Ernest Charles Drury

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Ernest Charles Drury

Ernest Charles Drury (born January 22, 1878 in Crown Hill , Ontario ; † February 17, 1968 in Barrie , Ontario) was a Canadian politician who was chairman of the United Farmers of Ontario (UFO) between 1919 and 1924 and at the same time from 1919 to 1923 Was Prime Minister of Ontario .


Origin, farmer and choice of October 20, 1919

Drury was the son of Charles Alfred Drury , who from 1882 to 1890 a member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario was, and from 1888 to 1890 as Minister of Agriculture (Commissioner of Agriculture) of the Government of the Province of Ontario by Prime Minister Oliver Mowat belonged.

Like his father, he was also a farmer and was one of the founders of the United Farmers of Ontario (UFO) in 1913 and applied for a seat in the lower house for the so-called Laurier Liberals by Wilfrid Laurier in the Canadian general election on December 17, 1917 in the constituency of Simcoe North of Canada , but was defeated by the Unionist Party's John Allister Currie , who received 4,240 votes (64.9 percent), while Drury received only 2,293 votes (35.1 percent).

In this election to the legislative assembly on October 20, 1919, in which Drury himself did not stand, the Conservative Party of Ontario , which had ruled until then, suffered a heavy defeat under Prime Minister William Howard Hearst . While it received 84 seats in the election that still took place under Prime Minister Whitney on June 29, 1914, it has now lost 59 seats and with 25 seats in the 111-member parliament was only the third largest force. The election winners were the United Farmers of Ontario, who got 45 seats from scratch and thus became the strongest group in the legislative assembly. The second strongest force was the Ontario Liberal Party , which could easily improve by three seats and now had 29 MPs. In fourth place came the Labor Party, which previously had only one member and now has eleven seats. In addition, a member of the Soldier Party was represented in parliament.

Prime Minister of Ontario from 1919 to 1923 and defeated in 1923

Drury suffered a dramatic defeat against George Howard Ferguson in the June 25, 1923 election and lost his office as Prime Minister of Ontario

Since the UFO did not have a party chairman at the time, but only a general secretary with James J. Morrison , Drury first became party chairman and then formed a coalition government with the Labor Party on November 14, 1919 as the 8th Prime Minister of Ontario . He himself was elected a member of the legislative assembly in a by-election on February 16, 1920 in the constituency of Halton and was a member of this until May 10, 1923.

The coalition government included Prime Minister Drury with Frank Campbell Biggs (Minister for Public Works and Highways), Beniah Bowman (Minister for Lands and Forests), Dougall Carmichael (Minister without Portfolio ), Manning Doherty (Agriculture Minister), Robert Henry Grant (Minister of Education), Harry Nixon (Provincial Secretary and Registrar), William Raney (Attorney General) and Peter Smith (Treasurer) nine United Farmers Ministers and two Labor Party Ministers Harry Mills (Mining Secretary) and Walter Rollo (Minister of Labor and Health).

The government set up a kind of state-owned Raiffeisen bank, the Province of Ontario Savings Office , which provided farmers with cheap loans. In addition, she started Canada's first reforestation program. But Drury, who did not see the party as a peasant party, failed to get industry on his side. On the contrary, the former MP and minister Adam Beck , who founded the Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario in 1906 , became one of his fiercest opponents. For the unions , Drury was an agrarian who could not even get higher wages in state companies. In 1922, government treasurer Peter Smith was embroiled in a corruption scandal (Ontario Bond Scandal) that cost the Peasant Party more supporters. As the party also increasingly lost its traditional following among the farmers, it was finally defeated by the Conservative Party of Ontario in the subsequent election to the legislative assembly on June 25, 1923.

In this election, the conservatives emerged as the strongest force and were able to win 50 seats, so that instead of 25 they now had 75 seats in the 111-member legislative assembly and thus an absolute majority. The then ruling party of the United Farmers of Ontario von Drury lost 28 of their 45 seats and was only the second largest group in parliament with 17 seats. The third strongest force was the Ontario Liberal Party (LP), which however lost 15 seats and only had 14 MPs. The previous coalition partner of the UFO, the Labor Party, lost seven of its eleven seats and was represented in the legislative assembly as the fourth strongest force with only four members. In addition, one non-party was represented in parliament.

On July 16, 1923, Howard Ferguson of the Conservative Party finally succeeded him as Prime Minister. Thereupon Drury withdrew largely from provincial politics and was replaced by Manning Doherty in 1924 as chairman of the UFO.

Unsuccessful candidacies for the Canadian House of Commons

In the Canadian general election on October 29, 1925 , Drury ran for the Progressive Party of Canada in the constituency of Simcoe North again for a seat in the House of Commons, but this time was defeated by William Alves Boys of the Conservative Party of Canada with 590 votes. Boys received 6,885 votes (52.2 percent) in this election and 6,295 votes (47.8 percent).

In the subsequent general election on September 14, 1926 , Drury ran again against Boys, but was only just defeated this time with a difference of only 163 votes. Boys received 7,058 votes (50.7 percent) and Drury 6,865 votes (49.3 percent).

Most recently, Drury applied in the general election of July 28, 1930 in the Simcoe North constituency for a seat in the lower house of Canada. His opponent this time from the Conservative Party was John Thomas Simpson , who got 7,295 votes (53 percent). Drury received 6,459 votes (47 percent), so this time he lost with a difference of 836 votes.

In 1934, Drury was named Simcoe County's Sheriff and Registrar , and served in that role for 25 years until 1959.


  • The story of Simcoe County , 1955
  • All for a beaver hat: a history of early Simcoe County , 1959
  • Farmer Premier: Memoirs of the Honorable EC Drury , Autobiography, 1966

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Entry on the homepage of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario
  2. SIMCOE NORTH, Ontario (1867 -) on the homepage of the Parliament of Canada
  3. Premiers of Ontario on the home page of the Parliament of Canada
  4. Canadian Provinces (
  5. SIMCOE NORTH, Ontario (1867 -) on the homepage of the Parliament of Canada
  6. SIMCOE NORTH, Ontario (1867 -) on the homepage of the Parliament of Canada
  7. SIMCOE NORTH, Ontario (1867 -) on the homepage of the Parliament of Canada