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The Speakers of the Senate of Canada


Hon. Auguste-Charles-Philippe-Robert Landry
K.C.S.G., K.C.H.S., B.A. (1911–1916)

Philippe Landry is one of the Senate’s few Speakers who can be described as loving “controversy and conflict” as a principle of debate: “he rejoiced in the storm of political life,” a fellow Conservative senator once commented.

Perhaps appropriately, Landry was also strongly attracted to a military career. A student of 16, he joined the Quebec Seminary’s cadet corps, and later his battalion was called into active service during the 1870 Fenian raids.

In 1873, he made his first foray into Quebec provincial politics, failing to be elected as a Conservative in a by-election but succeeding in the general election of 1875. The next year, however, the election was annulled because of illegal electoral activities and Landry was disqualified from running again at the provincial level for seven years. He then turned to federal politics, secured a seat at the next federal general election in 1878 and was re-elected in 1882. Before his defeat in 1887, he was known as a fierce and frequent debater in the House of Commons on behalf of the Conservatives.

In 1892, Prime Minister John Abbott nominated him for appointment to the Senate, where Landry immersed himself in religious and educational issues affecting Quebec and French-language education in Ontario. He published two books and at least nine pamphlets on these political disputes. Prime Minister Robert Borden appointed him Speaker in 1911; he resigned four and a half years later, in part because the federal government was reluctant to intervene in an Ontario controversy over separate schools.

In 1915, Landry’s rulings were often appealed and overturned by the chamber. At one point, Landry absented himself from the chair for several sitting days, because, as he stated on his return to the chamber, “I felt deeply the defection of Conservative friends which has been manifested by the hostile vote of some of them.” The following year he faced a motion of censure over his allegedly calling Liberal senators “fanatics.” Eventually, the motion was withdrawn and Landry resigned at the end of the session.

An advocate of progressive agriculture and livestock breeding, Landry gained international renown as the author of the standard text Traité populaire d’agriculture théorique et pratique.

Next Speaker: Hon. Joseph Bolduc

Previous Speaker: Hon. James Kirkpatrick Kerr

Portrait of the Honourable Auguste-Charles-Philippe-Robert Landry

Born: City of Québec, Canada East, 1846

Died: City of Québec, Quebec, 1919

Professional Background:
Agriculture, Military, Literature

Political Affiliation: Conservative

Political Record:

Prime Minister During Speakership: