Arthur Meighen: Wikis

  
  

Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Encyclopedia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Right Honourable
 Arthur Meighen 
PC, QC


Monarch George V
In office
July 10, 1920 – December 29, 1921
Preceded by Robert Borden
Succeeded by William L. M. King
In office
June 29, 1926 – September 25, 1926
Preceded by William L. M. King
Succeeded by William L. M. King

Born June 16, 1874(1874-06-16)
Anderson, Ontario
Died August 5, 1960 (aged 86)
Toronto, Ontario
Political party Conservative, Unionist
Spouse(s) Jessie Isabel Cox
Children Maxwell, Theodore and Lillian
Alma mater University of Toronto
Osgoode Hall Law School
Profession Lawyer
Religion Presbyterian, then United Church
Signature

Arthur Meighen (pronounced /ˈmiː.ən/), PC, QC (June 16, 1874 – August 5, 1960) was the ninth Prime Minister of Canada from July 10, 1920 to December 29, 1921 and June 29 to September 25, 1926. He was the first Prime Minister born after Confederation, and the only one to represent a riding in Manitoba. Both of his terms of office were brief, the second unprecedentedly so, partially due to the King-Byng Affair. He was the first Canadian Prime Minister to be defeated in his or her own riding.

Contents

Background

Meighen was born in Anderson, Ontario, Canada to Joseph Meighen and Mary Jane Bell. Meighen attended high school in St. Marys, Ontario at North Ward Public School, now known as Arthur Meighen Public School. The grandson of the schoolmaster of the first school in St. Marys, Meighen was an exemplary student. In 1892 in his final year at St. Marys Collegiate Institute, Meighen was elected secretary of the Literary Society and was a member of the school Debating Society. He received first class honours in Mathematics, English, and Latin and went on to tertiary education at the University of Toronto. He graduated from the University of Toronto,[citation needed] earning a B.A. in Mathematics in 1896. While there, he met and became a rival of William Lyon Mackenzie King; the two men, both future prime ministers, did not get along especially well from the start. Meighen then graduated from Osgoode Hall Law School. In 1904 he married Isabel J. Cox with whom he had two sons and one daughter. In 1990, one of his grandsons, Michael Meighen, was appointed to the Canadian Senate on the recommendation of Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.

Meighen experimented in several professions, including those of teacher, lawyer, and businessman, before becoming involved in politics as a member of the Conservative Party. In public, Meighen was a first class debater, said to have honed his oratory by delivering lectures to empty desks after class. He was renowned for his sharp wit.

Cabinet

He was first elected to the Canadian House of Commons in 1908, defeating incumbent John Crawford in the Manitoba riding of Portage la Prairie. He was re-elected in 1908 and 1911, and again in 1913 after being appointed Solicitor General (at the time, newly appointed Ministers had to seek re-election).

Meighen served as Solicitor-General from June 26, 1913, until August 25, 1917, when he was appointed Minister of Mines and Secretary of State for Canada. In 1917, he was mainly responsible for implementing mandatory military service as a result of the Conscription Crisis of 1917. Noteworthy was the government's decision to give votes to conscription supporters (soldiers and their families), while denying that right to potential opponents of conscription such as immigrants. Meighen's portfolios were again shifted on October 12, 1917, this time to the positions of Minister of the Interior and Superintendent of Indian Affairs.

He was re-elected in the December 1917 federal election in which Borden's Unionist (wartime coalition) government defeated the opposition Laurier Liberals over the conscription issue.

As Minister of the Interior, Meighen steered through Parliament the largest piece of legislation ever enacted in the British Empire - creating the Canadian National Railway Company, which continues today.[citation needed] Meighen was re-appointed Minister of Mines on the last day of 1920. In 1919, as acting Minister of Justice and senior Manitoban in the government of Sir Robert Borden, Meighen helped put down the Winnipeg General Strike by force. Though Meighen has often been credited by historians with instigating the prosecution of the Winnipeg strike leaders, in fact he rejected demands from the Citizens' Committee that Ottawa step in when the provincial government of Manitoba refused to prosecute. It took the return to Ottawa in late July 1919 of Charles Doherty, Minister of Justice for the Citizens' Committee to get federal money to carry forward their campaign against labour.[citation needed]

First term

He became leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party and Prime Minister on July 7, 1920, when Borden resigned. During this first term, he was Prime Minister for about a year and a half.

