Costigan was born on February 1, 1835 in Saint-Nicolas, Lower Canada, the son of Irish immigrants John Costigan and Bridget Dunn. He was educated at Collège de Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pocatière in Lower Canada from 1850 to 1852. In 1857, he became registrar of deeds and wills for Victoria County in New Brunswick and a judge of the Inferior Court of Common Pleas. He resigned from these posts in 1861 when he was elected to be a member of the 19th New Brunswick Legislative Assembly, representing the electoral district of Victoria.
On January 15, 1907, he was appointed a member of the Canadian Senate for the senatorial division of Victoria, New Brunswick. He died in office on September 29, 1916 in Ottawa. He was interred in Grand Falls.
1The office of Minister of Marine and Fisheries was abolished and the offices of Minister of Fisheries and Minister of Marine were created in 1930 2The offices of Minister of Marine and Minister of Railways and Canals were abolished and the office of Minister of Transport was created in 1936 3From 1971 to 1976 the Minister of the Environment was also the Minister of Fisheries.
1The department was eliminated in 1993 when the government was reorganized. The position of Secretary of State for Canada was not legally eliminated until 1996 when its remaining responsibilities were assigned to other cabinet positions and departments, particularly the newly created position of Minister of Canadian Heritage.