Prime Minister of Canada: 101 Best Guide About the First Prime Minister of Canada

First Prime Minister
Sir John Alexander MacDonald (1815-1891)

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Sir John Alexander Macdonald was the first prime minister of Canada, and he was a significant and dominant leader in the Canadian federation. He started his career very early as a lawyer, became a member of the liberal party, struggled to form a majority government, and finally became a new and first-ever prime minister of Canada, one of the most significant of Canada’s prime ministers.

DSC_6687 Sir John Alexander Macdonald

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John A. Macdonald’s Birth

Born to an unsuccessful merchant in 1815, John A. Macdonald was the third child of his parents. The family had numerous relatives and known people in Canada; John A was only a young boy.

After his father was burdened with high debt due to his business, in 1820, the entire family moved to Kingston in upper Canada, today known as southern and eastern areas of Ontario.

John A.’s father used to run a shop, but in 1829, his father was appointed as the magistrate of the midland district of Canada, but the family still struggled financially.


Sir John A. Macdonald: Canada Then and Now

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John Macdonald Started His Career at a Very Young Age.

Prime minister of Canada, John Macdonald’s family faced financial constraints throughout his young life, which pushed him to start earning money for his family at a young age. He got formal education only up to the age of 15, as it was a time when only a few children of prosperous families could attend university.

In his youth, prime minister john Macdonald complained, “I had no boyhood”, as he had to serve his house and support the family’s finance due to the unsuccessful business of his father. After leaving school, his parents had decided that he should become a lawyer as he was considered “a boy uninterested in trade.”

British North America did not have a law university, and aspiring lawyers were apprenticed to other established lawyers and John Macdonald was apprenticed to a prominent young lawyer, George Mackenzie.

The latter was a corporate lawyer, a field which later Macdonald practised. Macdonald travelled to Toronto, which was known as York, where he attempted and passed the examination of the law society of upper Canada.

After the death of his supervising lawyer, John Macdonald returned to Kingston, where he started his practice without proper age or qualification. As a youth, he became a prominent criminal lawyer known even beyond Kingston while in his youth.

Sir John Alexander Macdonald, GCB, KCMG, PC, PC (Can), (11 January[1] 1815 – 6 June 1891) was the first Prime Minister of Canada and the dominant figure of Canadian Confederation. Macdonald's tenure in office spanned 18 years, making him the second longe

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Entering Politics

While in Toronto, in 1847, John Macdonald, as a youth, participated in the attacks on the rebels of Montgomery’s tavern, and his earlier professional duration also coincided with various political happenings like rebellions in the upper part of Canada and border raids of the United States

John Macdonald formally entered politics at the municipal level and served as an alderman in Kingston from 1843 to 1846. He actively took part in Conservative party politics, and soon, at the age of 29, he was elected for the legislative assembly of the Canadian province to represent Kingston.

At a very early age, the prime minister of Canada, John Macdonald, emerged as a screwed politician. Because of his leadership skills and intelligence, he got the first cabinet post as a receiver-general in 1847.

Until the election of 1854, Macdonald remained as a leader in the opposition, after which he created a new political alliance called the liberal-conservative party.

A Leader

The liberal party, also known as the grits, still held their power in the 1851 general election but soon after some time, they also were left decided due to a parliament scandal.

In September of that year, the government gave its resignation, due to which a coalition government was formed with parties from both the provinces under sir Allan Maccabee. Macdonald had a very significant work in aligning the government and served as the attorney general. Though he was the most powerful person in the government, Tache served as premier.

In July of 1857, to promote Canadian projects, Macdonald departed for the UK, and when he returned to Canada, he was sworn as the premier of the country in the place of Tache, who was about to retire.

He led the Conservative party in the general election and got elected in Kingston with the help of French Canadian support. The parliament had voted to move the government permanently to Quebec City, but Macdonald opposed it. He supported that queen victoria should decide Canada’s capital. This was opposed by his opponents and the leadership from eastern Canada.

Oh, Canada!

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The New Nation: Canada

The new nation, called Canada, was formed on July 1 in the year 1867, and the new prime minister of Canada, John Macdonald, was seen as a “nation-builder” of Canada, whose economic growth was so slow that the stagnation caused the emigration of its resident to the United States. The Governor-General officially commissioned him.

To help the economy, prime minister sir Macdonald planned to build a transcontinental railway to stimulate growth. He also planned to implement a “national policy of high tariffs” to protect the small Canadian firms that faced heavy competition from the United States firms.

Upon the formation of the new country of Canada, prime minister Macdonald and his government faced many problems like the working of the federal government and working with the threats from various factions of ministers, of withdrawal and the general national defence.

In August 1867, the first general elections of this new nation of Canada were held. Prime minister MacDonald and his party easily won the majority of seats to form the government. For John Macdonald to become the prime minister of Canada, his party also got the majority from both the province. The majority government was formed, and parliament was convened by November 1867.

Under the leadership tenure of sir Macdonald as prime mister of Canada, the country quickly expanded to include multiple provinces like Manitoba, Prince Edwards Island and British Columbia.

The Pacific Scandal

The pacific scandal was a politically tumultuous event in the electoral history of Canada. It involved numerous significant political figures, including the prime minister of Canada, John Macdonald, who was accused of accepting bribes to influence the contract of the national rail: the Canadian Pacific railway.

As part of the 1871 agreement of British Columbia to join the Canadian confederation, both parties agreed to build a transcontinental railway that would link the pacific province with the eastern province.

It was also a part of prime minister John A. Macdonald’s policy for the economic development of Canada. This event led to the resignation of the first prime minister, Sir John Macdonald. Still, he returned to power later and continued many such projects with his economic ideas for the country.

Sir Macdonald’s Return to Power as the Prime Minister of Canada

Canadian Prime Minister

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Sir Macdonald faced a defeat as a prime minister against the liberal party candidate in 1973 was forced to resign due to the pacific. In the year 1874 and lost against prime minister Alexander Mackenzie, the leader of the liberal party.

The liberal party, unlike their opposition, promoted free trade, but due to the economic depression faced by the country, prime minister Macdonald’s policy of protectionism of trade was supported.

Under prime minister Mackenzie the liberal party government under prime minister Mackenzie proved to be ineffective in uplifting the Canadian economy, which paved the way for Macdonald to return to power and succeed as prime minister just after five years. He served as the prime minister till his death while doing significant projects and policy actions in Canada.

Other Challenges and Responsibilities

During the last stages of Macdonald as prime minister of Canada, he faced multiple challenges. For example, northwest resistance occurred while Macdonald was the general of Indian affairs.

While he was the minister of Indian affairs, he was given the responsibility for the indigenous policy like making the residential schools for the repression of the indigenous population

The Unique Prime Minister of Canada

From all the above mentioned interesting facts and detail, it can be concluded that the first prime minister of Canada, John Macdonald, was unlike the other prime ministers of Canada, with his unique ideas of Canadian unity and progress john Alexander Macdonald stands out among all other prime ministers of Canada.

Even after two hundred years after his birth, John Macdonald still stays relevant in the present politics in Canada. Still, even he wasn’t without his flaws. Like most other politicians and prime ministers, he, too, was involved in controversies. Like many other prime ministers of Canada like Mackenzie King, John Turner and Kim Campbell, john Macdonald also had his set of controversies.

Although he did a lot of work for the railways, he didn’t do much for climate change.

Sir John Macdonald was always guided by his principles of loyalty to the British empire and freedom from the United States of America. He always remained true to this declaration till his death, unlike many other prime ministers.

“A British subject I was born; a British subject I will die”- John Alexander Macdonald.

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