Erskine Henry Bronson
Erskine Henry Bronson, manufacturer, politician (b at Bolton, NY 12 Sept 1844; d at Ottawa 19 Oct 1920). His father, Henry Franklin BRONSON, moved the family to Bytown [Ottawa] in 1853 during an influx of Americans attracted by cheap waterpower at the Chaudière Falls. In 1867 he entered the Bronsons and Weston Lumber Co, assuming control in 1889 on his father's death. His concern for forestry conservation drew him into provincial politics in 1886, and 3 years later he joined Oliver MOWAT's Reform Cabinet as minister without portfolio, a position he held in the A.S. HARDY Cabinet until 1898.
During the 1890s Bronson diversified his business concerns into a corporate empire based on hydroelectric and traction utilities. He believed that only large corporations with immense capital working in co-operation with government could develop Canada's industry. This philosophy, and his interests in the Ottawa Electric Co (director) and Ottawa Power Co (president), involved him in a 1905 public utilities plebiscite in Ottawa, which he lost. His prestige and influence declined swiftly and he retired in 1910 a frustrated and disillusioned man.