Sir Hector-Louis Langevin
KCMG CB PC QC
|Secretary of State for Canada|
July 1, 1867 – December 8, 1867
|Preceded by||Office created|
|Succeeded by||James Cox Aikins|
|Superindents-general on Indian Affairs|
May 22, 1868 – December 7, 1869
|Preceded by||Office created|
|Succeeded by||Joseph Howe|
|10th Mayor of Quebec City|
|Preceded by||Joseph Morrin|
|Succeeded by||Thomas Pope|
|Postmaster General of Canada|
October 19, 1878 – May 19, 1879
|Preceded by||Lucius Seth Huntington|
|Succeeded by||Sir Alexander Campbell|
August 25, 1826|
Quebec City, Lower Canada
June 11, 1906 (aged 79)|
Quebec City, Quebec
|Relations||Jean Langevin (brother)|
Sir Hector-Louis Langevin, KCMG CB PC 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
Langevin was born in Quebec City in 1826. He studied law and was called to the bar in 1850.
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 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.
The Langevin Block office building on Parliament Hill and the Langevin Bridge in Calgary were formerly named in his honour. Langevin's group of honours insignia was sold at auction in Ottawa on 18 May 2010 for $8000.00
On January 23, 2017, Calgary City Council voted to rename the Langevin Bridge to the Reconciliation Bridge. In June 2017 it was announced the Langevin Block would be renamed to the Office of the Prime Minister and Privy Council building due to Langevin's involvement in the Canadian Indian residential school system.
His brother, Jean Langevin was a Roman Catholic bishop.
Indian Residential Schools
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."
- Hopkins, J. Castell (1898). An historical sketch of Canadian literature and journalism. Toronto: Lincott. p. 225. ISBN 0665080484.
- Klingbeil, Annalise (2017-01-23), Langevin Bridge officially renamed Reconciliation Bridge after council vote, Calgary Herald
- "PM renames Langevin Block out of respect for Indigenous Peoples". CTV News.
- Grant, Agnes (1996). No End of Grief: Indian Residential Schools in Canada. Winnipeg: Pemmican Pubns. p. 65.
- National Library of Canada biography
- "Biography". Dictionnaire des parlementaires du Québec de 1792 à nos jours (in French). National Assembly of Quebec.
- "Hector-Louis Langevin". Dictionary of Canadian Biography (online ed.). University of Toronto Press. 1979–2016.
- Hector-Louis Langevin – Parliament of Canada biography