“La fédération impériale, voilà notre ennemie”: Honoré Mercier and Public Opinion on Imperial Federalism as Seen Through the Montreal Press, 1885-1893
This thesis examines Québec Premier Honoré Mercier's (1887-1891) critique of imperial federalism from 1885-1893 and its impact on public opinion in Montreal by analysing press coverage. Hostility to imperial federalism was nurtured and maintained by Mercier's continuous, multi-pronged and organised critique. This opposition to imperial federalism has been overlooked as a key issue in Mercier's political strategy. Disappointment with Confederation and the centralising tendencies of the federal government, coupled with surging French-Canadian nationalism, allowed Mercier to successfully frame imperial federation as a threat to provincial autonomy and to French-Canadian survival. Mercier's strategy relied on rhetoric, spectacle and political savvy in a successful example of elite opinion formation. An 1890 motion in the Quebec Assembly condemning imperial federation and an 1892 oratory contest on Canada's future at Sohmer Park, in Montreal, are examined through Montreal press coverage to illustrate the effectiveness of Mercier's critique that transcended partisan and ethnic divisions.
URI for this recordhttp://hdl.handle.net/1974/27503
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