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The Speakers of the Canadian House of Commons


Hon. Louis-Philippe Brodeur
P.C., K.C. (1901–1904)

A committed Liberal since he was a young man — he also served as Speaker of a mock parliament in the mid-1880s — Louis-Philippe Brodeur was an aggressive supporter of Sir Wilfrid Laurier outside and inside the House of Commons. First elected in 1891, he offered to resign his seat so that a defeated cabinet minister could run in his riding. His performance in the House led to Prime Minister Laurier’s appointing him Deputy Speaker five years later.

With the death of Speaker Sir James Edgar and the decision of Edgar’s successor Thomas Bain not to run in the 1900 election, Brodeur was the natural choice for Speaker in 1901. His nomination by Laurier was greeted by cheers in the House, and Leader of the Opposition and former Prime Minister Sir Charles Tupper expressed his party’s confidence in Brodeur.

The new Speaker presided over many lively debates in the House during the next three years, including problems concerning treaties and trade relations with the United States, the vexing question of Alaska’s boundary with Canada, and public statements by the Earl of Dundonald, General Officer Commanding the Canadian Militia, improperly challenging civilian control of Canada’s armed forces. The most difficult issue of all, however, proved to be the government’s transportation policy concerning a proposed second transcontinental railway (which would dominate the 1904 general election). In general, MPs were satisfied with Brodeur’s impartiality.

In January 1904 the Prime Minister decided that he needed Brodeur in his Cabinet; the Speaker resigned and was sworn in as Minister of Inland Revenue. He soon came to be regarded as Laurier’s Quebec lieutenant, until recurring illness ended his political career in 1911. Laurier appointed him to the Supreme Court of Canada, where he served until illness forced him to retire in 1923. Prime Minister Mackenzie King then recommended to the Governor General that Brodeur be appointed Lieutenant-Governor of Quebec. He died in office two months later.

As a cabinet minister, in 1910 Brodeur was responsible for the creation of the Naval Service of Canada, renamed the Royal Canadian Navy the next year.

Next Speaker: Hon. Napoléon Antoine Belcourt

Previous Speaker: Thomas Bain

Artist: Ozias Leduc
Date: 1904

Born: Beloeil, Canada East, 1862

Died: City of Québec, Quebec, 1924

Professional Background:
Law, Journalism

Political Affiliation: Liberal

Political Record:

Prime Minister During Speakership: