Jacques Parizeau

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Jacques Parizeau
Jacques Parizeau1.jpg
Jacques Parizeau, 2007
26th Premier of Quebec
In office
September 26, 1994 – January 29, 1996
Monarch Elizabeth II
Lieutenant Governor Martial Asselin
Preceded by Daniel Johnson, Jr.
Succeeded by Lucien Bouchard
Leader of the Opposition
In office
September 25, 1989 – September 26, 1994
Preceded by Guy Chevrette
Succeeded by Daniel Johnson Jr
MNA for L'Assomption
In office
September 25, 1989 – January 29, 1996
Preceded by Jean-Guy Gervais
Succeeded by Jean-Claude St-André
In office
November 15, 1976 – November 27, 1984
Preceded by Jean Perreault
Succeeded by Jean-Guy Gervais
Personal details
Born (1930-08-09) August 9, 1930 (age 84)
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Political party Parti Québécois
Spouse(s) Alice Poznanska (deceased)
Lisette Lapointe
Alma mater HEC Montréal,
Paris Institute of Political Studies,
London School of Economics,
Faculté de droit de Paris
Profession Economist

Jacques Parizeau, GOQ, (French pronunciation: ​[ʒɑk parizo]; born August 9, 1930) is an economist and noted Quebec sovereigntist who was the 26th Premier of the Canadian province of Quebec from September 26, 1994, to January 29, 1996.

Early life and career[edit]

Parizeau was born in Montreal, Quebec, the son of Germaine (née Biron) and Gérard Parizeau. He attended Collège Stanislas, a Roman Catholic private school. He went on to graduate with a PhD from the London School of Economics in London, England, as well as degrees at HEC Montréal, Paris Institute of Political Studies and Faculté de droit de Paris. A believer in economic interventionism, he was one of the most important advisors to the provincial government during the 1960s, playing an important behind-the-scenes role in the Quiet Revolution. He was especially instrumental in the nationalization of Hydro-Québec (a hydro-electric utility), the nationalization of the Asbestos Corporation Limited mines, and worked with Eric Kierans to create the Quebec Pension Plan.[1]

Parizeau gradually became a committed sovereigntist, and officially joined the Parti Québécois (PQ) on September 19, 1969.

After the PQ was elected to office in the 1976 provincial election, the new premier, René Lévesque, appointed Parizeau as Minister of Finance. Parizeau played an important role in the 1980 Quebec referendum campaign in favour of the government's proposals for sovereignty-association.

As Minister of Finance in Quebec, he was responsible for a number of innovative economic proposals, including the Quebec Stock Savings Plan ("QSSP").

Married to Polish immigrant Alice Poznanska (1930–1990), Jacques Parizeau was criticized for supporting the Charter of the French Language. This law limits access to English-language public schools to children whose parents didn't receive their education in English in Canada, and was generally opposed by the English-speaking minority.

In 1984, he had a falling out with Lévesque. Lévesque had moved away from pursuing sovereignty to accept a negotiation with the Federal Government, called Beau Risque. Parizeau opposed this shift, resigned from Cabinet along with many other members, and temporarily retired from politics. Lévesque was taken by surprise with all these retirements and retired soon after. He was replaced by Pierre-Marc Johnson.

In 1987, Johnson also left the PQ leadership after losing the 1985 election. Parizeau, still a widely liked figure, was elected to replace him as party leader on March 19, 1988.

It was revealed in 2013 that federal Prime Minister Brian Mulroney offered in 1987 to appoint Parizeau as an independent Senator in his attempt to secure passage of the Canada–United States Free Trade Agreement through the upper house as well as part of his strategy to achieve reconciliation with Quebec sovereigntists which led to the Meech Lake Accord.[2][3] Parizeau rejected the offer and went on to become PQ leader and premier.

