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James Lorimer Ilsley

James Lorimer Ilsley, PC KC (January 3, 1894 – January 14, 1967) was a Canadian politician and jurist.


James Lorimer Ilsley
James Lorimer Ilsley1.jpg
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Hants—Kings
In office
1926–1935
Preceded byArthur de Witt Foster
Succeeded byThe electoral district was abolished in 1933.
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Digby—Annapolis—Kings
In office
1935–1948
Preceded byThe electoral district was created in 1933.
Succeeded byGeorge Nowlan
Chief Justice of Nova Scotia
In office
1950–1967
Preceded byJoseph Andrew Chisholm
Succeeded byLauchlin Daniel Currie
Personal details
Born(1894-01-03)January 3, 1894
Somerset, Nova Scotia
DiedJanuary 14, 1967(1967-01-14) (aged 73)
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Political partyLiberal
CabinetMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada (1946-1948)
Minister of Finance and Receiver General (1940-1946)
Postmaster General (Acting) (1940)
Minister of National Revenue (1935-1940)

He was born in Somerset, Nova Scotia, the son of Randel Ilsley and Catherine Caldwell. Ilsley was educated at Acadia University and Dalhousie University and was admitted to the Nova Scotia bar in 1916. In 1919, he married Evelyn Smith. Ilsley practiced law in Yarmouth and Halifax, Nova Scotia until he was elected to the House of Commons of Canada as a Liberal in the 1926 election. He survived the 1930 election that sent the Liberals into Opposition.

When the party returned to power in the 1935 election, Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King brought Ilsley into Cabinet as Minister of National Revenue. In 1940, he was promoted to Minister of Finance. He held that position for the duration of World War II during a period of massive expansion in expenditure due to the war effort. He was recognized for his service in 1946 when he was appointed to the Imperial Privy Council, and given the honorific of "Right Honourable".

The same year, he became Minister of Justice. He served in that position until he retired from politics in 1948. The next year, he was appointed to the Nova Scotia Supreme Court, and became Chief Justice of Nova Scotia in 1950. He served in that capacity until his death in 1967 in Halifax at the age of 73.

J. L. Ilsley High School, opened in 1971 and located in Spryfield, Nova Scotia, bears his name.

External linksEdit

  • James Lorimer Ilsley – Parliament of Canada biography
  • Marble, AE Nova Scotians at home and abroad: biographical sketches .... (1977) p. 215 ISBN 0-88999-074-3