John Alexander Mathieson
|John Alexander Mathieson|
|12th Premier of Prince Edward Island|
December 2, 1911 – June 21, 1917
|Lieutenant Governor||Benjamin Rogers
Augustine Colin Macdonald
|Preceded by||H. James Palmer|
|Succeeded by||Aubin-Edmond Arsenault|
|Leader of the Conservative Party of Prince Edward Island|
|Preceded by||Daniel Gordon|
|Succeeded by||Aubin-Edmund Arsenault|
May 19, 1863|
Harrington, Prince Edward Island
|Died||January 7, 1947
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
|Spouse(s)||Mary Alice I-aird (m. 1896)|
|Children||Annie Louise (died at three years), Helen, Dora, Avila, and David Laird|
|Residence||Georgetown, Prince Edward Island|
|Alma mater||Prince of Wales College|
|Occupation||teacher, principal, lawyer|
Mathieson was born in Harrington and was a graduate of Prince of Wales College. He was a schoolmaster and lawyer before entering politics with his election to the province's legislature as a Conservative in 1900. He represented the district of 4th Kings in his first term in the legislature, then shifted to 5th Kings in 1904.
Mathieson sat on the opposition benches becoming leader of the opposition and the Conservative Party in 1903. In December 1911, the Liberal government resigned when Premier H. James Palmer was defeated in a by-election which also caused the governing Liberals to lose their majority in the legislature. The lieutenant-governor asked Mathieson as leader of the opposition to form a government, which he did, going on to win a mandate in the 1912 general election.
Mathieson's government pressed the federal government to fulfill the terms on which Prince Edward Island joined Canadian confederation in 1873. He succeeded in persuading Ottawa to provide an improved annual subsidy to the province and, in 1915, Ottawa announced the creation of a year-round ferry service to connect the island to the mainland. The ferries began operating between PEI and New Brunswick in 1917.
The province was also at risk of losing representation in the Canadian House of Commons due to population shifts. PEI had six MPs when it joined confederation in 1873, this was reduced to four and was to be cut further as a result of the 1911 census. Mathieson persuaded the federal government to agree to an amendment to the British North America Act guaranteeing the province a minimum of four MPs in perpetuity.
In 1917, Premier Mathieson left politics to accept an appointment as Chief Justice of Prince Edward Island and served in that position until he retired in 1943.