Elections, 1995 referendum and aftermath[edit]

In the 1989 election, Parizeau's first as PQ leader, his party did not fare well. But five years later, in the 1994 election, it won a majority government. Parizeau promised to hold a referendum on Quebec sovereignty within a year of his election, and despite many objections, he followed through on this promise. In the beginning, support for sovereignty was only about 40% in the public opinion polls. As the campaign wore on, however, support for the "Yes" side grew larger. This growth halted, however, and Parizeau came under pressure to hand more of the campaign over to the more moderate and conservative Lucien Bouchard, the popular leader of the federal Bloc Québécois party. Parizeau agreed and as the campaign progressed he lost his leadership role to Bouchard.[4]

During the 1995 referendum he caused an uproar when it was reported by columnist Chantal Hébert in the La Presse newspaper that despite the guarantee of an offer of partnership with the rest of Canada before declaring sovereignty following a "Yes" vote, Parizeau had told a group of foreign diplomats that what mattered most was to get a majority vote from Quebec citizens for the proposal to secede from Canada because with that, Quebecers would be trapped "lobsters thrown into boiling water.[5] On the night of the referendum, Quebec came within only a few thousands of votes of separation, but the Yes side still lost. In his concession speech, Parizeau said sovereignty had been defeated by "money and ethnic votes", and referred to the Francophones who voted Yes in the referendum as "nous" (us) when he said that this majority group was, for the first time, no longer afraid of political independence. 60% of Quebec Francophones voted Yes. However, the sovereigntist side accepted the results of the vote.

Parizeau was widely criticized for the remarks, which he later characterized as unfortunate and as meriting the disapproval they received.[citation needed] Many suspected he may have been drinking.[6][7] He resigned as PQ leader and Quebec premier the next day. The English-language media, as well as non-sovereigntist newspapers such as La Presse and Le Soleil, associated Parizeau's resignation only with these remarks,[citation needed] against which the sovereigntist-friendly media (notably the newspaper Le Devoir) argued that he had made the decision beforehand, drawing attention to a television interview conducted on the eve of the vote with the Groupe TVA channel in which Parizeau spoke of his intentions to step down in the event of defeat. (This interview had previously been held under "embargo", which is to say that the station agreed not to broadcast it until the referendum was over.)

Parizeau was replaced by Lucien Bouchard as PQ leader and Quebec premier on January 29, 1996.

Parizeau retired to private life, but continued to make comments critical of Bouchard's new government and its failure to press the cause of Quebec independence. He owns an estate at his vineyard in France, a farm in the Eastern Townships of Quebec and a home in Montreal. His biographer is Pierre Duchesne.

His wife and former secretary during his premiership, Lisette Lapointe won a seat in the National Assembly as a candidate for the PQ in the provincial riding of Crémazie in the 2007 Quebec general election.

In June 2008, along with the other four living former Premiers of Quebec, Parizeau was named a Grand Officer of the National Order of Quebec by Premier Jean Charest.[8]

At a 2013 meeting of Option nationale, Parizeau stated to the room that the target of sovereignty for Quebec is still realizable, and that the PQ should make the maximum effort to attain it, including using public funds.[9]

In October 2013, to the shock and surprise of many Quebecers, Parizeau denounced his earlier infamous "money and the ethnic vote" statement to come out against the Quebec Charter of Values, which would ban religious symbols and clothing in the public sector (but not the crucifix over the National Assembly President's chair, the Charter having deemed it and related objects "symbols of Quebec's history").[10]



  • "Les post-keynésiens et la politique économique contemporaine", in Angers, François-Albert (ed.) Essai sur la centralisation. Analyse des principes et perspectives canadiennes, 1960 (online)
  • La solution. Le programme du Parti québécois présenté par René Lévesque, 1970 (online)
  • Cours initiation à l'économie du Québec, 2 volumes, 1975


  • Pour un Québec souverain (in French). Montreal: VLB. 1997. ISBN 2-89005-655-4.  (online version)
  • Une bouteille à la mer? : le Québec et la mondialisation (in French). Montreal: VLB. 1997. ISBN 2-89005-688-0. 
  • La souveraineté du Québec : hier, aujourd'hui et demain (in French). Montreal: Michel Brûlé. 2009. ISBN 978-2-89485-455-6. 
    • An Independent Quebec, The Past, the Present and the Future. Translated by Robin Philpot. Montreal: Barakat Books. 2010. ISBN 978-0-9812405-6-5. 