Meighen fought the 1921 election under the banner of the National Liberal and Conservative Party in an attempt to keep the allegiance of Liberals who had supported the wartime Unionist government. However, his actions in implementing conscription hurt his party's already-weak support in Quebec, while the Winnipeg General Strike and farm tariffs made him unpopular among labour and farmers alike. The party was defeated by the Liberals, led by William Lyon Mackenzie King. Meighen was personally defeated in Portage la Prairie, with his party nationally falling to third place behind the newly-formed Progressive Party. He continued to lead the Conservative Party (which had reverted to its traditional name), and returned to Parliament in 1922 for the eastern Ontario riding of Grenville.

Opposition leader

Despite his party finishing in third place Meighen became Leader of the Opposition after the Progressives declined the opportunity to become the Official Opposition. Meighen's term as opposition leader was most marked by his response to the crisis at Chanak, in which British Colonial Secretary Winston Churchill leaked to the newspapers that the Dominions might be called upon to help British forces in the area. King refused to commit to sending troops, resenting the way Churchill went above the Dominion leaders' heads. King used the rationale that Parliament should decide, and that the matter was not important enough to recall Parliament. Meighen strongly condemned his action, stating in a Toronto hotel, "When Britain's message came, then Canada should have said, 'Ready, aye ready, we stand by you.'" The crisis subsided within days, and Meighen was left with a reputation as blindly in favour of Britain's interests.

Unlike Laurier and Borden, there existed between Meighen and King a very personal distrust and animosity. Meighen looked down on King, whom he called "Rex" (King's old University nickname), and considered him unprincipled.

The Liberal government of Mackenzie King was soon beset with scandals and corruption. Much of this was uncovered in a Royal Commission established to probe wrongdoing in Quebec, and in particular, in connection with the construction of the Beauharnois Canal. The Tories won a plurality of seats in the inconclusive election of 1925, but King was able to retain power until 1926 through an alliance with the Progressives. Meighen denounced King staying in power, saying he was holding on to office like a "lobster with lockjaw."

A scandal in the Customs department was soon discovered, making the Progressives wary of supporting King. When King was on the verge of losing a vote in the Commons in 1926, he asked the Governor General, Lord Byng, to call an election. Despite every effort to cling to power, Mackenzie King's shaky government was defeated in the House of Commons. King resigned and Meighen was invited to form a government, having secured a measure of support from the opposition farm parties. This became known as the "King-Byng Affair". Historians have been divided in their interpretation of this event. Some have regarded it as an attack by Mackenzie King on the Governor General's constitutional prerogatives, including the right to refuse an election request by a prime minister; others have regarded it as an unwarranted intrusion into Canadian Parliamentary affairs by an unelected figurehead, and hence a violation of the principle of responsible government and the longstanding tradition of non-interference.

Second term

Because of the possibility of losing a vote in the Commons while Meighen and his ministers were re-elected (a relic of British law dating to 1701 that was repealed in Canada in 1938), Meighen advised that the Governor General make the ministers of the Crown "acting" only, and not take the oath of office. King created an uproar about this tactic, attracting Progressive support to take down the government. In the event, the government lost the confidence of the House by one vote. With no other parliamentary grouping to call upon, Byng called an election. Meighen's party was swept from office, and Meighen himself was again defeated in Portage la Prairie. He resigned as Conservative Party leader shortly thereafter.

Senate

Meighen was appointed to the Senate in 1932 on the recommendation of Prime Minister Richard Bennett. He served as Leader of the Government in the Senate and Minister without Portfolio from February 3, 1932, to October 22, 1935. He served as Leader of the Opposition in the Senate from 1935 until he resigned from the upper house in January 1942.

Attempted comeback

In 1941, Meighen was prevailed upon by a unanimous vote in a national conference of the party to become leader of the Conservative Party for the duration of the war. He accepted the party leadership on November 13, 1941, foregoing a leadership convention, and campaigned in favour of conscription, a measure which his predecessor, Robert Manion, had opposed. As leader, Meighen continued to champion the concept of a National Government including all parties which the party had advocated in the 1940 federal election. Meighen resigned his Senate seat on January 16, 1942, and campaigned in a by-election for the Toronto riding of York South. According to custom, the Liberals did not run a candidate in the riding. Still harbouring a deep hatred for the Conservative leader and thinking that the return to the Commons of the ardently conscriptionist Meighen would further inflame the conscription crisis, King arranged for campaign resources to be sent to the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation's Joseph Noseworthy.

The absence of a Liberal candidate actually hurt Meighen's chances by precluding the possibility of a split in the anti-Conservative vote, and Meighen was defeated in the February 9, 1942 vote. Meighen continued to campaign for immediate conscription as part of a "total war" effort through the spring and summer but did not again seek a seat in the House of Commons. In September, Meighen called for a national party convention to determine the party's policies and "broaden out" the party. It remained unclear whether Meighen sought to have his leadership confirmed or to have his successor chosen. As the convention neared, news sources reported that Meighen had approached Manitoba's Liberal-Progressive Premier John Bracken about seeking the leadership and that the convention would adopt a platform that would move the party towards the left. Meighen announced in his keynote address to the party on December 9, 1942 that he was not a candidate for the leadership and the party subsequently chose Bracken as leader and renamed itself the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada.

