Louis-Alexandre Taschereau


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(1867–1952), Quebec premier 1920–36. Born into the judicial elite of Quebec City, Taschereau made a name for himself as a lawyer. In 1900 he was elected to Quebec's legislative assembly as Liberal member for Montmorency, which he represented until 1936. His intellectual abilities, judgment, and sense of duty led Lomer Gouin to give him a portfolio in 1907 and, when he resigned as premier in 1920, to entrust the succession to him. Taschereau's government was characterized by financial management centred on a balanced budget; support for education, highways, and industrialization based on the massive entry of foreign capital; and support for big business. Agriculture suffered, to the displeasure of French-Canadian nationalists, and, disregarding accusations of anticlericalism, in 1921 he created the liquor commission and introduced the public assistance law, thus greatly troubling the clergy. A partisan of provincial autonomy, he resisted the erosion of the province's powers and followed a moderate policy on national unity. The Depression of the 1930s nevertheless brought down his government amid accusations that, among other things, it was corrupt and too closely tied to the trusts. Taschereau was unable to adapt his predominantly classic liberalism to the new situation; for example, he rejected socio-economic reform and nationalization of hydroelectricity. His party split and lost several promising young members, who founded the Action libérale nationale in 1934.

From The Oxford Companion to Canadian History in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: History of the Americas.

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