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William McDougal

born: Toronto, Upper Canada, 25 Jan 1822
died: Ottawa, Canada West, 29 May 1905
representing: Province of Canada
position: Pro-Confederation

William McDougal

William McDougall received his early education in his hometown of Toronto and later in Cobourg. At 15, McDougall was an early witness to the Reform movement as a bystander at the burning of Montgomery's Tavern by Loyalists during the Rebellion of 1837.

Ten years later he started a career in law but soon moved to publishing for the newspaper North American. McDougall's involvement in politics began with his work in founding the Upper Canadian Clear Grit Reform movement. He sat in the Assembly of the Province of Canada from 1858-67 and served as the commissioner of crown lands, 1862-64.

With his dramatic shift from the political left to the Conservative party in 1867, McDougall received the nickname "Wandering Willie" which would stick with him for the rest of his political career. McDougall attended all three conferences on Confederation supporting unification of the British North American colonies. He caused a stir at the conferences with his calls for an elected, rather than appointed, senate in the new Canadian government.

After Confederation he orchestrated the purchase of the huge Hudson's Bay Company possession of Rupert's Land for annexation into Canada. He was appointed lieutenant governor of Rupert's Land in 1869 but came into conflict with Louis Riel and his rebels in the Red River Rebellion and had to return in disgrace to Ottawa.

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