Mair, Charles

Charles Mair, writer, civil servant (b at Lanark, UC 21 Sept 1838; d at Victoria 7 July 1927). Mair's memory rests on 3 bases: his inflammatory activities surrounding the RED RIVER REBELLION of 1869-70; his role in the formation of CANADA FIRST, an early nationalist movement; and his composition of the drama Tecumseh (1886). Mair represented to an extreme the contemptuous Upper Canadian dismissal of the Métis claims. Imprisoned by Louis RIEL at the outbreak of the rebellion, Mair escaped and on his return to Ontario agitated tirelessly for the suppression of the uprising. Canada First, of little immediate, practical influence, remains significant as the first of a series of Canadian nationalist groups. While not outstanding from a literary viewpoint, Tecumseh was important in the development of Canadian drama. It presents a vision of Canada as a co-operative enterprise in contrast with the self-seeking individualism of the US.