The Rise and Fall of Sir William Hearst
When William Hearst succeeded James Whitney as leader of Ontario's Conservative party and Premier in 1914, he was relatively unknown and represented northern Ontario, a region that was emerging as the province's richest source of resources and government revenues. He took office just after the outbreak of the First World War and, an unapologetic imperialist, aligned his government with Sir Robert Borden's Unionist government during a period when the country was becoming increasingly divided. At the same time, he was a relatively progressive conservative who enfranchised women and introduced public health reforms such as restricting the consumption of alcohol – yet his government was badly defeated in the 1919 election.
No Regrets examines Hearst's political career during a tumultuous time, covering the First World War and Ontario's mobilization as well as the temperance movement. Brian Douglas Tennyson explains that Hearst was not incompetent, but that his party was sharply divided and operating amid extraordinarily chaotic social and political instability. Tennyson's archival research is extensive and touches on the critical issues of the time – many of which are still relevant today, including the abuse of Indigenous treaty rights in the interests of economic development.
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