(mural by Jean Cartier, Papineau metro station, Montreal)
First elected to the legislative assembly of Lower Canada in 1809, he emerged as the leader of the nationalistic Canadian Party (later called the Patriot Party). Made Speaker in 1815, he began working for the reform of Lower Canada's political institutions. In 1832, this included being responsible for a law that granted full equivalent political rights to Jews, 25 years before anywhere else in the British Empire.
An address to a rally at Saint-Charles in 1837 after the British rejected his list of demands for reform led to open rebellion (la révolte des Patriotes). Both his revolt and the simultaneous revolt in Upper Canada of William Lyon Mackenzie were quelled, and several of the Patriotes were executed, but the revolts led to Lord Durham's report (1839), which recommended responsible government and the merger of the Canadas.