Camillien Houde

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Mayor
Camillien Houde
Camillien Houde.jpg
34th Mayor of Montreal
In office
1928–1932
Preceded by Médéric Martin
Succeeded by Fernand Rinfret
In office
1934–1936
Preceded by Fernand Rinfret
Succeeded by Adhémar Raynault
In office
1938–1940
Preceded by Adhémar Raynault
Succeeded by Adhémar Raynault
In office
1944–1954
Preceded by Adhémar Raynault
Succeeded by Jean Drapeau
Personal details
Born 13 August 1889
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Died 11 September 1958(1958-09-11) (aged 69)
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Resting place Notre Dame des Neiges Cemetery
Religion Roman Catholic

Camillien Houde,CBE OStJ, (13 August 1889–11 September 1958) was a Quebec politician, a Member of Parliament, and a four-time mayor of Montreal — one of the few Canadian politicians to have served at all three levels of government.

Political career[edit]

Houde was born in Montreal on 13 August 1889 and died there on 11 September 1958. He was nicknamed "l'imprévisible"—the unpredictable. He was the only surviving child of Azade Houde and Josephine Frenette. He is descended from the first Houde ancestor, Louis Houde, who came from Manou, Eure-et-Loir, France to Quebec in 1647. Louis Houde's son was Louis H. who married Marie Lemay in 1685.

As Montreal Mayor in 1945 at a Chamber of Commerce event.

He was first elected to the Legislative Assembly of Quebec as a member of the Conservative Party for the riding of Montréal–Sainte-Marie in the 1923 election. He was defeated in the 1927 election, but re-elected in a by-election on 24 October 1928. He was elected leader of the Conservative Party on 10 July 1929, led the party to defeat in the 1931 election, and failed to win a seat in Montréal–Saint-Jacques after vacating his previous seat. He resigned as Conservative leader on 19 September 1932.

When George VI and Queen Elizabeth visited Montreal on the 1939 royal tour of Canada and were greeted by cheering crowds, Houde turned to the King and said: "You know, Your Majesty, some of this is for you."[1]

He moved to federal politics and lost in a bid for election as a Conservative candidate for the Canadian House of Commons in a 1938 by-election in the Montreal riding of St. Mary. In 1940, he was arrested and charged under the Defence of Canada Regulations. He was imprisoned at Camp Petawawa in Ontario until the end of the war. He ran again in St. Mary, this time as an independent candidate, in the 1945 federal election, but was again defeated. He won a seat as an independent candidate in the riding of Papineau in the 1949 federal election by less than 100 votes. He did not run for re-election in the 1953 election.

Houde became a figure of ridicule in parts of English Canada because of his conduct in opposition to conscription. During the 1949 federal election, the Toronto Star, which openly supported the Liberal Party, attempted to link the unpopular Houde with George Drew, then leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada even though Houde was running as an independent candidate against an official Progressive Conservative candidate. The Star accused Drew of making a secret pact with Quebec Premier Maurice Duplessis to appoint Houde to the Cabinet as Drew's Quebec lieutenant should the Tories win the election. The newspaper's campaign reached its culmination the Saturday before the election with a banner front page headline reading:

KEEP CANADA BRITISH
DESTROY DREW'S HOUDE
GOD SAVE THE KING


(in later editions, the last line was changed to "VOTE ST. LAURENT").[2]

Concurrent to his career in provincial and federal politics, Houde was mayor of Montreal from 1928 to 1932, from 1934 to 1936, from 1938 to 1940, and from 1944 to 1954.

World War II controversy[edit]

When World War II came, Houde then campaigned against conscription.

In its 20 February 1939 issue, Time Magazine quoted from Mayor Camillien Houde's speech to a YMCA audience on the subject of War in Europe:

If war comes, and if Italy is on one side and England on the other, the sympathy of the French-Canadians in Quebec will be on the side of Italy. Remember that the great majority of French-Canadians are Roman Catholics, and that the Pope is in Rome. We French-Canadians are Normans, not Latins, but we have become Latinized over a long period of years. The French-Canadians are Fascists by blood, but not by name. The Latins have always been in favour of dictators.


On 2 August 1940, Houde publicly urged the men of Quebec to ignore the national registration measure introduced by the federal government.[3] Three days later, he was placed under arrest by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police on charges of sedition, and then confined without trial[4] in internment camps in Petawawa, Ontario and Minto, New Brunswick until 1944. Upon his release on 18 August 1944, he was greeted by a cheering crowd of 50,000 Montrealers,[5] and won back his job as Montreal mayor in 1944's civic election.

Honours[edit]

Houde was made Chevalier of the Légion d'honneur and Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1935,[6] and an Officer of the Order of St John in 1953.[7]

Legacy[edit]

On his death in 1958,[8] Camillien Houde was interred in the Cimetière Notre-Dame-des-Neiges in Montreal, Quebec in an Italian marble replica of Napoleon's tomb.

Mayor Houde was a reform-minded mayor in the areas of patronage, unemployment, and organized crime. He was also responsible for some of the major public park improvements in Montreal including the park on Mont Royal with its man-made lake and park facilities.

After his death, Mayor Jean Drapeau named a new road over Mount Royal after Houde, an act many considered ironic, as Houde and many others had long opposed building roads over the city's famous mountain.

Other Information[edit]

Mayor Houde threw a party for the then-new fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous, which was described by Bill W in the book Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age as "probably the first official reception that any A.A. group ever had." [9]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Shawcross, William (2009). The Queen Mother. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. p. 458. 
  2. ^ Templeton, Charles (1983). "Inside the Toronto Star". Charles Templeton, an anecdotal memoir. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart. ISBN 0-77108545-1. OCLC 11158533. Retrieved 2010-02-13. 
  3. ^ "Canadian Registration Act Defied by Montreal Mayor". St. Petersburg Times. 3 August 1940. Retrieved 19 March 2013. 
  4. ^ "Lapointe Orders Houde Interned". Windsor Daily Star. 6 August 1940. Retrieved 19 March 2013. 
  5. ^ "Houde say term threat to French". Montreal Gazette. 6 December 1944. Retrieved 19 March 2013. 
  6. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 34119. p. 11. 1 January 1935.
  7. ^ The London Gazette: no. 39743. p. 95. 2 January 1953.
  8. ^ "Camillien Houde is Dead, 7-Time Mayor". Montreal Gazette. 12 September 1958. Retrieved 19 March 2013. 
  9. ^ Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age, 1957, page 85.

Further reading[edit]

  • Tard, Louis-Martin (1999). Camillien Houde, Le Cyrano de Montréal. Montréal: XYZ Éditeur. p. 214. ISBN 978-2-89261-263-9. 
  • Marsolais, Claude-V.; Desrochers, Luc; Comeau, Robert (1993). Histoire des maires de Montréal. Montréal: VLB Éditeur. p. 323. ISBN 978-2-89005-547-6. 
  • Grenon, Hector (1979). Camillien Houde. Montréal: Stanké. p. 319. ISBN 2-7604-0007-7. 
  • Lévesque, Robert; Migner, Robert (1978). Camillien et les années vingt, suivi de Camillien au goulag. Montréal: Éditions des Brûlés. p. 183. 
  • La Rocque, Hertel (1961). Camillien Houde, le p'tit gars de Ste-Marie. Montréal: Éditions de l'Homme. p. 157. 
  • Rumilly, Robert (1958). "Tome XXX Camillien Houde". Histoire de la province de Québec. Montréal: Éditions Fides. p. 256. 
  • His Worship, Mr. Montréal (1976) at the Internet Movie Database

External links[edit]

National Assembly of Quebec
Preceded by
Joseph Gauthier
MLA for Montréal–Sainte-Marie
19231927
Succeeded by
Joseph Gauthier
Preceded by
Joseph Gauthier
MLA for Montréal–Sainte-Marie
1928–1931
Succeeded by
Gaspard Fauteux
Preceded by
Candide Rochefort
MLA for Montréal–Sainte-Marie
19391944
Succeeded by
Camille Côté
Parliament of Canada
New constituency Member of Parliament for Papineau
1949–1953
Succeeded by
Adrien Meunier
Party political offices
Preceded by
Charles Ernest Gault
Leader of the Quebec Conservative Party
1929–1932
Succeeded by
Maurice Duplessis
Political offices
Preceded by
Arthur Sauvé
Leader of the Opposition in Quebec
1929–1931
Succeeded by
Charles Ernest Gault
Preceded by
Médéric Martin
Mayor of Montreal
1928–1932
Succeeded by
Fernand Rinfret
Preceded by
Fernand Rinfret
Mayor of Montreal
1934–1936
Succeeded by
Adhémar Raynault
Preceded by
Adhémar Raynault
Mayor of Montreal
1938–1940
Succeeded by
Adhémar Raynault
Preceded by
Adhémar Raynault
Mayor of Montreal
1944–1954
Succeeded by
Jean Drapeau