Edgar Nelson Rhodes

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The Hon.
Edgar Nelson Rhodes
Edgar Nelson Rhodes.jpg
10th Premier of Nova Scotia
In office
July 16, 1925 – August 11, 1930
Monarch George V
Lieutenant Governor James Robson Douglas
James Cranswick Tory
Preceded by Ernest Howard Armstrong
Succeeded by Gordon Sidney Harrington
Senator for Amherst, Nova Scotia
In office
1935–1942
Appointed by R. B. Bennett
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Richmond—West Cape Breton
In office
1930–1935
Preceded by John Alexander Macdonald
Succeeded by The electoral district was abolished in 1933.
Member of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly for Hants County
In office
1925–1930
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Cumberland
In office
1908–1921
Preceded by Hance James Logan
Succeeded by Hance James Logan
15th Speaker of the House of Commons of Canada
In office
1917–1922
Preceded by Albert Sévigny
Succeeded by Rodolphe Lemieux
Personal details
Born (1877-01-05)January 5, 1877
Milton, Massachusetts
Died March 15, 1942(1942-03-15) (aged 65)
Ottawa, Ontario
Nationality Canadian
Spouse(s) Mary Grace Pipes
Residence Amherst, Nova Scotia
Profession Lawyer
Cabinet Federal:
Minister of Fisheries (1930-1932)
Minister of Finance and Receiver General (1932-1935)
Religion Baptist

Edgar Nelson Rhodes, PC (January 5, 1877 – March 15, 1942) was a Canadian parliamentarian from Nova Scotia.

He was first elected to the Canadian House of Commons in 1908 as a member of the Conservative Party. In January 1917, he became Speaker of the Canadian House of Commons when his predecessor, Albert Sévigny, was appointed to the Canadian Cabinet. Rhodes was highly regarded as Speaker and retained the position following the 1917 election that fall, becoming the first Speaker since James Cockburn to preside over more than one Parliament. In 1921, he was made a member of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada before retiring from politics to become president of the British-American Nickel Company.

The company failed in 1925, and he returned to provincial politics. Prior to the 1925 provincial election, he was asked to become leader of the Nova Scotia Conservative Party after the leader of the party, W. L. Hall, was assaulted on the waterfront. Rhodes took over the party, and led it to victory in the 1925 election. The Conservatives defeated a Liberal government that had been in power for forty-three years but had been, in its last years, wracked by an economic downturn and severe labour unrest among miners in Cape Breton.

Rhodes ran on a Maritime Rights platform, promising to curtail federal influence and stop the exodus of people from the province. The Tories more than doubled their seats in the Nova Scotia House of Assembly, winning forty out of forty-three seats. The new government introduced pensions for teachers and allowances for widowed mothers. Throughout his term, Rhodes had to contend with continuing violent strikes by miners in Cape Breton during which one miner, William Davis, was killed.

His government also abolished the Legislative Council, the province's appointed Upper House, but first had to go to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council to obtain permission to appoint enough new members to the Council to secure a vote for its abolition.

The Rhodes government was re-elected in 1928 with a reduced majority. He returned to federal politics to become Minister of Fisheries under Prime Minister R.B. Bennett. From 1932 to 1935, he served as federal Finance Minister, and, despite the Great Depression, handed down austere budgets that increased taxes and reduced spending.

He was appointed to the Senate of Canada three months before the 1935 federal election that routed Bennett's government. He remained a Senator until his death in 1942 in Ottawa. He is buried in Ottawa's Beechwood Cemetery.

On July 12, 1905, he married Mary Grace Pipes, daughter of William Thomas Pipes, Rhodes' law parter and Premier of Nova Scotia from 1882 to 1884. They had one son, Edgar Nelson, and one daughter, Helen Sybil.

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