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Biography of the Day

LABADIE, LOUIS – Volume VI (1821-1835)

d. 19 June 1824 in Verchères, Lower Canada


Responsible Government

Sir John A. Macdonald

From the Red River Settlement to Manitoba (1812–70)

Sir Wilfrid Laurier

Sir George-Étienne Cartier


The Fenians

Women in the DCB/DBC

The Charlottetown and Quebec Conferences of 1864

Introductory Essays of the DCB/DBC

The Acadians

For Educators

The War of 1812 

Canada’s Wartime Prime Ministers

The First World War

Federal Powers and Economic Development

In 1878 Sir John A. MACDONALD, then leader of the federal opposition, successfully campaigned on a platform known as the National Policy whose purpose was, in particular, to develop the western provinces and territories [see The National Policy]. The Liberals, under Wilfrid LAURIER, perpetuated a number of the National Policy’s components when they regained power in the 1896 election [see The Prime Minister: Architect of Modern Canada]. Clifford SIFTON, Laurier’s minister of the interior, believed that a strong central government was a prerequisite for the country’s economic development:

“After moving to Ottawa [likely in 1896], Sifton appeared to abandon his western Liberal radicalism and to embrace the principles of John A. Macdonald’s policies of national development: protective tariffs, expansion of railways, and settlement of an agricultural population in the west. These policies would give Canada a measure of economic independence and diversify its economy, open new areas to settlement, provide access to untapped resources, and integrate the west into the dominion both as a consumer of domestic manufactures and as a producer of foodstuffs and other natural products in the international market. Sifton also believed that centralizing the administration of these policies would be more efficient than expanding regional or local autonomy.”

To learn more about the role of economic development in the relationship between the federal and provincial governments, please consult the biographies grouped below. 

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