Lucien Bouchard

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The Honourable
Lucien Bouchard
PC GOQ LLB BSoc
Lucien Bouchard02.jpg
Lucien Bouchard at the National Order of Quebec in June 2013.
27th Premier of Quebec
In office
29 January 1996 – 8 March 2001
Monarch Elizabeth II
Lieutenant Governor Martial Asselin
Jean-Louis Roux
Lise Thibault
Preceded by Jacques Parizeau
Succeeded by Bernard Landry
MNA for Jonquière
In office
19 February 1996 – 8 March 2001
Preceded by Francis Dufour
Succeeded by Françoise Gauthier
Leader of the Opposition
In office
25 October 1993 – 14 January 1996
Preceded by Jean Chrétien
Succeeded by Gilles Duceppe
Secretary of State for Canada
In office
31 March 1988 – 29 January 1989
Preceded by David Crombie
Succeeded by Gerry Weiner
MP for Lac-Saint-Jean
In office
20 June 1988 – 15 January 1996
Preceded by Clément M. Côté
Succeeded by Stéphan Tremblay
Minister of the Environment
In office
8 December 1988 – 21 May 1990
Preceded by Thomas McMillan
Succeeded by Robert de Cotret
Personal details
Born (1938-12-22) December 22, 1938 (age 75)
Saint-Cœur-de-Marie, Quebec, Canada
Political party Parti Québécois (provincial, 1990-2010)
Bloc Québécois (federal, 1990-2010)
Other political
affiliations
Progressive Conservative (federal, c. 1984-1990)
Spouse(s) Solange Dugas (since May 18, 2013)
Alma mater Université Laval
Profession Lawyer
Religion Roman Catholic[1]

Lucien Bouchard, PC GOQ (French pronunciation: ​[lysjɛ̃ buʃaʁ]; born December 22, 1938) is a Canadian lawyer, diplomat, politician and former Minister of the Environment of the Canadian Federal Government. He was the founder of the Bloc Québécois, Leader of the Opposition in the Canadian House of Commons from 1993 to 1996, and the 27th Premier of Quebec from January 29, 1996, to March 8, 2001. He became a central figure for the "Yes" side in the 1995 Quebec referendum.

He is a recipient of the title of Commander of the Légion d'Honneur.[2]

Early life[edit]

Bouchard was born in Saint-Cœur-de-Marie, Québec, the son of Alice (née Simard) and Philippe Bouchard.[3] His brother is the historian Gérard Bouchard. Lucien Bouchard graduated from Jonquière Classical College in 1959[citation needed], and obtained a Bachelor's degree in social science and a law degree at Université Laval in 1964[citation needed]. He was called to the Bar of Quebec later that year[citation needed].

He practised law in Chicoutimi until 1985[citation needed], while being given many charges as a public servant over the years: president of the arbitration committee for the education sector (1970 to 1976)[citation needed], prosecutor in chief for the commission for labour and industry (Cliche commission, 1974–75)[citation needed], co-president of the study commission on the public and parapublic sectors (Martin-Bouchard commission — 1975)[citation needed]. From then, he acted as a coordinator or member of many special teams on behalf of Quebec's government in the trade union negotiations for the public sector[citation needed].

Early years in politics and diplomacy[edit]

Bouchard's relationship with politics is a complex one, as he affiliated himself over the years with various political parties with highly diverging ideologies, going as far as founding one, the Bloc Québécois.

Bouchard has been a Quebec nationalist during his entire political career. Contrary to popular belief, during the 1970 Quebec general election, he did not work for the federalist Quebec Liberal Party. He was deeply shaken by the events of Quebec's October Crisis, especially by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau's imposition of the War Measures Act requested by then Quebec Premier Robert Bourassa.[4]

Bouchard worked with the "Yes" side during the 1980 Quebec referendum on sovereignty. In 1984 Brian Mulroney, Bouchard's close friend from his law school days at Université Laval, became Canadian Prime Minister. Mulroney would go on to ask Bouchard to serve in various official capacities, including (in 1985) as Canadian ambassador to France.[5] In 1988, Bouchard returned to Canada to serve as Mulroney's Quebec lieutenant, and was elected as a Progressive Conservative from a Saguenay-area riding. He was immediately named to Cabinet as Secretary of State and later Minister of the Environment.

While still a strong Quebec nationalist, he believed that Mulroney's Meech Lake Accord was sufficient to placate nationalist feelings and keep Quebec in Confederation. However, after a commission headed by Jean Charest recommended some changes to the Accord, Bouchard left the Progressive Conservatives in May 1990, feeling that the spirit and objectives of Meech were being diluted. Mulroney rejected his reasoning, later commenting that his most regrettable and costly error as Prime Minister was having trusted Bouchard, pretending that he has planned his resignation before the commission’s report.

Bouchard sat as an independent for a few months. After the failure of the Meech Lake Accord, Bouchard formed the sovereigntist Bloc Québécois with five former Tories and two former Liberals.

