Thomas Robert McInnes

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Thomas Robert McInnes
Thomas Robert McInnes.png
6th Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia
In office
November 18, 1897 June 21, 1900
Monarch Victoria
Governor General The Earl of Aberdeen
The Earl of Minto
Premier John Herbert Turner
Charles Augustus Semlin
Joseph Martin
James Dunsmuir
Preceded by Edgar Dewdney
Succeeded by Henri-Gustave Joly de Lotbinière
Senator for Ashcroft, British Columbia
In office
December 24, 1881 November 18, 1897
Nominated by John A. Macdonald
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for New Westminster
In office
September 17, 1878 December 24, 1881
Preceded by James Cunningham
Succeeded by Joshua Homer
Personal details
Born(1840-11-05)November 5, 1840
Lake Ainslie, Nova Scotia
DiedMarch 19, 1904(1904-03-19) (aged 63)
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Political partyIndependent
Martha Ellenor(m. 1865)
Relations Tom MacInnes (son)
Children Thomas Robert Edward, William Wallace Burns
Residence New Westminster, British Columbia
Alma mater Harvard University

Thomas Robert McInnes or (Gaelic) Tòmas Raibeart Mac Aonghais (November 5, 1840 March 19, 1904) was a Canadian physician, Member of Parliament, Senator, and the sixth Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia.

Canadian Gaelic Celtic dialect

Canadian Gaelic or Cape Breton Gaelic, known in English as often simply Gaelic, is a collective term for the dialects of Scottish Gaelic spoken in Atlantic Canada. Speakers of Canadian Gaelic have their origins in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. Scottish Gaels were settled in Nova Scotia, commencing in 1773 with the arrival of the Ship Hector and continuing until the 1850s. Gaelic has been spoken since then in Nova Scotia on Cape Breton Island and on the northeastern mainland of the province.

Senate of Canada Upper house of the Parliament of Canada

The Senate of Canada is the upper house of the Parliament of Canada, along with the House of Commons and the monarch. The Senate is modelled after the British House of Lords and consists of 105 members appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister. Seats are assigned on a regional basis: four regions—defined as Ontario, Quebec, the Maritime provinces, and the Western provinces—each receives 24 seats, with the last nine seats allocated to the remaining portions of the country: six to Newfoundland and Labrador and one each to the three northern territories. Senators may serve until they reach the age of 75.

Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia

The Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia is the viceregal representative of the Canadian monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, in the province of British Columbia, Canada. The office of Lieutenant governor is an office of the Crown and serves as a representative of the monarchy in the province, rather than the Governor General of Canada. The office was created in 1871 when the Colony of British Columbia joined the Confederation. Since then the Lieutenant Governor has been the representative of the monarchy in British Columbia. Previously, between 1858 and 1863 under colonial administration the title of Lieutenant governor of British Columbia was given to Richard Clement Moody as commander of the Royal Engineers, Columbia Detachment. This position coexisted with the office of Governor of British Columbia served by James Douglas during that time.


He was the father of the poet Tom MacInnes.


McInnes was born in Lake Ainslie, Nova Scotia to Scottish immigrant parents. He studied in the US, at Harvard University and elsewhere, earning a medical degree from Rush Medical College. McInnes served in the Union Army during the American Civil War before returning to Canada. He initially settled in Dresden, Ontario but relocated to New Westminster, British Columbia in 1874. McInnes established himself as a physician and surgeon, attached to the Royal Columbian Hospital and also served as a coroner. In July, 1878 he was appointed as superintendent of the provincial Lunatic Asylum.

Lake Ainslie lake in Cape Breton Regional Municipality, Nova Scotia, Canada

Lake Ainslie on Cape Breton Island is the second largest natural freshwater lake in Nova Scotia. The Southwest Margaree River starts at the lake and empties into the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. The lake is approximately 20 km long and averages 5 km in width.

Nova Scotia Province of Canada

Nova Scotia is one of Canada's three Maritime Provinces, and one of the four provinces that form Atlantic Canada. Its provincial capital is Halifax. Nova Scotia is the second-smallest of Canada's ten provinces, with an area of 55,284 square kilometres (21,300 sq mi), including Cape Breton and another 3,800 coastal islands. As of 2016, the population was 923,598. Nova Scotia is Canada's second-most-densely populated province, after Prince Edward Island, with 17.4 inhabitants per square kilometre (45/sq mi).

