Charles Fisher (August 15, 1808 – December 8, 1880) was a renowned New Brunswick politician and jurist. As a prominent reformer, he helmed the first accountable government in New Brunswick from 1854 to 1861.
Born in Fredericton, Fisher secured his first elected position in the colonial assembly in 1837, and served from 1848 to 1850. During this period, Fisher conveyed his concerns about the family compact’s devious methods and the government’s unaccountable nature and its politics to his friend, Joseph Howe. Fisher ascended to the position of leader of the opposition, then Premier and Attorney-General in 1854. His administration introduced various reforms pertaining to education, administration, and the electoral system. His government lost power in 1856 due to its attempt to implement prohibition, which was not well-received by the voters, but he returned to power in 1857. His leadership ended in 1861 when he was overthrown by fellow reformer Samuel L. Tilley over a scandal regarding the leasing of crown lands.
Charles Fisher was a key figure in the Confederation, participating in the Quebec Conference of 1864 and the London Conference of 1866, which resulted in the drafting of the British North America Act.
In 1867, he was elected to the House of Commons as a Liberal, but he relinquished his seat in 1868 to accept an appointment to the New Brunswick Supreme Court.
Despite the offer to become the Chief Justice of New Brunswick, he chose to remain as a puisne judge until his demise at the age of 73.
His daughter, Jane M. Paulette Fisher, married the future premier, John James Fraser. Charles Fisher is laid to rest in the Forest Hill Cemetery in Fredericton.
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