Douglas Abbott

Douglas Charles Abbott, PC (May 29, 1899 March 15, 1987) was a Canadian Member of Parliament, federal Cabinet Minister, and justice of the Supreme Court of Canada. Abbott's appointment directly from the Cabinet of Canada as Finance Minister to the Supreme Court is considered one of the most controversial in the Supreme Court's history.[2]

Douglas Abbott

Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Saint-Antoine—Westmount
In office
Preceded byRobert Smeaton White
Succeeded byGeorge Carlyle Marler
Puisne Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada
In office
July 1, 1954  December 23, 1973
Nominated byLouis St. Laurent
Preceded byPatrick Kerwin
Succeeded byLouis-Philippe de Grandpré
Personal details
Douglas Charles Abbott

(1899-05-29)May 29, 1899
Lennoxville, Quebec
DiedMarch 15, 1987(1987-03-15) (aged 87)
Political partyLiberal
ChildrenAnthony Abbott
Alma materBishop's University, McGill Law School, Université de Dijon
CabinetMinister of National Defence for Naval Services (1945-1946)
Minister of National Defence (1945-1946)
Minister of Finance and Receiver General(1946-1954)
Military service
Branch/serviceNon-Permanent Active Militia
Years of service1916-1918
RankGunner (NPAM)[1]
Unit7th (McGill) Siege Battery, Canadian Garrison Artillery, Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery

Early life

Abbott was born in Lennoxville, Quebec (now Sherbrooke, Quebec). He attended Bishop's University, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts. He then attended McGill Law School, but interrupted his studies to sign up for service overseas, in 1916. Returning from the Great War, he completed his legal studies, earning his Bachelor of Civil Law. He then went to France to attend the Université de Dijon.[3] Returning to Canada, he was called to the Barreau du Québec in 1921 and practised law in Montreal with the firm of Fleet, Phelan, Fleet & Le Mesurier.

Political career

Abbott successfully stood for election to the House of Commons in 1940, and remained a member of the House for fourteen years. A member of the Liberal Party of Canada, Abbott served as both Minister of National Defence (1945-46) and Minister of Finance (1946-54).

Supreme Court justice

He was appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada on July 1, 1954[2] and served as Puisne Justice until December 23, 1973.

Abbott was appointed to the court directly from the Liberal Party of Canada's Cabinet, where he had served the previous 7 years as Finance Minister.[2] The appointment is considered one of the most controversial in the history of the Supreme Court.[2] It was the first appointment directly from cabinet since the 1911 appointment of Louis-Philippe Brodeur.[2] As of 2019, Abbott was the last Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada appointed directly to the Court from the Cabinet of Canada, and the last Justice to have held elected office prior to his appointment.

Parliamentary seats

House of Commons

  • 16 May 1940 – 16 April 1945: St. Antoine—Westmount, Quebec
  • 6 September 1945 – 30 April 1949: St. Antoine—Westmount, Quebec
  • 15 September 1949 – 13 June 1953: St. Antoine—Westmount, Quebec
  • 12 November 1953 – 30 June 1954: Saint-Antoine—Westmount, Quebec

Parliamentary functions


Parliamentary Secretary

  • 1 April 1943 – 7 March 1945: Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Finance[3]
  • 8 March 1945 – 16 April 1945: Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of National Defence[3]


  1. Archives, McGill University (November 11, 2012). "McGill University Archives - McGill Remembers".
  2. McCormick, Peter (2000-01-01). Supreme at Last: The Evolution of the Supreme Court of Canada. James Lorimer & Company. ISBN 9781550286922.
  3. The International Who's Who 1972-73. London: Europa Publications. 1972. p. 2. ISBN 0900362480.
Parliament of Canada
Preceded by
Robert Smeaton White
Member of Parliament for Saint-Antoine—Westmount
Succeeded by
George Carlyle Marler

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