This Québec lawyer was a descendent of immigrants from France who had arrived to settle la Nouvelle France in about 1740. His parents were fish merchants at Québec city.

Politics ran in the family. His fathe Jacques Cartier was elected to the legislature of lower Canada representing the lower Canada riding of Vercheres.

Georges Etienne CartierG.E. Cartier was born at Saint-Antoine-sur-Richelieu, one of eight children.
According to the Dictionary of Canadian biography, he and his brother Franc-Damien Cartier eventually practiced law together as partners. TO get there. G.-E. enrolled in Montréal college run by Catholic priests. In 1831, he started his legal training, but as illnesses articling., With a metronome lawyer by the name of Etienne Rodier.

Cartier's first name was Georges, sometimes prsnted in the English spelling without the final s as in "George". However, in other documents, his firtst name is presented with the French spelling "Georges" as in Georges Étienne Cartier.

Georges-Etienne Cartier was called to the bar and authorized practice law in November 1835.

Almost from the get-go, he was active in local politics, some of which would stay with him for the rest of his life as Québec was then in the midst of some civil disorder with some Quebeckers even calling for a revolution presumably to separate from the colonial link with England including a battle the firearms that took place on November 22. Because of these activities, he became a wanted man and had to go into hiding for several months, accused of treason, able only to return to his practice of law in 1839.

He was elected to the legislative assembly of the United colony of Canada in 1848. But kept his law practice going on the side which led him to face accusations of conflict of interest when he received the lucrative retainer from the grand trunk Railway company.

His heart remain in Québec politics and he was a founding member of the separatist Société Saint-Jean Baptiste. In 1849, with the seat of the United Parliament then being in Montréal, a riot broke out at a legislative building was burned down.
As the years passed on, Cartier was reelected time and time again. When John a MacDonald was asked to form a government in 1856, he asked Cartier to become Atty. Gen. for Canada East, thus forming a lifelong close bond with Sir John a. Concurrently, he frequently battled, winning and losing in the polls, his nemesis Antoine-Aime Dorion, the apparent leader of the Reform Party in the province of Québec (the Reform Party later renamed the liberal party of Canada).

A key member of MacDonald's political team, Cartier was front and center as MacDonald navigated the combined British North America colonies into a confederation after many years of negotiations with the colonial office in London, England. Significant components of those ago stations were led by Cartier in London including direct talks with Queen Victoria. He once said:
"We must either have a Confederation of British North America or else be absorbed by the American Confederation."

In 1867, a number of Canadians who had participated in the Confederation negotiations were offered knighthoods or other aristocratic peerages by Queen Victoria. Cartier declined it.

In the years after Confederation as the reformers and Tories alternated in power and, again, according to the Dictioonary of Canadian biography:
"From 1867 until his death, Cartier was Macdonald’s principal lieutenant, and often replaced him as prime minister and leader of the government in the House of Commons."

In 1868, he negotiated the purchase of all the land then belonging to the Hudson's Bay Company by Canada paving the way for the creation of the province of Manitoba. In 1871, while Sir John A. was ill,r r Cartier took the lead in successfully getting the colony of British Colombia to join Confederation. This was done by several concessions most important of which was to promise the people of British Columbia that a railway line would be built to link them to the Atlantic Ocean.

In the aftermath of this arrangement, corporations were formed to build the Canadian Pacific Railway Company and rules were bent and bribes were made including the payment of $85,000 to Cartier.

In 1872, Cartier was beaten at the polls and decided to you the opportunity to travel to London to get medical treatment for Bright's disease. I can Ottawa, on May 20, 1873, shortly after the transatlantic telegraph system and begun, Sir John A. MacDonald receive news the cards he had died in London. His remains were returned to Canada and are buried at the Côte-des-Neiges Cemetery in Montréal.


Bonefant, J.-C., CARTIER, Sir GEORGE-ÉTIENNE as published in the dictionary of Canadian biography.