|14th Speaker of the House of Commons of Canada|
January 12, 1916 – January 7, 1917
|Governor General||Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn|
The Duke of Devonshire
|Prime Minister||Sir Robert Laird Borden|
|Preceded by||Thomas Simpson Sproule|
|Succeeded by||Edgar Nelson Rhodes|
|Member of the Canadian Parliament|
|Preceded by||Joseph Alfred Ernest Roy|
|Succeeded by||Lucien Cannon|
|Born||December 31, 1881|
Tingwick, Quebec, Canada
|Died||May 14, 1961(aged 79)|
|Cabinet||Minister of Inland Revenue (1917-1918),|
Minister of Mines (acting) (1917),
Secretary of State of Canada (acting) (1917)
Life and careerEdit
Sévigny was born in Tingwick, Quebec. He opened a law practice in Quebec City in 1905. Two years later, he was a candidate for the Quebec Conservative Party in a provincial by-election, but was defeated. He was elected to the House of Commons of Canada in the 1911 federal election. His election was facilitated by an informal alliance between the Conservatives and the Nationalists led by Henri Bourassa because of Sevigny's sympathy with Bourassa's views.
In Parliament, Sevigny became a supporter of Canadian participation in World War I despite the strong opposition of most Quebecers, and became a staunch Conservative. He was appointed Deputy Speaker in 1915, and in 1916, he became Speaker of the House of Commons of Canada.
Prime Minister Robert Borden was facing an increasing divisive crisis over conscription with the country divided between English Canadians who supported the measure and French-Canadians who fervently opposed it. In early 1917, Borden asked Sevigny to leave the Speaker's chair and join the Cabinet to help the government persuade Quebecers of the government's case.
Borden formed a Union government with dissident Liberals and called a general election in 1917 on the conscription issue. The country divided largely along linguistic lines: the Conservative candidates were wiped out in Quebec in a rout that cost Sévigny his seat. Borden's coalition dominated the election in English Canada, however, and he was returned with a strong majority.