Étienne-Paschal Taché

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Sir Étienne Paschal Taché
Étienne-Paschal Taché.jpg
Born (1795-09-05)5 September 1795
St. Thomas, Lower Canada
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St.Montmagny, Quebec
Occupation doctor, politician
Known for Father of Canadian Confederation

Sir Étienne-Paschal Taché (5 September 1795 – 30 July 1865) was a Canadian doctor, politician and one of the Fathers of Confederation.[1]

Born in St. Thomas, Lower Canada, in 1795, the third son of Charles Taché and Geneviève Michon, Taché studied at the Séminaire de Québec until the War of 1812 when he joined the 5th battalion of the incorporated militia as an ensign. He was later promoted to lieutenant and fought in the Chasseurs Canadiens. During the war, he started studying to become a doctor and continued his studies in Philadelphia after the war. He obtained his medical license in 1819 and practiced medicine in Montmagny.

Taché was elected to the new Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada in 1841 as a member from Canada East (Quebec) and held numerous posts in successive administrations, including, for a time, Premier (1856-1857, 1864-1865).

At the time when the creation of the Canadian confederation was discussed, Taché actively participated in debates and expressed more conservative ideas in order to keep certain links with Britain. Therefore, ‘the Hon. Sir Etienne-Paschal Taché is recorded to having told the Confederation Debates, Confederation was imperative if Canadians ‘‘desired to remain British and monarchical, and … desired to pass our children these advantages’’ ’.[2] These ideas reflected the ideas of the conservative Parti Bleu (for which Taché was associcated with). Taché, therefore showed and defended the Canadian attachment to the British Empire, which was something vividly discussed prior to the formation of the BNA Act of 1867.

Vivid supporter of the British Crown, Taché expressed ideas of loyalty even before the debates of regarding the creation of Canada’s confederation: ‘in 1848, he delivered his famous idea of French-Canadian loyalty to the British crown: … ‘‘we will never forget our allegiance till the last cannon which is shot on this continent in defence of Great Britain is fired by the hand of a French-Canadian’’ ’.[3] This can certainly explain why Taché worked with Sir John A. Macdonald and other significant characters who were Fathers of the Confederation and who shared similar views. Therefore, these alliances led to the Great Coalition of 1864 – ‘a government led by Cartier, Brown and Macdonald under the premiership of a bleu elder statesman, Sir Étienne-Paschal Taché’[4] - responsible for the Canadian Confederation. For this matter, Taché presided of over the Quebec City conference of 1864.

Sir Étienne-Paschal Taché’s loyalty was even officially recognised as we he was ‘aide-de-camp to [ Queen Victoria ], [and] held the honorary rank of a Colonel in the army’.[5] Furthermore, he left an important legacy, not only regarding the formation of Canada, but also to the province of Quebec's heritage: 'Taché is widely credited with coining the provincial motto of Quebec, later adopted by the French-speaking Royal 22nd Regiment [...]: ‘Je me souviens’ (‘I remember’).'[6]

Taché's home in Montmagny, Quebec was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1990.[7]


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  2. Tom, and Rosalind Dixon, eds. Comparative constitutional law (Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing Limited, 2011), 145.
  3. Irma Coucil, Canada's Prime Ministers, Governors General and Fathers of Confederation (Markham: Pembroke Publishers, 2005), 170.
  4. Paul Romney, Getting it Wrong: How Canadians Forgot Their Past and Imperilled Confederation (Toronto: University of Toronto Press Incorporated, 1999), 93.
  5. James Pennington Macpherson, Life of the Right Hon. Sir John A. Macdonald, Volume 2 (St. John: Earle Publishing House, 1891), 63.
  6. Donald Lowry,'The crown, empire loyalism and the assimilation of non-British white subjects in the British world: An argument against ‘ethnic determinism’' The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History 31 No. 2 (2003), 103.
  7. Étienne-Paschal Taché House. Canadian Register of Historic Places. Retrieved 24 March 2012.


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Political offices
Preceded by Joint Premiers of the Province of Canada - Canada East
1855–1857 (with Sir Allan McNab, 1855–1856, and Sir John A. Macdonald, 1856–1857)
Succeeded by
Sir George-Étienne Cartier
Preceded by Joint Premiers of the Province of Canada - Canada East
1864–1865 (with Sir John A. Macdonald)
Succeeded by
Sir Narcisse-Fortunat Belleau

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