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control. All his efforts were constantly directed toward establishing the supremacy of the Assembly over the executive power, and toward making the executive power the executor of the will of the Assembly.
Responsible government meant party government. Only through party organization could there be assured a stable and united majority to back the ministry in power, and a definite opposition to criticize that ministry and stand prepared to provide an alternative administration. And yet the very winning of responsible government, and the union of the provinces which was bound up with it, made it extremely difficult to find or keep stable and effective political parties.
The weakness and instability of parties in this period had two roots. One was the union of the provinces-a union which brought together extreme
ly diverse elements, and yet was not sufficiently complete to merge and fuse them. Union made it necessary to organize a majority not in one region alone, but in the whole province, and to organize it out of parties which hitherto had had little contact or little in common. At the same time the incomplete and semi-federal character of the union prevented the complete assimilation which the smooth working of the party machinery demanded. From the beginning there had been a recognition of continuing separateness in the provision that each part of the province, irrespective of population, should be given half the number of representatives in the house. As time went on, this separateness was confirmed by the practice of passing laws applying only to one region, by holding the sessions of parliament alternately in Quebec and in Toronto, by the inclusion in the cabinet of both an Attorney-General West
and an Attorney-General East, and by the custom of a double-barreled leadership, two "premiers," LaFontaine-Baldwin, Macdonald-Cartier, Brown-Dorion. It was inevitable in such circumstances that any union of parties from Canada East and Canada West, as Lower Canada and Upper Canada respectively were termed after 1841, should be not a complete merging, but only a coalition of more or less stability.
The other source of party weakness lay in the breaking-up of the existing parties in each region because of the achievement of old aims or the emergence of new issues. The Tory parties, the defenders of the established order, were broken up by defeat, by the steady destruction of one after another of the planks in the platform upon which they had stood and fought. The control of colonial affairs by the mother country, the authority of the governor and his preordained advisers within the province, the active share in legislation of the narrow, nominated legislative council, the endowment of a state church in Upper Canada by the grant of vast areas of crown lands, the maintenance in Lower Canada of that survival of medieval feudalism, seigniorial tenure, -these and other principles of the old ascendancy parties went by the board in the late forties and early fifties. To their opponents victory proved almost as disintegrating as defeat. The Reformers in Upper Canada, the Patriote, Liberal, or Canadien party in Lower Canada, had within their ranks diverse elements which only opposition to a common foe could hold together. Once victory, or an instalment of victory, was won, these latent differences became apparent. The moderate men who were content to abide in a half-way house and the radicals who were eager to push on to the end of the vanishing road now parted company. The experience gained in actual administration brought out differences of temperament and interest. New economic issues, canal and railway projects, tax and tariff questions, forced new alinements. The outcome was curiously parallel to the reorganization of parties which at the same time was going on in Great Britain. In both cases Tories were mel
lowing into Conservatives, and the victorious opposition breaking up into Whigs and Radicals, or into moderate Liberals and Clear Grits, or Rouges.
In Canada West Robert Baldwin was the leader and the best representative of the moderate Reformers. Scrupulously fair, sturdily independent, he was prepared to fight without rest or truce for the right as he saw it, but equally prepared to find the right on most political and economic issues midway between the extreme positions. He fought until he had achieved responsible government, but he was unwilling to use the new powers to secure all the sweeping changes his more impatient followers demanded. The malcontents were led at first by Dr. Rolph and William Lyon Mackenzie, of the left wing of the old Reform party; but later they drew to themselves new men like William Macdougall, disappointed Tories like Malcolm Cameron, and latest and greatest, George Brown, a powerful journalist and tribune, newly come from Scotland. The Clear Grits, as these uncompromising stalwarts came to be known, were, in the first place, more democratic than the Baldwin Reformers, insisting on a widely extended suffrage, vote by ballot, and the abolition of property qualifications for members. Unlike Baldwin, who looked wholly to England for his political inspiration, they were inclined to find the United States the last word in democracy, and particularly, when disillusioned by discovering that even Liberals when in office could be arbitrary and highhanded, they sought to lessen the power of governments by extending the elective principle, proposing to elect not merely the legislative council or upper house, but the governor and the chief administrative officials. A third point of difference lay in their more sweeping insistence on Canadian autonomy. A still more marked characteristic was their strong anti-clerical bias, which first found vent in their opposition to the endowment and establishment of the Church of England, but later, under George Brown's impulse, turned into suspicion and denunciation of Roman Catholic domination of the province by "priest-ridden French-Canadians."
