In focus

At the Legislative Assembly of Ontario

It is not until 1911 that Francophones in Ottawa elect one of their own to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. That honour goes to Conservative Napoléon Champagne, who is elected in Ottawa East. But things go awry in 1914, when Ottawa East voters cannot forgive him for the adoption of Regulation XVII, which essentially bans the teaching  in French in schools across the province. Napoléon Champagne is defeated by Liberal Joseph Albert Pinard, 2843 votes against 1978, despite the great patriotic speech Champagne delivers against his own party. Joseph Albert Pinard represents the riding until 1929.

Ottawa East remains in the Liberal hands until 1955, except for a short interlude from 1929 to 1933. Ottawa East voters then choose lawyer Louis Côté to represent them at Queen's Park. It is important to remember the context: he had, along with the other two members of the Merchant-Scott-Côté Commission investigating the effectiveness of teaching English in Ontario schools attended by Francophones, just recommended to the Government of Ontario that a bilingual education system be established for Franco-Ontarians. Louis Côté is appointed to the Senate in December 1933. After Napoleon-Antoine Belcourt, he is the second Franco-Ontarian senator to represent Ottawa in the Upper House.