Letters, articles[edit]

  • "Qui sommes-nous? Où allons-nous?", in Le Devoir, October 30, 1996
  • "Lettre ouverte aux souverainistes", in Le Devoir, December 19, 1996
  • "La déclaration unilatérale est indispensable", in Le Devoir, September 16, 1997
  • "Lettre ouverte aux juges de la Cour suprême", in Le Devoir, September 4 and 5, 1998
  • "L'AMI menace-t-il à la souveraineté des États?", in L'Action nationale, November 4, 1998
  • "Le libre-échange, les droits des multinationales et le dilemme de l'État", in L'Action nationale, May 5, 2001 (en)


  • Report of the Study Committee on Financial Institutions, 1969
  • Brief submitted to the Committee on Institutions, responsible for conducting a broad consultation on Bill 99, 2000(online)
  • Entre l'innovation et le déclin : l'économie québécoise à la croisée des chemins, 2007 (conference at HEC)

Elections as party leader[edit]

He lost the 1989 election, and won the 1994 election. He announced his resignation the day after the "Yes" side in the 1995 Quebec referendum was defeated.

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

In English[edit]

In French[edit]

  • Duchesne, Pierre (2004). Jacques Parizeau. Tome III: Le Régent - 1985-1995 Montréal: Éditions Québec Amérique, 578 p.
  • Duchesne, Pierre (2002). Jacques Parizeau. Tome II: Le Baron - 1970-1985 Montréal: Éditions Québec Amérique, 544 p.
  • Duchesne, Pierre (2001). Jacques Parizeau. Tome I: Le Croisé - 1930-1970 Montréal: Éditions Québec Amérique, 624 p.
  • Richard, Laurence (1992). Jacques Parizeau, un bâtisseur, Montreal: Éditions de l'Homme, 249 p.
  • "Jacques Parizeau", dossier at Vigile.net, 2008
  • "Jacques Parizeau", dossier at L'Encyclopédie de l'Agora, updated May 25, 2006
  • "Jacques Parizeau. « Je vous parle de l'homme »", interview by Michaëlle Jean, research by Florence Meny at Radio-Canada.ca, January 2003 (requires Flash)
  • Pelletier, Francine (2003). Monsieur, Montreal : Macumba International, 52 min.
  • McKenzie, Robert (1972). Comment se fera l'indépendance. Entrevues de: René Lévesque, Jacques Parizeau, Jacques-Yvan Morin et Camille Laurin, Montreal, : Editions du Parti québécois, 56 p.
  • Lacombe, Pierre and Lacoursière, Jacques (2005). Jacques Parizeau, Montreal : CinéFête, 47 min.
  • Lepage, Marquise (2005). Jacques Parizeau, l'homme derrière le complet trois pièces, Productions Pixcom, 120 min. (broadcast on Société Radio-Canada and RDI)


External links[edit]

National Assembly of Quebec
Preceded by
Jean Perreault (Liberal)
MNA, District of L'Assomption
Succeeded by
Jean-Guy Gervais (Liberal)
Preceded by
Jean-Guy Gervais (Liberal)
MNA, District of L'Assomption
Succeeded by
Jean-Claude St-André (Parti Québécois)
Government offices
Preceded by
Daniel Johnson, Jr.
Premier of Quebec
Succeeded by
Lucien Bouchard
Political offices
Preceded by
Guy Chevrette
Leader of the Opposition in Quebec
Succeeded by
Daniel Johnson, Jr.
Party political offices
Preceded by
Pierre-Marc Johnson
Leader of the Parti Québécois
Succeeded by
Lucien Bouchard