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Sir George-Étienne Cartier

born: St. Antoine, Lower Canada, 6 September 1814
died: London, England, 20 May 1873
representing: Province of Canada
position: Pro-Confederation

Sir George-Étienne Cartier

George-Étienne Cartier was born in St. Antoine, Lower Canada to a wealthy family of millers and grain exporters. There is a strong possibility that his family could have descended from the great explorer Jacques Cartier.

George-Étienne Cartier received his education and later graduated from the Sulpician College de Montreal and was called to the bar 1835. After his acceptance to the bar he became good friends with Jean Louis Papineau and, through this relationship, took part in the Papineau-MacKenzie rebellion in 1837. For his role in the rebellion he was exiled from Canada only to return to Canada several years later.

Cartier was both a member of the radical group Fils de la Liberté and secretary of the reorganized St-Jean Baptiste Society. His other interests lay in property and railway promotion as well as in politics.

His political career was boosted through his work as right-hand man and campaign manager for Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine. In 1848 Cartier ran himself as a liberal reformer and was elected into the Canadian parliament. In 1861 he moved to Montreal East with the union of Upper and Lower Canada.

From 1857-62 Cartier served alongside John A. Macdonald as co-premier. During his second term in office he began the push towards Confederation. Through his work Cartier ensured Ottawa as the national capital, brought French Canada into Confederation, organized the purchase of the Hudson's Bay Company's Rupert's Land into the Dominion, and aided the completion of the Canadian Pacific and Grand Trunk Railways. He also served as Canada's first militia minister and during John A. Macdonald's illness he acted as prime minister of Canada.

RealVideo of George-Etienne Cartier as performed by Confederation Players

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