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George Airey Kirkpatrick
Source: Library and Archives Canada

Sir George Airey Kirkpatrick, PC, KCMG, QC (September 13, 1841 – December 13, 1899) was a politician from Ontario, Canada.

Born in 1841 in Kingston, Ontario, the son of Thomas Kirkpatrick, George Kirkpatrick was educated at Upper Canada College followed by Trinity College, Dublin.



He was called to the bar in 1865 and served as a Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) in the Canadian House of Commons from 1870 to 1892 taking over the Frontenac seat held by his late father.

He was a supporter of Sir John A. Macdonald's National Policy but was also a friend of Liberal leader Edward Blake whom he supported on issues such as proportional representation. Kirkpatrick considered joining the Liberal Party over the Pacific Scandal but decided to remain with the Conservatives.

In 1875, Kirkpatrick contested the Governor General's right to pardon Louis Riel without the consent of the Canadian Cabinet. As a result of his arguments, the Colonial Office issued new instructions that future Governors General not act without the advice of his ministers in such matters.

Kirkpatrick also argued in favour of protection of sailors from ship-owners who went bankrupt.

Following the 1882 election, Prime Minister Macdonald nominated Kirkpatrick as Speaker of the Canadian House of Commons. He was unenthusiastic about the position, but was nevertheless considered to be the most impartial Canadian Speaker of the nineteenth century. The Conservative government was unimpressed with his lack of partisanship, and he was not renominated for the position following the 1887 election. He returned to the backbenches where he remained until 1892 when he was appointed Lieutenant Governor of Ontario by Sir John Abbott.

During his time in office, Kirkpatrick made a special effort to visit and support the rural areas of the province. He served until 1896, and was knighted the same year. Sir Mackenzie Bowell offered Kirkpatrick a position in the Cabinet, but by this time, he had lost interest in politics. He died in Toronto in 1899.


In 1865, Kirkpatrick married Frances Macauley, and after her death, married Isabel Macpherson in 1883. His son was General Sir George Macaulay Kirkpatrick Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath, Knight Commander of the Order of the Star of India.


Upper Canada College hasa chair that once belonged to George Airey Kirkpatrick.[1]

External links

Parliament of Canada
Preceded by
Thomas Kirkpatrick
Member of Parliament from Frontenac
Succeeded by
Hiram Augustus Calvin


  1. ^ Spence, Marion; Old Times: Remember When: Seats of Honour; Winter/Spring 2007; Pg. 18


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