Skip navigation links (access key: Z)Library and Archives Canada / Bibliothèque et Archives CanadaSymbol of the Government of Canada
Français - Version française de cette pageHome - The main page of the Institution's websiteContact Us - Institutional contact informationHelp - Information about using the institutional websiteSearch - Search the institutional websitecanada.gc.ca - Government of Canada website

Archived Content

This archived Web page remains online for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. This page will not be altered or updated. Web pages that are archived on the Internet are not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards. As per the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada, you can request alternate formats of this page on the Contact Us page.

Graphical elementGraphical element
Introduction
Alone at the Top
The Path to Power
Leading Canada
Private Life
Afterwards
Graphical element
Profiles
Speeches
Comments
Graphical element
Banner: First Among Equals: The Prime Minister in Canadian Life and Politics
Charles Tupper

Anecdote

Who's running this country, anyway?

Well one might have asked in 1896! At this time the Governor General's role in Canadian politics is more than ceremonial; it's up to him to appoint a successor when the prime minister resigns while in office. In January 1896, the Conservatives are fed up with Prime Minister Mackenzie Bowell's indecisiveness over the Manitoba Schools Question. A Cabinet revolt tries to force him to resign in favour of Sir Charles Tupper. But Governor General Lord Aberdeen has Liberal leanings and finds Sir Charles too "Conservative" for his liking. Furthermore, Tupper's reputation as a philanderer is too much for Lady Aberdeen, whose opinions have considerable influence on her husband. Lady Aberdeen suggests to her husband that he call upon the Opposition leader rather than Tupper, to be the new prime minister.

To prevent this disaster, the Tory Cabinet Revolt is called off and Bowell hangs on as prime minister. Tupper takes a Cabinet post and effectively leads the party from his seat in the House of Commons, which Bowell, as a Senator, cannot do. In April, Lord Aberdeen finally accepts Bowell's resignation and appoints Tupper Prime Minister. But by this time, the Conservatives have to call an election, which they subsequently lose. Thanks to Lady Aberdeen, Sir Charles Tupper serves the shortest term in office of any Canadian prime minister!


Source: Canada's Prime Ministers, 1867 - 1994: Biographies and Anecdotes. [Ottawa]: National Archives of Canada, [1994]. 40 p.

Tupper: main page


Proactive Disclosure