Edward Blake

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Edward Blake

Dominick Edward Blake , PC , QC (born October 13, 1833 in Adelaide Township , Upper Canada , †  March 1, 1912 in Toronto ; mostly known as Edward Blake ) was a Canadian politician who worked at both the federal and provincial levels. From December 20, 1871 to October 25, 1872 he ruled as Prime Minister of the Province of Ontario , from 1868 to 1872 he led the Ontario Liberal Party . In the cabinet of Alexander Mackenzie he was Federal Minister of Justice from 1875 to 1877. From 1880 to 1887 he was chairman of the Liberal Party of Canada and leader of the opposition. Twice he failed in an attempt to win a majority in the lower house and become Canadian Prime Minister. He concluded his political career as a Member of the British House of Commons (1892-1906).

Profession and Provincial Politics

Blake was the son of Catherine Honoria Hume and William Hume Blake. His father, who emigrated from Ireland in 1832 , worked as a lawyer and judge in Toronto and was Chancellor of the University of Toronto from 1856 to 1863 . Edward Blake was tutored by his parents and received his middle school education at Upper Canada College . In 1854 he graduated from the University of Toronto with a law degree. In 1856 he founded his own law firm. Blake was so successful that he soon became financially independent and lectured on equity . His firm specializing in corporate law grew steadily; it still exists today under the name Blake, Cassels & Graydon and is one of the most important in the country. Blake married Margaret Cronyn, daughter of the Anglican Bishop of the Diocese of Huron, in 1858.

George Brown , founder and editor of The Globe newspaper , persuaded Blake to get into politics. In 1867 he was a candidate for both a seat in the Canadian House of Commons and a seat in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario ; he was successful in both elections. In 1868 he was elected chairman of the Ontario Liberal Party . John Sandfield Macdonald , Ontario's first prime minister, lost a vote of no confidence on December 20, 1871 , whereupon the previous opposition leader Blake took office. As head of government, he could only set a few accents. A few months after taking office, a law came into force prohibiting dual mandates at federal and provincial level. Blake decided to bet entirely on federal politics. His successor as Prime Minister was Oliver Mowat .

Federal politics

Blake was considered a promising candidate for the post of chairman of the Liberal Party of Canada in 1873, but he turned down for health reasons in favor of Alexander Mackenzie . In the same year he helped to expose John Macdonald's conservative government after the Pacific scandal was exposed and to force it to resign. In Mackenzie's transitional government, Blake was a minister without portfolio , resigned from the cabinet a month after the Liberals won the general election in January 1874 .

In May 1875, Blake became Minister of Justice. As such, he had, among other things, the task of appointing the first judges of the newly created Supreme Court . Under his leadership, a law on the collection of crime statistics and a law on weights and measures were created. Blake was increasingly overworked and suffered from chronic headaches, which is why he announced his resignation in June 1877. The office of President of the Privy Council , which he then held until January 1878, also had a negative effect on his health. In the general election in 1878 , Blake lost his seat mainly because he did not campaign actively and took his wife on a trip to Europe.

In the meantime Blake withdrew completely from politics and devoted himself to his law firm, his health improved again. In November 1879 he won a by-election by acclamation and was again represented in the House of Commons. On April 30, 1880, after Mackenzie's resignation, he was elected chairman of the Liberal Party. In the general election in 1882 , the Liberals under Blake's leadership were able to win ten seats; however, this was not sufficient for a change of government.

Again affected by flare-ups, Blake wanted to make Oliver Mowat his successor shortly before the general election in 1887 , but he showed no interest. The election ended again with a slightly increased number of seats for the Liberals, but the Conservatives remained in power. On June 2, 1887, Blake finally resigned as party chairman, with Wilfrid Laurier being appointed as successor by the party assembly . Besides Stéphane Dion , Blake is the only leader of the Liberal Party who never became Prime Minister. He remained a member of the Canadian House of Commons until 1891, but rarely appeared.

MP in Great Britain

In June 1892 Blake received a surprising offer from the Irish Parliamentary Party to run for a seat in the House of Commons . He saw this as an opportunity to break away from Canadian politics and immediately traveled to Ireland . A month later he was elected in Longford County (as a resident of Canada, he was a British citizen and therefore entitled to vote).

Laurier tried several times to lure him back to Canada with nominations for the Supreme Court and the presidency of the Ontario Court of Justice. But Blake felt committed to his new role and was particularly committed to the Home Rule of Ireland. His idea of ​​an Irish nation state within a federally structured empire found little support. In May 1907 he suffered a stroke and was partially paralyzed on the left side of his body. In order to resign as a member of the House of Commons, he applied to be a steward of the Chiltern Hundreds . He held this purely formal office until August 1907 and then returned to his Canadian homeland, where he spent the last years of his life.

Web links

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