Sir Albert Edward Kemp, KCMG, PC (August 11, 1858 – August 12, 1929) was a Canadian businessman and politician. Kemp was a Canadian Minister of Militia and Defence and Minister of the Overseas Military Forces during World War I. A Conservative and Unionist, Kemp was elected five times to the Canadian House of Commons as the Member of Parliament for electoral district of Toronto East. He was appointed to the Senate of Canada by Prime Minister Arthur Meighen in 1921.
Edward Kemp was born in Saint-Georges-de-Clarenceville, Quebec in what was then Canada East. Kemp's father was a farmer and country merchant who was an immigrant from Yorkshire, England; his mother was Canadian-born. He was raised near the village of Clarenceville, where he attended Clarenceville Academy, and later studied at the academy in Lacolle, excelling in mathematics, but he did not finish. Leaving home at 16, Kemp headed to Montreal and eventually gaining employment as a bookkeeper at a hardware store.
At the age of 20, Kemp became engaged to Cecilia Wilson. Soon afterwards, he and a partner opened a manufacturing and retailing shop on St Catherine Street in Montreal. He and Cecilia moved to Toronto in 1885, where he entered into partnership with Thomas McDonald, owner of the struggling Dominion Tin and Stamping Works. In 1888 Kemp bought out McDonald and formed the Kemp Manufacturing Company with his younger brother, William Arthur, who had left the lumber trade in Quebec to apply his talents in Toronto. Kemp served as president of the Canadian Manufacturers' Association in 1895 and 1896, and as president of the Toronto Board of Trade in 1899 and 1900. The brothers expanded their operations and opened plants in Montreal and Winnipeg, eventually reorganizing their business as the Sheet Metal Products Company of Canada Limited in 1911.
Kemp was elected five times to the Canadian House of Commons as the Member of Parliament for the Ontario electoral district of Toronto East. He was first elected in the Canadian federal election of 1900, and was re-elected in 1904. He lost in 1908 to an "independent Conservative", Joseph Russell, who had been nominated by some constituents who were unhappy with Kemp's connections to the Albany Club and Toronto's wealthy class, and who also charged that Kemp was hiring foreign workers at low wages at the expense of Canadians. Out of office, Kemp threw his efforts into rebuilding the Conservative machine in Ontario as well as paying off its debts. He used his business connections to rally opposition to the Laurier government's Naval Service Bill as well as its plans for reciprocity with the United States - a campaign to which he recruited prominent Ontario Liberals. Through Kemp's efforts, he regained his seat in 1911 and helped Robert Borden defeat Laurier to become Prime Minister. Borden rewarded Kemp by appointing him minister without portfolio in his first Cabinet.
World War I
During World War I Kemp sat as a Unionist in the coalition government formed under Robert Borden. Kemp played an increasingly important part in the government of Canada during the war years. In 1915 he was appointed chairman of the War Purchasing Commission; in 1916, he succeeded Sam Hughes as Minister of Militia and Defence; and in 1917 he went to London as Minister of the Overseas Military Forces of Canada, a portfolio which he retained until the demobilization of the Canadian overseas forces was completed. In 1918 he was a member of the Imperial War Cabinet; and in 1919 he was one of the commissioners representing Canada at the Paris Peace Conference. For his service during World War I, he was made a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George in 1917.
On November 4, 1921, Kemp was appointed to the Canadian Senate on the recommendation of Prime Minister Arthur Meighen. He represented the senatorial division of Toronto, Ontario until his death.
Kemp married Cecilia Amanda Wilson (1858–1924) in 1879 and had three daughters: Alice Irene, Hazel Beatrice, and Florence E. Kemp.
Hazel married Captain F. Chattan Stephens of Montreal, who was a son of liberal politician George Washington Stephens and half-brother to Saar president George Washington Stephens, Jr.. Their only son, John H. C. Stephens, and F. Chattan's mother, Frances McIntosh Stephens, perished in the sinking of the RMS Lusitania in 1915.
After the death of his first wife Kemp remarried to Virginia Copping in 1925. By her first marriage to Norman Copping she had two daughters, Cynthia and Virginia.
Albert Edward Kemp died at Pigeon Lake in 1929 and was buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Toronto.
- Albert Edward Kemp – Parliament of Canada biography
- "Albert Edward Kemp". Dictionary of Canadian Biography (online ed.). University of Toronto Press. 1979–2005.
|Cabinet Posts (3)|
|George Halsey Perley||Minister of the Overseas Military Forces
|Sam Hughes||Minister of Militia and Defence
|Sydney Chilton Mewburn|
|none||Minister Without Portfolio
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