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The Speakers of the Senate of Canada


Hon. Pierre Édouard Blondin
P.C. (1930–1936)

A Quebec notary, circuit court clerk, and alderman of Grand-Mère (now part of Shawinigan), Pierre Blondin’s experience prepared him well for election as a member of the House of Commons in 1908 at age 34. His oratorical gifts soon became apparent, and on his re-election in 1911, he was appointed Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons. Promotion to the Cabinet came in 1914, and other posts followed over the next seven years. Although he was defeated in the 1917 general election, he remained Postmaster General.

Blondin’s defeat occurred because of opposition in Quebec to conscription under the 1917 Military Service Act brought in by Conservative Prime Minister Sir Robert Borden. Blondin, however, believed that all Canadians should rally to the war effort; he personally raised the 258th Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force and commanded it overseas. The French government acknowledged his war service by awarding him the Légion d’honneur with the rank of Commander.

On Blondin’s return to Canada in 1918, Borden nominated him for appointment to the Senate, where he was Borden’s Quebec lieutenant and the chief French-Canadian supporter of the Union government until its defeat in December 1921.

Prime Minister R. B. Bennett appointed Blondin as Speaker of the Senate in 1930. He presided over many debates on major issues during the Great Depression, including the formation of the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission (later the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) in 1932, and the creation of the Bank of Canada in 1935.

Blondin’s Speakership ended in 1936, and he remained in the Senate until his death in 1943.

Blondin fought in the First World War, while he was still a member of the Cabinet, until being summoned back to Canada in 1918 to take a seat in the Senate.

Next Speaker: Hon. Walter Edward Foster

Previous Speaker: Hon. Arthur Charles Hardy

Portrait of the Honourable Pierre Édouard Blondin

Born: St-François-du-Lac, Quebec, 1874

Died: St-François-du-Lac, Quebec, 1943

Professional Background:
Law, Military

Political Affiliation: Conservative

Political Record:

Prime Minister During Speakership: