Hon. Christopher Finlay Fraser, Q.C., member for Brockville, and Commissioner of Public Works in the Executive Council of Ontario, is a native of Brockville, this Province, where he was born in October 1839. He is of Scotch Irish descent, his parents being John S. Fraser, a Scotch Highlander, and Sarah nee Burke, of Irish extraction. His father early emigrated to Canada and settled at Brockville, where he engaged in business, and where his home has since been.
Our subject studied law with Hon. A. N. Richards, Q.C., of Brockville, and was called to the Bar, Upper Canada, Trinity term, in 1864; at once entered upon the practice of his profession in his native place, where he has continued to practice to the present time. In 1876, in recognition of his legal ability, Mr.Fraser was created a Queen’s counsel.
Mr. Fraser early took an active interest in the political affairs of Canada, and at the first general election after Confederation, contested Brockville for the Provincial Parliament, but was unsuccessful. At the next general election, in 1871, was a candidate for South Grenville, but was again defeated. In March, 1872 to fill the vacancy caused by the death of the sitting member for the latter constituency, Mr. Fraser was elected. Subsequently, however, he was unseated on petition, but upon a new election taking place, in October of the same year, he was again successful, and on his appointment as member of the Executive Council, was returned by acclamation. At the general election in 1875 he was again re-elected for South Grenville, and in the last general election (1879), was elected for Brockville.
November 25, 1873, Mr. Fraser was appointed a member of the Executive Council, and held the offices of Provincial-Secretary and Registrar, from that time until the 4th of April 1874, when he became Commissioner of Public Works.
He has always been an earnest Reformer in politics, and in the third parliament, he originated, advocated and had passed the Act giving to farmers’ sons the right of suffrage. In supporting the Government Bills, and especially those placed under his immediate supervision, he has shown decided ability for parliamentary work, and has been one of the pillars of Hon. Mr. Mowat’s administration, being a good debater, possessing tact and ready wit, and a thorough knowledge and understanding of the subjects under discussion.
Mr. Fraser was one of the originators and aided in the formation of the Ontario Catholic League, and has been one of its most prominent and active members.