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Last revised:
23 August 2000

Les Québécois, le clergé catholique et l'affaire des écoles du Manitoba / Quebecers, the Catholic Clergy and the Manitoba School Question, 1890-1916

Formal Committment of Charles Fitzpatrick during the Elections of 1896

[Note from the editor: the document found below is typical of the type of pledge the liberal candidates of Quebec made during the elections of 1896. Following the joint pastoral letter of the bishops of Quebec that made it an obligation, under threat of mortal sin, to only support in the elections candidates that formally pledged themselves to bring justice to the catholics of Manitoba, all but three of the Liberal candidates of Quebec, signed commitments that were such that their electors could vote for them in the firm belief that justice would be rendered to the minority.

Charles Fitzpatrick [1853-1942], who had represented Louis Riel in 1885, was a member of the Legislative assembly of Quebec from 1890 to 1896. He was of the batch of Liberal candidates elected in Quebec in 1896. He became Sollicitor-General [1896-1902] and Minister of Justice [1902-1906] in the Laurier governments. In 1906, he was appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada. He was also Lieutenant-Governor of Quebec from 1918 to 1923. Fitzpatrick was fluently bilingual, was one of the most eminent Anglo-Quebecer to gain the confidence of his francophone electors and to represent Quebec in the federal government.]

"Completely prepared to set aside my party loyalty and any question of honour I may have to bring about the triumph of the Catholic cause of Manitoba, I, the undersigned, pledge, if elected, to follow in all details the Pastoral Letter of the bishops and to vote for a law that will render the justice the catholics of Manitoba have a right to expect by virtue of the decision of the Privy Council, provided that such a law would be approved by the bishops.

If Mr. Laurier gains power and does not solve this issue in conformity with the Pastoral Letter in the first session of parliament, I pledge to either withdraw my support for him or to resign.

Sainte-Marie, June 6, 1896.


Source: translated from Arthur Savaète, Voix canadiennes. Vers l'abîme. Tome VII, Les écoles du Nord-Ouest canadien, Paris, Arthur Savaète éditeur, [n.d.], 516p., p. 426.

© 2000 For the translation, Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College