Joseph-Goderic Blanchet

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Joseph-Goderic (Joseph-Godric) Blanchet, (June 7, 1829 – January 1, 1890) was a Canadian physician and politician. He was the only person to serve as both Speaker of the House of Commons of Canada and Speaker of a provincial legislature. He represented Lévis in the House of Commons of Canada as a Liberal-Conservative member from 1867 to 1873 and from 1879 to 1883; he represented Bellechasse from 1875 to 1878. He also represented Lévis in the Legislative Assembly of Quebec from 1867 to 1875.

Joseph-Goderic Blanchet
JosephGodricBlanchet23.jpg
3rd Speaker of the House of Commons of Canada
In office
February 13, 1879 – February 7, 1883
MonarchVictoria
Governor GeneralThe Marquess of Lorne
Prime MinisterSir John A. Macdonald
Preceded byTimothy Warren Anglin
Succeeded byGeorge Airey Kirkpatrick
1st Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Quebec
In office
1867–1875
Preceded bynone
Succeeded byPierre Fortin
Member of the Canadian Parliament for Lévis
In office
1867–1874
Preceded bynone
Succeeded byLouis-Honoré Fréchette
In office
1878–1883
Preceded byLouis-Honoré Fréchette
Succeeded byIsidore-Noël Belleau
Member of the Canadian Parliament for Bellechasse
In office
1875–1878
Preceded byTélesphore Fournier
Succeeded byAchille Larue
Member of the Legislative Assembly of Quebec for Lévis
In office
1867–1875
Preceded bynone
Succeeded byÉtienne-Théodore Pâquet
Member of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada from Lévis
In office
1861–1866
Preceded byFrançois-Xavier Lemieux
Succeeded bylegislature abolished
Personal details
Born(1829-06-07)June 7, 1829
Saint-Pierre-de-la-Rivière-du-Sud, Lower Canada
DiedJanuary 1, 1890(1890-01-01) (aged 60)
Political partyLiberal-Conservative
Conservative
Conservative Party of Quebec
OccupationPhysician

He was born in Saint-Pierre-de-la-Rivière-du-Sud, Lower Canada in 1825. He studied at the Petit Séminaire de Québec and Collège de Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pocatière. He then studied medicine with his uncle Jean Blanchet and qualified as a doctor in 1850. A popular physician, Blanchet entered politics with his election as Mayor of Notre-Dame-de-la-Victoire, now part of Lévis Quebec (then Canada East) in 1845 at the age of 25. With the Province of Canada on military alert due to the American Civil War, Blanchet joined the militia and raised a battalion to defend the frontier against raids from the United States. During the Fenian Raids of 1866 and 1870, he was in command of the militia on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River.

Blanchet was a Conservative and first ran for election to the Legislative Assembly in 1857 but was defeated. He was elected to the Legislative Assembly for Lévis in 1861 and 1863. He supported Canadian Confederation as a means of defending British North America against possible attack by the United States.

He was concurrently elected in the 1867 federal election to the new House of Commons of Canada and to the Quebec Legislative Assembly. Under the law of the day, he was allowed to be a member of both legislatures at the same time.

He became Speaker of the provincial legislature and served in that position for two terms.

In the federal House of Commons, he was named by Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald to a committee investigating the Pacific Scandal.

The federal election law was changed in 1874 to prohibit Members of Parliament (MPs) from concurrently sitting in a provincial legislature. Blanchet chose to resign his seat in the federal House of Commons. After losing his seat in the Quebec legislature to the much younger Étienne-Théodore Pâquet in the 1875 Quebec provincial election, he won a federal by-election in 1875 and returned to Ottawa as MP for Bellechasse. In the 1878 federal election, he ran in his old riding of Lévis. The election returned the Conservatives to power, and Macdonald nominated Blanchet to be Speaker of the House of Commons.

Due to the tradition of alternating between English and French Speakers after each election, he returned to the backbenches following the 1882 election despite a successful term as Speaker. In 1883, he resigned from Parliament in order to accept a position as Collector of Customs for the Port of Quebec and served in that position until his death at Lévis in 1890 at the age of 70. He was buried in the crypt of Notre-Dame Church of Lévis.

By-election on 23 November 1875

Fournier appointed to the Supreme Court Bench

Party Candidate Votes
Conservative Joseph Goderic Blanchet 698
Liberal Achille Larue 443
Unknown Pierre Boutin 359

ReferencesEdit

  • "Joseph-Goderic Blanchet". Dictionary of Canadian Biography (online ed.). University of Toronto Press. 1979–2016.
  • Joseph-Goderic Blanchet – Parliament of Canada biography
  • "Biography". Dictionnaire des parlementaires du Québec de 1792 à nos jours (in French). National Assembly of Quebec.