Louis Robichaud

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Louis Joseph Robichaud
MLA
25th Premier of New Brunswick
In office
July 12, 1960 – November 11, 1970
Monarch Elizabeth II
Lieutenant Governor Joseph Leonard O'Brien
John B. McNair
Wallace Samuel Bird
Preceded by Hugh John Flemming
Succeeded by Richard Hatfield
Member of the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick
In office
September 22, 1952 – April 30, 1971
Constituency Kent
Senator for Saint-Louis-de-Kent, New Brunswick
In office
December 21, 1973 – October 21, 2000
Appointed by Pierre Trudeau
Personal details
Born (1925-10-21)October 21, 1925
Saint-Antoine, New Brunswick
Died January 6, 2005(2005-01-06) (aged 79)
Sainte-Anne-de-Kent, New Brunswick
Political party Liberal Party of New Brunswick
Spouse(s) Lorraine Robichaud (who mothered their four children) and died later in life. After many years Louis married Jacqueline Robichaud, his wife until he died.
Religion Roman Catholic

Louis Joseph Robichaud, PC, CC, QC (October 21, 1925 – January 6, 2005), popularly known as "Little Louis" or "P'tit-Louis" (due both to his short stature and to his sharing a name with "Uncle Louis" St. Laurent), was the first Acadian appointed Premier of New Brunswick, serving from 1960 to 1970.

With the Equal Opportunity program, the language rights act of 1969 establishing New Brunswick as an officially bilingual province, and for his role in the creation of the Université de Moncton, Robichaud is credited with ushering in major social reform in New Brunswick.

Life and achievements[edit]

Memorial to Louis J. Robichaud in his birthplace, Saint-Antoine, New Brunswick

At the age of 15, Robichaud left home to enter the Juvénat Saint-Jean-Eudes in Bathurst to study for a career in the Church. After his third year at the school, he decided instead to pursue a political career. He attended the Collège du Sacré-Coeur (now part of the Université de Moncton) and graduated in 1947 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He then went on to study economics and political science at Université Laval. He articled with a law firm in Bathurst for three years and, upon being admitted to the bar, practised law for a short period of time in Richibucto.

Elected to the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick in 1952, he became provincial Liberal leader in 1958 and led his party to victory in 1960, 1963 and 1967 before being defeated by Richard Hatfield's Conservatives in the 1970 election.

Robichaud was the first Acadian Premier of New Brunswick since Peter J. Veniot and the first to win an election. He modernized the province's hospitals and public schools and introduced a wide range of social reforms. The Liberals also passed an act in 1969 making New Brunswick officially bilingual. "Language rights," he said when he introduced the legislation, "are more than legal rights. They are precious cultural rights, going deep into the revered past and touching the historic traditions of all our people."

Robichaud also restructured the municipal tax regime, ending the ability of business to play one municipality against another in order to extract the lowest tax rates. He also expanded the government and sought to ensure that the quality of health care, education and social services was the same across the province—a programme he called Equal Opportunity, which is still a political buzz phrase in New Brunswick. "When I first realized that there was absolutely no equal opportunity, no equality, in New Brunswick," he recalled in the 1980s, "well, I had to come to the conclusion that something had to be done immediately."

A desk made for Robichaud by the Saint John Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company and given to him in 1966, which he used during his last years as premier and which was used by his successor Richard Hatfield was returned to the Premier's Office by Shawn Graham in 2006.[1]

He was instrumental in the creation of the Université de Moncton in 1963, while in 1969, a high school was named in his honour in Shediac, New Brunswick.

In 1971, upon resigning from the legislature, he was made a Companion of the Order of Canada and Canadian chairman of the International Joint Commission, a post he held until being called to the Senate of Canada on December 21, 1973. He sat in the Senate until his mandatory retirement from the upper house on October 21, 2000 upon reaching his seventy-fifth birthday.

He was a resident of New Brunswick at the time of his death from cancer at the Stella-Maris-De-Kent Hospital in Sainte-Anne-de-Kent, near his birthplace of Saint-Antoine, New Brunswick. The cancer had been discovered only a few weeks before his death. He died on January 6, 2005.

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ Mary Moszynski (October 11, 2006). "LJR's desk returns to premier's office: New N.B. premier Shawn Graham moves historic piece of furniture back to "its rightful place"". Times & Transcript. p. A1. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Hugh John Flemming
Premier of New Brunswick
1960–1970
Succeeded by
Richard Bennett Hatfield