In Canada East the causes of the split in the Liberal ranks were in part strikingly alike and in part significantly different. Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine, who stood head and shoulders above all his Canadian contemporaries in capacity, was, like Baldwin, emphatically a Whig rather than a Radical. A member of the old Legislative Assembly of Lower Canada in his twenties, he had ardently supported Papineau's strongest demands, but had opposed any resort to arms, and on the failure of the rebellion, his compatriots turned unanimously to his prudent and sober leadership. Massive in intellect, cold and judicial in temperament, thorough and untiring in his habits of work, Napoleonic in physique, the story ran that on his visit to Paris, the guards at the Invalides, in great excitement, presented arms to their resurrected emperor, not greatly displeasing the Canadian visitor thereby,-LaFontaine dominated the political scene throughout the forties. But hardly had he taken power, in 1848, when a rift in the party appeared, and steadily widened until in disdain of factional quarreling he retired from political life, in 1851, at the age of forty-four.
The group which chafed under LaFontaine's leadership, which later formed a distinct party called by themselves the Democrats and by their enemies the Rouges, and which eventually became under Laurier the Quebec wing of the Canadian Liberal party, was a strange product of many personal and social factors. Its first leader and rallying-center was the old tribune, LouisJoseph Papineau. Returning to Canada in 1847 after a ten-years' exile, he
had entered Parliament the following year. Intercourse in Paris with republican and socialist circles had strengthened his democratic tendencies, though altering little his views on the economic ordering of society, for to the last he remained the seignior. After a lifetime of uncompromising opposition and criticism, he found it difficult to accept the irksome responsibilities of a party in office; after a lifetime as unquestioned dictator of his people, he could not bend his proud spirit to accept the leadership of his former lieutenant. Around him there gathered a group of fiery young Montrealers, who have never had their like in Canadian politics for sheer ability, crusading zeal, and reckless frankness AntoineAimé Dorion, Eric Dorion, Charles Laberge, Louis. Labrèche - Viger, Joseph Papin, Rodolphe Laflamme, Joseph Doutre, Charles Daoust, L. A. Dessaulles, and scores of others destined to play an active part in professional or public life. They were all in their early twenties. Nearly all the leaders among them were lawyers or journalists, not too burdened with clients or commissions to have no time to set the world right. In Quebec city a smaller group, in which Telesphore Fournier, M. A. Plamondon, P. G. Huot and J. G. Blanchet were particularly active, also took the Papineau turning.
The eager, reforming spirit of these democratic youths found more than one expression. The first outlet was the famous Institut Canadien, founded in December, 1844, as a means of mutual education. The institute provided for its members a library and readingroom, public lectures, and an open for
um for debates. It met a need which hitherto had been wholly neglected, and exercised wide influence in Montreal and in other centers where similar institutes were soon established, until a long and bitter struggle with the church brought dissension and defeat. A club modeled on the latest Parisian political organizations, Le Club National et Démocratique, had a much shorter career. To reach the general public they took over, in January, 1848, a struggling weekly, "L'Avenir" which another group, more interested in literature than in politics, had established a few months earlier.
In the election of 1851, five Rouges were returned, and in 1854 nearly twenty. After Papineau retired, A. A. Dorion became their leader.
