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Towards Confederation

Le Canadien

Le Canadien was a French-language protest newspaper founded on November 22, 1806, by Pierre Bédard, François Blanchet, Jean-Thomas Taschereau, Joseph LeVasseur Borgia and Joseph Planté, among others. Its mission was to answer back to the English-language paper, The Quebec Mercury, to inform the French-Canadian people of their constitutional rights, and to speed up French Canada's growing awareness of its collective existence.

In a prospectus published November 13, 1806, the objectives of the new weekly were listed as: "To avenge the loyalty of their character (to Canadians) [...] to challenge the designs of the opposing party [...] to dispel the prejudice that this envious party nourishes in the minds of a number of former subjects of His Majesty."

Le Canadien was mainly a nationalist political paper, the mouthpiece for the majority at the Legislative Assembly. In an attempt to silence the Canadian Party forever, Governor Craig imprisoned the chief editors of Le Canadien on March 18, 1810, had the offices ransacked and the presses seized.

For many years, Le Canadien continuously hammered away at the key ideas dominating the constitutional debate: a ministry where the majority of elected officials in the House of Assembly would be represented, and the right of the House to reprimand councillors, to make them pay for their mistakes, and to control the public purse. Through this newspaper, the affirmation of the "Canadian nation" was expressed and became more widespread.