Colonial government and the need for reform representative Government


Projects that would benefit the general public, not wealthy businessmen



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Projects that would benefit the general public, not wealthy businessmen

- Schools and roads

- Land reform

- Make laws that benefited the majority of the people


- A List of Grievances

- Land issues was the most frustrating of all for the settlers

- Speculators, who were mostly members of the Family Compact (oligarchies), controlled prime land and overpriced them, and so purchasing good land was difficult


- Crown and clergy reserves prevented development of roadways (no roads could pass through the randomly scattered pieces of Crown and clergy land)
- Settlers knew the Family Compact was to blame.

- Robert Gourlay, a Scottish land agent, conducted a survey to find out about the farmers’ thoughts. The results were shocking for him, and so he wrote a “List of Grievances” and petitioned for it. He was arrested and sent into exile. The government remained stubborn.


- However, the arrest of Gourlay sparked opposition of the Family Compact. Another Scot rose to the challenge. He was William Lyon Mackenzie. Unlike Gourlay, Mackenzie had political convictions and was genuinely interested in others. Mackenzie was argumentative, and often argued with other reformers, including Egerton Ryerson and Robert Baldwin. Ryerson and Baldwin wanted to negotiate, and debate with the government, but Mackenzie was more direct.
- Mackenzie openly published articles on a newspaper he bought, The Colonial Advocate. The members of the Family Compact attacked his offices but Mackenzie sued instead of backing down. Mackenzie became the leader of people who wanted radical change, and led the reform as he was appointed to the Legislative Assembly in 1828.
-Stirrings in Lower Canada

- Political problems in Lower Canada were technically more serious than those of Upper Canada.

- Captured French still had difficulties accustoming themselves to British rule. Educated French-Canadians were conflicted as they were forced to live without democracy, unlike the USA, which lived with democracy.
- The oligarchy of Lower Canada were all English, and only a few French-Canadians were connected with the oligarchy, all of them wealthy land owners.
- The seigneurial system of New France was slowly giving way.
- Seigneurial families in Lower Canada, along with the Church, had some influence in Lower Canada. Since the land in the St Lawrence River Valley had already been settled for centuries, there were no land issues, except in the northwest, and Eastern Townships
- French-Canadians had more to worry about; even though only one in seven people were English speaking, the English still had the advantage and most of the power.
- Feelings of Nationalism
- French-Canadians believed that Great Britain was trying to solve the “French-Canadian” problem by bringing in more English to Lower Canada. Also, disease-ridden Irish began arriving in Quebec, causing many to think that Britain was trying to reduce the French-Canadian population with disease.
- Most reformers in Lower Canada were French. Reformers’ efforts were perfunctory, as the government did not seem to care.
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