requested testing of the tooth “some time ago.” Apparently the tooth was destroyed but the DNA report has now turned up.
By Charlie Gillis - Sunday, September 9, 2012 at 5:00 AM - 0 Comments
Finally, George Dryden has real evidence that he’s related to former PM
A lot of people laughed. Internet trolls, talk-show callers, the self-appointed guardians of a dead prime minister’s reputation—they’ve all had their cracks over the past year at George Dryden and his claim that he’s the unacknowledged son of John Diefenbaker. Les MacPherson, a former newspaper editor from the Chief’s old riding of Prince Albert, Sask., admitted in an op-ed piece that Dryden looks like Canada’s 13th prime minister. “But so does my brother’s bloodhound, Beau,” he wrote. “It’s possible that the Dryden family’s milkman in 1968 looked like Diefenbaker, too, but that doesn’t mean they were related.”
The barbs could sting, the 43-year-old Dryden admits. “More than anything, it made me angry,” he says. But they failed to divert him from his mission, and this week the yuks are all his. On Aug. 28, Dryden emerged relieved and triumphant from the offices of a Toronto firm that had compared his genetic profile and that of an unidentified member of Diefenbaker’s extended family. The finding? Clear indications of common ancestry, typical of far-ﬂung branches of the same family. “There is a familial linkage,” Harvey Tenenbaum, director of operations for Accu-Metrics, the nationally accredited company that performed the analysis, told Maclean’s. “I can’t say what it is, but it’s more than just strangers passing in the street.”
Tenenbaum cautions against leaping to conclusions. “They could be fifth cousins,” he said. “It’s impossible to pin down.” But to Dryden the results represent an enormous step forward. Stymied, stalled and plain unlucky in his attempts to obtain usable DNA samples of Diefenbaker himself, the Torontonian was running out of clues to justify his mission. Diefenbaker has no known direct descendents with whom to compare genes, and a previous test of cells gathered from personal articles that once belonged to the former PM, now stored at the Diefenbaker Canada Centre in Saskatoon, was inconclusive. He did test negative last winter against a sample of male DNA gleaned from the handle of a clothes brush. But the brush appeared to have been used by more than one person. No one could be sure whether the DNA tested was Diefenbaker’s.
By Charlie Gillis - Wednesday, September 5, 2012 at 12:00 PM - 0 Comments
DNA test shows George Dryden belongs to the PM’s family
Maclean’s has been following George Dryden’s search for a familial connection to John Diefenbaker for over a year. For more on how Dryden obtained DNA that links him to the late prime minister’s extended family, his mother’s relationship with Diefenbaker, and the political intrigue behind the saga, read the current issue of Maclean’s magazine, on newsstands tomorrow.
A Toronto man who believes he is the son of John Diefenbaker now has a persuasive piece of evidence to back his claim, Macleans.ca has learned: DNA analysis indicating that he is related to the late prime minister’s family.
Last Tuesday, George Dryden received results from a DNA lab that compared his genetic profile to that of an unidentified male member of Diefenbaker’s extended family who lives in southern Ontario. The relative’s sample came from a discarded Q-tip, which was obtained without consent by a private investigator experienced in paternity cases. It was then sent to directly to a Toronto firm where DNA analysts identified “genetic overlap” pointing to common ancestry.
“There is a familial linkage,” Harvey Tenenbaum, president of Accu-Metrics, told Maclean’s for a story appearing in this week’s issue of the magazine. “I can’t say what it is, but it’s more than just strangers passing in the street.”
Tenenbaum cautioned that the results don’t definitively prove that 43-year-old Dryden was fathered by Diefenbaker, who was married twice and had no children by either of his wives. Dryden “could be fifth cousins” with the man from whom the sample was obtained, Tenenbaum said, adding: “You’d really need a sample from John Diefenbaker, or a member of his immediate family, to do an accurate comparison.”
By Charlie Gillis - Monday, January 2, 2012 at 1:55 PM - 0 Comments
Test results a disappointment for Toronto man
A Toronto man’s quest to determine whether he is the son of John Diefenbaker has hit a roadblock, as DNA tests failed to prove he is the offspring of Canada’s 13th prime minister.
The findings are a setback for George Dryden, who has been led to believe by family members that Diefenbaker is his biological father. But he said he’s not giving up.
