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Arthur Meighen

minister, prime, government, canadian and united

MEIGHEN, ARTHUR (1874— ), Canadian statesman, was born at Anderson, in the county of Perth, Ontario, on June 16, 1874, the son of Joseph and Mary Meighen. He was educated at St. Mary's collegiate institute and at Toronto university, and became a barrister-at-law. He married in 1904 Jessie Isabel Cox, daughter of the late Charles Cox of Granby, Quebec. His politi cal career began in 1908 when he was elected to the House of Commons as the Conservative member for Portage la Prairie in the province of Manitoba. In 1913 he became solicitor-general in the Government of Sir Robert Borden; and in Oct. 1917 sec retary of state and minister of mines. Later he became minister of the interior. In 1918 he accompanied the Canadian prime minister to England to attend the Imperial Conference, and on Sir Robert Borden's retirement Meighen became prime minister and secretary of state for external affairs on July Io, 192o. In June 1921 he attended the conference of prime ministers in Lon don. Meighen held the office of prime minister until the general elections in 1921, when the Conservative party was defeated ; he then became the leader of the Opposition, and for four years was a vigorous opponent of the Liberal Government. He supported the disarmament resolution introduced by the prime minister, Mackenzie King.

The Military Service Act, under which conscription was en forced in 1917, was largely, in so far as its legal preparation was concerned, the work of Meighen, and the vigour with which he supported it in parliament drew upon him the hostility of all those opposed to that measure. As the sentiment against con scription was especially strong in Quebec, the feeling against him in that province was intense, and prevented the policy of his party from receiving the due consideration of the electors. Meighen

consistently repelled the personal attacks made upon him as the enemy of the French Canadians, but without much success. In the elections of 1925 the Conservatives, under the leadership of Meighen, were overwhelmingly victorious in Ontario and the maritime provinces, but with a practically solid Quebec against him it was impossible to obtain a majority, and the Government remained in the hands of the Liberals. In June 1926, on the resignation of Mackenzie King, Meighen took office as premier, but his Government was immediately defeated and a general elec tion took place.

The adoption by the United States of protection, as well as the great industrial development of that country, placed Canada, in Meighen's view, at a disadvantage. He therefore strongly advo cated protection for his own country, in order to prevent the United States from capturing the home markets. He was con vinced also of the necessity for preserving the natural resources of Canada, particularly the almost unlimited water power so envied by the bordering states, as well as the products of the forests. He resisted all attempts made by the United States to secure for their territories electrical power generated from water courses in Canada. Meighen was elected to the Canadian Senate in 1932 after several years of retirement and served as Minister without Portfolio in the Conservative cabinet headed by R. B.

Bennett. (A. G. D.)