The Patrons of Industry in Canada were based on the Patrons of Industry of Michigan that had formed in 1889. It was dedicated to upholding and encouraging the moral, social, intellectual, political and financial situation of farmers and to preserve the way of life that existed in farming communities in the late nineteenth century against encroaching industrialization. It cooperated with the urban labour movement to address the political frustrations of both groups with big business.
The Patrons' first appearance in Canada was The Grand Association of the Patrons of Industry in Ontario, founded in 1890. It declared itself independent of the U.S. group in 1891.
Although centred in Ontario, the organization branched out into Manitoba (see Patrons of Industry in Manitoba), Alberta, Quebec and the Maritime provinces. The Patrons' membership exceeded 30,000 at its peak.
In the Maritimes, the Patrons of industry had some successes but soon collapsed. in the 1895 New Brunswick general election, two Patrons of Industry MLAs were elected.Duncan Marshall in 1895 established more than eighty lodges in Prince Edward Island alone. He also edited a Charlottetown weekly newspaper "The Patron of Industry". He contested a by-election in 1896 but the organization was unable to break into the established two-party alignment in the province and was soundly defeated. Marshal left the province soon after the election (and would go on to be a cabinet minister in Alberta and in Ontario), and the movement in the region collapsed.
The Patrons ran candidates in the 1894 Ontario provincial election. Three Patrons of Industry candidates were elected, and 13 other members of the Legislative Assembly were elected with Patrons of Industry support — 12 Liberals and one Conservative.
The Patrons of Industry ran 31 candidates (including three in Manitoba and one in Quebec) in the 1896 federal election (see below). Several, including David Dickson Rogers, William Varney Pettet, John Tolmie and Douglas Moffat, were elected, Rogers by acclamation.
The party was soon divided on the question of cooperation with the Ontario Liberal Party, and the group was virtually extinct by 1900. Both Rogers and Pettet ran for re-election in the 1900 federal election but not under the Patrons banner.
The party achieved a few gains for farmers, such as institution of a cooling-off period to ban Ontario defeated politicians from holding office in government for one year after defeat and a cut in tariffs effected in 1894.
1896 federal candidates
- James Tolton, Bruce East
- John G. Adams, Cornwall and Stormont
- Charles Jonas Thornton, Durham West
- J. P. Martyn, Elgin East
- Alexander A. McKillop, Elgin West
- Daniel Willis Mason, Essex North
- David Dickson Rogers, Frontenac
- James Lockie Wilson, Glengarry
- James Bowes, Grey East
- William Allan, Grey South
- S. A. Beck, Haldimand and Monck
- James Balcanquel, Hastings East
- G. Mcl. Kilty, Huron West
- James Miller, Lanark North
- James H. Horton, Leeds South
- E. B. Switzer, Lennox
- William McGuire, Norfolk North
- George Walker, Norfolk South
- C. A. Mallory, Northumberland East
- John C. Rosevear, Northumberland West
- Duncan Graham, Ontario North
- Henry Joseph Cloran, Prescott
- William Varney Pettet, Prince Edward
- Robert A. Jamieson, Renfrew South
- D. C. Anderson, Simcoe East
- Thomas W. Lennox, Simcoe South
- John Brown, York West
- Francis F. Wellard, Compton
- Darren Ferry (Fall 2004). "'Severing the Connections in a Complex Community': The Grange, the Patrons of Industry, and the Construction/Contestation of a Late 19th-Century Agrarian Identity in Ontario". Labour/Le Travail. 54: 9–47. doi:10.2307/25149504. Retrieved 25 October 2013.
- Edmonton Bulletin, Feb. 15, 1894; Edmonton Bulletin, March 12, 1894, p. 2
- Patrons of Industry Trent University Archives
- Canadian Parliamentary Guide 1898/9
- Canadian Parliamentary Guide 1898/9, p. 70-80
- Brandon Mail, April 16, 1896, p. 3