Guide to Canadian Ministries since Confederation

The Ministries


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Third Ministry

Liberal-Conservative 1
17 Oct. 1878 - 6 June 1891

Prime Minister
Right Honourable Sir John Alexander Macdonald 2

The Ministry
Position Title
NameService Date /
Termination Date
Minister of Agriculture
Hon. John Henry Pope 3 17 Oct. 1878 - 24 Sept. 1885
Hon. John Carling 25 Sept. 1885 - 6 June 1891

Minister of Customs
Vacant 17 Oct. 1878 - 18 Oct. 1878
Hon. Mackenzie Bowell 19 Oct. 1878 - 6 June 1891

Minister of Finance4
Hon. Sir Samuel Leonard Tilley 5 17 Oct. 1878 - 19 May 1879

Minister of Finance and Receiver General4
Hon. Sir Samuel Leonard Tilley 20 May 1879 - 10 Nov. 1885
Vacant 11 Nov. 1885 - 9 Dec. 1885
Hon. Archibald Woodbury McLelan 6 10 Dec. 1885 - 26 Jan. 1887
Hon. Sir Charles Tupper 27 Jan. 1887 - 22 May 1888
Vacant 23 May 1888 - 28 May 1888
Hon. George Eulas Foster 29 May 1888 - 6 June 1891

Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs7
Rt Hon. Sir John Alexander Macdonald 17 Oct. 1878 - 2 Oct. 1887
Hon. Thomas White 3 Oct. 1887 - 21 April 1888
Vacant 22 April 1888 - 7 May 1888
Rt Hon. Sir John Alexander Macdonald Acting Minister 8 May 1888 - 24 Sept. 1888
Hon. Edgar Dewdney 25 Sept. 1888 - 6 June 1891

Minister of Inland Revenue
Vacant 17 Oct. 1878 - 25 Oct. 1878
Hon. Louis François Georges Baby 26 Oct. 1878 - 28 Oct. 1880
Vacant 29 Oct. 1880 - 7 Nov. 1880
Hon. James Cox Aikins Senator 8 Nov. 1880 - 22 May 1882
Hon. John Costigan 23 May 1882 - 6 June 1891

Minister of the Interior7
Rt Hon. Sir John Alexander Macdonald 17 Oct. 1878 - 16 Oct. 1883
Hon. Sir David Lewis Macpherson Senator 17 Oct. 1883 - 4 Aug. 1885
Hon. Thomas White 5 Aug. 1885 - 21 April 1888
Vacant 22 April 1888 - 7 May 1888
Rt Hon. Sir John Alexander Macdonald Acting Minister 8 May 1888 - 24 Sept. 1888
Hon. Edgar Dewdney 25 Sept. 1888 - 6 June 1891

Minister of Justice and Attorney General
Hon. James McDonald 17 Oct. 1878 - 19 May 1881
Hon. Sir Alexander Campbell Senator 8 20 May 1881 - 24 Sept. 1885
Vacant 25 Sept. 1885 - 25 Sept. 1885
Hon. Sir John Sparrow David Thompson 26 Sept. 1885 - 6 June 1891

Minister of Marine and Fisheries
Vacant 17 Oct. 1878 - 18 Oct. 1878
Hon. James Colledge Pope 19 Oct. 1878 - 9 July 1882
Hon. Archibald Woodbury McLelan 6 10 July 1882 - 9 Dec. 1885
Hon. George Eulas Foster 9 10 Dec. 1885 - 28 May 1888
Vacant 29 May 1888 - 31 May 1888
Hon. Charles Tupper 1 June 1888 - 6 June 1891

Minister of Militia and Defence
Vacant 17 Oct. 1878 - 18 Oct. 1878
Hon. Louis François Rodrigue Masson 10 19 Oct. 1878 - 15 Jan. 1880
Hon. Sir Alexander Campbell Senator 8 16 Jan. 1880 - 7 Nov. 1880
Hon. Sir Joseph Philippe René Adolphe Caron 8 Nov. 1880 - 6 June 1891

Minister without Portfolio
Hon. Robert Duncan Wilmot Senator 8 Nov. 1878 - 10 Feb. 1880
Hon. David Lewis Macpherson Senator 11 11 Feb. 1880 - 16 Oct. 1883
Hon. Frank Smith Senator 2 Aug. 1882 - 6 June 1891
Hon. John Joseph Caldwell Abbott Senator 13 May 1887 - 6 June 1891

Postmaster General
Vacant 17 Oct. 1878 - 18 Oct. 1878
Hon. Hector Louis Langevin 12 19 Oct. 1878 - 19 May 1879
Hon. Sir Alexander Campbell Senator 8 20 May 1879 - 15 Jan. 1880
Hon. John O'Connor 13 16 Jan. 1880 - 7 Nov. 1880
Hon. Sir Alexander Campbell Senator 8 Nov. 1880 - 19 May 1881
Hon. John O'Connor 20 May 1881 - 22 May 1882
Hon. John Carling 14 23 May 1882 - 24 Sept. 1885
Hon. Sir Alexander Campbell Senator 25 Sept. 1885 - 26 Jan. 1887
Hon. Archibald Woodbury McLelan 6 27 Jan. 1887 - 9 July 1888
Vacant 10 July 1888 - 10 July 1888
Hon. John Carling Acting Minister 11 July 1888 - 5 Aug. 1888
Hon. John Graham Haggart 6 Aug. 1888 - 6 June 1891

