James Whitney

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For other people named James Whitney, see James Whitney (disambiguation).
James Pliny Whitney
James Whitney.jpg
The Hon. Sir James Pliny Whitney
6th Premier of Ontario
In office
February 8, 1905 – September 25, 1914
Monarch Edward VII
George V
Lieutenant Governor William Mortimer Clark
John Morison Gibson
John Strathearn Hendrie
Preceded by George William Ross
Succeeded by William Howard Hearst
Member of the Legislative Assembly
In office
January 31, 1888 – September 25, 1914[1]
Preceded by Theodore F. Chamberlain
Succeeded by Irwin Foster Hilliard
Constituency Dundas
Personal details
Born (1843-10-02)October 2, 1843
Williamsburgh Township, Upper Canada
Died September 25, 1914(1914-09-25) (aged 70)
Toronto, Ontario
Political party Ontario Conservative Party
Spouse(s) Alice Park
Religion Anglican

Sir James Pliny Whitney, KCMG (October 2, 1843 – September 25, 1914) was a politician in the Canadian province of Ontario. Whitney was a lawyer in eastern Ontario, Conservative member for Dundas from 1888 to 1914, and the sixth Premier of Ontario from 1905 to 1914.

Early life[edit]

Whitney was born in Williamsburgh Township in 1843 and attended Cornwall Grammar School before articling the law office of John Sandfield Macdonald in the 1860s, but did not resume his legal studies until 1871. He was called to the bar in 1875, and practiced law in Morrisburg.[2]

Early political career[edit]

Whitney was elected to the Ontario legislature in 1888.[2] He became leader of the Conservative Party in 1896 taking it from a narrow, bigoted rump into a forward-looking party determined to build the province.

Premier of Ontario[edit]

In the 1905 election, he led the Tories to victory for the first time in 33 years by defeating the Liberal government of George William Ross.

Statue of Sir James Whitney by Hamilton MacCarthy, Queen's Park, Toronto.

Whitney's government laid the basis for Ontario's industrial development by creating the Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario,[3] with Sir Adam Beck as its chairman and driving force. His government also passed significant temperance[4] and workmen's compensation[5] legislation. He also appeased the anti-Catholic, anti-French-Canadian sentiments of supporters of the Orange Order in his caucus (such as George Howard Ferguson) by passing Regulation 17. This regulation banned the teaching of French in schools beyond the first three years of school. The measure inflamed French-Canadian opinion across Canada, particularly in Quebec, and split the country as it entered World War I.

Death[edit]

Whitney died in office shortly after winning the 1914 election.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "James Pliny Whitney, MPP". Legislative Assembly of Ontario Past Members. Toronto: Queen's Printer for Ontario. 2011. Archived from the original on 2011-12-11. Retrieved 2011-12-11. 
  2. ^ a b Wikisource-logo.svg Rines, George Edwin, ed. (1920). "Whitney, James Pliny". Encyclopedia Americana. 
  3. ^ An act to provide for the Transmission of Electrical Power to Municipalities, S.O. 1906, c. 15
  4. ^ An act to amend The Liquor License Laws, S.O. 1906, c. 47
  5. ^ The Workmen's Compensation Act, S.O. 1914, c. 25

External links[edit]