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People and organizations
Politicians

Bigelow, Jane

  • Person
  • 1928 -

Jane Bigelow (1928 - ) was a politician and the mayor of London, Ontario from 1972 to 1978. She also served as controller on the city's Board of Control before and after her term as mayor.
She was born in Toronto in 1928 and educated at St. Clement's Girl's School and the University of Toronto where she completed a B.A. in Physical and Health Education in 1950. She trained as a teacher and taught in high schools in Ottawa, Hamilton and Edmonton.
After settling in London in 1965 with her husband and two children, she took courses at the University of Western Ontario towards a B.A. and began a master's program in urban studies. She participated in the founding of the Central London Association and the Urban League, a group that was designed to coordinate the efforts of local citizens' groups. She also became involved in the London Council of Women, serving on the committee which helped save the Broughdale Lands. Bigelow was active in local and provincial NDP organizations, serving as vice-president of the provincial party from 1968 to 1972. She organized several conventions for the party and was responsible for the Handbook for Municipal Politicians, published in 1968.
In 1969, she was elected to the Board of Control and when she was re-elected in 1971, she received the most votes out of all the controllers making her the deputy mayor. When mayor Fred Gosnell resigned for health reasons in February 1972 she took over as acting mayor. In March 1972, Bigelow was elected mayor by council and in 1973 she was elected mayor by the public in a general election. She was re-elected in 1974 and 1976 but was defeated in the 1978 election by Al Gleeson, an instructor at Fanshawe College.
As mayor, Jane Bigelow advocated for accessible day care, better public transit with special fares for senior citizens, neighbourhood improvement schemes, funding for the arts, more parks and better city planning. She was criticized for being uninterested in development. During her mayoralty, London received a triple A rating from two independent American organizations. In her last years of office, she became interested in financial planning and tax reform for municipalities. She was actively involved in several joint municipal-provincial organizations and represented London's interests at both higher levels of government. In 1974, she was invited with six other Canadian mayors to visit Israel and in 1976, she was a representative to the Habitat Conference and the Conference of Mayors held in Milan.
Some of the major issues during her term as mayor included the Talbot Square development, the London Regional Art gallery, the restoration of the Middlesex Court House and the possibility of siting a prison in London.
She was elected to the Board of Control in 1980 but did not run in 1982. She was later employed by Employment and Immigration Canada. She was honoured with several awards and recognitions for her public service.

Stewart, William Atcheson

  • Person
  • 1915 - 1990

William Atcheson Stewart was born on a farm near Denfield, Ontario on February 26, 1915 to parents George A. Stewart and Frances Langford. He was educated at a local public school and attended Lucan high school during his teenage years. Stewart dropped out of high school in Grade 10 to pursue work on his family’s farm. Through his continued farm work, Stewart developed a fascination and passion for agricultural work.
William Stewart married Edythe M. Jones of Granton in 1940. They had four daughters, Marilyn Jenken, Norma Brock, Barbara Shipley, and Gay Slinger. Stewart was an active member of the agricultural community and headed several special committees on agricultural affairs. In 1957 William Stewart was elected MPP for Middlesex North for the Progressive Conservative (P.C.) Party in a by-election. He was re-elected in general elections in 1959, 1963, 1967, and 1971. In 1960, Stewart turned down a position as Minster of Transportation and entered as a Minister without Portfolio later that same year. In 1961 Stewart took on the position of Minister of Agriculture, and later Minister of Agriculture and Food, which he held until his retirement in 1975. Stewart retired as the longest serving Agricultural Minister in Canada.
During his time in office, William Atcheson Stewart was responsible implementing many important acts to further the agricultural sector in Ontario. These pieces of legislation include The Animals for Research Act 1968-1969, Beef Cattle Marketing Act 1968, an Act to Provide for Inspection of Meat for Human Consumption 1962-1963, and An Act respecting Ontario Agricultural College, Ontario Veterinary College and Macdonald Institute 1961-1962, to list a few.
Although Stewart was forced to retire from politics due to heart conditions, he remained active in the agricultural community in an advisory capacity and joined many major companies as a board member, including Ontario Hydro.
Stewart remained a longtime friend of the Ontario Agricultural College (OAC), a part of Guelph University. He was granted an LLD from the OAC in 1976, his first university degree. He also conferred an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from the University of Western Ontario in 1978. Stewart maintained close ties to the University of Guelph, eventually serving as Chancellor from 1983-1989. Stewart was also the first recipient of the Centennial Medal from the OAC at the University of Guelph during their centennial celebrations in 1974.
With encouragement of his family, Stewart wrote an autobiography of his life, “Rural Roots and Beyond,” outlining his childhood, political career and his retirement. The book was published in 1990, shortly before his death.
William Atcheson Stewart died of a heart attack at Victoria Hospital on December 8, 1990 at the age of 75. Stewart was inducted into the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame in 1988 and inducted into the Ontario Agricultural Hall of Fame in 1992.

