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George-Étienne Cartier

The Honourable Sir George-Étienne Cartier, KBE, PC (September 6, 1814May 20, 1873) was a French-Canadian statesman and Father of Confederation. The English spelling of the name, George, is explained by his having been named in honour of King George III.

Cartier was born in Saint-Antoine, Quebec (then known as Lower Canada). He studied law and in 1835 worked as a lawyer and also became involved in the railway business. Cartier became active in politics in 1848 when he was first elected He fought with Louis-Joseph Papineau in the Patriotes Rebellion of 1837, and was forced into temporary exile in Vermont. He practised law when he returned and was elected to the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada in 1849. In 1852 he supported the creation of the Grand Trunk Railway, and from 1858 to 1862 he served as premier of the united province. He was a loyal and devoted friend of John A. Macdonald, for whom he secured power in lower Canada. In 1864 Cartier and Macdonald joined the Great Coalition with George Brown.

He attended all three conferences (Quebec, Charlottetown, and London) leading to Canadian Confederation, and was largely responsible for gaining French-Canadian support for union.

George-Étienne Cartier died in London. His body was brought back to Canada, and interred in the Cimetière Notre-Dame-des-Neiges in Montreal, Quebec.

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