- Sir Wilfrid Laurier
- The Young Liberal: “Rouge and Separatist”
- The Pragmatist: Canada After Confederation
- The Prime Minister: The Man of Challenges
- The Prime Minister: Architect of Modern Canada
- The Prime Minister: External Relations
- Leader of the Opposition
- Laurier in History
The Prime Minister: The Man of Challenges
Running a country grappling with deep divisions of various kinds, Wilfrid LAURIER believed that compromise was one of the means he could use to confront the many challenges he was facing.
The Laurier–Greenway Agreement (1896)
The Manitoba school question was among Laurier’s priorities. His government negotiated an agreement with his provincial counterpart, Thomas GREENWAY: the separate schools were not reinstated and religious teaching was authorized only under strict conditions [see Sir Wilfrid Laurier]. In making this arrangement, Laurier hoped to satisfy the Roman Catholic minority while bowing to the will of Manitoba’s Protestant majority. With the aim of neutralizing the actions of the bishops, notably those in Quebec, he sent Abbé Jean-Baptiste PROULX to Rome:
“In the autumn of 1896 Prime Minister Wilfrid
The final result is summed up in this excerpt from Laurier’s biography:
“Laurier could boast of having restored national harmony, but at an enormous price. Whatever may have been said about it, this agreement stood as a dangerous precedent since it marked the emergence of an increasingly unicultural and English-speaking Canada, a truncated vision of the country foreseen by the Fathers of Confederation. The accord revealed as well the willingness of the federal government to abdicate its role as protector of minorities, to recognize the primacy of provincial rights over minority rights, and to bow to the weight of numbers.”
You can learn more about the Laurier–Greenway agreement by exploring these biographies.