George Alexander Drew, PC CC QC (May 7, 1894 – January 4, 1973) was a Canadian conservative politician who founded a Progressive Conservative dynasty in Ontario that lasted 42 years. He served as the 14th Premier of Ontario from 1943 to 1948.
George A. Drew
|14th Premier of Ontario|
August 17, 1943 – October 19, 1948
|Lieutenant Governor||Albert E. Matthews|
|Preceded by||Harry Nixon|
|Succeeded by||Thomas Kennedy|
|Leader of the Opposition|
October 2, 1948 – August 1, 1956
|Prime Minister||W.L. Mackenzie King|
Louis St. Laurent
|Preceded by||John Bracken|
|Succeeded by||John Diefenbaker|
|Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada|
October 2, 1948 – November 29, 1956
|Preceded by||John Bracken|
|Succeeded by||John Diefenbaker|
|Canadian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom|
|Prime Minister||John Diefenbaker,|
|Preceded by||Norman Robertson|
|Succeeded by||Lionel Chevrier|
|Member of the Canadian Parliament|
December 20, 1948 – January 8, 1957
|Preceded by||George Russell Boucher|
|Succeeded by||Dick Bell|
February 14, 1939 – August 4, 1943
|Preceded by||William Finlayson|
|Succeeded by||John Duncan McPhee|
August 4, 1943 – June 7, 1948
|Preceded by||William Alexander Baird|
|Succeeded by||William Horace Temple|
George Alexander Drew
May 7, 1894
Guelph, Ontario, Canada
|Died||January 4, 1973 (aged 78)|
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
|Resting place||Woodlawn Memorial Park, Guelph|
|Political party||Ontario PC Party,|
|Alma mater||University of Toronto|
Osgoode Hall Law School
Drew was born in Guelph, Ontario, the son of Annie Isabelle Stevenson (Gibbs) and John Jacob Drew. He was educated at Upper Canada College, graduated from the University of Toronto, where he was a member of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity (Alpha Phi chapter). He then studied law at Osgoode Hall Law School. He served with distinction in World War I as an officer in the Canadian Field Artillery. After the war he became lieutenant-colonel of the 11th Field Brigade and later honorary colonel of the 11th Field Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery. He was called to the bar in 1920. He married Fiorenza Johnson (1910–1965), daughter of Edward Johnson, noted opera singer (tenor) and later General Manager (1935–1950) of the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City. He remarried in 1966 to Phyllis McCullagh, the widow of the former publisher of Toronto's The Globe and Mail and The Toronto Telegram newspapers, George McCullagh. Drew was survived by McCullagh at his death.
He was elected mayor of the City of Guelph in 1925 after serving as an alderman. In 1929 he left to become assistant master and then master of the Supreme Court of Ontario. As a practising lawyer, in 1931, he was appointed the first Chairman of the Ontario Securities Commission by the provincial Conservative government and was fired by the Liberal government of the colourful Mitch Hepburn after it came to power as a result of the 1934 provincial election. Drew ran for the leadership of the near moribund Conservative Party of Ontario at the 1936 Conservative leadership convention losing to Earl Rowe who subsequently appointed Drew to the position of provincial organizer for the party. Drew broke with the Tories, however, when they opposed Hepburn's attempt to crush the Congress of Industrial Organizations attempt to unionize General Motors in Oshawa. He ran as an Independent Conservative in Wellington South during the 1937 provincial election but was defeated along with the Tories with Rowe failing to win a seat in the legislature and consequently resigning as party leader. Drew ran again for the Conservative leadership in 1938, this time successfully and entered the Legislative Assembly of Ontario through a 1939 by-election as the Member of Provincial Parliament for Simcoe East. In the 1943 provincial election, he was elected in the Toronto riding of High Park.
The Liberal government went through a series of crises during World War II due to Hepburn's feud with Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King and the federal Liberals. These crises led to Hepburn's resignation.
In the 1943 provincial election, the Tories, now called the "Progressive Conservatives", won a minority government, narrowly beating the social democratic Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) led by Ted Jolliffe. (Jolliffe and Drew had attended the same high school in Guelph, Ontario, the Guelph Collegiate Vocational Institute).
