Napoléon-Antoine Belcourt was born in Toronto on September 15, 1860. A lawyer practicing in Ottawa, he was elected to the House of Commons as the Liberal member for Ottawa in 1896, 1900 and 1904. He served as Speaker of the House in 1904 and was appointed to the Privy Council in 1905 and to the Senate in 1907. Belcourt was president of the Association canadienne-française d’éducation de l’Ontario (1910-1912 and 1920-1930) and defended the cause of bilingual schools before the Privy Council in London, playing a key role in the Unity League, which succeeded in rallying English opinion to the Franco-Ontarian cause. In 1924, he was made an Officer of France’s Légion d’honneur. He died at Blue Sea Lake, Quebec, on August 7, 1932. According to historian Robert Choquette, Belcourt was the inspiration for the protagonist in Lionel Groulx’s novel L’Appel de la race (1922). From 1971 to 1983, a French-language Ottawa public high school bore his name.