- LaFontaine, Sir Louis Hippolyte, Baronet
born Oct. 4, 1807, Boucherville, Lower Canadadied Feb. 26, 1864, MontrealCanadian statesman.Called to the bar in Lower Canada in 1829, he began his political career the following year, when he was elected to the provincial assembly for Terrebonne. He supported French-Canadian grievances against the British but opposed the rebellions of 1837–38. After the union of Upper and Lower Canada in 1841, he became the leader of Canada East (formerly Lower Canada). Appointed joint prime minister with Robert Baldwin (1842–43, 1848–51), he established responsible (i.e., representative) government for Canada. His Rebellion Losses Bill to compensate property owners for damages in 1837–38 provoked riots in Montreal but affirmed the strength of the government.
* * *▪ prime minister of Canadaborn Oct. 4, 1807, Boucherville, Lower Canadadied Feb. 26, 1864, MontrealCanadian statesman, joint prime minister with Robert Baldwin of the united province of Canada in 1842–43 and again during the “great ministry” of 1848–51, when responsible, or cabinet, government was finally achieved.LaFontaine was called to the bar in Lower Canada in 1829, and a year later he began his political career when elected to the provincial assembly for Terrebonne. He supported the French-Canadian grievances against the British governor in chief, but he did not condone the Rebellion of 1837. With a second outbreak of rebellion in 1838, LaFontaine was imprisoned but released without trial.After the union of Upper and Lower Canada (1840) as Canada West and Canada East, LaFontaine took over the leadership of the French-Canadians. He declined the post of solicitor general offered by the first governor, Lord Sydenham, but responded to the request of the succeeding governor, Sir Charles Bagot, that LaFontaine form a ministry with Robert Baldwin, leader of the reformers in Canada West (now in Ontario). The ministry, formed in 1842, resigned within a year as a protest against the action of Bagot's successor, Lord Metcalfe. After four years in opposition, LaFontaine formed a new administration with Baldwin under Lord Elgin, and they successfully established responsible government in Canada. LaFontaine's Rebellion Losses Bill (1848), compensating those who suffered damages during the rebellion, precipitated riots in Montreal.He retired from office in 1851 and was appointed chief justice of Canada East and president of the seigneurial court in 1853. He was made a baronet in 1854. (His two sons died in infancy, and the baronetcy became extinct upon his death.)
* * *