William McDougall, lawyer, politician, first lieutenant-governor of the North-West Territories (b near York [Toronto] 25 Jan 1822; d at Ottawa 29 May 1905). A member of the Assembly of the Province of Canada (1858-67), he was commissioner of crown lands, 1862-64, and provincial secretary, 1864. He attended all 3 CONFEDERATION
conferences and as minister of public works in John A. MACDONALD's
government (1867) introduced the resolution that led to the purchase of RUPERT'S LAND
. He was appointed lieutenant-governor of the area in 1869, and was repulsed by Louis RIEL's
men, who prevented him entering the territory he had come to govern. This failure, and the fact that he had been a Clear Grit in his early political life but had switched to the Conservatives in 1867 (which had earned him the tag "Wandering Willie"), destroyed his political credibility. Although continuing in politics (Ontario MPP, 1875-78; MP, 1878-82), he was given few political plums.
Fathers of Confederation
Links to Other Sites
A profile of William McDougall, one of the Fathers of Confederation. From Library and Archives Canada.
This section of the “Canadian Confederation” website features a biography of William McDougall. Includes photographs and other archival resources. From Library and Archives Canada.