New DNA evidence supports 'familial linkage' in Diefenbaby case
George Dryden, who believes his father was former prime minister John Diefenbaker, is seen in Toronto on Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2011. (Colin Perkel / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Published Wednesday, September 5, 2012 2:02PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, September 5, 2012 4:04PM EDT
New evidence has emerged to support the case of a Toronto man who believes late prime minister John Diefenbaker is his father.
A DNA test has shown “genetic overlap” between John George Dryden and an unidentified male member of Diefenbaker’s extended family.
“As I understand it there is a common family relationship with common family ancestors,” Dryden told CTVNews.ca in a phone interview Wednesday. “It shows the genetic link to the Diefenbaker family.”
“There’s a link, there’s no question about it.”
The discovery was first reported by Maclean’s Magazine.
The DNA came from a discarded Q-tip used by the male Diefenbaker relative. The sample was obtained by a private investigator without consent, the magazine said.
The sample was tested by a DNA analysis firm in Toronto called Accu-Metrics. The firm’s president has acknowledged “familial linkage,” but says the test isn’t definitive.
Dryden has been trying for more than a year to prove that he is the son of the late Conservative prime minister, who was in office from 1959 to 1963.
Diefenbaker, who died in 1979, reportedly had no children, but Dryden said his efforts to prove otherwise have now been vindicated.
“I was just trying to prove who my father was. I thought I had a pretty good idea and this clears up in my mind any doubts I had and it does scientifically prove it,” he said. “Why in the world am I related to the Diefenbaker family if it isn’t through my mom and the former prime minister?
“That’s the only connection I’m aware of between the two families.”
Dryden said his mother, Mary Lou Dryden, and Diefenbaker were close friends and confidantes in the 1960s.
“She named me after him and Diefenbaker himself, when I met him on (Parliament Hill) in 1971, he gave me a good hard look and said: ‘You were named after me,’” Dryden said.
He said his mother never explicitly told him that Diefenbaker was his father, but she hinted at it when he visited her at a hospital last summer.
“She said: ‘Yes your father’s first name was John and, yes, I did see him in the window that you were conceived,” Dryden said. “That was as close as she got.”
Dryden has said that he is no longer in contact with his mother.
A museum approached Dryden with a lock of hair labelled as belonging to Diefenbaker late last week, but he called the hair sample “useless” as it was a clipping and didn’t include the hair follicle.
But even without a DNA sample from Diefenbaker himself, Dryden said he’s now satisfied that the former prime minister was his father.
“If anybody doubts it, if the Diefenbaker family wants to come and do a swab with me…they’re welcome to it, but I approached them in the summer and they all turned me down.”