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Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine and Robert Baldwin

(Extraordinary Canadians)

Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine and Robert Baldwin (Extraordinary Canadians)    
Format Hardcover
Catalogue No. 978-0-670-06732-9
Pages 254
Language English only
Price $26.00
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Written by John Ralston Saul.
Published by the Penguin Group (Canada), 2010.


John Ralston Saul argues that Canada did not begin in 1867; indeed, its foundation was laid by two visionary men, Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine and Robert Baldwin. The two leaders of Lower and Upper Canada, respectively, worked together after the 1841 Union to lead a reformist movement for responsible government run by elected citizens instead of a colonial governor.

But it was during the "Great Ministry" of 1848–51 that the two politicians implemented laws that created a more equitable country. They revamped judicial institutions, created a public education system, made bilingualism official, designed a network of public roads, began a public postal system, and reformed municipal governance. Faced with opposition, and even violence, the two men—polar opposites in temperament—united behind a set of principles and programs that formed modern Canada. Writing with verve and deep conviction, Saul restores these two extraordinary Canadians to rightful prominence.

"Two friends stood, as they often did, close together, quite still, occasionally exchanging quiet words inaudible to the others. In any case their words were muffled by the screams of rioters. It was early afternoon. A troop of professional infantry was holding the mob back, just out of sight at the top of Place Jacques-Cartier, only fifty metres down the street. The insults were easy enough to decipher. They were aimed at the two of them, Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine, the prime minister, and Robert Baldwin, his closest ally." – Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine and Robert Baldwin
Also available from the Extraordinary Canadians series:
Louis Riel and Gabriel Dumont
Maurice Richard
Tommy Douglas
Wilfrid Laurier

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This page last modified: May 3, 2011

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