In February and March 1849 when the LAFONTAINE-BALDWIN ministry passed the REBELLION LOSSES BILL, the opposition violently denounced the Act. On April 25, at the Tories' instigation, crowds of protesters opposed Governor General Lord ELGIN's sanction of this law; they threw stones and rotten eggs at his carriage. That evening, public protest turned into a riot: the mob invaded Parliament and set fire to the building. The riots involved thousands of people, lasted 2 days and included attacks on the private property of several Reform leaders, including LaFontaine and HINCKS. But Lord Elgin's endorsement of the majority decision in Parliament - in effect an affirmation of RESPONSIBLE GOVERNMENT - won the approval of most of the people and of the British government. Less than a month after the riots, however, it was decided that the seat of government should no longer be Montréal, which was considered too susceptible to ethnic tensions.
Author JEAN-PAUL BERNARD
Shawnadithit grew anxious waiting for her uncle, Longnon, to return to camp at the junction of Badger Brook and the Exploits River, deep in the wilds of Newfoundland...