Arthur Sturgis Hardy
|Arthur Sturgis Hardy|
|The Hon. Arthur Sturgis Hardy|
|4th Premier of Ontario|
July 21, 1896 – October 21, 1899
|Lieutenant Governor||George Airey Kirkpatrick
Casimir Gzowski (acting)
|Preceded by||Oliver Mowat|
|Succeeded by||George William Ross|
December 14, 1837|
Mount Pleasant, Upper Canada
|Died||June 13, 1901
|Political party||Ontario Liberal Party|
- For the U.S. diplomat and academic, see Arthur Sherburne Hardy.
Born in Mount Pleasant, Brant County, in 1837, Hardy was the son of Russell and Juletta (Sturgis) Hardy, United Empire Loyalists. He studied at the Rockwood Academy in Rockwood, Ontario, and became town solicitor for Brantford in 1867, a bencher of the Law Society of Upper Canada in 1875, and a QC in 1876. On January 19, 1870 he married Mary Morrison, daughter of Judge Joseph Curran Morrison.
First elected to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario in 1873, he was promoted to the Cabinet of Sir Oliver Mowat in 1877 as Provincial Secretary. In 1889 as Commissioner of Crown Lands, Hardy established the Algonquin and Rondeau provincial parks. Well known for his support of Mowat's liberalism, he was described in Grip as a hard-nosed and down-to-earth politician in Mowat’s service:
The more wickeder he is, playing euchre and swearing and entertaining thirsty strangers, the brighter does the virtue of Mowat shine by contrast.
Entering his sixties and having been in government for over twenty years, Hardy lacked the energy and strength to take the government forward or excite the populace when he succeeded Mowat as both Premier and Attorney-General in 1896. Initially reluctant to accept the positions, he said:
you know how very difficult it is in this wicked world to let high honours pass.
Aware of his weakness, he relied heavily on his minister of education, George William Ross.
Because there were Liberal governments in both Ottawa and Ontario, Hardy was urged to reassure French-speaking Catholics' concerns over the Manitoba Schools Question by appointing François-Eugène-Alfred Évanturel as Speaker of the Legislative Assembly. In the 1898 election Hardy's government was returned with a narrow six seat majority due to the collapse of the agrarian Patrons of Industry party which had served as the Liberal's allies in the legislature, as well as the rise of Catholic and urban support for the Conservatives under James Pliny Whitney.
Hardy's most significant — and controversial — achievement occurred in 1898 with an amendment to the Crown Timber Act, which provided for all pine cut under licence on crown lands to be sawn into lumber in Canada. Michigan lumbermen sought to have the amendment disallowed for encroaching on the federal trade and commerce power, but Wilfrid Laurier's government refused to do so.
Exhausted and needing money, Hardy retired from politics in 1899 and died two years later from appendicitis. Hardy's body was originally interred at Greenwood Cemetery, however 34 years after his death, his son Senator Arthur Charles Hardy had the remains of Hardy, his wife, and their daughter Gladys Mary Starr moved to Farringdon Burial Ground.
An Ontario Historical Plaque was erected in Brantford, Ontario by the province to commemorate Hardy's role in Ontario's history. On June 25, 2009, a new plaque was unveiled to commemorate Hardy under the initiative of Premiers' Gravesites Program. Local politicians, guests and family members paid tribute to the former politician. The family included his great-great-great-granddaughter and the children of his great-nephew Hagood Hardy.
- George Maclean Rose, ed. (1886). A Cyclopedia of Canadian Biography: Being Chiefly Men of the Time. Toronto: Rose Publishing Co. pp. 629–630.
- Ontario - Record of the Liberal Government: 26 Years of Progressive Legislation and Honest Administration, 1872–1898. Toronto: Ontario Liberal Association. 1898.
- Trevor, David Owen (1973). Arthur S. Hardy and Ontario politics, 1896–1899 (M.A.). University of Guelph.
- S.O. 61 Vict., c. 9
- The Act's constitutionality was upheld by the Ontario Court of Appeal in Smylie v. The Queen (1900), 27 O.A.R. 172 (C.A.)
- Dictionary of Canadian Biography
- "Brant Museum and Archives".
- "Ontario's Historical Plaques - Arthur Sturgis Hardy".
- "Premiers' Gravesites Program - Premiers honoured".
- Burley, David G. (1994). "Hardy, Arthur Sturgis". In Cook, Ramsay; Hamelin, Jean. Dictionary of Canadian Biography. XIII (1901–1910) (online ed.). University of Toronto Press.
- Ontario Legislative Assembly Parliamentarian History
|Legislative Assembly of Ontario|
Edmund Burke Wood
|MPP for Brant South
Thomas Hiram Preston
|Party political offices|
Sir Oliver Mowat
|Leader of the Ontario Liberal Party
George William Ross
Sir Oliver Mowat
|Premier of Ontario
George William Ross