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Such is the turn of history that Jean Charles Chapais, one of Canada's Fathers of Confederation, is frequently ignored by reference and history books which devote considerable space to the legal-political-literary career of his son, Sir Thomas Chapais.

Chapais senior was born in Riviere Ouelle, Que., Dec. 2, 1811. After being educated at Nicolet college and Quebec seminary, he became, like his father a merchant. His entry into politics came in 1851 with his election for Kamouraska riding in the Legislative Assembly of Canada.

In 1864 he was named commissioner of public works in the Tache-MacDonald administration and held the same office in the coalition government that followed. It was frequently the custom in Canada in the early days of Confederation for men to occupy seats in both a provincial legislature and in the federal parliament.

So in 1867 Chapais, who had been named Canada's first minister of agriculture, won election in the Quebec house for Champlain riding and sought election in Kamouraska federal riding. The Kamouraska result was indecisive and "no election" was declared. The following year Chapais was named to the Senate and continued to hold his agriculture portfolio until 1869 when he became receiver-general. He kept that post until the fall of the Macdonald government in the railroad scandal of 1873. Chapais continued active in the Senate until his death at Ottawa, July 17, 1885.