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Biography of the Day

FRIEDLANDER, ELIAS – Volume XV (1921-1930)

d. 22 Feb. 1927 in Victoria


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

Laurier’s Opposition to Confederation

In 1864 Wilfrid LAURIER joined the Liberals of Canada East (Lower Canada; present-day Quebec) with the aim of opposing the project to unite the colonies of British North America [see The Charlottetown and Quebec Conferences of 1864]. He feared that such a union, owing to the increased powers it would grant the central government, would lead to the obliteration of French Canadians. He wrote in 1867:

“‘We are being handed over to the English majority.... [We must] use whatever influence we have left to demand and obtain a free and separate government.’ Rouge and separatist, this was the position taken by the man who some 30 years later would lead the country whose creation he was now trying so hard to prevent.… On 1 July confederation was officially proclaimed. At the age of 25 Wilfrid Laurier suddenly had to reorganize his life.”

For more detailed information on Laurier’s opposition to confederation, we invite you to explore the following biographies.

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