“It’s more a frustration than anything,” Dryden said in an interview. “This DNA company we used is famous for getting DNA from dinosaur fossils and from lost tribes. But we’re going to take steps to follow other leads.”
Dryden, 43, had pinned his hopes to tests on samples from the Diefenbaker Canada Centre, a museum and educational centre in Saskatoon, Sask. which has a number of the late PM’s personal articles.
Testers from Warnex PRO-DNA took 10 samples from a variety of items at the centre, including hatbands, a wristwatch band and the stem of a pipe. In the end, though, only the handle of a clothes brush yielded high enough quality DNA for analysis.
Dryden tested negative against a sample of male DNA found there. But then things got complicated. The handle showed DNA from more than one person, so lab staff cannot be sure the sample in question came from Diefenbaker. In other words, they can’t say Dryden is not the former PM’s son.
All of which leaves George Dryden in limbo.
He had established in August through DNA testing that he is not the child of Gordon Dryden, the man George grew up believing was his father, who also happened to be the long-time treasurer of the Liberal Party of Canada.
And Diefenbaker was his only solid lead. Before marrying Gordon, Dryden’s mother Mary Lou was active in the Progressive Conservative Party and was seen at public functions at Diefenbaker’s side. Members of her family told George last year they’ve long suspected Diefenbaker is his father.
The result could also affect a civil suit George has launched against members of his own family, alleging that Gordon mistreated him and connived to keep family wealth out of his hands because he knew George was not his son.
In late November, a Superior Court of Ontario judge ruled the case cannot go ahead, but George has appealed.
Dryden says he will pursue other means of determining his parentage in the meantime, including gaining access to his mother so he can ask her once and for all who his father is.
Mary Lou is frail, and has been living at a long-term care facility in Toronto. But Gordon Dryden has power of attorney over her care, and has ordered staff to keep George away from her.
Dryden also hopes to persuade living relatives of the late PM to consent to tests. He has even heard there are other people who suspect Diefenbaker may have fathered them, and will try to make contact with them, too.
As it stands, Diefenbaker has no confirmed offspring. He had no children by either of his two wives, and died in 1979.
By Charlie Gillis - Monday, December 19, 2011 at 1:29 PM - 0 Comments
A court ruling says parents can keep a child’s lineage secret—even if he claims he’s Diefenbaker’s son
A Toronto man who believes he is the son of John Diefenbaker cannot sue members of his own family for allegedly cutting him out of an inheritance, an Ontario judge has ruled.
George Dryden says he will appeal, noting that his basic allegation remains untested—namely, that the man he grew up believing was his father mistreated him, and connived to keep family wealth out of his hands because he knew George was not his son.
Dryden alleges that his non-biological father, Gordon, knew all along that George is the child of Canada’s 13th prime minister. Continue…
By Charlie Gillis - Monday, November 7, 2011 at 6:13 PM - 0 Comments
Man claiming to be Diefenbaker’s son says he was unjustly cut out of inheritance
If you thought you’d heard the last of Mel Lastman, think again. The paternity case against Toronto’s diminutive former leader has arisen 10 years on in the case of a man who believes he is the son of the late prime minister, John Diefenbaker. It could prove pivotal to Geroge Dryden’s legal and financial fortunes.
Louie v. Lastman came up as lawyers squared off over whether Dryden should be able to sue members of his own family, whom he alleges cut him out of an inheritance because they knew he was an illegitimate child. “He stands in the same position as [plaintiffs] in the case of Mel Lastman,” Clare Burns, the lawyer representing George’s non-biological father, Gordon, told the Ontario Superior Court in Toronto. “This court was clear in that case that concealment of paternity is not a cause of action.” Continue…
By Charlie Gillis - Thursday, September 15, 2011 at 8:40 PM - 3 Comments
A man claiming to be the Chief’s son will get access to the former PM’s DNA after all
A Toronto man who believes he is John Diefenbaker’s biological son will get a chance to prove his lineage after all.
The Diefenbaker Canada Centre in Saskatoon, Sask., agreed today to grant access to personal artifacts in its collection to help George Dryden obtain a DNA sample and determine whether the late prime minister is his father.
“As previously indicated, we have sympathy for Mr. Dryden’s situation and are willing to help where possible,” wrote Michael Atkinson, the director of the centre, in a letter to Dryden’s lawyer Stephen Edell, and obtained by Macleans.ca. Continue…