Man who believes Diefenbaker was his father skeptical about hair sample
Published Saturday, September 1, 2012 10:44PM EDT
The man who believes John Diefenbaker is his father says he’s unsure whether a recently discovered lock of the former prime minster’s hair will help prove his case.
While the new discovery initially appeared promising, John George Dryden told CTV News that without the hair follicles, it may be difficult to undertake the necessary DNA testing that could prove his father was Canada’s 13th prime minister.
The director of Saskatoon’s Diefenbaker Canada Centre said staff at the facility recently discovered the five-inch lock of blonde hair while relocating a collection.
“Sure enough, there it was,” said Michael Atkinson. “Clearly marked in a very small box, a little note ‘John Diefenbaker’s hair.”
When the museum emailed Dryden with news of the discovery on Friday, his first question was: “Are the roots attached?”
It turns, the lock of Diefenbaker’s hair was clipped with scissors, which could make DNA testing trickier.
Dryden hopes to find out on Tuesday whether the hair roots are needed to successfully extract a DNA sample.
“If a DNA company thinks they can get something without the root, of course, obviously we would go ahead and test,” Dryden told CTV News in a phone interview.
Previous DNA tests on Diefenbaker’s hatband and hairbrush came back inconclusive.
For more than a year, Dryden has been trying to determine whether he is Diefenbaker’s illegitimate son.
The 43-year-old Toronto man, who bears a strong resemblance to the former Conservative prime minister, claims his mother had an affair with Diefenbaker in the 1960s.
It has always been assumed that Diefenbaker, who died in 1979, had no children.
The Diefenbaker Canada Centre allowed Dryden to test some of its other artifacts in the slim hope they contained some of Diefenbaker’s DNA.
"We had been through what I understood was a very thorough assessment of the collection,” said Atkinson. “We had in good faith told Mr. Dryden and everybody else that we didn't have any samples."
Atkinson said he was shocked to learn of the hair sample and he assumed Dryden would be pleased with news of the discovery.
However, Atkinson has his own doubts over the paternity claim.
“People who know Mr. Diefenbaker will consider it extremely unlikely that this will work in Mr. Dryden’s favour,” he said.
With a report from CTV’s Seamus O’Reagan