Drew won by responding to the mood of the times, and running on a relatively left-wing platform, promising such radical reforms as free dental care and universal health care. While his government did not implement much of its promised platform (including Medicare or denticare), it did establish the basis for the Tory regimes that followed by trying to steer a moderate course. Drew's government also introduced the Drew Regulation in 1944, which made it compulsory for Ontario schools to provide one hour of religious instruction a week.
Drew was strident in his criticism of the federal government of Mackenzie King, attacking its leadership in the Canadian war effort, chastizing it during the Conscription Crisis of 1944 for not instituting full conscription, and accusing it of attempting to centralize power.
During the spring 1945 Ontario election, Premier Drew ran a Red-baiting campaign against the CCF's Ontario section. The previous two-years of anti-socialist attacks by the Conservatives and their supporters, like Gladstone Murray and Montague A. Sanderson, were devastatingly effective against the previously popular CCF. Much of the source material for the anti-CCF campaign came from the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP)'s Special Investigation Branch's agent D-208: Captain William J. Osbourne-Dempster. His office was supposed to be investigating war-time 5th column saboteurs. Instead, starting in November 1943, he was investigating, almost exclusively, Ontario opposition MPPs, mainly focusing on the CCF caucus. The fact that Jolliffe knew about these 'secret' investigations as early as February 1944 led to one of the most infamous incidents in 20th-century Canadian politics.
This accusation led to Drew ordering the LeBel Royal Commission to investigate the charges made by Jolliffe. The charges stemmed from Ontario's Official Opposition Leader Jolliffe, during the election campaign. He made these allegations during a campaign radio speech on 24 May 1945. Drew announced in a radio speech on 26 May that he would call an inquiry, and appointed Mr. Justice A. M. LeBel to lead the commission on 28 May. Jolliffe, and Liberal leader Mitchell Hepburn made offers to withhold from electioneering and have the commission report before the election. Drew refused to either postpone the election, or speed up the commission process. The commission began hearings on 20 June 1945, and heard final arguments on 20 July 1945. The report was issued on 11 October 1945, with LeBel agreeing with much of what Jolliffe charged, but ultimately ruled that the Premier did not have a secret political police reporting to him, mainly due to the lack of direct documented evidence. In the late 1970s, that documented evidence was found, but the provincial government at the time considered the case closed.
The Conservatives got their majority, as they crushed the CCF on 4 June 1945. Drew's party won 66 out the 90 seats in the legislature, and reduced Jolliffe's CCF to just 8 seats, which also meant that they were no longer the Official Opposition. Drew won 20 seats from the CCF directly, including Jolliffe's. The "Gestapo" claims against Drew seemed to do little if any damage, and the CCF got nearly the same percentage in the popular vote as was predicted by a Gallup poll one month earlier.
Drew's government insisted on spending $400 million in a ten-year program to convert Ontario's electricity system from 25-cycles (Hertz) to 60-cycles, standardizing it with the rest of North America. This standardization allowed the province to join the North American power grid to easily import and export electricity — a necessary prerequisite for the province's industrial development. Drew also helped spur post-war immigration to Ontario from 1947 to 1948 by setting up immigration offices throughout the United Kingdom and initiating cheap charter flights to bring an estimated 20,000 British immigrants to the province in what has been called the world's first mass migration by air. Drew, a committed British imperialist, focussed on attracting British immigrants because he felt they were "the right class of people" to bring to Canada. Drew's government also increased funding for roads and highways and also increased funding for schools by increasing the provincial government's share for education spending from 15% to 50%. Through a government that made investments to modernize Ontario, Drew laid the basis for the province's post-war industrial expansion and for a Progressive Conservative dynasty that lasted 42 years and saw six successive Progressive Conservative premiers.
While the Tories won a majority in the legislature in the 1948 election, Drew himself was defeated in his High Park electoral district, in west-end Toronto, by CCFer and temperance crusader William "Temperance Willie" Temple who had targeted Drew over his softening of Ontario's liquor laws by legalizing cocktail bars in Ontario. Whereupon Drew blamed a supposed, future Communist takeover of Ontario on the failure of Ontarians to re-elect him.
