John G. Bourinot

John G. Bourinot books and biography

John George Bourinot (younger)

John George Bourinot photographed in 1888 by William James Topley.
John George Bourinot photographed in 1888 by William James Topley.

Not to be confused with his father, Senator John George Bourinot (1814–1884)

Sir John George Bourinot, KCMG (October 24, 1836 – October 13, 1902) was a Canadian journalist, historian, and civil servant, widely regarded and remembered as an expert of parliamentary procedure and constitutional law.

Born in Sydney, Nova Scotia as the oldest son of John Bourinot, he was educated at Sydney before enrolling at Trinity College, Toronto, in 1854. Although he was a good student, he left the university two years later and worked as a parliamentary reporter for a Toronto newspaper. In 1860, he was in Halifax, where he founded, together with Joseph C. Crosskill, his own newspaper, the Evening Reporter. In May 1867, Bourinot left this newspaper and worked as a freelance writer for some time, until he secured a job as a clerk at the Canadian Senate in May 1869. In the following years, he steadily advanced through various grades until he was appointed chief clerk of the Canadian House of Commons in December 1880, a post he would occupy until his death 22 years later.

A founding member of the Royal Society of Canada, he also acted as its honorary secretary, and in 1892 seved as president of the society. He wrote many books political history, some of which were considered references for decades to come. His Parliamentary Procedure and Practice in Canada (Montréal, 1884) was considered a standard work. How Canada is governed (Toronto, 1895) was a widely used textbook, and Canada under British rule, 1760 – 1900 (Cambridge, England, 1900) was also popular. He also wrote books about the history of Nova Scotia, and several more on constitutional law.

Bourinot was an advocate of imperial federation and a proponent of both a national university and library of Canada. He also was in favour of the right of women to higher education.

In his later life, Bourinot received honorary degrees from many Canadian universities and was created CMG in 1890 and KCMG in 1898. He died in Ottawa, Ontario and was buried in Beechwood Cemetery there.

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Canada Under British Rule 1760-1900

Lord Elgin

By John G. Bourinot
Canadian History

Lord Elgin
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