Arthur Meighen served as Prime Minister of Canada on two separate occasions. His first stint began on July 10, 1920, and ended on December 29, 1921. Arthur Meighen’s first run as Prime minister ended due to a defeat in the House of Commons. In the general election held on December 6, 1921, Meighen’s Conservative Party lost the majority of seats to the opposing Liberal Party led by Mackenzie King. As a result, Meighten’s government was unable to retain power and he was required to resign as Prime Minister. This marked the end of his first term in office. Later, he then served a second term as Prime Minister from June 29 to September 25, 1926. Meighen’s tenure, although brief, was marked by significant accomplishments and his steadfast commitment to his conservative principles.
One of Meighen’s notable achievements was his economic stewardship during difficult economic times. Taking office in 1920, his top priority was to lead Canada out of the post-World War I economic recession. Meighen’s government implemented measures to stimulate economic growth that included reducing tariffs and initiating infrastructure projects that created jobs. Under his leadership, Canada experienced an impressive economic recovery. This was impressive as this required him to skillfully navigate a fragile global economy.
Protection of National Interests
Meighen’s tenure witnessed a staunch commitment to protecting Canada’s national interests. He opposed the Naval Service Bill of 1910, which aimed to impose British naval power on Canada without consent. This showcased Meighen’s determination to safeguard Canadian sovereignty and decision-making. He tirelessly advocated for Canada’s autonomy, ensuring that Canada’s interests were respected on the international stage.
Commitment to Fiscal Responsibility
In an era plagued by economic challenges, Meighen’s steadfast belief in fiscal responsibility stands as a testament to his conservative principles. During his tenure, he implemented prudent fiscal policies, emphasizing balanced budgets and financial stability. Meighen understood the importance of living within means, and his commitment to maintaining fiscal discipline deserves recognition in today’s era of increased government spending.
Arthur Meighen’s conservative leadership, though comparatively short-lived, had a lasting impact on Canada. His unwavering dedication to economic stability, protection of national interests, defense of minority rights, and commitment to fiscal responsibility helped set the stage for future conservative leaders. It is crucial to recognize and appreciate the contributions of leaders like Meighen, who navigated challenging times and left behind a legacy that deserves greater recognition in Canadian history.
Elaine Allan, BA, MBA
Vancouver, BC Canada