Death

Arthur Meighen died in Toronto, Ontario, aged 86, on August 5, 1960, and was buried in St. Mary's Cemetery, St. Marys, Ontario, near his birthplace. As of 2008, he had the longest retirement of any Canadian Prime Minister, at 33 years, 10 months, 11 days.

Legacy

There are schools in St. Marys, Ontario and Portage La Prairie, Manitoba named for Arthur Meighen.

Mount Arthur Meighen 52°48′12″N 119°33′12″W / 52.80333°N 119.55333°W / 52.80333; -119.55333 (Mount Arthur Meighen) is a 3205 m (10515 ft) peak located in the Premier Range of the Cariboo Mountains in the east-central interior of British Columbia, Canada. The mountain is south of the head of the McClennan River and immediately west of the town of Valemount, British Columbia.

Meighen Island, in the far north of the Canadian Arctic, is named after Arthur Meighen.

The federal government building in Toronto's Yonge and St Clair area is named for him.

Meighen ranks as #14 out of the 20 Premiers through Jean Chrétien in the survey of Canadian historians included in Prime Ministers: Ranking Canada's Leaders by J.L. Granatstein and Norman Hillmer.

Further reading

References

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Vacant
Solicitor General of Canada
1913-1917
Succeeded by
Hugh Guthrie
Preceded by
Albert Sévigny
Secretary of State for Canada
1917
Succeeded by
Martin Burrell
Preceded by
Esioff-Léon Patenaude
Minister of Mines
1917
Preceded by
William James Roche
Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs
1917 - 1920
Succeeded by
James Alexander Lougheed
Minister of the Interior
1917 - 1920
Preceded by
Martin Burrell
Minister of Mines
1919 - 1920
Preceded by
Robert Borden
Prime Minister of Canada
1920 – 1921
Succeeded by
Mackenzie King
Secretary of State for External Affairs
1920 – 1921
Preceded by
Mackenzie King
Prime Minister of Canada
1926
Secretary of State for External Affairs
1926
President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada
1926
Preceded by
John Alexander Macdonald
Government Leader in the Senate of Canada
1932 – 1935
Succeeded by
Raoul Dandurand
Preceded by
Raoul Dandurand
Leader of the Opposition in the Senate of Canada
1935 – 1942
Succeeded by
Charles Ballantyne
Parliament of Canada
Preceded by
John Crawford
MP for Portage la Prairie, MB
1908 – 1921
Succeeded by
Harry Leader
Preceded by
Azra Casselman
MP for Grenville, ON
1922 – 1925
Constituency abolished
Preceded by
Harry Leader
MP for Portage la Prairie, MB
1925 – 1926
Succeeded by
Ewen Alexander McPherson
Preceded by
George Foster
Senator for Ontario
1932-1942
Succeeded by
John Bench
Party political offices
Preceded by
Robert Borden
Leader of the Conservative Party
1920 – 1926
Succeeded by
Hugh Guthrie
Preceded by
Richard Hanson
Leader of the Conservative Party
1941 – 1942
Succeeded by
John Bracken

div style="position: fixed; width: 100%; height: 100%; top: 0; left: 0; background-color: black; opacity: 1; z-index: 99;">


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

"ARTHUR MEIGHEN (1874-), Canadian statesman, was born June 16 1874 at Anderson, Perth co., Ontario. After studying law, he practised for some years in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. He was elected to the Canadian House of Commons in the general election of 1908, and was reelected in 1911 and 1917. In 1913 he was appointed Solicitor-General in the Borden administration and in 1915 was sworn of the Privy Council for Canada. He became Secretary of State and Minister of Mines in 1917, and the same year was made Minister of the Interior and Superintendent-General for Indian Affairs. In 1918 he went to England with the Prime Minister, Sir Robert Borden, to attend the Imperial Conference. Following the retirement of Sir Robert Borden in 1919 he was chosen to succeed him as leader of the Union Government. He became Prime Minister and Secretary of State for External Affairs July io 1920, and was appointed a member of the King's Privy Council in October of the same year. He attended the conference of Prime Ministers in London in June 1921. But he resigned office on the heavy defeat of his party at the elections in December.


<< Sir Pherozeshah Merwanji Mehta

Madame (Nellie Porter Armstrong Melba) >>








Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address
Message