Rodolphe Lemieux

Rodolphe Lemieux, PC FRSC (November 1, 1866 September 28, 1937) was a Canadian parliamentarian and long time Speaker of the House of Commons of Canada (1922–1930).

The Hon.

Rodolphe Lemieux
16th Speaker of the House of Commons
In office
March 8, 1922  June 2, 1930
MonarchGeorge V
Governor GeneralBaron Byng of Vimy
The Earl of Willingdon
Prime MinisterWilliam Lyon Mackenzie King
Arthur Meighen
Preceded byEdgar Nelson Rhodes
Succeeded byGeorge Black
Senator for Rougemont, Quebec
In office
June 3, 1930  September 28, 1937
Appointed byWilliam Lyon Mackenzie King
Preceded byGeorges-Casimir Dessaulles
Succeeded byElie Beauregard
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Gaspé
In office
Preceded byLouis-Zéphirin Joncas
Succeeded byLouis-Philippe Gauthier
In office
Preceded byLouis-Philippe Gauthier
Succeeded byMaurice Brasset
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Maisonneuve1
In office
Preceded byAlphonse Verville
Succeeded byClément Robitaille
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Rouville
In office
Preceded byLouis-Philippe Brodeur
Succeeded byThe electoral district was abolished in 1914.
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Nicolet2
In office
Preceded byGeorges Ball
Succeeded byCharles Ramsay Devlin
Personal details
Born(1866-11-01)November 1, 1866
Montreal, Canada East
DiedSeptember 28, 1937(1937-09-28) (aged 70)
Political partyLiberal
CabinetSolicitor General of Canada (1904–1906)
Postmaster General (1906–1911)
Minister of Labour (1906–1909)
Minister of the Naval Service (1911)
Minister of Marine and Fisheries (1911)
PortfolioSpeaker of the House of Commons (1922–1930)
1Elected for Gaspé and for Maisonneuve. Sat for both ridings.
2Resignation. Elected for Gaspé and for Nicolet. Chose to sit for Gaspé.

He was born in Montreal as the son of a Customs officer. After a career as a journalist, lawyer and law professor he was elected to the House of Commons of Canada in the 1896 election as a Liberal. He was a loyal follower of Sir Wilfrid Laurier and, in 1904 became Solicitor General of Canada in Laurier's Cabinet. He subsequently served as Postmaster General of Canada, Minister of Labour and Minister of Marine and Fisheries. His Deputy Minister in the Department of Labour was future Prime Minister of Canada, William Lyon Mackenzie King.

As Minister of Labour he started a system in which no strike or lockout in a public utility or mine could be legal until the differences had been referred to a three-man board of conciliation representing the employer, the employees and the public.

In 1907, Laurier sent Lemieux to Japan to defend Canadian immigration policies which were discriminatory against the Japanese. He succeeded in obtaining an agreement from Japan to curtail emigration of its citizens to Canada.

He also continued in his academic pursuits, becoming a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1908 and President of the Society in 1918.

In the 1911 election, Lemieux engaged in a series of public debates before audiences of several thousands with nationalist leader Henri Bourassa who was threatening the Liberal's base in Quebec. The Liberals retained a majority of seats in the province but lost government because of its loss of seats in Ontario.

Lemieux was a sharp critic of the Conservative government of Robert Borden accusing it of putting the interests of the British Empire ahead of those of Canada.

During World War I, Lemieux opposed conscription and supported Laurier during the Conscription Crisis of 1917.

When Mackenzie King led the Liberals back to power in the 1921 election, he chose Ernest Lapointe as his Quebec lieutenant rather than Lemieux. Instead, he nominated Lemieux as Speaker of the House of Commons. Lemieux presided over the House during several minority governments.

He was Speaker during the King-Byng Affair of 1926. He remained Speaker when Governor General Byng appointed Arthur Meighen as Prime Minister rather than call an election.

He attempted to rule in a neutral manner despite the highly charged atmosphere, and all but one of his rulings were sustained by the House. Instead Lord Byng invited the Conservatives to form a government. In spite of assurances of support from the Progressive Party, the Conservatives were unable to maintain control of the House. Lemieux had to make several crucial rulings. Five were appealed and one was overturned.

Lemieux presided over three successive Parliaments and was the longest serving Speaker until Lucien Lamoureux broke the record in 1974.

On June 30, 1930, King appointed Lemieux to the Senate of Canada, where he served until his death in 1937.

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