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Canadian History for Kids: Charles Tupper

May 1, 1896 – Charles Tupper asked by the Governor General to serve as Canada’s 6th Prime Minister on resignation of Mackenzie Bowell.

This Canadian History for Kids exclusive looks at Canada’s 6th Prime Minister, Sir Charles Tupper.

Well, this is going to be a quick article!

Sir Charles Tupper (Conservative Party of Canada) held the office of Prime Minister of Canada from May 1 to July 8, 1896, making him the shortest serving Prime Minister in Canadian history.

Charles Tupper, a Father of Confederation, was born July 2, 1821 in Amherst, Nova Scotia. He attended medical school in Edinburgh, Scotland and returned to start a successful medical practice in Amherst in 1843.

He later became the first president of the Canadian Medical Association. Blessed with courage, amazing self-confidence, Tupper entered politics in 1855 and by 1864 was premier of Nova Scotia.

Even though he had a reputation for shady politics and the charge of having bribed and bullied Nova Scotia into Confederation, Tupper was invited to join Macdonald’s first Cabinet. He declined in favour of another Nova Scotian, but came into the Cabinet in 1870. Tupper held many different portfolios before being appointed High Commissioner to England in 1884.

After John A. Macdonald’s death, some saw Tupper as the reasonable replacement, but age and enemies held him back. Tupper served as Secretary of State in Bowell’s government and became Prime Minister upon Bowell’s resignation on May 1, 1896.

The 1896 election featured Tupper, an English-speaking, Protestant Tory fighting for francophone Catholics against Wilfrid Laurier, a French-speaking, Catholic Liberal, who championed provincial rights.

Tupper lost the 1896 election. He had been prime minister for only ten weeks. Tupper stayed on in Parliament as Leader of the Opposition for four more years. He was the last living Father of Confederation when he resigned after losing the election of 1900. Following his resignation, Tupper moved first to Vancouver and finally to England, where he died on October 30, 1915.

Canadian History for Kids’ Highlights as Prime Minister

Highlights of the Charles Tupper political career include:

  • a Father of Confederation
  • the first president of the Canadian Medical Association
  • a premier of Nova Scotia
  • largely responsible for Nova Scotia joining Confederation in 1867

And that’s this week’s Canadian History for Kids, exclusive!

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