Ian Alistair Mackenzie Edit Profile
Master of Arts, Edinburgh U., 1911, honors in classics, 1912, Bachelor of Laws, 1914.
Born in Assynt, Scotland, Mackenzie entered politics by winning a seat in the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia (BC) in the 1920 BC election. In 1930, he was appointed to Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King's pre-election Cabinet as Minister of Immigration and Colonization and Superintendent of Indian Affairs. When the Liberals returned to power through the 1935 election, Mackenzie returned to Cabinet as Minister of National Defence where he had the responsibility for pre-war rearmament.
With the outbreak of World War II in 1939, however, Mackenzie was moved to the position of Minister of Pensions and National Health, in part because of his role in a scandal involving the awarding of a contract to manufacture the Bren Gun. In 1944, he became Minister of Veterans Affairs. Mackenzie was an able parliamentarian, and when the increasing pressures of war led Prime Minister King to decide to delegate some of his responsibilities in the House of Commons to the new position of Government House Leader, he chose Mackenzie as the first MP to hold that responsibility.
During the war, Mackenzie pandered to anti-Japanese sentiment in British Columbia by declaring to his constituents at his 1944 nomination meeting "Let our slogan be for British Columbia: 'No Japs from the Rockies to the seas.'" As British Columbia's senior cabinet minister Mackenzie had had a key role in the government's decision to intern Japanese-Canadians for the duration of the war. In 1947, Mackenzie was named to the Imperial Privy Council along with several other senior Canadian cabinet ministers, allowing him to use the honorific of "Right Honourable". In 1948, he was appointed to the Canadian Senate.
He served only a year and a half until his death in 1949.
Served as lieut., Seaforth Highlanders, C.E.F., 1915. Member Liberal Party. Clubs: Vancouver, Jericho Country, Royal Vancouver (Yacht) (Vancouver).