Honoré Mercier

7 April 2017

Honoré Mercier was a journalist, lawyer and politician who is recognized as a visionary who worked for the interests of Quebec and French Canadians during the time of Confederation. In 1934, the Honoré Mercier Bridge, which was named in his honour, became the fourth structure after the Victoria Bridge, the Lachine Bridge and the Jacques Cartier Bridge to connect the Island of Montreal to the South Shore.

Did you know that Honoré Mercier started out in journalism?

Born to an extremely patriotic  family, Mercier developed a love and pride for Quebec at a young age. Attracted by the law and journalism, Mercier first decided to try his hand in the newspaper business and began his career as the editor of Le Courrier de Saint-Hyacinthe. A few years later, he started studying the law. He very quickly opened his own firm and became known as the best criminal lawyer in Saint-Hyacinthe.

After the death of his first wife, he felt ready to dive into politics in 1871. Wanting to stay true to his convictions, he left the party after a debate about Francophone rights in New Brunswick, during which he called for unity among all Francophones in Canada . Barely two months later, the premier of Quebec, Henri -Gustave Joly de Lotbinière, asked Mercier to put his oratorial talents to good use and become the main spokesperson for the party. Elected to the National Assembly in June 1879, he soon became more popular than the premier. He himself became premier two years later and governed Quebec until 1891. He made his mark through his policy of provincial independence in response to the centralization of the federal government.

Throughout his time in office, Honoré Mercier helped Quebec evolve with projects like the railway from Québec City to Lac-Saint-Jean, the opening of an immigration office in Montreal, and the creation of a health board.

Today, a number of monuments stand in his honour, including a sculpture in front of the Québec City Parliament Building, on Honoré-Mercier Avenue .

Photo credit: BAnQ