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POZER, GEORGE – Volume VII (1836-1850)

d. 16 June 1848 at Quebec


Responsible Government

Sir John A. Macdonald

From the Red River Settlement to Manitoba (1812–70)

Sir Wilfrid Laurier

Sir George-Étienne Cartier


The Fenians

Women in the DCB/DBC

The Charlottetown and Quebec Conferences of 1864

Introductory Essays of the DCB/DBC

The Acadians

For Educators

The War of 1812 

Canada’s Wartime Prime Ministers

The First World War

Cartier’s Use of Power


George-Étienne CARTIER was known for using an authoritarian style to attain his ends. Here is what his biographer says:

“[Cartier] was a great worker, a strong-willed man, sure of himself, almost overweening. He was a leader who imposed his will somewhat brutally.”


The judge and politician Louis-Victor SICOTTE was critical of Cartier, as noted in the former’s biography:

“Sicotte was not … a convert to the [Liberal-Conservative] party. Hence there is a bitter tone in his letters to Hector-Louis Langevin* when he speaks of Cartier and his manner of exercising power. ‘Friend Georges,’ he wrote one day, ‘has the knack of stirring up a storm over everything, and to this he owes the formation of three or four governments since 1855,’ and again, ‘It is the policy of M. Cartier and M. Macdonald to keep ambitious men constantly barking.’”


Having questioned Cartier’s loyalty towards French Canadians, judge and mla Thomas-Jean-Jacques LORANGER got a sharp response:

“… when a bill relating to registry offices was under discussion on 16 May 1860, Loranger accused Cartier of wanting to anglicize his compatriots. Cartier got angry and asked Loranger if he knew how he had had to work and to struggle against certain prejudices to carry through a host of measures favourable to French Canadians.”


In other situations, Cartier notably used his authority when appointing friends or supporters to key posts. Favouritism, which was engrained in the customs and political practices of the time, worked to the advantage of lawyer Louis BÉTOURNAY:

“[Bétournay] served on the Montreal city council from 1870 to November 1872. Created a qc in 1872, he was appointed, on 31 October of that year, through the influence of his law partner, Cartier, puisne judge of the Court of Queen’s Bench in the newly formed province of Manitoba.…”


Learn more about Cartier’s exercise of authority from the following biographies:

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