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Sir Arthur Meighen is a Canadian conservative politician.

Arthur Meighen
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Born June 16, 1874 in Anderson, Canada
Status Alive
Allegiance Flag-CAN Dominion of Canada


History

Early Life

Arthur Meighen was born in Anderson, Ontario, Canada on June 16, 1874 to Joseph Meighen and Mary Jane Bel. Meighen attended high school in St. Marys at North Ward Public School. The grandson of the schoolmaster of the first school in St. Marys, Meighen was an exemplary student. In 1892 in his final year at St. Marys Collegiate Institute, Meighen was elected secretary of the Literary Society and was a member of the school Debating Society. He received first class honours in Mathematics, English and Latin and went on to tertiary education at the University of Toronto where he graduated in 1896, earning a B.A. in Mathematics. While there, he met and became a rival of William Lyon Mackenzie King; the two men, both future political leaders, did not get along especially well from the start. Meighen then graduated from Osgoode Hall Law School.

Political Career

Meighen experimented in several professions, including those of teacher, lawyer, and businessman, before becoming involved in politics as a member of the Conservative Party. In public, Meighen was a first class debater, said to have honed his oratory by delivering lectures to empty desks after class. He was renowned for his sharp wit. He was first elected to the Canadian House of Commons in 1908, defeating incumbent John Crawford in the Manitoba riding of Portage la Prairie. He was re-elected in 1908 and 1911, and again in 1913 after being appointed Solicitor General.

Meighen served as Solicitor-General from June 26 1913 until August 25 1917 when he was appointed Minister of Mines and Secretary of State for Canada. In 1917, he was mainly responsible for implementing conscription. Noteworthy was the government's decision to give votes to conscription supporters (soldiers and their families), while denying that right to potential opponents of conscription such as immigrants. Meighen's portfolios were again shifted on October 12, 1917, this time to the positions of Minister of the Interior and Superintendent of Indian Affairs. He was re-elected in the December 1917 federal election in which Borden's Unionist (wartime coalition) government defeated the opposition Laurier Liberals over the conscription issue. As Minister of the Interior, Meighen steered through Parliament the largest piece of legislation ever enacted in the British Empire - creating the Canadian National Railway Company.

After the death of Borden in 1924 Meighen became the leader of the Conservative Party, but he was defeated by Mackenzie King's Liberal Party in the federal election of 1925 where he was personally defeated in Portage la Prairie. In 1927 Meighen was replaced as leader of the conservatives by R.B. Bennett, but his influence in the party remained strong. When the Conservative Party won the federal election in 1930, Meighen was appointed by Prime Minister Bennet as Minister of National Defence. With the blessing of the King, George V, the Conservative Party focused on the reconquest of the Home Isles and from his position Meighen forced a program of rearmament and directed the popular but inconclusive skirmishes with the Syndicalist Navy in the Atlantic. However this choice worsened the relations between Canada and its allies and led to the defeat in the federal election of 1935, when King's Liberal Party regained the control of the government.

Personal Life

In 1904 Meighen married Isabel J. Cox with whom he had two sons and one daughter.

See also

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