McCarthy, D'Alton

D'Alton McCarthy, lawyer, politician (b near Dublin, Ire 10 Oct 1836; d at Toronto 11 May 1898). He came to Canada with his parents in 1847, and was educated in Barrie, Canada West. He was called to the Bar of Upper Canada in 1858, and was elected to Parliament as a Conservative 1876. He was re-elected in 1878 to the constituency of North Simcoe, which he represented continuously until his death. McCarthy was at the centre of the most heated political issues of his day. He was president of Canada's Imperial Federation League for 7 years, although he was forced to resign because of his support for unilingualism. He relentlessly opposed the use of the French language outside Québec, and voted against his leader over the JESUITS' ESTATES ACT.

After the 1891 election he began to advocate reform of the protective tariff, a divergence from Tory policy that led in 1893 to a break with the party. During the 1890s he continued his vehement opposition to French-language schools and his support of Manitoba's eradication of denominational schools as a way of suppressing French instruction. Consequently, he and his McCarthyite League worked to defeat the federal Conservatives in the election of 1896. He was rumoured to be about to enter LAURIER'S Cabinet at the time of his death.