He was born in Forfar, Scotland in 1851, the son of David Balfour and Janet Douglas, and came to St. Catharines, Upper Canada with his family in 1857. He studied at the Grantham Academy and went on to teach school in Grantham and Louth townships. In 1872, with Robert Matheson, he became the owner of the St. Catharines News. Balfour moved to Amherstburg in 1874 and became owner of the Amherstburg Echo with John Allan Auld. He married Josephine Brodhead that same year. Balfour served as reeve for Amherstburg from 1878 to 1882. He ran unsuccessfully in the provincial riding of Essex South in 1879 but was later elected in that riding in an 1882 by-election after Lewis Wigle was elected to the federal parliament.
In 1884, Balfour reported that he had been offered a bribe to withdraw his support from the government of Oliver Mowat. During his time in office, he opposed provincial toll-roads and supported the vote for women and the admission of women to the practice of law. Balfour also introduced a bill in 1884 which authorized Delos Rogest Davis, the son of a former slave, to practice law in Ontario.
- Hoskins, Ronald G (1990). "William Balfour". In Halpenny, Francess G. Dictionary of Canadian Biography. XII (1891–1900) (online ed.). University of Toronto Press.
- Ontario Legislative Assembly Parliamentarian History
|This article about a Ontario Liberal Party MPP is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.|