Man hopeful Diefenbaker is his biological father
Published Tuesday, September 20, 2011 10:54AM EDT
The Toronto man who suspects that he is John Diefenbaker's biological son says it would be "a great honour" if Canada's 13th prime minister was in fact, his real father.
John George Dryden, 42, has long suspected that Gordon Dryden, the man who had married his mother not long before his birth, was not his actual father.
"I always kind of suspected something wasn't right," Dryden told CTV's Canada AM Tuesday.
"And other nieces and nephews who were older than I did tease me about it. But Gordon pooh-poohed. But looking back now, I can definitely see there was something not right about the whole situation."
The truth came to light in a somewhat-unrelated legal dispute in which Dryden is suing Gordon Dryden for $30 million, alleging that the elder Dryden had disinherited him.
The allegations have not been proven and Gordon Dryden has not yet filed a statement of defence.
As part of the lawsuit, Dryden underwent DNA testing in June that confirmed that Gordon Dryden, now in his mid-80s, is not a biological relative.
By then, Dryden had heard the family rumour: that Dryden's mother, a political socialite who had grown close with Diefenbaker in the late 1960s, may have had an affair with the former prime minister, which led to his conception. Diefenbaker would have been 72 at the time of Dryden's conception; his mother would have been in her mid-30s.
Dryden, who goes by the name "George," soon realized that he bore quite a resemblance to Diefenbaker. He was also christened John George -- the same first and middle names of Diefenbaker.
Dryden says he has been able to see his mother only once since he learned that a mystery surrounds his provenance. His mother was in the hospital at the time and in a fragile state as he asked her to tell him the truth.
"She was becoming pretty emotional about it, so I didn't push it too far. But what she did end up telling me was that my father's first name was John and that she did see John Diefenbaker during that period," Dryden says.
Since then, Dryden alleges that his mother has been kept away from him.
"I don't even know where she is. She got out of the hospital but Gordon and his team of lawyers won't even tell me where she is," he says.
"I think he's trying to keep her away from me because he doesn't want her to admit to me who my real father to her," Dryden says.
A museum dedicated to John Diefenbaker may help settle the matter. The Saskatoon-based Diefenbaker Canada Centre has decided to give Dryden access to its artifacts for DNA testing.
Dryden plans to hire the Toronto-based company that did his paternity testing, EasyDNA, to do further DNA testing from the museum's artifacts.
Dryden reports that the lab is ready to begin testing anytime and he could have the results within a matter of weeks.
If Diefenbaker is his father, Dryden would become the former prime minister's only known biological child. Diefenbaker was married twice and had a step-daughter, but had no children of his own. Diefenbaker died in 1979.
Dryden says what he wants is simple: "I'm just looking to find out who my father is."
He added, "After 42 years, I just found out in June that I'm not a Dryden so Diefenbaker was the only lead, and the best lead I had, that's why I'm trying to eliminate him.
"Hopefully it is him; it would be a great honour if he was my father."