While it would have been easy enough for Drew to re-enter the legislature by running in a by-election, Drew decided to enter federal politics. "Colonel Drew" (as he liked to be called) won the 1948 federal Progressive Conservative leadership convention, defeating John Diefenbaker on the first ballot.
Progressive Conservative Party Member of Parliament (MP) George Russell Boucher resigned his Carleton seat so that Drew could then contest it in a by-election in order to enter the House of Commons. The federal Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) was determined to defeat him, so they ran Eugene Forsey as their candidate. Bill Temple was brought up from Toronto to appear at a political meeting in Richmond, Ontario's Town Hall, where Forsey and Drew were speaking. He accused the Tory leader of being "a tool of the liquor interests" and also made suggestions about Drew's sobriety. Throughout the evening Drew grew more red-faced and explosive every time Temple spoke. Finally, after Drew misheard Temple calling him dishonest, the two men were restrained before they could come to physical blows with each other. A riot was barely averted, and the meeting had to be terminated. On December 20, 1948, Drew soundly defeated Forsey by over 8,000 votes — forcing the CCF candidate to lose his deposit — and went on to sit in Parliament. As leader of the federal Progressive Conservative Party and now an MP, he became Leader of the Opposition.
In the 1949 and 1953 federal elections, Drew's Tories were defeated handily by the Liberals, led by Louis St. Laurent. As a federal politician, Drew alienated potential supporters in Quebec when it was remembered that he had called French-Canadians a "defeated race". This rhetoric may not have been as damaging among some Anglophone Ontario voters when he had been a provincial politician, but it was now used against him by his federal opponents. His support for conscription during World War II also hurt his prospects among French-Canadian voters. He ran against Forsey again in the Carleton district, and defeated him by an even wider margin on June 27, 1949.
Drew led the PCs into one more general election, in 1953, with slightly better results than the previous election. In poor health following a nearly fatal attack of meningitis Drew resigned as Progressive Conservative leader in 1956 and was succeeded by John Diefenbaker. On 12 December 1956 he received the Key to the City of Ottawa.
From 1957 to 1964 he served as Canadian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom and during this period worked with newspaper baron and fellow Canadian Lord Beaverbrook in an attempt to influence British public opinion against joining the European Common Market, which Drew saw as a threat to the British Commonwealth.
He served as the first Chancellor of the University of Guelph from 1965 until 1971. In 1967, "for his services in government" he entered the newly created Order of Canada as a Companion. In November 1972, he had a heart-attack and was admitted to Wellesley Hospital on November 19. His condition worsened due to congestive heart failure, and he was slipping in and out of consciousness in late December and early January. In the early morning hours on January 6, 1973, Drew died of heart failure in his Wellesley Hospital room at age 78. He requested that he not receive a state funeral, and had a public family funeral in Toronto. He was buried in his family's plot, next to his first wife Fiorenza Johnson, in the Woodlawn Cemetery in Guelph.
George Drew received honorary degrees from several universities including
|Ontario||1945||University of Toronto||Doctor of Laws (LL.D) |
|Ontario||11 June 1947||University of Western Ontario||Doctor of Laws (LL.D) |
Media related to George A. Drew at Wikimedia Commons
George Stewart Henry
| Leader of the Opposition in the
| Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party
| Leader of the Official Opposition in the House of Commons of Canada|
|Parliament of Canada|
George Russell Boucher
| Member of Parliament from Carleton
| Canadian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom
|New office|| Chancellor of the University of Guelph
Events from the year 1894 in Canada.1938 Conservative Party of Ontario leadership election
A Conservative Party of Ontario leadership election (formally the convention of the Liberal-Conservative Association of Ontario) was on December 9, 1938 at the Royal York Hotel in Toronto to replace retiring Conservative leader Earl Rowe, who had resigned after his party lost the 1937 provincial election to Mitchell Hepburn's Liberals.
