Howard Ferguson (politician)

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George Howard Ferguson

George Howard Ferguson PC (born June 18, 1870 in Kemptville , Ontario , † February 21, 1946 in Toronto , Ontario) was a Canadian politician who was Chairman of the Conservative Party of Ontario between 1919 and 1930 and Prime Minister of Ontario from 1923 to 1930 was. He was then High Commissioner in the United Kingdom between 1930 and 1935 and later Chancellor of the University of Western Ontario from 1945 until his death .


Member of the legislative assembly and party chairman

Ferguson began after the school first an undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto and then a post-graduate studies of law at Osgoode Hall Law School of York University . After graduation and admission as a lawyer , he took up a position as a lawyer in his hometown of Kemptville in 1894 . There he was temporarily active as a member of the local council and as a Reeve in local politics.

Ferguson began his political career when he was first elected a member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario in the January 25, 1905 election, where he represented the constituency of Grenville .

On December 22, 1914, he was appointed to the government of the Province of Ontario by Prime Minister William Hearst and served as Minister of Land, Forest and Mining until the end of Hearst's tenure on November 14, 1919.

After the Conservative Party's defeat in the October 20, 1919 election, Ferguson succeeded Hearst as party chairman.

Prime Minister of Ontario 1923 to 1930

Election victory in 1923

He was the top candidate of the Conservative Party of Ontario in the subsequent election to the legislative assembly on June 25, 1923. In this election, the Conservatives emerged again as the strongest force and were able to win 50 seats, so that instead of 25 they now have 75 seats in the 111 -headed legislative assembly and thus had an absolute majority. The ruling party of the United Farmers of Ontario (UFO) of the previous Prime Minister Ernest Charles Drury lost 28 of its 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 Ferguson succeeded Drury and became the 9th Prime Minister of Ontario. During his tenure, from July 16, 1923 to December 15, 1930, he was also Minister of Education, and from March 2 to October 18, 1926, he was also Minister of Land and Forests.

Election victory in 1926 and political decisions

In the election for the legislative assembly on December 1, 1926, Ferguson was able to maintain its supremacy with his Conservative Party. Although it lost one seat, it still had a comfortable majority with 74 of the 112 seats. The second strongest force this time was the Ontario Liberal Party, which gained nine seats from 14 seats and now has 23 members of parliament. The third largest group was the Progressive Party , which won eleven seats straight away. The previous partners in the coalition government from 1919 to 1923 were almost insignificant: the United Farmers of Ontario lost 14 of their 17 seats and only had three MPs, while the Labor Party lost three MPs and was only represented by one representative in the legislative assembly.

During his tenure, Ferguson implemented several reforms, including changing the political decisions of previous Conservative governments. The controversial Regulations 17 , introduced in July 1912 by the Conservative government of Prime Minister James Whitney , which severely restricted the French-speaking minority teaching in French , was repealed by his government in 1927. This decree previously met with bitter resistance from the French Canadians. The journalist Henri Bourassa reviled the government as "the Prussians of Ontario", an allusion to the Franco-German enmity that led to the First World War . Regulation 17 could never be fully implemented.

Also in 1927, the prohibition introduced by Prime Minister Hearst in 1916 was lifted. However, the provincial government regulated the production and sale of alcohol to a considerable extent, so to this day high-proof alcoholic beverages are only allowed to be sold in stores of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario .

Election victory in 1929 and withdrawal from provincial politics

The election to the National Assembly on October 30, 1929 was an overwhelming triumph for Prime Minister Ferguson and his Conservative Party. The party gained 18 seats and now had 92 seats in the 112-member parliament. The Liberal Party lost the nine seats it had gained in the last election and only had 14 members. The Progressive Party also lost votes and lost seven of its eleven seats, so that it was now represented by only four parliamentarians. The United Farmers and the Labor Party only had one MP each in the new legislative assembly.

Ferguson's Conservative government was hostile to unions and immigrants. After the onset of the Great Depression, it was not prepared to provide social security to the thousands of workers who had lost their jobs in the Depression and fell into poverty. Furthermore, his government was opposed to the plans of the federal government, which was planning to introduce an old-age pension.

On December 16, 1930 Ferguson resigned after more than seven years as Prime Minister and was then replaced by George Stewart Henry , who was also his successor as chairman of the Conservative Party of Ontario.

High Commissioner in the United Kingdom

Before retiring from provincial politics, he was appointed High Commissioner of Canada in the United Kingdom on November 28, 1930 as the successor to the late Peter Charles Larkin and a temporary provisional administration by Lucien Turcotte Pacaud, and thus diplomatic representative in the mother country. The originally planned appointment of the previous ambassador to the USA, Vincent Massey , was revoked by the new Prime Minister Richard Bedford Bennett of the Conservative Party following the defeat of the Liberal Party by Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King in the Canadian general election on July 28, 1930 .

Ferguson held this office for five years, before he was replaced by Vincent Massey after the Liberal Party's victory in the general election on October 14, 1935 and Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King took office again.

He last became Chancellor of the University of Western Ontario in 1945 and held this position until his death on February 21, 1946.

After his death, Ferguson was buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Canadian Provinces (