Mitchell Hepburn

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Mitchell Hepburn

Mitchell Frederick Hepburn (born August 12, 1896 in St. Thomas , Ontario ; † January 4, 1953 ) was a Canadian politician of the Liberal Party of Canada , who was a member of the Lower House of Canada between 1926 and 1934 and chairman of Ontario between 1930 and 1942 Liberal party was. He was also Prime Minister of Ontario from 1934 to 1942 .


Member of the House of Commons and Chairman of the Ontario Liberal Party

Hepburn joined the Canadian Army in 1914 after attending school during World War I and was last promoted to lieutenant . During this time he was also used as a lieutenant in the Royal Air Force . After the war he settled down as a farmer.

Hepburn, who was originally a member of the United Farmers of Ontario (UFO) in Elgin County , began his political career in the mid-1920s and was elected for the first time as a candidate for the Liberal Party in the election of September 14, 1926 , and as a member of the Canadian lower house represented the constituency of Elgin West until he voluntarily resigned his mandate on June 8, 1934 .

In December 1930 he succeeded WEN Sinclair as chairman of the Ontario Liberal Party and held this position until he was replaced by Gordon Daniel Conant in 1942.

Prime Minister of Ontario 1934 to 1942

Election victory in 1934 and the fall of the Dionne quintuplets

The Dionne quintuplets with then-Prime Minister of Ontario Mitchell Hepburn

After relinquishing his lower house mandate, he concentrated on politics in the province of Ontario and was elected as the top candidate of the Ontario Liberal Party on June 19, 1934 for the first time to a member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario , in which he elected the constituency of Elgin until March 24, 1945 represented.

After eleven years of reign under Howard Ferguson and George Stewart Henry as Prime Minister, the Conservative Party of Ontario suffered a dramatic defeat in this legislative election on June 19, 1934. Compared to the previous election on October 30, 1929, it lost 75 of its 92 seats and had only 17 seats in the legislative assembly, which had been reduced from 112 to 90 seats. The winner of the election was the Hepburns Ontario Liberal Party, which was able to improve its result by 55 seats and now had 69 instead of 14 members. One mandate each went to the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF), Labor Party, United Farmers of Ontario (UFO) and one non-party .

Thereupon, on July 10, 1934, Hepburn succeeded Henry as the eleventh Prime Minister of Ontario. In his government he also took over the office of treasurer, which he held from July 10, 1934 to October 21, 1942.

During his tenure, the fall of the Dionne quintuplets , the first known surviving quintuplets, fell. The five identical girls Yvonne (Edouila Marie), Annette (Lillianne Marie), Cécile (Marie Emilda), Emilie (Marie Jeanne) and Marie (Reina Alma) were born on May 28, 1934 with the help of the country doctor Dr. Allan Roy Dafoe and two midwives were born in a hut without water or electricity in the town of Corbeil in Northern Ontario. Due to financial problems, the parents made the decision to exhibit the children at the world exhibition in Chicago , whereupon the Ontario government under Hepburn withdrew their custody of them in 1935 and forbade closer contact. The children were welcomed by their obstetrician, Dr. Allan Roy Defoe and three other caregivers and used by science as an object of study. Defoe let her act temporarily as an advertising medium for corn syrup and the Quaker Oats Company and became richly and internationally known by marketing the girls. After the renovation of the Quintland amusement park , the authorities themselves displayed them to around 6,000 visitors behind a mirrored glass two or three times a day and brought the Canadian treasury about $ 500 million.

At the same time he functioned between April 15, 1937 and October 12, 1937 as Minister of Public Welfare and as Minister of Labor and was also Minister of Community Affairs from April 15, 1937 to October 12, 1942.

Re-election in 1937 and resignation in 1942

The personal problems between Hepburn (right) and Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King led to tensions in the cooperation between the provincial and federal governments

In the election for the legislative assembly on October 6, 1937, his government was confirmed in office and only lost three seats, so that it still had a clear absolute majority with 66 seats. The Conservative Party was able to improve by six seats and now had 23 instead of the previous 17 members. One of the best-known Conservative MPs was William James Stewart , who was Toronto Mayor from 1931 to 1935 . In addition, only the United Farmers of Ontario were represented with one representative in the legislative assembly.

Hepburn supported the mining companies and was also an opponent of the unions , especially the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations ( AFL-CIO ). When General Motors went on strike around the eight-hour day in Oshawa in 1937 , he tried to take action with volunteer units, agreed with management, but Ottawa refused to provide him with the Mounted Police , i.e. the federal troops. Hepburn had to give in and remained a bitter opponent of Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King . The problems between himself and Prime Minister King ultimately contributed to his refusal to work with the Royal Commission on Dominion Provincial Relations , which was established in 1937 to promote a "Third National Policy" to eradicate the effects of the Great Depression and which lasted until 1939.

On October 21, 1942, Hepburn resigned as Prime Minister of Ontario after eight years in office and was replaced by his fellow party member Gordon Daniel Conant , who had previously served as Attorney General in Hepburn's government. Hepburn continued to act as treasurer in Conant's government and held this until March 3, 1943.

After he had resigned on June 30, 1943 from the faction of the Ontario Liberal Party, he belonged to the Legislative Assembly as an Independent Liberal. As the successor to Harry Nixon , he was again chairman of the Ontario Liberal Party in 1944 and held this office for a year until he was replaced by Farquhar Oliver . He had previously suffered a defeat in the elections on June 4, 1945 and was therefore not a member of the legislative assembly again.

Just Call Me Mitch , published in 1990 by John T. Saywell . The Life of Mitchell F. Hepburn received the 1991 Floyd S. Chalmers Award in Ontario History .

Background literature

  • John T. Saywell: Just Call Me Mitch. The Life of Mitchell F. Hepburn. 1990

Web links and sources

Individual evidence

  1. Canadian Provinces (