Charles Tupper

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Sir Charles Tupper, 1st Baronet, GCMG, CB, PC (July 2, 1821 – October 30, 1915) was a Canadian father of Confederation: as the Premier of Nova Scotia from 1864 to 1867, he led Nova Scotia into Confederation. He later went on to serve as the sixth Prime Minister of Canada, sworn in to office on May 1, 1896, seven days after parliament had been dissolved. He would go on to lose the June 23 election, resigning on July 8, 1896. His 69-day term as prime minister is currently the shortest in Canadian history. At age 74, in May 1896, he was also the oldest person to serve as Prime Minister of Canada.

Born in Amherst, Nova Scotia in 1821, Tupper was trained as a physician and practiced medicine periodically throughout his political career (and served as the first president of the Canadian Medical Association). He entered Nova Scotian politics in 1855 as a protege of James William Johnston. During Johnston's tenure as premier of Nova Scotia in 1857–59 and 1863–64, Tupper served as provincial secretary. Tupper replaced Johnston as premier in 1864. As premier, Tupper established public education in Nova Scotia. He also worked to expand Nova Scotia's railway network in order to promote industry.

By 1860, Tupper supported a union of all the colonies of British North America. Believing that immediate union of all the colonies was impossible, in 1864, he proposed a Maritime Union. However, representatives of the Province of Canada asked to be allowed to attend the meeting in Charlottetown scheduled to discuss Maritime Union in order to present a proposal for a wider union, and the Charlottetown Conference thus became the first of the three conferences that secured Canadian Confederation. Tupper also represented Nova Scotia at the other two conferences, the Quebec Conference (1864) and the London Conference of 1866. In Nova Scotia, Tupper organized a Confederation Party to combat the activities of the Anti-Confederation Party organized by Joseph Howe and successfully led Nova Scotia into Confederation.

Following the passage of the British North America Act in 1867, Tupper resigned as premier of Nova Scotia and began a career in federal politics. He held multiple cabinet positions under Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald, including President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada (1870–72), Minister of Inland Revenue (1872–73), Minister of Customs (1873–74), Minister of Public Works (1878–79), and Minister of Railways and Canals (1879–84). Initially groomed as Macdonald's successor, Tupper had a falling out with Macdonald, and by the early 1880s, he asked Macdonald to appoint him as Canadian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom. Tupper took up his post in London in 1883, and would remain High Commissioner until 1895, although in 1887–88, he served as Minister of Finance without relinquishing the High Commissionership.

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