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The Honourable Sir Frederick W.A.G. Haultain, KC,

The Honourable Sir Frederick W. A. G. Haultain was the first and only Premier of the North-West Territories.* He is generally recognized as the leading figure in the development of responsible government in the Territories.

Frederick William Aplin Gordon Haultain was born on November 25, 1857, in the Borough of Woolwich, which is now part of Greater London, England. He was the son of Lieutenant-Colonel Frederick W. Haultain, Royal Artillery, and Lucinde Helen Gordon. Frederick W. A. G. Haultain was a member of the Church of England (Anglican).

When he was just under three years of age, his family immigrated to Canada and settled at Peterborough, Canada West (Ontario). Frederick Haultain received his primary and secondary education at Peterborough and Montreal, Quebec. In 1879, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree (First Class Honours in the Classics) from the University of Toronto and then went on to study law at Osgoode Hall in Toronto. After articling with the Toronto firm of Bethune, Moss, and Falconbridge, he was called to the Ontario Bar in 1882 and the Bar of the North-West Territories in 1884.

In 1884, Haultain moved to Fort Macleod where he began practising law. He also served as Crown Prosecutor at that location for several years and did some editorial work for the Fort Macleod newspaper. He represented the electoral district of Macleod in the North-West Council during the years 1887-88 and in the Legislative Assembly of the North-West Territories, which replaced it, from 1888 to 1905. He was Chair of the Advisory Council of the North-West Council in 1888-1889 and Chair of the Executive Committee from 1891 to 1897. Following the amendment of the North-West Territories Act, he was appointed President of the Executive Council, or Premier, by the Honourable Charles H. Mackintosh on October 7, 1897. As well as serving as Premier, Frederick Haultain was also Attorney General, Treasurer, Commissioner of Public Instruction and Commissioner of Education.

Frederick Haultain thought that the area that now constitutes Alberta and Saskatchewan should be one province named “Buffalo” and that this province should be governed by a non-partisan administration. Because of his outstanding service to the North-West Territories, many people felt that Haultain should be the first Premier of one of the new provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan. However, because of his Conservative political leanings, this idea was not acceptable to the governing federal Liberal Party of the day. Following the formation of the Provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan on September 1, 1905, Haultain represented South Qu'Appelle in the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan as a member of the Provincial Rights caucus and served as the Leader of the Official Opposition in the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan.

In 1906, Haultain married Marian St. Clair Castellain, the daughter of the Honourable Charles H. Mackintosh who served as Lieutenant Governor of the North-West Territories from 1893 to 1898. Marian Haultain had one daughter by her first marriage with Louis Castellain. Following the death of his first wife in 1938, Frederick W. A. G. Haultain married Louisa Ward Gilmour of Montreal, widow of William Bracewell Gilmour, in September of the same year.

In 1912, Frederick W. A. G. Haultain left politics when he was appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Saskatchewan. In 1918, he was named Chancellor of the University of Saskatchewan, and in 1918, he was appointed Chief Justice of the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal. In 1939, Haultain retired from public life following more than 50 years of service.

Frederick Haultain was Vice-President of the Canadian Bar Association (1896); and Vice-President of the Liberal-Conservative Association (ca. 1898). He represented the North-West Territories at the coronation of King Edward VII (1902) and he was named honourary president of the Territorial Conservative Association (1903). As well, he was appointed King's Counsel (1902), was knighted (Knight Bachelor, 1916), was awarded Honourary Doctors of Laws degrees by the University of Toronto (1915) and the University of Alberta (1925), received an Honourary Doctor of Civil Laws degree from the University of Saskatchewan (1939), and was made an Honourary Chief (“White Star”) by the Saskatchewan Cree Indians. He was an avid sportsman and was a member of the Assiniboia Club in Regina, Saskatchewan.

Frederick W. A. G. Haultain died on January 30, 1942, at Montreal, Quebec. His ashes were buried near the Memorial Gates at the University of Saskatchewan, in Saskatoon. A provincial government building in Edmonton, an elementary school in Calgary, and a mountain in Jasper National Park are named in his memory.


* During the Territorial period, a number of persons served in the capacity of de facto Premier. However, none of these appointments was official because there was no provision in the related legislation for the appointment of an Executive Council and, consequently, a President of Executive Council or Premier. However, Frederick W. A. G. Haultain's appointment as Premier of the North-West Territories was official because the 1897 amendment to the North-West Territories Act did provide for an Executive Council.

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