Institut canadien

 Institut canadien, fd 17 Dec 1844 in Montréal by a group of young French-Canadian intellectuals who wished to establish a centre of patriotism and culture. The institut quickly became a political and cultural force in francophone society, and similar organizations were established in about 60 other centres. At first politically neutral, it fell under the spell of Louis-Joseph PAPINEAU and developed leftist leanings in harmony with L'Avenir, a newspaper fd July 1847, to which a number of members contributed articles. In 1854, 11 members were elected to Parliament. But their radical nature, which earned them the nickname "rouges" (see PARTI ROUGE), and their stand favouring annexation to the US caused the Liberal-Conservative Party and the clergy to join forces against them.

In 1858 the opposition of the bishop of Montréal, Mgr Ignace BOURGET, led to the resignation of 138 members, to Rome's condemning the institut and placing its 1868 yearbook on the index of forbidden books, and to the GUIBORD AFFAIR. Conservative public opinion turned against the institut, beginning a decline virtually completed by 1885. The Institut canadien had sponsored the most liberal and innovative discussions of the period, and its library was a collection of major scientific, legal and literary works. An ultraconservative political, social and religious climate ruined the hopes raised by its foundation.