AURÉLIEN BÉLANGER
EDUCATOR, ADMINISTRATOR AND MEMBER OF THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY
 
Born in Sainte-Scholastique, Quebec on 18 March 1878, Aurélien Bélanger arrived in Ottawa with his parents in 1879. He obtained a Master of Arts degree (1902), an accounting diploma (1926) and a law diploma. After obtaining a Doctorate in Pedagogy from Laval University in 1937, he was professor at the University of Ottawa (1896-1902), director of accounting for the construction of the Victoria Memorial Museum (1904-1908) and inspector of bilingual schools in Eastern Ontario (1908-1912). He resigned in 1912 to protest against the adoption of Regulation 17, which restricted the use of French in Ontario schools. Principal of Ottawa bilingual schools (1919-1930) and cofounder in 1922 of the Association of Bilingual Teachers of Eastern Ontario, he was the director general of La Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste d’Ottawa in 1933-1934. In order to better defend the interests of Franco-Ontarians and their educational rights, he became Liberal MLA for Russell (1923-1929). As the most brilliant orator in the Ontario legislature, he won the confidence of his fellow MLAs. From 1934 to 1948, he was the MLA for neighbouring Prescott. In 1949, he received an honorary Doctor of Law degree from the University of Ottawa and, in 1952, he received the Fidélité française medal from Le Conseil de la vie française en Amérique. He and his wife, Alida Rochon, had six children. He died in Ottawa on 12 February 1953 at the age of 74.