President of the Privy Council7
Hon. John O'Connor 13 17 Oct. 1878 - 15 Jan. 1880
Hon. Louis François Rodrigue Masson 16 Jan. 1880 - 31 July 1880
Vacant 1 Aug. 1880 - 7 Nov. 1880
Hon. Joseph-Alfred Mousseau 15 8 Nov. 1880 - 19 May 1881
Hon. Archibald Woodbury McLelan 6 20 May 1881 - 9 July 1882
Vacant 10 July 1882 - 16 Oct. 1883
Rt Hon. Sir John Alexander Macdonald 17 Oct. 1883 - 27 Nov. 1889
Hon. Charles Carrol Colby 28 Nov. 1889 - 30 April 1891
Vacant 1 May 1891 - 6 June 1891

Minister of Public Works
Hon. Sir Charles Tupper 16 17 Oct. 1878 - 19 May 1879
Hon. Sir Hector Louis Langevin 20 May 1879 - 6 June 1891

Minister of Railways and Canals17
Hon. Sir Charles Tupper 18 20 May 1879 - 28 May 1884
Hon. John Henry Pope Acting Minister 29 May 1884 - 24 Sept. 1885
Hon. John Henry Pope 25 Sept. 1885 - 1 April 1889
Vacant 2 April 1889 - 9 April 1889
Rt Hon. Sir John Alexander Macdonald Acting Minister 10 April 1889 - 27 Nov. 1889
Rt Hon. Sir John Alexander Macdonald 28 Nov. 1889 - 6 June 1891

Receiver General4
Vacant 17 Oct. 1878 - 7 Nov. 1878
Hon. Alexander Campbell Senator 8 8 Nov. 1878 - 19 May 1879

Secretary of State of Canada19
Vacant 17 Oct. 1878 - 18 Oct. 1878
Hon. James Cox Aikins Senator 20 19 Oct. 1878 - 7 Nov. 1880
Hon. John O'Connor 13 8 Nov. 1880 - 19 May 1881
Hon. Joseph-Alfred Mousseau 20 May 1881 - 28 July 1882
Hon. Joseph Adolphe Chapleau 29 July 1882 - 6 June 1891

Footnotes

  • [1] The Mackenzie Government was defeated in the general election of September 17, 1878. On October 8, Mackenzie resigned and the next day Macdonald was invited to form a Government. Eight days later, on October 17, six members of the Third Ministry assumed office. Five more portfolios were filled on October 19, one on October 26 and two on November 8.
  • [2] During the Third Ministry Macdonald held successively the portfolios of the Interior, Privy Council, and Railways and Canals.
  • [3] Pope was appointed Minister of Railways and Canals on September 25, 1885.
  • [4] Under the provisions of Statute 42 Vict., c. 7, assented to on May 15, 1879 and proclaimed in force on May 20, 1879, the Minister of Finance was to be ex officio the Receiver General of Canada.
  • [5] Tilley was appointed Minister of Finance and Receiver General on May 20, 1879.
  • [6] McLelan was appointed President of the Privy Council on May 20, 1881; Minister of Marine and Fisheries on July 10, 1882; Minister of Finance and Receiver General on December 10, 1885; and Postmaster General on January 27, 1887.
  • [7] Until 1883 the Minister of the Interior was ex officio the Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs. In that year Statute 46 Vict., c. 6, assented to on May 25, 1883, provided for the Minister of the Interior, or the head of any other department appointed for that purpose by the Governor in Council, to hold the office ex officio. By Order in Council dated October 17, 1883 the President of the Privy Council was designated to be Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs. On October 3, 1887 the office was transferred back to the Minister of the Interior, who then, except for a brief period in 1930, continued to hold the office ex officio until its abolition in 1936. The Department of Indian Affairs was created by Statute 43 Vict., c. 28, assented to on May 7, 1880.
  • [8] Campbell was appointed Receiver General on November 8, 1878; Postmaster General on May 20, 1879; Minister of Militia and Defence on January 16, 1880; Postmaster General on November 8, 1880; Minister of Justice and Attorney General on May 20, 1881; and Postmaster General on September 25, 1885.
  • [9] Foster was appointed Minister of Finance and Receiver General on May 29, 1885.
  • [10] Masson was appointed President cf the Privy Council on January 16, 1880.
  • [11] Macpherson was appointed Minister of the Interior on October 17, 1883.
  • [12] Langevin was appointed Minister of Public Works on May 20, 1879.
  • [13] O'Connor was appointed President of the Privy Council on October 17, 1878; Postmaster General on January 16, 1880; Secretary of State of Canada on November 8, 1880; and Postmaster General on May 20, 1881.
  • [14] Carling was appointed Minister of Agriculture on September 25, 1885.
  • [15] Mousseau was appointed Secretary of State of Canada on May 20, 1881.
  • [16] Tupper was appointed Minister of Railways and Canals on May 20, 1879.
  • [17] The Office of Minister of Railways and Canals was created by Statute 42 Vict., c. 7, assented to on May 15, 1879, and proclaimed in force on May 20, 1879.
  • [18] On May 30, 1883 Sir Charles Tupper was appointed High Commissioner for Canada in the United Kingdom, but an arrangement was made whereby he would serve in this capacity without salary. He continued to hold the portfolio of Minister of Railways and Canals until May 28, 1884 when a new commission was issued to him granting a salary as High Commissioner. This effected his resignation from the ministry. On January 27, 1887 Tupper resigned as High Commissioner and re-entered the ministry as Minister of Finance.
  • [19] The Secretary of State of Canada was ex officio the Registrar General of Canada.
  • [20] Aikins was appointed Minister of Inland Revenue on November 8, 1880.