The situation presented by the union of the two provinces, the break-up of the old parties, and the rise of new groups afforded an admirable opportunity to a master strategist. In each part of the province there was found a center party of moderate Liberals, with a radical and a conservative wing in each case. Early in the fifties George Brown believed it would be possible to unite all the Canada West factions on a platform of resistance to "French-Canadian and priestly domination," but a greater strategist than Brown was at work. John A. Macdonald, realizing the essentially conservative character of the French-Canadians, sought to form a coalition of the moderate Liberals in both provinces with what was left of the Conservative or Tory parties. Joining forces with George-Etienne Cartier, the most vigorous personality among the Canada
East members, he succeeded in forming an enduring coalition which eventually fused into a coherent party. In Canada West it retained for the next two generations a name which betokened its origin, the Liberal-Conservative party; but in Canada East "Liberal" faded out of name and policy, and this wing was frankly known as the Conservative party, or, in contrast to the Rouges, as the Bleus.
For ten years after the formation of the LiberalConservative party in 1854 it retained power except for two brief intervals. Yet as the years advanced, its margin of power vanished. Brown had not been able to unite the parties of Canada West under his own leadership, but he came near to uniting the electors of Canada West. The Reformers won seat after seat in the West, leaving Macdonald in a hopeless minority in his own region, more and more dependent upon the solid cohorts which followed his colleague, Cartier. At last the two parties and, what was more serious, the two parts of the province, stood dead-locked. Neither could attain a secure or adequate majority, and the personal bitterness and intrigue, the wide-spread corruption, and the naked sectional controversy which resulted, . made a change imperative. The union experiment had, indeed, greatly improved the situation that existed in 1837, thanks to the solvent power of liberty, but it had not secured complete success. The relations between the colony and the mother country and between the two races in Canada itself had bettered, but neither the harmonizng of East and West nor the stability
of parties which was essential for its success, had been attained. A real federation, which would make it possible to give each region control of the matters most closely affecting it, and yet retain common action in affairs of common interest, was the only way out.
The coalition did not prove lasting; before Confederation was enacted, Brown was out of the cabinet in which he found himself far from master, and though a few Liberal leaders from each province joined forces with Macdonald, they carried with them little popular support and soon faded into the Conservative party. Confederation began with a Conservative or Liberal Conservative government firmly entrenched in the administration not only of the new dominion, but of the provinces of Ontario and Quebec, into which the old province of Canada had been divided.
guided their followers into more moderate ways. And particularly when Wilfrid Laurier became a member, the party had thrown overboard most of its youthful indiscretions, though kind friends always insisted on endeavoring to restore the abandoned political baggage. They had ceased to attack the priest's tithe or to call for annual parliaments or elective governors, and the annexationist sympathies they had shared with Montreal Tories had faded away under the influence of the prosperity reciprocity helped to bring, and observation of the troubles which slavery and the struggle as to state-rights were bringing upon the republic. But there remained a solid core of doctrine with which Laurier, like Dorion, was deeply and vehemently in sympathy. A passion for individual freedom and constitutional liberty, an abiding faith in the power of the people to work out their own salvation, were the moving forces of their political activity throughout the careers of both men, and made it inevitable that they would aline themselves with the party which, whatever its vagaries, did stand clearly for the fundamentals of liberalism.
It was not, then, from any desire to float with the tide that Wilfrid Laurier became an active member of the Liberal, or Rouge, party of Canada East. Nor was it from any temperamental sympathy with the extreme views and tendencies which had marked that party at its beginning. Laurier, like Dorion, was ever more of the Whig than of the Radical, moderate, judicial, respectful of precedent, aware of the difficulty of effecting sudden reforms that would be lasting. Yet Dorion and Laurier were in turn leaders of this most aggressively democratic party. The paradox is only seeming. Both men joined the party in their teens, when they had their share of youth's boundless hopes and sweeping judgments, and both in later years
IV. NATIONALIST STRUGGLES
Political ideals, forms of government, parties, and party traditions were not the only political inheritance which confederated Canada received from the Canada of the union era. The racial issue, the problem of contending nationalities, was an inescapable heritage, shaping and conditioning political activity at every turn. Canada had its