Dalton McCarthy

Dalton McCarthy

Dalton McCarthy (October 10, 1836 – May 11, 1898), or D'Alton McCarthy, was a Canadian lawyer and parliamentarian. It was his firm, Boulton & McCarthy in Barrie, that was the first incarnation of what is now Canada's largest law firm, McCarthy Tétrault.

McCarthy was first elected to the Canadian House of Commons in the 1878 federal election as a Conservative. An Irish-born Protestant, McCarthy was stridently anti-Catholic and anti-French Canadian. He broke with the Conservatives in the 1890s, running and being re-elected as an Independent Member of Parliament (MP) in the 1891 election. McCarthy was a founder of the "Imperial Federation League", which proposed uniting the United Kingdom and the emerging dominions under a central Cabinet government responsible to an Imperial Parliament elected from throughout the Empire. McCarthy ran his own slate of McCarthyite candidates in the 1896 election, but was the only one elected.

Following the 1896 election, McCarthy forged an alliance with Wilfrid Laurier's Liberal Party. He would likely have been appointed to cabinet in 1898 had he not died following a carriage accident.

McCarthy was a key figure in the Manitoba Schools Question, and a major proponent in pushing English only in legislatures, courts, and schools of Western Canada. He also defended Emily Stowe in the 1879 abortion trial of Emily Stowe.

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