Antoine accompanied his grandfather to the House of Parliament in Quebec on Dufferin Avenue where there was a statue of’Honoré Mercier. Antoine asked,, his grandfather, who was only too happy to share his passion for histroy, ”Who was Honoré Mercier”
Antoine learned that Honoré Mercier was Premier of Quebec from 1887 to 1891. This was before his grandfather had been born, more than a hundred years before! Before becoming Premier, Honoré Mercier was a journalist and a lawyer, but he was always very interested in politics.
Honoré Mercier’s government put a lot of importance on colonization by creating, among others, the Department of Agriculture and Colonization. To make colonization easier, he ensured the completion of the railroads linking Quebec City and Lac St. Jean, including a link to Chicoutimi in 1893.
To rally Quebec’s French Canadians, Honoré Mercier founded a new political party known as the Parti National. He vigorously defended the autonomy of all of the provinces, something no other Quebec premier had not done since Confederation (1867). To help get the federal government to give the provinces greater respect, he called the first interprovincial meeting in Quebec in 1887. He invited each of the provincial premiers to come to discuss the question of provincial autonomy.
Why is there a statue of Honoré Mercier in front of the Quebec House of Parliament? Antoine could now answer: Honoré Mercier accomplished many things when he was Premier of Quebec.
Author: Service national du Récit de l’univers social
See also – Traces of the past: