Hector-Louis Langevin

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The Honourable
Sir Hector-Louis Langevin
PC KCMG CB QC
HectorLangevin23.jpg
Secretary of State for Canada
In office
July 1, 1867 – December 8, 1867
Preceded by Office created
Succeeded by James Cox Aikins
Superindents-general on Indian Affairs
In office
May 22, 1868 – December 7, 1869
Preceded by Office created
Succeeded by Joseph Howe
10th Mayor of Quebec City
In office
1858–1861
Preceded by Joseph Morrin
Succeeded by Thomas Pope
Postmaster General of Canada
In office
October 19, 1878 – May 19, 1879
Preceded by Lucius Seth Huntington
Succeeded by Sir Alexander Campbell
Personal details
Born (1826-08-25)August 25, 1826
Quebec City, Lower Canada
Died June 11, 1906(1906-06-11) (aged 79)
Quebec City, Quebec
Political party Conservative
Other political
affiliations
Parti bleu
Relations Jean Langevin (brother)
Profession

Sir Hector-Louis Langevin, PC KCMG CB QC (August 25, 1826 – June 11, 1906) was a Canadian lawyer, politician and one of the Fathers of Confederation. He also had an important role to play in the establishment of the Canadian Indian residential school system.

Early life and education[edit]

Langevin was born in Quebec City in 1826. He studied law and was called to the bar in 1850.

Political career[edit]

In 1856, he was elected to the municipal council of Quebec City and was mayor from 1858 to 1861. In 1857, he was elected Member of Parliament for Dorchester in the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada as a member of the Conservative Party. He held various positions in Cabinet, including Solicitor General (1864–66), Postmaster General (1866–67), Secretary of State for Canada (1867–69), Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs (1868–69) and Minister of Public Works (1869–73). Langevin also attended all three conferences leading up to Confederation. He left politics in 1873 due to his role in the Pacific Scandal.

In 1871 he was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Quebec in the provincial electoral district of Québec-Centre. At the time, dual mandates were still allowed. He served one term, until 1874.

In 1876, he was re-elected in the riding of Charlevoix. His opponent contested the election and it was declared invalid, but he won the subsequent by-election in 1877. He was defeated in Rimouski in 1878 but elected by acclamation in the riding of Trois-Rivières in the same year. Langevin became Minister of Public Works again in 1879. He lobbied behind the scenes against the hanging of Louis Riel in 1885 and was one of the few Conservatives Members of Parliament to survive the resulting backlash in the province of Quebec in 1887.

He was promised the post of Lieutenant Governor of Quebec by the new Conservative Prime Minister John Abbott if he resigned as Minister of Public Works. Langevin stepped down in 1891 but Abbott appointed Joseph-Adolphe Chapleau instead. That year, Langevin was implicated with Thomas McGreevy in what became known as the "McGreevy-Langevin scandal" over kickbacks to McGreevy associated with federal contracts granted to him by the department of public works overseen by Langevin. He retired to the backbenches and then left politics in 1896.

Outside politics he was previously a newspaper editor.[1]

Posthumous recognition[edit]

The Langevin Block on Parliament Hill was named in his honour, as was the Langevin Bridge in Calgary. Langevin's group of medals were sold at auction in Ottawa on 18 May 2010 for $8000.00

In June 2017 it was announced the Langevin Block would be renamed due to his involvement in the Canadian Indian residential school system.[2]

On January 23, 2017, Calgary city council voted to change the name from Langevin Bridge to the Reconciliation Bridge.[3]

Personal life[edit]

His brother, Jean Langevin was a Roman Catholic bishop.

Indian Residential Schools[edit]

As Secretary of State for the Provinces Langevin made it clear to Parliament in 1883 that day schools would be insufficient in assimilating Aboriginal children. Langevin was one of the architects of the residential schools and argued: “The fact is that if you wish to educate the children you must separate them from their parents during the time they are being taught. If you leave them in the family they may know how to read and write, but they will remain savages, whereas by separating them in the way proposed, they acquire the habits and tastes…of civilized people.” [4]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hopkins, J. Castell (1898). An historical sketch of Canadian literature and journalism. Toronto: Lincott. p. 225. ISBN 0665080484. 
  2. ^ "PM renames Langevin Block out of respect for Indigenous Peoples". CTV News. 
  3. ^ Klingbeil, Annalise (2017-01-23), Langevin Bridge officially renamed Reconciliation Bridge after council vote, Calgary Herald 
  4. ^ [Grant, Agnes. 1996. No End of Grief: Indian Residential Schools in Canada. Winnipeg: Pemmican p. 65]