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The Speakers of the Senate of Canada


Hon. James Horace King
P.C., K.G.St.J., M.D.(C.M.) (1945–1949)

After establishing his medical practice in the interior of British Columbia, Dr. James King turned to Liberal politics when he was 30 years old. He twice won a seat in the provincial Legislative Assembly, in 1903 and 1907, but Richard McBride’s Conservatives formed the government both times. King next ran for Sir Wilfrid Laurier’s federal Liberals in 1911, but was unsuccessful. He returned to win a provincial seat in the 1916 election, and joined the Cabinets of Liberal Premiers Harlan Brewster and John Oliver.

Somewhat unexpectedly, Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King asked King to join his Cabinet. King ran in the first of four elections he would win from 1922 to 1926, and accepted the first of the six Cabinet appointments he would hold from 1922 to 1945. When he first took his seat as a minister, his father George was a senator, an unusual instance of a father and son serving in Parliament at the same time.

One of King’s best-known accomplishments was the War Veterans’ Allowance Act, passed while he was Minister of Soldiers’ Civil Re-establishment. At the time, Prime Minister King was said to have observed that “of all the men I have met I know of no one who possesses the truly humanitarian spirit in greater degree than does Dr. King, and that is why I have asked him to accept this portfolio.”

In June 1930, the Prime Minister nominated King for appointment to the Senate, where he served for the next 25 years. He was Leader of the Government in the Senate from 1942 to 1945, when he was appointed Speaker. King was Speaker for just under four years, the entire term of the 20th Parliament.

King was a Canadian delegate at the 1945 San Francisco World Security Conference, which would eventually lead to the creation of the United Nations.

Next Speaker: Hon. Elie Beauregard

Previous Speaker: Hon. Thomas Vien

Portrait of the Honourable James Horace King

Born: Chipman, New Brunswick, 1873

Died: Ottawa, Ontario, 1955

Professional Background: Medicine

Political Affiliation: Liberal

Political Record:

Prime Ministers During Speakership: