Antoine-Aimé Dorion

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Antoine-Aimé Dorion
AntoineAimeDorion23.jpg
The Honourable Sir Antoine-Aimé Dorion
December 1873; Topley Studio,
Library and Archives Canada
Born (1818-01-17)January 17, 1818
Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pérade, Lower Canada
Died May 31, 1891(1891-05-31) (aged 73)
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Occupation

French Canadian Leader of le Parti Rouge (reformers)

Opposed to Confederation.

Sir Antoine-Aimé Dorion, PC (January 17, 1818 – May 31, 1891) was a French Canadian politician and jurist. [1]

Early years[edit]

Dorion was born in Ste-Anne-de-la-Pérade into a family with liberal values that had been sympathetic to the Patriotes in 1837-1838. His father, merchant Pierre-Antoine Dorion, was a representative of the Patriote party in the Legislative Assembly of Lower Canada from 1830 to 1838.

After studies at the Nicolet seminary from 1830 to 1837. In his twenty-second year went to Montreal to read law with Côme-Séraphin Cherrier, an eminent lawyer for whom he retained a lasting friendship. On the 6th of January 1842 he was admitted to the bar of the province, became the partner of M. Cherrier, and in the course of a few years attained the highest rank in his profession.[2]

Political rise[edit]

Dorion descended from a Liberal family which from early days had supported the Reform party in Canada. In addition to his father, his maternal grandfather represented the county of Saint Maurice in the Legislative Assembly from 1819 to 1830. At the time that Dorion commenced the study of law, Canada was entering a struggle between Lower Canada and Upper Canada for a balance of representation. Although a decisive political victory had been gained, and a responsible government formed, by Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine and Robert Baldwin in 1848, they did not press for an immediate overthrow of existing institutions, and in 1851, the administration was handed over to Francis Hincks and Augustin-Norbert Morin.[2]

The elections of 1854 had brought new reformist blood into the ranks of the Liberal party. Dorion was elected as member of the assembly for the province of Canada for the city of Montreal, and was chosen as leader. It seemed that the coalition government under Allan MacNab had clarified the situation, but by 1856 Upper Canada had increased, and it contributed a larger share to the revenue, and demanded proportionate representation. Dorion understood the true principle of federation as applicable to Canada, but he did not pursue this idea, and in fact his following was never sufficiently strong to enable him to give effect to the sound measures he was so capable of formulating.[2]

Government[edit]

Dorion in 1865, collection of the Law Society of Upper Canada

In 1858 Dorion served as Co-Premier of the Province of Canada with Clear Grit leader George Brown (Canadian politician) but the government fell within three days.[3] From 1863 to 1864 Dorion again served as Co-Premier, this time with John Sandfield Macdonald as well as taking the position of Attorney-General, but refused to participate in the Great Coalition government formed in 1864 by Brown, John A. Macdonald and George-Étienne Cartier. Following the Quebec Conference of 1864 he denounced the proposed Canadian Confederation and led the opposition in Lower Canada to the project. He was also the leader of the Parti Rouge and thought the provinces would lose their power if Confederation was put into action. He disapproved that the colonies of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island were uniting under a central government.

House of Commons[edit]

Nevertheless, when Confederation became a reality, Dorion won a seat in the new Canadian House of Commons as Liberal Member of Parliament for Hochelaga. He was re-elected three times in succession for Napierville and served as Minister of Justice in the Liberal government of Alexander Mackenzie from 7 November 1873 and during the six months that he was in office passed the Electoral Law of 1874 and the Controverted Elections Act.[4] On 1 June 1874 he was named chief justice of the Court of Queen's Bench of Quebec.[5]

Death[edit]

He died on 31 May 1891.[5]

Honours[edit]

In 1878, Dorion was created a Knight Bachelor.[4]

The Township Municipality of Dorion in the Outaouais region of Quebec, Canada, was named in his honour (but renamed to Cayamant in 1988).

Family[edit]

In 1848 Dorion married Iphigénie, the daughter of Dr. Jean Baptiste Trestler of Montreal.[2]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Canadian Encyclopedia". Historica Foundation, Toronto. 2011< Retrieved 31 Jan 2011> 
  2. ^ a b c d Doughty 1911, p. 428.
  3. ^ Doughty 1911, pp. 428-429.
  4. ^ a b Doughty 1911, p. 429.
  5. ^ a b Browning 1901.

Attribution:

Sources[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Sir Antoine-Aimé Dorion
Joint Premiers of the Province of Canada - Canada East
1858
Succeeded by
with Sir George-Étienne Cartier
Preceded by
Sir Louis-Victor Sicotte
Joint Premiers of the Province of Canada - Canada East
1863–1864
Succeeded by
with Sir Étienne-Paschal Taché
Preceded by
riding created
Member of Parliament - Hochelaga
1867–1872
Succeeded by
Louis Beaubien
Preceded by
Sixte Coupal dit la Reine
Member of Parliament - Napierville
1872–1874
Succeeded by
Sixte Coupal dit la Reine
Preceded by
John A. Macdonald
Minister of Justice
1873–1874
Succeeded by
Albert James Smith
Preceded by
Louis Victor Sicotte
Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of the United Provinces of Canada
1858–1861
Succeeded by
Joseph-Édouard Turcotte