Louis-Adélard Senécal

Louis-Adélard Senécal, businessman, politician (b at Varennes, LC 10 July 1829; d at Montréal 11 Oct 1887).
Louis-Adélard Senécal, businessman, politician (b at Varennes, LC 10 July 1829; d at Montréal 11 Oct 1887).


Louis-Adélard Senécal

Louis-Adélard Senécal, businessman, politician (b at Varennes, LC 10 July 1829; d at Montréal 11 Oct 1887). A colourful and controversial public figure, Senécal was considered by some contemporaries as the symbol of French Canada's economic awakening and by others as dishonesty incarnate with both hands in the public purse. Beginning in the regional grain trade of the Richelieu Valley, he took advantage of opportunities offered by the 1854 Reciprocity Treaty with the US to establish himself in shipping, sawmilling and real-estate speculation. In 1867 his annual volume of business was estimated at $3 million. A Liberal, he sat in the Québec Legislative Assembly 1867-71 and as a federal MP 1867-72. Financial difficulties, however, occupied most of his time during these years. He turned his attention to railway construction in the early 1870s. With the Liberals in Opposition in Québec, he changed his allegiance to the provincial Bleus in 1874, and his assistance in returning the Bleus to power in 1879 earned for him the position of superintendent of the government-owned Quebec, Montreal, Ottawa and Occidental Railway 1880-82. In 1884 Senécal failed to gain the British and French financial support he sought for 3 multimillion-dollar projects, including a transatlantic cable, because of doubts circulated by the Canadian press as to his business ethics. He then turned to the Richelieu and Ontario Navigation Company, having replaced Sir Hugh Allan as president in 1882. He was named to the Senate on 25 January 1887.