Mackenzie Era in Canada (Great Events from History: North American Series)
Article abstract: In Canada’s early years of nationhood, Conservative dominance is temporarily interrupted.
Summary of Event
The year 1873 witnessed a dramatic shift of power in Canadian national politics with the fall of Prime Minister John A. Macdonald’s government. Canada had become a self-governing dominion of the British crown in 1867, largely as a result of a cooperative effort by bitter political rivals such as Macdonald (a Conservative) and George Brown (a Reformer), who forged a temporary alliance to gain this end. After Quebec, Ontario, and the Maritime Provinces joined in a federal structure and national parliament, this political unity ultimately gave way to partisan party politics. On one side stood the Reformers and “Clear Grits” who established the Liberal Party. Their opponents, the Conservatives or Tories, were headed by Macdonald, a pragmatic Ontario attorney. As party leader, Macdonald attempted to bridge Canadian ethnic, language, and religious divisions through compromise, concessions, and liberal use of patronage to cement political loyalty. The politically astute and charismatic Macdonald put together a diverse combination of Anglo-Protestants, big business, and conservative Catholic French-Canadian nationalists in a truly national party. In contrast, the Liberals were still largely a regional party, with their strongest base, in rural Ontario, consisting of a loose association of...
(The entire section is 1432 words.)
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