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The Great debate of 1874
Sir Wilfrid Laurier gave his first speech in French, as a member of the House of Commons, on March 30, 1874. The central debate during that session of Parliament was about Louis Riel. Laurier’s talent for oratory was immediately evident.
The second clip is about the Laurier-Greenway agreement, one of the many compromises Laurier engineered as Prime Minister. Signed in 1897, this agreement had been generating discussion among the Francophones, Anglophones, Catholics and Protestants in Manitoba since 1890.
The South African War
The South African War (1899-1902), also known as the Boer War, was the first time Canada officially sent troops to fight a war overseas. Laurier did not want to commit his government, but the ties with the British Empire were strong, so he compromised by sending a battalion of volunteers. Over the next three years, over 7,000 Canadians served overseas, including 12 nurses.
One of the main waves of immigration took place between 1896 and 1914. Over two million people immigrated to Canada during the “Laurier boom.” In addition to this increase in population, Canadians owe their first national park, Banff, to the Canadian Pacific Railway, because the railway needed a reliable tourist trade to provide the income it needed for its first years in operation.