Colonel George A. Drew was considered the front-runner leading into the convention and stared down a challenge by "old guard" candidate Earl Lawson, a former MP, who had declared his candidacy the week prior to the convention. Drew's candidacy was considered controversial by some Conservatives as he had quit the party and run as an Independent Conservative in the 1937 provincial election in protest of the pro-labour stance of leader Earl Rowe during the Ontario government's conflict with the Congress of Industrial Organizations in Oshawa.
DREW, George 796
LAWSON, Earl 413
HEIGHINGTON, Wilfrid 41
RAWSON, Norman 22See also: Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario leadership conventions1943 in Canada
Events from the year 1943 in Canada.1945 in Canada
Events from the year 1945 in Canada.1948 Progressive Conservative leadership convention
The 1948 Progressive Conservative leadership election was held to choose a leader for the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada. The convention was held at the Ottawa Coliseum in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Voting occurred on October 2, 1948. Premier of Ontario George A. Drew was elected as the party's new leader.1948 in Canada
Events from the year 1948 in Canada.1949 Canadian federal election
The Canadian federal election of 1949 was held on June 27 to elect members of the House of Commons of Canada of the 21st Parliament of Canada. It was the first election in Canada in almost thirty years in which the Liberal Party of Canada was not led by William Lyon Mackenzie King. King had retired in 1948, and was replaced as Liberal leader and Prime Minister by Louis St. Laurent. It was also the first federal election with Newfoundland voting, having joined Canada in March of that year, and the first election since 1904 in which the parts of the Northwest Territories were granted representation. The Liberal Party was re-elected with its fourth consecutive government, winning just under 50% of the vote. This victory was the largest majority in Canadian history to that point and remains, by any measure, the largest-ever majority won by the Liberal Party. As of 2017, it remains the third largest majority government in Canadian history.
The Progressive Conservative Party, led by former Premier of Ontario George Drew, gained little ground in this election.
Smaller parties, such as the social democratic Co-operative Commonwealth Federation, and Social Credit, a party that advocated monetary reform, lost support to the Liberals, and to a lesser extent, the Conservatives.
Voter turn-out: 73.8%1953 Canadian federal election
The Canadian federal election of 1953 was held on August 10 to elect members of the House of Commons of Canada of the 22nd Parliament of Canada. Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent led his Liberal Party of Canada to its fifth consecutive majority government, although the party lost seats to the other parties.
The Progressive Conservative Party, led by former Premier of Ontario, George Drew, formed the official opposition.1956 Progressive Conservative leadership convention
The 1956 Progressive Conservative leadership election was held to choose a leader for the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada. The convention was held at the Ottawa Coliseum in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. The convention began on December 13, 1956 with voting occurring on December 14 when John Diefenbaker was elected the new leader.1957 Canadian federal election
The Canadian federal election of 1957 was held June 10, 1957, to select the 265 members of the House of Commons of Canada. In one of the great upsets in Canadian political history, the Progressive Conservative Party (also known as "PCs" or "Tories"), led by John Diefenbaker, brought an end to 22 years of Liberal rule, as the Tories were able to form a minority government.
The Liberal Party had governed Canada since 1935, winning five consecutive elections. Under Prime Ministers William Lyon Mackenzie King and Louis St. Laurent, the government gradually built a welfare state. During the Liberals's fifth term in office, the opposition parties depicted them as arrogant and unresponsive to Canadians' needs. Controversial events, such as the 1956 "Pipeline Debate" over the construction of the Trans-Canada Pipeline, had hurt the government. St. Laurent, nicknamed 'Uncle Louis', remained popular, but exercised little supervision over his cabinet ministers.
In 1956, Tory leader George A. Drew unexpectedly resigned due to ill health. In his place, the PC party elected the fiery and charismatic Diefenbaker. The Tories ran a campaign centred on their new leader, who attracted large crowds to rallies and made a strong impression on television. The Liberals ran a lacklustre campaign, and St. Laurent made few television appearances. Uncomfortable with the medium, the Prime Minister read his speeches from a script and refused to wear makeup.
