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Biography of the Day

HÉBERT, LOUIS-PHILIPPE – Volume XIV (1911-1920)

d. 13 June 1917 in Westmount, Que.


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


Sir Wilfrid LAURIER practised political patronage, particularly in Quebec: 

“To keep the upper hand in his government and his party, Laurier never forgot one key factor: patronage. He put it to every conceivable use: to show gratitude to a friend, draw an opponent into his camp, or get rid of an unwanted member of his inner circle. He attended to every detail, even to assigning a post office to a village. He played this role in Quebec especially, noting in 1899 that there he was ‘the first and the last judge.’ With the English-speaking provinces, he usually signed documents after the decisions had been made by the regional ministers. In this way, little by little, Laurier shrewdly wove an effective network of reliable friends and loyal organizers.”


However, although he himself was above any suspicion of corruption, Laurier received support from the Liberal Party to ensure his financial security:

“The financial security Laurier wanted so badly would become his after the election of 23 June 1896, which brought him to power in Ottawa. The next day William Mulock*, the mp for York North in Ontario, asked his authorization to raise a fund of $50,000 to $100,000 to keep him free of financial worries for the rest of his life. Laurier accepted, just as in 1897 he would accept the Liberal party’s offer of a luxurious home in Ottawa.”


To learn more about the practice of patronage under Laurier’s administration, we invite you to consult the following biographies.

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