Arthur Meighen

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Arthur Meighen
Former PM Arthur Meighen.jpg
Meighen c. 1920s
9th Prime Minister of Canada
In office
June 29, 1926 September 25, 1926
Preceded by Robert Borden
Succeeded byW. L. Mackenzie King

In late 1941, Meighen was prevailed upon by a unanimous vote in a national conference of the party to become leader of the Conservative Party for the duration of the war. He accepted the party leadership on November 13, 1941, foregoing a leadership convention, and campaigned in favour of overseas conscription, a measure which his predecessor, Robert Manion, had opposed. As leader, Meighen continued to champion a National Government including all parties, which the party had advocated in the 1940 federal election.

Meighen, lacking a Commons seat, resigned from the Senate on January 16, 1942, and campaigned in a by-election for the Toronto riding of York South. His candidacy received the improbable support of the Liberal Premier of Ontario Mitchell Hepburn; this act effectively hastened the end of Hepburn's Liberal Premiership, and did not in any case grant Meighen durable electoral support. The Liberals did not run a candidate in the riding due to a prevailing convention of allowing the Opposition leader a seat. Still harbouring a deep hatred for the Conservative leader and thinking that the return to the Commons of the ardently conscriptionist Meighen would further inflame the smouldering conscription issue, King arranged for campaign resources to be sent to the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation's Joseph Noseworthy. Federal Liberal support and rising CCF fortunes ensured that Meighen was defeated in the February 9, 1942, vote.

With its leader excluded from the Commons, the Conservative Party was further weakened. Meighen continued to campaign for immediate conscription as part of a "total war" effort through the spring and summer, but did not again seek a seat in the House of Commons. In September, Meighen called for a national party convention to "broaden out" the party's appeal. It remained unclear whether Meighen sought to have his leadership confirmed or to have his successor chosen. As the convention neared, news sources reported that Meighen had approached Manitoba's Liberal-Progressive Premier John Bracken about seeking the leadership, and that the convention would adopt a platform that would move the party toward acceptance of the welfare state. Meighen announced in his keynote address to the party on December 9, 1942, that he was not a candidate for the leadership and the party subsequently chose Bracken as leader, and renamed itself the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada.

Retirement and death

Following his second political retirement, Meighen returned to the practice of law in Toronto. He died from heart failure in Toronto, aged 86, on August 5, 1960, and was buried in St. Marys Cemetery, St. Marys, Ontario, near his birthplace. [18] He had the second longest retirement of any Canadian Prime Minister, at 33 years, 315 days, Joe Clark surpassed him on January 12, 2014.

Honorary degrees

Honorary degrees

Flag of Ontario.svg Ontario1921 University of Toronto Doctor of Laws (LL.D) [19]
Flag of Manitoba.svg Manitoba1932 University of Manitoba Doctor of Laws (LL.D) [20]


The Post Office Department issued a memorial stamp featuring Meighen on April 19, 1961. [21] In the same year, Meighen was designated a National Historic Person by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board. [22] Landmarks named after Meighen include:


Larry A. Glassford, a professor of education at the University of Windsor, concluded, "On any list of Canadian prime ministers ranked according to their achievements while in office, Arthur Meighen would not place very high." [1]

Meighen ranks as #14 out of the 20 Prime Ministers through Jean Chrétien, in the survey of Canadian historians included in Prime Ministers: Ranking Canada's Leaders by J.L. Granatstein and Norman Hillmer.