Abandoning their usual strategy of trying to make major inroads in Liberal-dominated Quebec, the Tories focused on winning seats in the other provinces. They were successful; though they gained few seats in Quebec, they won 112 seats overall to the Liberals' 105. With the remaining seats won by other parties, the PC party only had a plurality in the House of Commons, but the margin was sufficient to make John Diefenbaker Canada's first Tory Prime Minister since 1935.Albany Club
The Albany Club in Toronto was founded in 1882 and is one of Canada's oldest private clubs. Named after the Duke of Albany the club has been situated at its present location of 91 King Street East for more than 125 years.According to the club's prospectus, the association views itself as: "The exclusive social and business club for those who influence, celebrate, debate, and promote Canada's conservative and political history, ideals, values and leadership."The club was built as Victoria Row, a building built by John George Howard in 1840 to 1842.
The club is traditionally seen as a home for Conservative supporters. Its members have included every Tory Prime Minister from Sir John A. Macdonald to Brian Mulroney. Members have also included Ontario Conservative Premiers Sir James Whitney, Sir William Hearst, Howard Ferguson, George Henry, Thomas Kennedy, George A. Drew, Leslie Frost, John Robarts, William Davis, Frank Miller and Mike Harris.Bill Goodfellow
William Arthur "Bill" Goodfellow (August 18, 1901 – May 10, 1983) was a politician in Ontario, Canada. He was a Progressive Conservative member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 1943 to 1963 who represented the riding of Northumberland. He served as a cabinet minister in the governments of George Drew, Thomas Kennedy, Leslie Frost, and John Robarts.By-elections to the 20th Canadian Parliament
By-elections to the 20th Canadian Parliament were held to fill vacancies in the House of Commons of Canada between the 1945 federal election and the 1949 federal election. The Liberal Party of Canada led a working majority government for the 20th Canadian Parliament, though was technically a minority government during World War II.
Shortly before the dissolution of the 20th Canadian Parliament, Newfoundland joined Confederation as the tenth province. Unlike the case when the provinces such as Manitoba, British Columbia and Prince Edward Island joined, by-elections were not called to fill the new province's seven seats.
Eighteen vacant seats were filled through by-elections.George Russell Boucher
George Russell Boucher (December 13, 1899 – November 8, 1970) was a Canadian politician and barrister.
Born in Dunrobin, Ontario, Boucher (pronounced like voucher, not as in the French) was elected to the House of Commons of Canada in an August 1940 by-election as a Member of the Conservative Party to represent the riding of Carleton. He succeeded Alonzo Hyndman who died shortly after his re-election in the March 1940 federal election. He was a member of the Joint Committee on Location of the Seat of Government in the City of Ottawa. Boucher was re-elected in 1945 as a Progressive Conservative. He resigned his seat in 1948 in order to allow new party leader George A. Drew, who did not have a seat in the House of Commons, to contest Carleton in a by-election.Leslie Blackwell
Leslie Egerton Blackwell (9 November 1897 – 20 October 1959) was a Canadian politician, soldier, lawyer, and land developer.List of Ontario general elections
This article provides a summary of results for the general elections to the Canadian province of Ontario's unicameral legislative body, the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. The number of seats has varied over time, from 82 for the first election in 1867, to a high of 130 for 1987, 1990 and 1995 elections. There are currently 124 seats. As of December 2016, Ontario elections are held every 4 years on the first Thursday in June.Percy Vivian
Reginald Percival (Percy) Vivian (16 October 1902 – 30 January 1986) was a Canadian politician, physician and professor of medicine. He served as a Progressive Conservative party member of the House of Commons of Canada.Progressive Conservative Party of Canada
The Progressive Conservative Party of Canada (French: Parti progressiste-conservateur du Canada) (PC) was a federal political party in Canada.
In 2003, the party membership voted to dissolve the party and merge with the Canadian Alliance to form the modern-day Conservative Party of Canada.
One member of the Senate of Canada, Elaine McCoy, sat as an "Independent Progressive Conservative" until 2016. The conservative parties in most Canadian provinces still use the Progressive Conservative name. Some PC Party members formed the Progressive Canadian Party, which has attracted only marginal support.William Earl Rowe
William Earl Rowe, (May 13, 1894 – February 9, 1984), was a politician in Ontario, Canada. He served as the 20th Lieutenant Governor of Ontario from 1963 to 1968.