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  • Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine and Robert Baldwin

    First published in 2010 by Penguin Books as part of Extraordinary Canadians Published in Canada (English), Canada (Français),


     Canada has no better interpreter than prolific writer and thinker John Ralston Saul. Here he argues that Canada did not begin in 1867; indeed, its foundation was laid by two visionary men, Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine and Robert Baldwin. The two leaders of Lower and Upper Canada, respectively, worked together after the 1841 Union to lead a reformist movement for responsible government run by elected citizens instead of a colonial governor

    But it was during the "Great Ministry" of 1848—51 that the two politicians implemented laws that created a more equitable country. They revamped judicial institutions, created a public education system, made bilingualism official, designed a network of public roads, began a public postal system, and reformed municipal governance. Faced with opposition, and even violence, the two men— polar opposites in temperament—united behind a set of principles and programs that formed modern Canada. Writing with verve and deep conviction, Saul restores these two extraordinary Canadians to rightful prominence.


    John Ralston Saul at the statue of LaFontaine and Baldwin on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Canada (Photo: Cynthia Münster)
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