LORANGER, LOUIS-ONÉSIME, lawyer, politician, and judge; b. 7 April 1837 in Yamachiche, Lower Canada, son of Joseph Loranger (Rivard, dit Loranger), an innkeeper, and Marie-Louise Dugal; m. first 3 Oct. 1867 in Montreal Rosalie Laframboise, daughter of Maurice Laframboise* and Rosalie Dessaulles and great-niece of Louis-Joseph Papineau*; they had three sons and four daughters; m. there secondly 24 May 1888 Marie-Antoinette Valois, widow of Eugène Varin; d. 18 Aug. 1917 in Saint-Hilaire (Mont-Saint-Hilaire), Que., and was buried 21 August in Notre-Dame-des-Neiges cemetery in Montreal.
Louis-Onésime Loranger studied at the Petit Séminaire de Montréal from 1847 to 1851, and then at the Collège Sainte-Marie, also in Montreal, where he took the courses offered by the school of law that François-Maximilien Bibaud* had set up. Called to the bar of Lower Canada in May 1858, he practised in partnership with his two brothers, Thomas-Jean-Jacques* and Jean-Marie. He sat on the council of the Montreal bar, and in 1881 he was made a qc by the Marquess of Lorne [Campbell].
Although a Conservative in politics, Loranger on occasion adopted an independent stance. In 1864, for example, he was one of a group opposed to the proposed confederation of British North America; as soon as the new constitutional regime was in place, however, he accepted it, hoping it would be made to work as well as possible. In 1872 he backed the recently founded Parti National [see Honoré Mercier*; Sir Louis-Amable Jetté; Frédéric-Ligori Béïque*], which sought, in the interest of French Canadians, to bring together the best elements of the two existing political groups in Quebec; he ran for Laprairie as a Liberal in the federal elections that year, but was unsuccessful. He quickly rejoined the Conservative party and never left it again.
In 1874 Loranger acted as crown counsel in the inquiry into the Tanneries scandal [see Louis Archambeault*], which precipitated the dismissal of Gédéon Ouimet*’s Conservative government in September. The 1875 provincial elections saw Loranger elected as a Conservative to the Legislative Assembly for Laval, a riding he represented until he was put on the bench in August 1882. Premier Joseph-Adolphe Chapleau* asked him to join the cabinet as attorney general, an office he held from 31 Oct. 1879 till 31 July 1882. Loranger had been re-elected for Laval by acclamation in the general elections of 1878 and 1881, as well as in the by-election of 13 Nov. 1879 necessitated by his entry into the cabinet. He also enjoyed membership in the Club Lafontaine and the Club Cartier.
On 5 Aug. 1882 he was appointed a judge in the Superior Court of Quebec for the district of Montreal. When asked for legal advice, Loranger, always extremely methodical, would take meticulous notes on the matter at hand, as he did on all the decisions he had to render. He retired on 24 May 1909.
In the course of his career he was active on the municipal scene as the representative of Saint-Louis ward on the Montreal city council from 1871 to 1877. He was also deeply involved in the French Canadian nationalist movement, particularly through the Association Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Montréal. In 1874 the leaders of the association restructured it, giving the regions greater importance. That year Loranger was made chairman of the organizing committee for the celebrations on 24 June, which for the first time were to bring together, in Montreal, all the Saint-Jean-Baptiste societies in Canada and the United States [see Ferdinand Gagnon*]. The event, which featured a succession of plays, banquets, and ceremonies, proved successful, all the credit being given to Loranger. Later he became vice-president of the association from 1889 to 1892 and president from 1895 to 1899.
Furthermore Loranger was president of Notre-Dame Hospital in 1906 and a governor of the Université Laval in Montreal from 1906 until his death, which took place at his summer residence in Saint-Hilaire on 18 Aug. 1917. He was 80 years old.
At his funeral, held in Notre-Dame church in Montreal, many leading figures paid a final tribute to Loranger, among them senators Béïque and Raoul Dandurand*; Archbishop Paul Bruchési* of Montreal gave the absolution. Contemporaries were unfailing in their praise of his tact, his logical and sharp mind, and his diplomacy. According to historian Pierre-Georges Roy*, although he had been in politics only a short time he had been one of Premier Chapleau’s most able colleagues.
AC, Montréal, État civil, Catholiques, Cimetière Notre-Dame-des-Neiges (Montréal), 21 août 1917. ANQ-M, CE1-51, 3 oct. 1867, 24 mai 1888; P-130. ANQ-MBF, CE1-52, 7 avril 1837. Arch. de la Ville de Montréal, D016.529 (dossier hist., L-O. Loranger). Bibliothèque de l’Assemblée Nationale (Québec), Service de la recherche, dossiers des parlementaires. La Presse, 20, 21 août 1917. Canadian men and women of the time (Morgan; 1898 and 1912). L-O. David, Mes contemporains (Montréal, 1894), 255–60. I-J. Deslauriers, La Cour supérieure du Québec et ses juges, 1849–1er janvier 1980 (Québec, 1980). DPQ. Political appointments, parliaments, and the judicial bench in the Dominion of Canada, 1867 to 1895, ed. N-O. Coté (Ottawa, 1896), 345, 352. P.-G. Roy, Les juges de la prov. de Québec. Robert Rumilly, Hist. de la prov. de Québec, vols.1–6; Histoire de la Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Montréal: des patriotes au fleur-delisé, 1834–1948 (Montréal, 1975), 169–73, 178. Souvenir du 24 juin 1874 (Montréal, 1874).