Memorable Manitobans: Charles Braithwaite (1850-1910)
Born in Foston, England, he came to Canada in the early 1870s and arrived in Portage la Prairie in 1881, where he eventually settled. He was an early member of the Patrons of Husbandry and was elected grand president in 1891. He was a superb orator who toured Manitoba with the slogan “Manitoba for Manitobans.” The most important “Populist” leader in the province, he advocated organization against “the financial, commercial and manufacturing classes, who by a system of combines and monopolies are exacting from us an undue proportion of the fruits of our toil.” He offered to resign from the Patrons in 1894 because they were not strongly supporting cooperatives, but was prevailed upon to remain. He began to advocate political organization and the fielding of farmer candidates.
In 1894 he again toured the province, criticizing rail rates and high tariffs. By the end of the year 5,000 members belonged to 330 lodges. The organization was probably broken by the Manitoba school question, which divided its Catholic and Protestant members. Braithwaite campaigned for Parliament in Macdonald riding in 1896 on a platform of non-sectarian schools, electoral and civil service reform, free trade, public ownership of utilities, universal suffrage, and prohibition. In 1896, Braithwaite and other Patron candidates helped the Conservatives win four of seven seats despite the national Liberal sweep.
He became a provincial weed inspector in, and then moved his family to Chilliwack, British Columbia in 1904. He died there on 9 June 1910.
Death registration, British Columbia Vital Statistics.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 12 April 2012
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