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Sir Mackenzie Bowell Sir Mackenzie Bowell was the fifth prime minister of Canada He held office for sixteen months between 1894 and 1896 before a revolt in his cabinet forced him to resign With considerable force of character but no special capacity in administration he was unable either to command the respect of his colleagues or to avoid committing his government to a politically dangerous question of public funding for religious schools in Manitoba Smith R 1974 p145 For most of his time in office Bowell was minister of customs and as such he put into operation of protective tariff or tax on imports to aid Canadian manufactures The tariff was the substance of the celebrated National Policy of former prime minister Sir John A Macdonald The main work of Bowells forty years in politics was as an organizer of the Conservative Party in the province of Ontario Bowell was born in 1823 in Rickinghall England the son of a carpenter The family emigrated to the province of Upper Canada later Ontario in 1833 and settled in the town of Belleville There Bowell was apprenticed to the printer of the local newspaper Harris C 1987 p29 He remained in the town becoming the newspapers editor and eventually the owner Bowell joined the Orange Association of British North America a Protestant organization that had originated in Ireland At the time the order was becoming the main popular instrument of the Conservative Party Bowell rose to be grand master of the order and consequently wielded considerable political influence Smith R 1974 p237 He also joined the local militia and served with it against Fenian raids attacks by Irish nationalists against the British colonies and continued with the organization as a lieutenant colonel until 1874 In 1867 Bowell was elected to the first Canadian House of Commons from North Hastings county Ontario He retained that seat in the following six elections Because Belleville was a
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