HISTORICAL EVENTS THAT TOOK PLACE ON THIS DAY IN CANADA
Robert Baldwin (1804-1858) Sir Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine (1807-1864)
Baldwin, Lafontaine Lead Reform Party to Victory
The first story in this book tells how Joseph Howe, Nova Scotian newspaper editor, fought and won a battle for freedom of the press. On January 24, 1848, "the Tribune," as he was called, played a part in the development that brought responsible government to Canada.
When Lord John Russell was British Colonial Secretary, Howe wrote letters to him which are now famous. He contended that the British Empire could hold together only if the colonies had their own responsible governments. In 1846 Lord Russell became prime minister and announced Britain's new colonial policy: "It is neither possible nor desirable to carry on the government of any of the British provinces in North America in opposition to the opinion of its inhabitants." Lord Elgin was sent to Canada as governor general with that principle as part of his instructions. It had already been relayed to Sir John Harvey, Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia, where Howe was leader of the Reform Party.
On January 24, 1848, the Reform Party led by Baldwin and Lafontaine won the general election in Canada. Thomas Raddall in his book The Path of Destiny says, "Baldwin and Lafontaine rode into power on a tide of Liberal votes—for there were no Reform votes any more: Reform had come."
Henceforth, the parliaments of Canada and the other British colonies would conduct their own affairs through the members elected by the voters. No longer would the governor interfere in political matters as Sir Charles Metcalfe had done only four years previously.
OTHER NOTABLE EVENTS ON THIS DAY IN CANADIAN HISTORY
-1797 The first session of the Assembly of Lower Canada opened and dealt with agreements with Upper Canada.
-1885 The C.P.R. telegraph was completed from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
-1903 Britain and the United States referred the Alaska boundary dispute to a committee of "impartial" judges. In October it made a decision which was unfavourable to Canada (see March 25).
-1923 George H. Murray resigned as Premier of Nova Scotia after twenty-seven years in office.
-1946 The Atomic Energy Commission of Canada was established and officially recognized.
-1955 A plan was announced to build the first Canadian atomic energy power plant at Rapides des Joachims, Ontario.