Etienne Parent

(1802—1874) journalist and politician in Canada

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(1802–74), journalist, member of the assembly, civil servant. Appointed editor of Le Canadien at the age of 20, Parent became an important and influential supporter of the Parti patriote and its republican program before dramatically breaking with Louis-Joseph Papineau in the fall of 1836 over what he saw as the movement's annexationist tendencies. His moderate stance allowed Le Canadien to continue publishing through the rebellions, but did not protect him from being jailed for criticizing the government's policy of violent repression. Parent continued to write from his cell, advocating responsible government, criticizing Durham's Report and proposals to assimilate the French Canadians. Initially opposed to the Union Act, Parent was elected to the legislature in 1841 and in 1842 began a 30-year career as a senior civil servant with the Canadian government. A series of remarkable lectures in the 1840s and 1850s, most notably L'Industrie considérée comme moyen de conserver notre nationalité (1846), urging French Canadians to participate in the new industrial economy, cemented his reputation as a forward-looking yet moderate liberal. Many historians consider Parent an important exponent of a moderate liberal tradition that would find its fullest expression 30 years later in the thought of Wilfrid Laurier.

From The Oxford Companion to Canadian History in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: History of the Americas.

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