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 The Hon. William Earl Rowe, PC


William Earl Rowe, PC (May 13, 1894 February 9, 1984), was a politician in Ontario, Canada. He served as the 20th Lieutenant Governor of Ontario from 1963 to 1968. He also had three children, one of which died during labour.

Rowe was born in Hull, Iowa of Canadian parents in 1894. He later moved to Ontario, and was a farmer and cattle breeder. He was reeve of the township of West Gwillimbury from 1919 to 1923. Rowe served as a Member of Provincial Parliament from 1923 to 1925, and was then elected to the House of Commons, where he served until 1935.

From 1936 to 1938, he was leader of Conservative Party of Ontario though, as he did not have a seat in the legislature George S. Henry remained Leader of the Opposition.

In the public mind, the cause of labour was identified with the American Congress of Industrial Organizations and communism. During the 1937 provincial election when Liberal premier Mitchell Hepburn was railing against the C.I.O. and the supposed threat posed by organized labour, Rowe refused to take a stand against the C.I.O. and repeatedly asserted that: "the issue was not law and order but the right of free association." At the time the Conservatives were strongly associated with the Orange Order which had long held a pro-labour position.

Rowe failed to win his seat in the 1937 provincial election and successfully ran in a by-election held in November 1937 to regain the seat in the federal House of Commons he had resigned from two months earlier to run in the provincial election.

Rowe served in the House of Commons until 1962. On two occasions (1954-1955 and 1956) when PC party leader George Drew was unable to perform his duties due to ill health, Rowe served as acting leader of the official opposition.

From 1958 to 1962, he and his daughter, Jean Casselman Wadds, were the only father and daughter to ever sit together in Parliament.

Rowe was lieutenant governor of Ontario from 1963 to 1968. A champion and supporter of agriculture and rural affairs, he died in 1984 at Newton Robinson, Ontario.


Source - Federal Political Biography from the Library of Parliament