In 1867 he left provincial politics and won a federal seat as the only supporter of CONFEDERATION from NS. Although his claim for a Cabinet post was strong, he stood aside to allow others from NS to enter the ministry. He helped bring about the "better terms" settlement which led Howe into the Cabinet in 1869. In 1870 Tupper began his long ministerial career. He was successively president of the Privy Council (1870-72), minister of inland revenue (1872-73), and minister of customs (1873) in the first John A. MACDONALD government.
When the Conservatives returned to office, Tupper served as minister of public works (1878-79) and minister of railways and canals (1879-84) during the critical period of Pacific Railway construction. He became high commissioner to the UK in 1884, but returned to Ottawa to serve as minister of finance (1887-88). Resuming his duties in London, he became known as an outspoken advocate of imperial federation and preferential tariffs. Macdonald was not pleased with Tupper's views, but his political standing allowed him immunity from censure.
In Jan 1896 Tupper was recalled to Ottawa to serve as secretary of state in the failing government of Sir Mackenzie BOWELL. Having been passed over for the party leadership in favour of J.J.C. ABBOTT, J.S.D. THOMPSON and Bowell, Tupper finally became prime minister 1 May 1896. In a desperate attempt to stave off defeat in the House, Tupper and his colleagues had introduced remedial legislation to protect the educational rights of the French-speaking minority in Manitoba. Blocked in the Commons, Tupper and the Conservatives suffered a stunning general election defeat in June, as Québec's returns were decisive. He resigned on July 8, having served only 10 weeks as prime minister, the shortest tenure in Canadian history. He continued in Parliament as leader of the Opposition but was defeated in the election of 1900. On retirement he lived in Vancouver before moving to England in 1913. Tupper was a decisive figure in Canadian political life. As one of Macdonald's principal lieutenants, he had a real capacity for administration as well as a reputation for parliamentary bluff and bullying.
Author D.M.L. FARR
Links to Other Sites
First Among Equals
Learn about the private lives and political careers of Canada’s Prime Ministers. Includes biographies, speeches, and other historical documents. A Library and Archives Canada website.
Sir Charles Tupper
Sir Charles Tupper, Prime Minister and Father of Confederation, is profiled on this web site.
Grave Sites of Canadian Prime Ministers
Check this site for photos and information about specific grave sites of former Prime Ministers of Canada. From the website for the National Program for the Grave Sites of Canadian Prime Ministers.
Shawnadithit grew anxious waiting for her uncle, Longnon, to return to camp at the junction of Badger Brook and the Exploits River, deep in the wilds of Newfoundland...