Edward Gawler Prior

Edward Gawler Prior, PC (May 21, 1853 December 12, 1920) was a mining engineer and politician in British Columbia.

Edward Gawler Prior
15th Premier of British Columbia
In office
November 21, 1902  June 1, 1903
MonarchEdward VII
Lieutenant GovernorHenri-Gustave Joly de Lotbinière
Preceded byJames Dunsmuir
Succeeded byRichard McBride
11th Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia
In office
December 9, 1919  December 12, 1920
MonarchGeorge V
Governor GeneralThe Duke of Devonshire
PremierJohn Oliver
Preceded byFrancis Stillman Barnard
Succeeded byWalter Cameron Nichol
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Victoria
In office
January 23, 1888  December 2, 1901
Preceded byNoah Shakespeare
Succeeded byGeorge Riley
MLA for Victoria City
In office
July 7, 1886  January 23, 1888
Preceded byMontague Tyrwhitt-Drake
Succeeded bySimeon Duck
In office
March 10, 1902  June 16, 1903
Preceded byJohn Herbert Turner
Succeeded byJames Dugald McNiven
Personal details
Born(1853-05-21)May 21, 1853
Dallowgill, Yorkshire, England
DiedDecember 12, 1920(1920-12-12) (aged 67)
Victoria, British Columbia
Political partyConservative
Suzette Work (m. 1878)
Children1 son and 3 daughters
OccupationLand surveyor, merchant, mining engineer

Early life

Prior was born in Dallowgill, Yorkshire, England and worked as a mining engineer in England until 1873. He then moved to British Columbia, where he settled in Nanaimo and took employment as assistant manager of the Vancouver Coal Mining & Land Co., Ltd. In 1878 he resigned and was appointed Inspector of Mines for the British Columbia government. He left that position and went into business as an iron and hardware merchant in 1880.

Political career

Prior was first elected to the provincial legislature in 1886. In 1888, Prior won a seat in the House of Commons of Canada as a Conservative. From December 1895 to July 1896 and 1897 Prior served as Controller of Inland Revenue in the cabinets of Prime Minister Sir Mackenzie Bowell and his successor Sir Charles Tupper.

He lost his seat in 1901 due to violations of election rules. He moved to provincial politics and was elected to the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia in 1901 becoming minister of mines. In 1902 he became the 15th premier leading the province's last non-partisan administration but was dismissed by the lieutenant governor in 1903 due to charges of conflict of interest that involved giving an important construction contract to his own hardware business, and lost his seat in the 1904 provincial election. He was also defeated that year in an attempt to return to the federal House of Commons.

Prior was appointed the 11th Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia in 1919 but became ill and died in office within a year of his appointment. Edward Gawler Prior is interred in the Ross Bay Cemetery in Victoria, British Columbia.

Prior was the last Canadian premier to be dismissed by a lieutenant-governor, (though William Aberhart, Premier of Alberta, was nearly so in 1937).


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