(1853–1921). First a teacher then a journalist-editor in Lindsay, Ontario, Hughes was the quintessential militiaman and politician who believed implicitly in Sir John A. Macdonald's Conservative Party and the moral duty of the volunteer citizen-soldier to be the first line of Canada's defence. He was intelligent, very ambitious, pushy, opinionated, and proof that Canadian history is not dull. He had all of the national pride and optimism of the Confederation generation. Elected to Parliament in 1892, Hughes was a talented campaigner and a powerful federal Tory party organizer and loyalist during their lean opposition years. With victory in 1911, Hughes was rewarded with the Borden government's militia portfolio. With great flare and greater controversy, Hughes set about shaping the militia into his citizen-soldier image with more armouries and equipment, but little for professional force development. When war came in 1914, Hughes was rightly applauded as the person who rallied the nation to war, established the munitions industry, and, some say, kept the Canadians together as an national force. But by late 1916 his increasingly chaotic administration, bristling nationalism, Ross rifle and shell scandals, and increasing tendency to flout responsible government, finally forced the prime minister to fire him.
From The Oxford Companion to Canadian History in Oxford Reference.
Subjects: History of the Americas.