In 1896 he resigned as premier to become the minister of finance and receiver general in LAURIER's government. Apart from lowering the tariff against British goods (called the Fielding, or imperial preferential, tariff), Fielding retained the high tariff policy of his Conservative predecessors. In 1910 he negotiated a reciprocity agreement with the US, but when it was opposed in Parliament an election was called for on September 1911. Fielding and his party were defeated, and he accepted the editorship of Montréal's Daily Telegraph.
Seen as Laurier's successor, Fielding's support of CONSCRIPTION cost him the leadership of his party in 1919, when Mackenzie KING won by 38 votes on the third ballot. After King became prime minister in 1921, Fielding resumed his position as minister of finance for 4 years.
Author CARMAN MILLER