Harvard University Private research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

Harvard University is a private Ivy League research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with about 6,700 undergraduate students and about 13,100 postgraduate students. Established in 1636 and named for its first benefactor, clergyman John Harvard, Harvard is the United States' oldest institution of higher learning. Its history, influence, wealth, and academic reputation have made it one of the most prestigious universities in the world. It is cited as the world's top university by many publishers.

Political career

McInnes became mayor of New Westminster in 1877. He was acclaimed as an independent candidate in a federal by-election, March 25, 1878. His victory was confirmed in the general election which followed later in the year. McInnes resigned his Commons seat December 12, 1881 and was appointed to the Senate by Prime Minister Macdonald twelve days later. He resigned his Senate seat in 1897 upon his appointment as Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia.

1878 Canadian federal election

The 1878 Canadian federal election was held on September 17 to elect members of the House of Commons of Canada of the 4th Parliament of Canada. It resulted in the end of Prime Minister Alexander Mackenzie's Liberal government after only one term in office. Canada suffered an economic depression during Mackenzie's term, and his party was punished by the voters for it. The Liberals' policy of free trade also hurt their support with the business establishment in Toronto and Montreal.

John A. Macdonald 1st Prime Minister of Canada

Sir John Alexander Macdonald was the first prime minister of Canada. The dominant figure of Canadian Confederation, he had a political career which spanned almost half a century.

Lieutenant Governor and aftermath

McInnes’ term as Lieutenant Governor was often stormy as he twice dismissed Premiers and appointed successors who were controversial. A party system was only emerging in the province at the time and it was often unclear which members commanded support. Following the 1898 provincial election, incumbent Premier John Herbert Turner refused to resign, despite having only minority support. McInnes asked former Premier Robert Beaven to form a government, despite not having a seat in the legislature. There were rumours at the time that McInnes had asked Beaven that his son, William Wallace Burns McInnes, a federal Member of Parliament, be included in his cabinet. Beaven was unable to secure support for a government; four days later McInnes asked incumbent Opposition Leader Charles Augustus Semlin to form a government. Premier Semlin lost a no-confidence motion by one vote in 1900. McInnes then asked Attorney-General Joseph Martin to form a government, despite little support in the legislature, which fell on another no-confidence motion, 30-1. McInnes made another controversial choice, asking James Dunsmuir the heir of a powerful business family, to become Premier. Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier had finally become exhausted with McInnes and requested the Governor-General (The Earl of Minto) replace him with Henri-Gustave Joly de Lotbinière, a cabinet minister from Quebec. McInnes thus became the only Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia dismissed from the office.

In Canada, a premier is the head of government of a province or territory. Though the word is merely a synonym for prime minister, it is employed for provincial prime ministers to differentiate them from the Prime Minister of Canada. There are currently ten provincial premiers and three territorial premiers. These persons are styled The Honourable only while in office, unless they are admitted to the Queen's Privy Council for Canada, in which case they retain the title even after leaving the premiership.

The 1898 British Columbia general election was held in 1898. It was held to elect members of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia.

John Herbert Turner 11th Premier of British Columbia

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McInnes is also remembered for an 1890 senate bill entitled "An Act to Provide for the Use of Gaelic in Official Proceedings" which would have made Gaelic an official language in Canada. However, the bill was defeated 42–7. [1] He also advocated the creation of a Canadian mint. At the time, Canadian currency was produced in Great Britain. McInnes attempted a political comeback in a 1903 federal by-election but finished last of the three candidates in the Burrard riding.

Royal Canadian Mint

The Royal Canadian Mint is a Crown corporation, operating under the Royal Canadian Mint Act. The shares of the Mint are held in trust for the Crown in right of Canada.

Burrard was a federal electoral district in British Columbia, Canada, that was represented in the House of Commons of Canada from 1896 to 1904 and from 1917 to 1925. This riding was created in 1892 from parts of New Westminster riding. In 1903, this riding was redistributed into Vancouver City, Comox—Atlin and Yale—Cariboo, and was re-created from Vancouver City and Comox—Atlin in 1914. It was abolished in 1924 into Vancouver North and Vancouver—Burrard.

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  1. Kennedy, Michael (2002). "Gaelic Economic-impact Study" (PDF). Nova Scotia Museum. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-08-28. Retrieved 2010-06-25.
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