Oliver Mowat

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The Hon. Sir Oliver Mowat
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Oliver Mowat

First Term:October 25, 1872 - July 25, 1896
Predecessor:Edward Blake
Successor:Arthur S. Hardy
Date of Birth:July 22, 1820
Place of Birth:Kingston, Ontario
Political Party:Liberal

Sir Oliver Mowat (July 22, 182019 April, 1903) was a Canadian politician, and premier of Ontario from 1872 to 1896.

Born in Kingston, Ontario, he was trained as a lawyer and worked in the law office of John A. Macdonald. As a youth he had taken up arms with the royalists during the Upper Canada Rebellion of 1837 which would have suggested a conservative inclination in politics. However, he did not trust the politics of Macdonald, George-Étienne Cartier, or the other leaders of the Conservative Party and instead joined the Reformers. As a member of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada from 1858 to 1864 he was closely associated with George Brown and served as Provincial Secretary (1858) and Postmaster-General (1863-1864) in pre-Confederation governments and was also an avid supporter of "representation by population." With Brown, he helped create what became the Ontario Liberal Party as well as the Liberal Party of Canada.

Mowat was a member of the Great Coalition government of 1864 and was a representative at that year's Quebec Conference, where he helped work out the division of powers between the federal and provincial governments. Also in 1864, he was appointed to the judiciary as vice-chancellor of Ontario, a position he held until he was elected premier in 1872. As premier he fought for provincial rights, weakening the power of the federal government in provincial matters. His battles with the federal government greatly decentralized Canada, giving the provinces far more power than John A. Macdonald had intended. He also served as his own Attorney-General concurrently with his service as Premier and introduced reforms such as the secret ballot in elections and the extension of suffrage beyond property owners. He also introduced laws regulating liquor and created the municipal level of government . His government was moderate and attempted to cut across divisions in the province between Catholics and Protestants as well as between country and city. He also oversaw the expansion of Ontario's boundaries northward as well as the emergence of the province into the economic powerhouse of Canada..

In 1896 he became a Senator in Ottawa, where he was also Minister of Justice. In 1897 he was appointed Lieutenant governor of Ontario and served until his death in office in 1903.

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Statue of Mowat on the lawn of Queen's Park

Mowat was knighted in 1892. He is also honoured with a high school named after him in Toronto[1] (

References and External links

Preceded by:
Edward Blake
Premier of Ontario
Succeeded by:
Arthur S. Hardy
Preceded by:
Sir Casimir Gzowski
Lieutenant Governor of Ontario
Succeeded by:
Sir William Mortimer Clark
Preceded by:
Edward Blake
Ontario Liberal leaders
Succeeded by:
Arthur S. Hardy

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