Prime Minister Sir Robert Borden

Borden Increased Canada's Independence From Britain

Sir Robert Borden, Prime Miister of Canada
Prime Minister Sir Robert Borden in 1915. Archive Photos / Getty Images

Prime Minister Robert Borden led Canada through World War I, eventually committing 500,000 troops to the war effort. Robert Borden formed a Union Government of Liberals and Conservatives to implement conscription, but the conscription issue split the country bitterly - with the English supporting sending troops to help Britain and the French adamantly opposed.

Robert Borden also led in achieving Dominion status for Canada and was instrumental in the transition from the British Empire to the British Commonwealth of Nations. At the end of World War I, Canada ratified the Treaty of Versailles and joined the League of Nations as an independent nation.

Prime Minister of Canada


Highlights as Prime Minister

Emergency War Measures Act of 1914

Wartime Business Profits Tax of 1917 and the "temporary" Income Tax, the first direct taxation by the Canadian federal government

Veterans benefits

Nationalization of bankrupt railways

Introduction of a professional public service


June 26, 1854, in Grand Pré, Nova Scotia


June 10, 1937, in Ottawa, Ontario

Professional Career

  • Teacher 1868-74
  • Lawyer in Halifax, Nova Scotia
  • Chancellor, Queen's University 1924-30
  • President, Crown Life Insurance 1928
  • President, Barclay's Bank Canada 1929
  • President, Canadian Historical Association 1930

Political Affiliation

Ridings (Electoral Districts)

  • Halifax 1896-1904, 1908-17
  • Carleton 1905-08
  • King's County 1917-20

Political Career

  • Robert Borden was first elected to the House of Commons in 1896.
  • He was elected Leader of the Conservative Party in 1901 and was Leader of the Opposition from 1901 to 1911.
  • Robert Borden led the Conservatives to victory in the 1911 general election on a platform against reciprocity or free trade with the United States, defeating Sir Wilfrid Laurier and the Liberals.
  • Robert Borden was sworn in as Prime Minister of Canada in 1911.
  • He also served as President of the Privy Council from 1911 to 1917, and as Secretary of State for External Affairs from 1912 to 1920.
  • In order to implement conscription, Robert Borden formed a coalition Union government with many Liberals. The Union government won the 1917 election but had only three Quebec members.
  • Robert Borden retired as Prime Minister of Canada in 1920. Arthur Meighen became the next Prime Minister of Canada.