Electoral record

See also

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Glassford, Larry A. (2016). "Meighen, Arthur". In Cook, Ramsay; Bélanger, Réal (eds.). Dictionary of Canadian Biography . Vol. XVIII (1951–1960) (online ed.). University of Toronto Press. Retrieved December 19, 2021.
  2. 1 2 The Incredible Canadian, by Bruce Hutchison, Toronto 1952, Longmans Canada
  3. "W. R. Sexsmith, Portage M.L.A., Dies At 58". Winnipeg Tribune. Winnipeg, Manitoba. August 23, 1943. p. 11. Lock-green.svg
  4. "More About Sexsmith (Continued from Page One)". Winnipeg Free Press. Winnipeg, Manitoba. August 23, 1943. p. 7. Lock-green.svg
  5. Arthur Meighen, Roger Graham, The Canadian Historical Association, Historical Booklet No.16, Ottawa, 1968, p.3
  6. Graham, Roger (May 27, 2007). "Arthur Meighen". Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved February 23, 2022.
  7. Graham, Roger (May 27, 2007). "Arthur Meighen". Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved February 23, 2022.
  8. Creighton 1970 , p. 160
  9. Glassford, Larry. "Arthur Meighen". Dictionary of Canadian Biography. Retrieved February 23, 2022.
  10. Taylor, Peter (May 26, 2020). "Peter Shawn Taylor: Remember the right 1920s depression! The government response to that economic disaster actually worked". Financial Post. Retrieved March 18, 2022.
  11. Belshaw, John Douglas (May 17, 2016). "Chapter 8. The Economy since 1920". Open Text BC. Retrieved March 18, 2022.
  12. Glassford, Larry. "Arthur Meighen". Dictionary of Canadian Biography. Retrieved February 23, 2022.
  13. "Arthur Meighen". Britannica. Retrieved February 23, 2022.
  14. Brebner 1935 , pp. 48–50
  15. Glassford, Larry. "Arthur Meighen". Dictionary of Canadian Biography. Retrieved February 23, 2022.
  16. Robert Macgregor Dawson, William Lyon Mackenzie King: 1874–1923 (1958) pp 401–16
  17. J. E. Esberey, "Personality and Politics: A New Look at the King–Byng Dispute," Canadian Journal of Political Science 1973 6(1): 37–55 in JSTOR
  18. "Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada – Former Prime Ministers and Their Grave Sites – The Right Honourable Arthur Meighen". Parks Canada. Government of Canada. 20 December 2010. Archived from the original on 8 February 2013. Retrieved 27 February 2014.
  19. "University of Toronto Honorary Degree Recipients 1850 - 2016" (PDF). University of Toronto. p. 5. Retrieved March 21, 2021.
  20. "Honorary Degree recipients | Governance | University of Manitoba".
  21. National Postal Archives Database Archived July 29, 2017, at the Wayback Machine , Library and Archives Canada, with details from a news release of 1961
  22. Rt. Hon. Arthur Meighen National Historic Person, Directory of Federal Heritage Designations, Parks Canada, 2012
  23. Marshall, Rita (October 12, 2011). "Board puts former Mitchell Public School on auction block". Mitchell Advocate. Mitchell, Ontario. Archived from the original on December 19, 2014. Retrieved November 28, 2014. Mitchell Public was closed in June of 2010.


  • Brebner, J. Bartlet (March 1935). "Canada, The Anglo-Japanese Alliance and the Washington Conference". Political Science Quarterly. The Academy of Political Science. 50 (1): 45–58. doi:10.2307/2143412. ISSN   0032-3195. JSTOR   2143412.
  • Brown, R. C. and Ramsay Cook. Canada, 1896–1921: a nation transformed (Toronto, 1974)
  • Creighton, Donald (1970). Canada's First Century . MacMillan of Canada.
  • Graham, Roger (1960–1965). Arthur Meighen: a biography, 3 volumes. Clarke, Irwin.; the standard scholarly biography
  • Graham, Roger. "Some political ideas of Arthur Meighen," in The political ideas of the prime ministers of Canada, ed. Marcel Hamelin (Ottawa, 1969), 107–20.
  • Granatstein, J.L. and Hillmer, Norman. Prime Ministers: Ranking Canada's Leaders. HarperCollinsPublishersLtd., 1999. P. 75-82. ISBN   0-00-200027-X.
  • Thompson, J. H. and Allen Seager. Canada, 1922–1939: decades of discord (Toronto, 1985);

Primary sources

Political offices
Preceded by
Solicitor General of Canada
Succeeded by
Preceded by Secretary of State for Canada
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister of Mines
Preceded by Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs
Succeeded by
Minister of the Interior
Preceded by Minister of Mines
Preceded by Prime Minister of Canada
Succeeded by
Secretary of State for External Affairs
Preceded by Prime Minister of Canada
Secretary of State for External Affairs
President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada
Preceded by Leader of the Government in the Senate of Canada
Succeeded by
Preceded by Leader of the Opposition in the Senate of Canada
Succeeded by
Parliament of Canada
Preceded by MP for Portage la Prairie, MB
Succeeded by
Preceded by MP for Grenville, ON
Constituency abolished
Preceded by MP for Portage la Prairie, MB
Succeeded by
Preceded by Senator for Ontario
Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by Leader of the Conservative Party
Succeeded by
Preceded by Leader of the Conservative Party
Succeeded by
John Bracken
Progressive Conservative