Mills, David

  • Person
  • 1831 - 1903

David Mills was born 18 March 1831 in Orford Township, Upper Canada, to Nathaniel Mills and Mary Guggerty. David received his early education at the local school in Palmyra Corners. He became a teacher and from April 1856 to April 1865 he served as a school superintendent in Kent. He married Mary Jane Brown on 17 December 1860 in Chatham, Upper Canada, and had three sons and four daughters. During this time spent as superintendent he also farmed on his inherited part of the family farm at Palmyra. By 1864 he seems to have become active politically in the Reform party in Kent.

In 1865 he enrolled at the University of Michigan Law School from which he graduated in March of 1867. Mills attained his degree but made no formal application to the law society until 1878, and he was not called to bar until 1883. He first practiced law in the firm of Ephraim Jones Parke in London, Ontario and later practiced with one of his sons. In 1885 he was on the faculty of the newly opened London Law School as professor of international law and the rise of representative government. Five years later he became a Queen's Council lawyer.

After graduating from the University of Michigan in 1867, Mills returned to Canada and secured the Reform nomination for the federal constituency of Bothwell, which covered parts of Kent and Lambton counties. He would hold the seat until 1882 and again from 1884 to 1896. He introduced a motion to do away with the practice of dual representation at the federal level on 20 November 1867 and had it completely abolished in 1873. In 1872 he suggested that senators be properly elected or chosen directly by the provincial legislatures, and remained an advocate for the Senate to be rendered a better guardian of provincial interests. Mills told parliament in June 1869 that if ever it was "a question whether Federal or Local Legislatures should be destroyed," his view was that "the country would suffer far less by the destruction of the Federal power."

In 1872 he asked Oliver Mowat, the Liberal premier of Ontario from 1872 to 1896, to prepare a written defense of the province's placement of its disputed western and northern boundaries. The report was published in early 1873 and made Mills a key player in the boundary dispute. Mills was asked in January 1876 to chair the select committee established to investigate the economic depression and was appointed minister of the interior in October.

The defeat of the Mackenzie government in the election of 1878 put an end to Mills' ministerial duties and administrative ambitions. He retained Bothwell, however, making him one of the senior Ontario Liberals in the caucus. He was one of the leaders of the movement in 1880 to oust Mackenzie from the leadership position. Mills became one of Edward Blake's chief lieutenants when he became leader and coordinated the Liberal filibuster in 1885. He considered his speech of 1 April 1885 to be one of the finest speeches of his parliamentary career.

As editor-in-chief of the London Advertiser from 1882 to 1887, Mills built a case against the Macdonald government's administration of national affairs in a series of unsigned, but distinctive, editorials. He seems to have been particularly active as a journalist in 1883, when he was defeated in the election of 20 June 1882 and was forced to sit out a session of parliament while his case was considered by the courts. He won in February 1884 and returned to the commons. In 1886 he followed Blake in condemning the execution of Louis Riel and in 1889 he delivered a strong speech opposing disallowance, arguing that parliament had no business interfering with legislation that was clearly within provincial jurisdiction. In the 1890 debate over the use of French in legislature, Mills delivered an eloquent speech in defense of linguistic rights.

Mills lost Bothwell in the general election of 23 June 1896. Although summoned to the Senate in November 1896, he was not invited to join the cabinet. He consequently devoted more time to his law practice in London, continued his work at the University of Toronto, where he had been appointed in 1888 to teach constitutional and international law, and wrote and lectured on a wide variety of religious and political subjects. Laurier asked Mills to fill the vacancy left by Sir Oliver Mowat in 1897 and on 18 November he was sworn in as minister of justice and became government leader in the Senate.

In 1902 Mills arranged his own appointment as a puisne judge of the Supreme Court of Canada, a move that was widely criticized. On 8 May 1903, Mills died suddenly of an internal haemorrhage, leaving behind his wife and six of his children.