Quebec History Marianopolis College

Date Published:
January 2005

L’Encyclopédie de l’histoire du Québec / The Quebec History Encyclopedia


Sir Robert Laird Borden



Borden, Sir Robert Laird (1854-1937) prime minister of Canada (1911-20), was born at Grand Pré, Nova Scotia, on June 26, 1854, the son of Andrew Borden. He was educated at Acadia Villa Academy, Horton, Nova Scotia, studied law, and was called to the bar in Nova Scotia in 1878 (Q.C., 1891). He practised law in Halifax, and from 1893 to 1904 was president of the Barristers' Society of Nova Scotia. From 1896 to 1904. he represented Halifax in the Canadian House of Commons; and in 1901 he was chosen leader of the Conservative opposition in parliament, in succession to Sir Charles Tupper, Bart. He was defeated in Halifax in 1904, but was elected for Carleton in 1905; he represented Halifax again from 1908 to 1917 ; and from 1917 to 1921 he sat for King's county. In 1911 he became prime minister of Canada ; and he remained at the head of affairs in Canada throughout the whole period of the Great War. In 1917 he formed a Unionist government of Conservatives and Liberals on a platform of compulsory military service. He represented Canada at the meetings of the Imperial War Cabinet and the Imperial War Conference in 1917 and 1918; and he was the chief plenipotentiary delegate of Canada at the Peace Conference in Paris, in 1919. Through ill-health, he was compelled to resign as prime minister in July, 1920; and he then retired from active politics. In 1921-2 he was the Canadian delegate at the Washington Conference; and in 1922 he represented Great Britain in an arbitration between Great Britain and Peru, in Paris . From 1918 to 1920 he was chancellor of McGill University, and from 1924 to 1930 of Queen's University, Kingston. After his retirement from politics, he published two volumes of lectures, Canadian constitutional studies (Toronto, 1922) and Canada in the Commonwealth (Oxford, 1929) ; and in 1928 he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. He was created a member of the King's Privy Council in 1912, and a G.C.M.G. in 1914. He is a D.C.L. of Queen's University (1903), and an LL.D. of St. Francis Xavier University (1905), McGill University (1913), McMaster University (1916), Edinburgh University (1917), Cambridge University (1917), and Dalhousie University (1918). He died in Ottawa, June 10, 1937,


Source : W. Stewart WALLACE, ed., The Encyclopedia of Canada, Vol. IV, Toronto, University Associates of Canada, 1948, 400p., pp. 257-258.


© 2005 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College