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Thomas Chase-Casgrain

The Honourable Thomas Chase-Casgrain

Thomas Chase-Casgrain, PC (28 July 1852 – 29 December 1916), also known as Thomas Casgrain, was a French-Canadian lawyer and politician. As a young attorney he became famous for his participation in the prosecution of Louis Riel.

He was born at Detroit in 1852, the son of Charles Eusèbe Casgrain, and studied at the Petit Séminaire de Québec and the Université Laval. He was admitted to the Quebec Bar in 1877 and received the Dufferin Silver Medal[1] in the same year. He was named professor of law at Université Laval two years later.

In 1885, he was named to the legal team representing the Crown in the trial of Louis Riel. Although the crown was represented by a large team including George Burbidge, Christopher Robinson, Britton Bath Osler and others, Casgrain was the only French-Canadian in the group. Pro-Riel sentiment in the province of Quebec was so strong that he was burned in effigy during at least one demonstration.

However, this did not prevent him from being elected in the Legislative Assembly of Quebec. He was elected for Quebec County in 1886 and for Montmorency in 1892. He was attorney general in the provincial cabinet from December 1891 to November 1892 and again from December 1892 to May 1896. He represented Montmorency as a Conservative Member of Parliament in the House of Commons of Canada from 1896 to 1904 and Quebec County from 1914 until his death from pneumonia at Ottawa in 1916. He was entombed at the Notre Dame des Neiges Cemetery in Montreal.[2] He served as Postmaster General from October 1914 until his death.

Electoral record

By-election on 7 November 1914
Party Candidate Votes
Conservative Thomas Chase-Casgrain acclaimed
1896 Canadian federal election: Montmorency
Party Candidate Votes
Conservative Thomas Chase-Casgrain 1,096
Liberal C. Langelier 1,046
1900 Canadian federal election: Montmorency
Party Candidate Votes
Conservative Thomas Chase-Casgrain 1,109
Liberal Philias Corriveau 1,056
1904 Canadian federal election: Montmorency
Party Candidate Votes
Liberal Georges Parent 1,292
Conservative Thomas Chase-Casgrain 1,035



  • "Thomas Chase-Casgrain". Dictionary of Canadian Biography (online ed.). University of Toronto Press. 1979–2016.
  • Biography from Assemblée nationale du Québec (in French)
  • Thomas Chase-Casgrain – Parliament of Canada biography

Inline citations

  1. ^ History of the Administration of the Earl of Dufferin in Canada, by William Leggo, Toronto: Lovell Printing and Publishing Company (1878), pg. 877
  2. ^ Répertoire des personnages inhumés au cimetière ayant marqué l'histoire de notre société (in French). Montreal: Notre Dame des Neiges Cemetery.

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Thomas Chase-Casgrain
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