John Robson (politician)

John Robson ( born March 14, 1824 in Perth, Ontario, † June 29, 1892 in London) was a Canadian politician and journalist. He was one of the most influential journalists of his time and was a founding member of the Confederation League, which contributed significantly to the accession of British Columbia to the Canadian Confederation. August 2, 1889 until his death, he was prime minister of this province.

Journalist and activist

His early years were spent Robson as a dealer in southern Ontario and Montreal. In 1859 he learned of the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush and moved westward in the then colony of British Columbia. In the search for gold proved unsuccessful, he helped his brother Ebenezer, a Methodist priest, the construction of a church in New Westminster, the capital of the colony. After completion, he founded the newspaper British Columbian and called for the self-government of the colony, as well as liberal reforms, which brought him into conflict with the ruling autocratic Governor James Douglas.

Robson joined forces with other journalists such as Amor De Cosmos, and led a campaign against the governor and his officials, including Matthew Baillie Begbie, Chief Justice. Begbie was Robson 1862 arrest for a short time after he had published an anonymous letter that indicated the judge had let himself be bribed. After his release, Robson accused the colonial administration, they suppress the freedom of the press.

1864 resigned Douglas Robson and ceased its attacks, as the colonial Parliament received more and more rights. He advocated the union of the colonies of British Columbia and Vancouver Iceland in 1866. Three years later he moved his journalistic activity to Victoria. His newspaper was soon taken over by the Daily British Colonist (now the Times - Colonist ), which had been founded by Amor De Cosmos.

When Colonist Robson was six years political editor and stepped passionately for the accession of the colony to Canadian Confederation, which was created in 1867 from the union of four British colonies. Along with De Cosmos and Robert Beaven (both future Prime Minister of the Province), founded Robson 1868, the Confederation League, which campaigned actively for accession. British Columbia was finally on July 20, 1871, the sixth Canadian province.

Provincial policy

1863, nor during the time of the colony, Robson was elected to the City Council of New Westminster and had been 1866/67 Mayor. Otherwise, his political activities were limited initially to writing articles and lobbying. After British Columbia joined the Canadian Confederation was, however, he was elected to the Nanaimo constituency in the first elections to the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia in October, 1871.

Robson turned in the province of Parliament against what he sees as too conservative former combatants De Cosmos and also against Prime Minister George Anthony Walkem. He argued for even more extensive reforms, such as women's suffrage. Before the general election in January 1874, he supported the Liberal Party of Canada by Alexander Mackenzie. After his election victory he received in April 1875 as consideration a well-paid job as a purser in the Canadian Pacific Railway; his parliamentary seat he gave up. In 1880, he purchased the New Westminster newspaper Dominion Pacific Herald, whose editor in chief, he was for two years.

After a break of seven years, Robson returned in 1882 to the Legislative Assembly, where he represented New Westminster now. In February 1883, he was named William Smithe to minister in his government. Robson was in charge of education, finance, agriculture and mining. Following the appointment of AEB Davie, he handed over the areas of finance and agriculture. Robson was a staunch opponent of land speculation, he saw an obstacle to the settlement and economic development in the province. He was responsible for ensuring that the Legislative Assembly in 1886 the small village of Granville, the future terminus of the transcontinental railroad, brought to a city and renamed according to the proposal of William Cornelius Van Horne in Vancouver.

Prime minister

On August 2, 1889, a day after Davies 's death, appointed Lieutenant-Governor Hugh Nelson Robson prime minister. His government promoted the construction of railways, made ​​a new division of the constituencies and created the conditions for increased immigration. Robson led the federal government to build in Esquimalt immediately west of Victoria dry dock, from which later developed into the base of the Canadian Pacific Fleet.

Robson's health was struck. In order to reduce his workload, he gave up his urban constituency in New Westminster and was re-elected in June 1890 in the sparsely populated region Cariboo. In the spring of 1892 his doctor advised him to take a break from work for one year. In the hope that a change of location would improve his health, he traveled to London to negotiate with the British Government for a loan. On June 20, 1892 Robson stuck a finger in the door of a carriage. The wound caused blood poisoning, where he died nine days later.