Sir George-Étienne Cartier

Sir George-Étienne Cartier, co-premier of the Province of Canada, lawyer, rebel, railway promoter, politician, Father of Confederation (born 6 September 1814 in Saint-Antoine, Lower Canada; died 20 May 1873 in London, England).

Sir George-Étienne Cartier

September 06, 1814

Sir George-Étienne Cartier, 1871.

Sir George-Étienne Cartier 

Birth of Sir George-Étienne Cartier

Sir George-Étienne Cartier was born to a wealthy family of grain exporters and millers in Saint-Antoine, Lower Canada. A key architect and Father of Confederation, Sir George-Étienne Cartier led Québec into Confederation and helped negotiate the entry of the Northwest Territories, Manitoba, and British Columbia into Canada.

June 24, 1834

Sir George-Étienne Cartier 

St-Jean-Baptiste Society

The St-Jean-Baptiste Society was founded by journalist Ludger Duvernay, who wanted to stimulate a nationalist spirit among his compatriots and encourage them to defend their linguistic and cultural heritage.

January 01, 1835

Sir George-Étienne Cartier 

Cartier Called to the Bar

A graduate of the Sulpician Collège de Montréal, in 1835 George-Étienne Cartier was licensed to be a lawyer.

January 01, 1837

Rebellions of 1837, Lower Canada

Sir George-Étienne Cartier 

Cartier Fights in Rebellions of 1837

In 1837 at Saint-Denis, George-Étienne Cartier fought bravely alongside Wolfred Nelson and the rebels as they successfully routed Colonel Charles Gore's force of British regulars in the Rebellions of 1837.

January 01, 1841

Sir Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine

Sir George-Étienne Cartier 

Cartier Becomes Active in Politics

In 1841 Sir George-Étienne Cartier became Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine's campaign manager and right-hand man. The two were dedicated to reforming the Civil Code and restoring the Assembly of the Province of Lower Canada, where French Canadians held a majority and which had been nullified by the Act of Union (1840).

February 10, 1841

Act of Union

Sir George-Étienne Cartier 

Act of Union in Effect

The Act of Union came into effect, uniting Upper and Lower Canada into the Province of Canada, a legislative union with 84 members divided equally between Canada East and Canada West.

January 01, 1843

Sir George-Étienne Cartier 

Cartier Appointed Secretary of the Saint-Jean-Baptiste Society

Sir George-Étienne became secretary of the reorganized Saint-Jean-Baptiste Society in 1843.

January 01, 1848

Sir George-Étienne Cartier 

Cartier Elected

Sir George-Étienne Cartier was elected as a Liberal Reformer to the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada in 1848, in Verchères, Québec. He was soon brought into Cabinet.

January 01, 1857

Sir George-Étienne Cartier 

Cartier Serves as Co-Premier

Sir George-Étienne Cartier served as co-premier with John A. Macdonald in the Union parliaments of 1857–58 and 1858–62, in which ministry he set in motion the movement toward Confederation.

September 01, 1864

Delegates of the Charlottetown Conference, Prince Edward Island, 1864.

Sir George-Étienne Cartier 

Cartier Attends Charlottetown Conference

At the Charlottetown Conference in 1864, Sir George-Étienne Cartier led the Canadian case for a great confederation of all the colonial provinces, inspiring the Maritime delegates with a commitment to build the Intercolonial Railway.

October 10, 1864

Québec Conference, 1864

Sir George-Étienne Cartier 

Cartier Attends Québec Conference

At the Québec Conference, Sir George-Étienne Cartier argued for the creation of a new “political nationality,” and denounced Rouge leader A.A. Dorion’s contention that French Canada would be better off joining the United States, by stating that French interests could be preserved under the proposed Confederation.

January 01, 1868

Sir George-Étienne Cartier 

Cartier Facilitates the Transfer of Rupert's Land

In 1868–69, Sir George-Étienne Cartier and William McDougall negotiated in London for the transfer of the HBC territory of Rupert's Land and the North-Western Territory to the Dominion.

January 01, 1870

Canadian Pacific Railway

Sir George-Étienne Cartier 

Cartier Encourages BC to Join Confederation

Sir George-Étienne Cartier welcomed British Columbia delegates John Sebastian Helmcken, Joseph Trutch and Robert Carrall to Ottawa in June 1870, and promised them a transcontinental railway if British Columbia joined Confederation (the delegates had planned only to ask for a wagon road east).

May 12, 1870

Sir George-Étienne Cartier 

Cartier Helps Draft Manitoba Act

Sir George-Étienne Cartier sympathized with the Métis, and played a key role in negotiating their acceptance of provincehood through their emissary, Abbé Ritchot. After passage of the Manitoba Act on 12 May 1870, Cartier sent Adams Archibald and many of his own hand-picked men to administer the new province.

January 01, 1872

Sir George-Étienne Cartier 

​Cartier Loses His Seat

Sir George-Étienne Cartier’s plans to make Montréal a transcontinental trading terminus were opposed by rival railway promoters in Boston and Philadelphia. These promoters wanted to tap into the trade of the Canadian north-west by railway lines crossing the border. They heavily financed Cartier’s political rival in Montréal East, Louis-Amable Jetté of the short-lived Parti national, leading to Cartier’s defeat in 1872. Louis Riel quickly offered to resign his own seat in Manitoba, and Cartier soon became the MP for Saint Boniface.

April 02, 1873

Pacific Scandal Political Cartoon

Sir George-Étienne Cartier 

Pacific Scandal Revealed

The Liberals broke news of the Pacific Scandal in Parliament. A spate of damaging letters and telegrams appeared in Liberal newspapers in July.

May 20, 1873

Sir George-Étienne Cartier 

Death of Sir George-É. Cartier

Sir George-Étienne Cartier died of Bright's Disease in London, England.

November 05, 1873

Pacific Scandal Political Cartoon

Sir George-Étienne Cartier 

Pacific Scandal Forces Resignations

In the Pacific Scandal, the Macdonald government resigned over the evidence that members of the government had accepted campaign funds from Sir Hugh Allan in return for the Canadian Pacific Railway contract.