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Ernest Lapointe

Ernest Lapointe
Minister of Justice
Attorney General of Canada
In office
October 23, 1935 – November 26, 1941
Prime MinisterW. L. Mackenzie King
Preceded byGeorge Reginald Geary
Succeeded byJoseph-Enoil Michaud (acting)
In office
September 25, 1926 – August 6, 1930
Prime MinisterW. L. Mackenzie King
Preceded byEsioff-Léon Patenaude
Succeeded byHugh Guthrie
In office
January 30, 1924 – June 28, 1926
Acting: January 4, 1924 – January 29, 1924
Prime MinisterW. L. Mackenzie King
Preceded byLomer Gouin
Succeeded byHugh Guthrie (acting)
Secretary of State of Canada
In office
March 24, 1926 – June 28, 1926 (acting)
Prime MinisterW. L. Mackenzie King
Preceded byCharles Murphy (Acting)
Succeeded byGeorge Halsey Perley
In office
July 26, 1939 – May 8, 1940 (acting)
Prime MinisterW. L. Mackenzie King
Preceded byFernand Rinfret
Succeeded byPierre-François Casgrain
Member of Parliament
for Quebec East
In office
October 27, 1919 – November 26, 1941
Preceded byWilfrid Laurier
Succeeded byLouis St. Laurent
Member of Parliament
for Kamouraska
In office
February 12, 1904 – October 14, 1919
Preceded byHenry George Carroll
Succeeded byCharles-Adolphe Stein
Personal details
Born(1876-10-06)October 6, 1876
Saint-Éloi, Quebec, Canada
DiedNovember 26, 1941(1941-11-26) (aged 65)
Political partyLiberal
Spouse
Emma Pratte
(m. 1904)
RelationsArthur-Joseph Lapointe (nephew)
ChildrenHugues Lapointe
Alma materLaval University
OccupationLawyer

Ernest Lapointe PC MP (October 6, 1876 – November 26, 1941) was a Canadian lawyer and politician. A member of Parliament from Quebec City, he was a senior minister in the government of Prime Minister W. L. Mackenzie King, playing an important role on issues relating to legal affairs, Quebec and French-speaking Canada.

Education, early career

Lapointe earned his law degree from Laval University. He was called to the bar in 1898 and practiced law in Rivière-du-Loup and Quebec City.[1]

Enters politics

Lapointe was elected by acclamation to the House of Commons of Canada for the riding of Kamouraska as a Liberal through a by-election on February 12, 1904. Lapointe was later re-elected in the 1904, 1908, 1911, and 1917 federal elections.[1]

Lapointe resigned his seat in 1919 and successfully ran in the Quebec East seat vacated by former Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier, who died.[1]

King's cabinet minister and Quebec lieutenant

Justice Minister Ernest Lapointe with Canadian Ambassador to the United States Vincent Massey, and Quebec Premier Louis-Alexandre Taschereau at the White House in 1927.
Justice Minister Ernest Lapointe with Canadian Ambassador to the United States Vincent Massey, and Quebec Premier Louis-Alexandre Taschereau at the White House in 1927.

In 1921, Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King appointed Lapointe to his cabinet as minister of marine and fisheries. During his tenure as minister, Lapointe reduced tariffs. In 1924, Lapointe became minister of justice, and served in that position until the Liberals' defeat at the polls in 1930. However, the Liberals under King returned back to power in the 1935 federal election, and Lapointe once again regained his old post. From 1924 to 1930 as justice minister, Lapointe expressed his support for King's commitment to Canadian autonomy and accompanied him at the Imperial Conference of 1926. Lapointe also chaired the Canadian delegation in the discussions that led to the Statute of Westminster in 1931.[1]

Lapointe, 1936

Lapointe served as King's Quebec lieutenant and was one of the most important ministers in Cabinet. King did not speak French; he relied on Lapointe to handle important matters in the province. Lapointe gave a strong Quebecker voice to the cabinet decision, something that had not existed since the defeat of Laurier in 1911.[1][2]

In the late 1930s, Lapointe recommended that the federal Cabinet disallow several Acts passed by the Alberta Social Credit government of William Aberhart, arguing that Aberhart was attempting to grab too much power and encroach upon federal jurisdiction.

