To understand the monumental significance ascribed to Laurier's defeat in the election of 1911 attention must be given to what preceded it. First, a brief overview of Laurier's own political ascendancy will be given. This will be followed by a brief charting of the political history of Canada post its confederation in 1867. Political analysts indicate that Laurier "lost because of fears created by two of his major decisions" (Careless 174). Laurier's naval policy and his interest in establishing reciprocal trade with the United States. Laurier's interest in establishing Canada's own navy as an ancillary to Great Britain caused rancor from both English-speaking and French-speaking Canadians. Henri Bourassa, a leader of the French-Canadian Nationalists, attacked Laurier's Naval Service Act of 1910. Bourassa attacked Laurier as "un vendu", as one who had sold out to the imperialists and betrayed his fellow Canadians. In attempting to forge a free trade agreement with the United States, Laurier experienced a major backlash from both Conservative and Liberal parties. Critics of the proposed trade agreement numbered among their fears, the possible annexation of Canada. In order to understand the political causes and repercussions of these issues more historical background must first be offered.
Wilfred Laurier was born in St. Lin, Quebec in the county of L'Assomption in 1841 (Wallace 395). Born near the foothills of the Laurentians, Laurier a