In focus

“Father Charles”

From the time of the promulgation of Regulation 17, “Father Charles” as he is already casually known, insists on establishing a newspaper. Is there a better weapon to mobilize public opinion against these regulations that are the death knell for French language instruction in Ontario? A more effective way to rally French Ontario forces around a common resistance project? The publishing company of the future daily, the Syndicat d’Œuvres sociales Ltée, is founded in November, and the first issue of Le Droit appears in March 1913.

Father Charlebois holds the reins of the newspaper and remains its main moral authority throughout the duration of the school conflict. He is the one who ensures, day after day, that the front page and editorial of Le Droit come to the defence of French schools and the right of Francophones to live in their national language.

But the radicalism of Father Charlebois is not unanimously accepted. Several Francophone leaders in the capital advocate other strategies with respect to relations with the majority, and Charlebois is dismissed. In 1930, the Oblates remove him from Le Droit, and four years later they force him to leave both ACFÉO and the Ottawa region. He is transferred to a scholasticate in Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts in the Laurentians, where he holds the post of superior before dying in Montréal in 1945.