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Who was Wishart?

Arthur A. WishartThe Hon. Arthur Allison Wishart, LLB, QC, CM (1903-1986) was a politician and cabinet minister in Ontario, Canada.

Born in New Brunswick, Wishart got his law degree from Osgoode Hall Law School in 1930, and then practised in Windsor and Blind River. He served as mayor of Blind River before moving to Sault Ste. Marie in 1939 upon joining a law firm in the city. In the 1963 provincial election, he was elected the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) for Sault Ste. Marie.

He entered the cabinet within a year as Attorney General of Ontario under then Premier John Robarts. He served in that senior cabinet portfolio for seven years, and is credited with shepherding many important pieces of legislation, including the Legal Aid Act of 1966 and the Law Enforcement Compensation Act of 1967.  In early 1971, Wishart became Minister of Financial and Consumer Affairs under Robarts's successor, Bill Davis, and served until retiring from politics at the 1971 provincial election.Arthur A. Wishart

After leaving politics, he served the province as chairman of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board and later of the Commission on Election Contributions and Expenses. He returned to Queen's Park in 1973 as a liaison between Premier Davis and the Progressive Conservative caucus.

Wishart was very active on the issue of franchises while he was Minister of Finance and Minister of Consumer and Commercial Affairs. He initiated the Grange Commission, an inquiry held into the financial abuse of franchisees by franchisors. The Arthur Wishart (Franchise Disclosure) Act, passed in 2000 was named in his honour.

Wishart was a supporter of Sault Ste. Marie's local university, Algoma University, and in 1989 a new wing was built at Algoma to house the Arthur A. Wishart Library.

Arthur Wishart has been a long-time advocate for Algoma University College and has served for many years as a trustee on its governing board. The naming of the Wishart Library today pays fitting tribute to a distinguished citizen of my community and this province.


–Dr. Karl Morin-Strom, MPP Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario Hansard, October 23, 1986.

In 1976, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada.

 Arthur A. Wishart

 All photographs courtesy of S. Cameron.



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