Lapointe did not recommend disallowance of the Padlock Act passed by the Quebec government of Maurice Duplessis, fearing that doing so would only aid the Union Nationale government.[1][3]

Conscription issue

Lapointe helped draft Mackenzie King's policy against conscription for overseas service in 1939, and his campaigning helped defeat the Duplessis provincial government in 1939. During the 1939 provincial election, Lapointe made many speeches in the province of Quebec, in which he argued that if Duplessis was to be re-elected, every French Canadian minister would resign from the federal cabinet, leaving it without a francophone voice. Having been a Liberal MP during the 1917 conscription crisis, Lapointe knew how much a new crisis like the last one would destroy the national unity that Mackenzie King had tried to build since 1921. Duplessis lost in a landslide to Liberal Party of Quebec leader Adélard Godbout, who sought to co-operate with the federal government.[1]

Death

Lapointe died in office in 1941, in the midst of the war. King decided to appoint the reluctant Quebec leading lawyer Louis St. Laurent to the cabinet as the new minister of justice.[1]

Lapointe's son, Hugues Lapointe, served as a member of parliament from 1940 to 1957 and lieutenant governor of Quebec from 1966 to 1978.

Further reading

  • Betcherman, Lita-Rose. Ernest Lapointe: Mackenzie King's Great Quebec Lieutenant (2002). 435 pp.
  • MacFarlane, John. Ernest Lapointe and Quebec's influence on Canadian foreign policy (U of Toronto Press, 1999)
  • Neatby, H. Blair. "Mackenzie King and French Canada." Journal of Canadian Studies 11.1 (1976): 3+

Archives

There is an Ernest Lapointe fonds at Library and Archives Canada.[4]

Electoral record

By-election on 27 October 1919

On Laurier's death, 17 February 1919

Party Candidate Votes
Opposition (Laurier Liberals) Ernest Lapointe 6,222
Parti nationaliste François-Xavier Galibois 2,283
1921 Canadian federal election: Quebec East
Party Candidate Votes
Liberal Ernest Lapointe 9,005
Conservative Rodolphe-Alfred Drapeau 1,424
By-election on 19 January 1922

On Lapointe's acceptance of an office of emolument
under the Crown, 3 January 1922

Party Candidate Votes
Liberal Ernest Lapointe acclaimed
1925 Canadian federal election: Quebec East
Party Candidate Votes
Liberal Ernest Lapointe 9,193
Conservative Pierre Audet 6,366
1926 Canadian federal election: Quebec East
Party Candidate Votes
Liberal Ernest Lapointe 9,370
Conservative Pierre Audet 6,438
By-election on 2 November 1926

On Lapointe's acceptance of an office of emolument
under the Crown, 5 October 1926

Party Candidate Votes
Liberal Ernest Lapointe acclaimed
1930 Canadian federal election: Quebec East
Party Candidate Votes
Liberal Ernest Lapointe 11,822
Conservative Alleyn Taschereau 9,642
1935 Canadian federal election: Quebec East
Party Candidate Votes
Liberal Ernest Lapointe 15,557
Conservative Edgar Champoux 9,611
1940 Canadian federal election: Quebec East
Party Candidate Votes
Liberal Ernest Lapointe 17,914
  Independent Nationalist Paul Bouchard 12,302

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Neatby, H. Blair (February 13, 2008). "Ernest Lapointe". Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved January 23, 2022.
  2. ^ Conrad Black, Rise to Greatness: The history of Canada from the Vikings to the present (2014) p 520
  3. ^ Creighton 1970, p. 225
  4. ^ "Ernest Lapointe fonds, Library and Archives Canada".

Bibliography

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Ernest Lapointe
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