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BOISVERT, EDMOND, Edmond de Nevers – Volume XIII (1901-1910)

d. 15 April 1906 in Central Falls, R.I.


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

Macdonald’s Quebec Lieutenants

John A. MACDONALD’s association with Conservative politicians from Quebec was central to his political success. In May 1856, when Étienne-Paschal TACHÉ was named prime minister of the Province of Canada, he made a decision:

“[Taché] chose as his associate John Alexander Macdonald*, who had been aspiring for some time to the leadership of the Upper Canadian section, and who had had some part in MacNab’s fall. Then he formed a ministry whose members, for the first time since 1854, agreed to enter the government as a single and new party, and not as a coalition ministry.”

This alliance between Macdonald’s Conservatives in Canada West and the moderate Reformers – known as the Bleu party – in Canada East, led to electoral success and Macdonald’s long alliance with George-Étienne CARTIER, as described by Macdonald’s biographers:

“The truth was that the Upper Canadian Conservatives had usually been sustained in power by their alliance with Cartier and the Bleu bloc, which held a majority in Lower Canada. This relationship had obvious political advantages and reflected both Macdonald’s belief in French-English cooperation and his long-standing commitment to the union of Upper and Lower Canada as an economic necessity. The relationship also meant that his brand of Conservatism had become more and more unpopular in his own section of the province and increasingly open to charges of ‘French domination’ of the ministry.”

Macdonald and Cartier shared power for much of the late 1850s and into the 1860s. After confederation in 1867, Cartier’s work was integral to Macdonald’s government [see Macdonald’s “Lieutenant”: Cartier and the Political Direction of the Province of Quebec]. His premature death in May 1873 left a void that Macdonald hoped to fill with Hector-Louis LANGEVIN, whom Macdonald had appointed minister of public works in 1869, but the prime minister’s plan failed, as explained in his biography:

“[Langevin] had been groomed to replace Sir George-Étienne Cartier, upon whom Macdonald had relied so much. Cartier had been his Quebec lieutenant, respected, listened to, and with real authority. He had also been Macdonald’s right hand in the commons, taking over the running of it when Macdonald was away. To this double role Langevin might have succeeded, but he was never really capable of filling either part of it. The political control of Quebec he was forced to share, reluctantly, with others. Hardworking in his department (Public Works), he was the senior minister but, despite Macdonald’s urging, he seemed never quite to rise to mastering the general business of the house.”

To find out more about Macdonald and his collaboration with Quebec politicians, read the following biographies.

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