Sir Albert James Smith

Sir Albert James Smith, lawyer, politician, premier of NB (b at Shediac, NB 12 Mar 1822; d at Dorchester, NB 30 June 1883). Smith was the anti-Confederation leader of NB who almost wrecked the movement in 1865.

Smith, Sir Albert James

Sir Albert James Smith, lawyer, politician, premier of NB (b at Shediac, NB 12 Mar 1822; d at Dorchester, NB 30 June 1883). Smith was the anti-Confederation leader of NB who almost wrecked the movement in 1865. Entering politics as a radical in 1852 and a member of the reform government that took office 1854, he was appointed attorney general in 1861 when S.L. TILLEY became premier. The 2 divided over government railway policies in 1862 and battled over CONFEDERATION, which Smith regarded as a devious scheme from the "oily brains of Canadian politicians." The "antis" trounced the Confederation forces in the 1865 election. Smith failed to suppress the unionists as premier 1865-66 and was eventually driven from office by an arbitrary lieutenant-governor. After Confederation, Smith went to Ottawa, becoming minister of fisheries under PM Alexander MACKENZIE. In 1877 he was the "ruling spirit throughout" the Halifax Fisheries Commission which awarded Canada $5.5 million, the first diplomatic victory over the US. For his efforts Smith became the first native-born New Brunswicker to be knighted, an ironic twist not lost on those who supported Confederation.