Eldon Woolliams

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Eldon Mattison Woolliams
Member of Parliament
for Bow River
In office
Preceded by Charles Edward Johnston
Succeeded by Gordon Taylor
Member of Parliament
for Calgary North
In office
Preceded by Douglas Harkness
Succeeded by Frederick Wright
Personal details
Born (1916-04-12)12 April 1916
Rosetown, Saskatchewan, Canada
Died 24 September 2001(2001-09-24) (aged 85)
Political party Progressive Conservative
Spouse(s) Erva Leola Jones
(m. 1 September 1943)[1]
Children Elda Lynne Woolliams
Shane Leslie Mattison
Profession lawyer, teacher

Eldon Mattison Woolliams, QC (12 April 1916 – 24 September 2001) was a Progressive Conservative party member of the Canadian House of Commons.

He was born in Rosetown, Saskatchewan and his career included law and education. He was shadow Justice Minister and Chairman of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs. As a 'Perry Mason' style trial lawyer, he had over two dozen murder trials where he won the cases as barrister for the accused. He was a descendant of Sir Matthew Hale, Lord Chief Justice of England.

Woolliams first represented Alberta's Bow River electoral district. His first attempt to win the riding in the 1957 federal election was unsuccessful, but would defeat incumbent Charles Edward Johnston in the 1958 election. Woolliams won re-election there in 1962, 1963 and 1965. In the 1960s Woolliams was one of the Rt Hon. John Diefenbaker's top friends, having fought defense trials together in Saskatchewan and Alberta. He was responsible with colleague Erik Nielsen in so bringing pressure on the Pearson and Trudeau government's that a few cabinet ministers, particularly in the Justice Minister position, had to resign their portfolios.

When riding boundaries were rearranged in 1966, Woolliams won election at the Calgary North riding in the 1968 election and was re-elected there in 1972, 1974 and 1979. In his last years in the House of Commons, he sat on the front bench of the Tories, and remained a formidable opponent of Liberal policies of the governments of Pierre Trudeau. Chiefly, as Shadow Justice Minister, Woolliams in many speeches warned of the Napoleonic legal philosophy of the Liberals. This socio-political engineering was warned against with the move to Trudeau's Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Woolliams saw it as a move towards the erosion of ancient British guarantees of individual rights in favour of a politically correct philosophy of group rights and legislation from the Supreme Court that would cause troubles in the future for the maintenance of democracy and true justice and freedom. It was a singular blow therefore that he would not be given the Justice Ministry under the new Conservative leader Joe Clark in 1979. He warned as well Mr Clark upon leaving out the Quebec Creditistes from his minority government that proved to be exactly the case when the merely 9-month Clark government was defeated on the 1980 budget. He therefore left national politics in 1980 and did not campaign in that year's national elections after serving eight successive terms from the 24th to the 31st Canadian Parliaments. The Clark government was defeated by a rejuvenated Liberal regime again under Pierre Trudeau. After the return of the Tories under Brian Mulroney, Eldon M Woolliams served in the capacity of emeritus adviser and Chairman of the Justices Commission, which were given more financial resources for their time on the bench.

He studied at Saskatchewan Teacher's College and the University of Saskatchewan and was appointed Queen's Counsel.John Diefenbaker called Woolliams the best defense trial lawyer in Canada during his day. He also was made special Lecturer on Peace through Law in Belgrade, Yugoslavia during his service in Canada's Parliament.[1] A scholarship fund in his name exists at the University of Saskatchewan College of Law.[2]


  1. ^ a b Normandin, Pierre G. (1975). Canadian Parliamentary Guide. 
  2. ^ "Scholarships & Bursaries". University of Saskatchewan. Retrieved 12 October 2009. [permanent dead link]

3. Eldon M Woolliams QC, barrister, Supreme Court of Canada reported cases (online) and decisions: http://scc-csc.lexum.com/scc-csc/en/d/s/index.do?cont=Woolliams&col=1

 4. CBC Archives: Eldon Woolliams QC MP, as Justice Critic, role in Tory Opposition to the Trudeau Omnibus Bill (1968)liberalizing abortion, homosexuality, no-fault divorce etc., & TV interview by the CBC`s Barbara Frum:    


External links[edit]

Televised Participation in House of Commons Questions & Debates| http://www.cpac.ca/en/digital-archives/?search=Woolliams#

Eldon M Woolliams Archives at the Glenbow Museum in Calgary: http://www.glenbow.org/collections/search/findingAids/archhtm/woolliams.cfm