The Parti Québécois campaigned for the Bloc in the 1993 federal election in order to prepare Quebec for sovereignty, according to the Three Periods strategy of PQ leader Jacques Parizeau. In this election, the Bloc Québécois won 54 out of 75 ridings in Quebec, including a near-sweep of the francophone ridings. Despite only running candidates in Quebec, its heavy concentration of support there was enough to give it the second-most seats in the House. Bouchard thus became the first (and to date, only) separatist leader of the Opposition in the history of Canada. Soon after the election, Bouchard discovered that he was one of the few members of his large caucus who spoke English nearly well enough to use it in debate. More or less out of necessity, he announced that the Bloc would only speak French on the Commons floor, a policy that remains in place to this day. Since the Official Opposition has considerable advantages over the other parties not in government, Question Periods during the 35th Parliament were dominated by issues of Canadian unity.

However, Prime Minister Jean Chretien regarded Reform leader Preston Manning as his main opponent on non-Quebec matters. For example, in 1995, when Bouchard garnered an invitation to meet visiting US President Bill Clinton by virtue of being Opposition Leader, Manning was also granted a meeting with Clinton in order to diffuse Bouchard's separatist leverage.[6]

Bouchard was still serving in that capacity in Ottawa, and working closely with the provincial Parti Québécois to bring about the independence of Quebec, when he lost a leg to necrotizing fasciitis ("flesh-eating disease") on December 1, 1994.[7]

Referendum on sovereignty[edit]

In 1995, Bouchard signed, as Bloc leader, a tripartite agreement with Parti Québécois leader Jacques Parizeau and Action démocratique leader Mario Dumont, which mapped the way to the referendum on independence. He was instrumental in convincing Parizeau to include a plan of association with Canada in the referendum question. He campaigned with the other two leaders for the "Yes" side. Quebec premier Jacques Parizeau first led the "Yes" campaign but, as support for sovereignty began to plateau, Bouchard was given the official leadership. The referendum was extremely narrowly defeated by a majority vote of 50.58% to 49.42%.

Premier of Quebec[edit]

After the Yes side lost the 1995 referendum, Parizeau resigned as Quebec premier. Bouchard was acclaimed his successor as leader of the Parti Québécois in January 1996, and was appointed premier of Quebec shortly afterward.

On the matter of sovereignty, while in office, he stated that no new referendum would be held, at least for the time being. A main concern of the Bouchard government, considered part of the necessary "conditions gagnantes" ("winning conditions" for the feasibility of a new referendum on sovereignty), was economic recovery through the achievement of "zero deficit". Long-term Keynesian policies resulting from the "Quebec model", developed by both PQ governments in the past and the previous Liberal government had left a substantial deficit in the provincial budget.

Bouchard led the PQ into the 1998 provincial election. He faced his former Cabinet colleague, Charest, who was now leader of the provincial Liberal Party. Although the Liberals won a narrow plurality of the popular vote, most of their margin was wasted on huge majorities in federalist areas of the province. As a result, the PQ suffered a net loss of only one seat, allowing it another term in government.

Retirement[edit]

Bouchard retired from politics in 2001, and was replaced as Quebec premier by Bernard Landry. He stated that his relative failure to revive the sovereigntist flame was a cause of his departure, something for which he took responsibility. Others have speculated that the Michaud Affair, regarding allegedly anti-Semitic comments by Parti Québécois candidate Yves Michaud, was another factor favouring Bouchard's departure.

He returned to practising law by becoming a partner at Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg, where he specializes in commercial and corporate law. He serves as a negotiator, legal counsel and mediator in commercial matters and, occasionally, in labour-related disputes. He sits on the board of several private companies as well as organizations like the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, TC Transcontinental, Saputo Inc., Groupe BMTC and TransForce. In April 2004, he helped launch the Centre for International Studies of the Université de Montréal (CÉRIUM), of which he is a board member.

On April 7, 2000, Lucien Bouchard received a Doctorate Honoris causa of Law from the Lumière University Lyon 2.

On October 5, 2006, Lucien Bouchard received a second Doctorate Honoris causa of Law, this time from the Law Faculty of the Université de Montréal.

On April 27, 2007, Lucien Bouchard received a third Doctorate Honoris causa from the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi (UQAC).

He served as President of the Quebec Oil and Gas Association from 2011 until 2013.[8]

In a 2010 panel event celebrating the 100th anniversary of Montreal newspaper Le Devoir, Bouchard said that sovereignty did not offer any solutions for Quebec, though he himself is still a sovereigntist at heart. He also accused the PQ of being so fixated on independence that it had no solutions for the province's basic needs, and also accused it of pandering to xenophobic elements by taking a hard line on immigration. In response, several sovereigntists, including PQ leader Pauline Marois, accused Bouchard of becoming one of the party's many belle mères, or "armchair quarterbacks."[9]

Personal life[edit]

Bouchard separated from his second wife,[10][11] Audrey Best (1960–2011), a Côte d'Azur-born California-reared airline stewardess, who later became a lawyer, whom he met on an international flight.[12] She was the daughter of James Best, a U.S. Navy officer, and his French wife, Marie-Josée Massa.

Bouchard is the father of two sons with Best, Alexandre and Simon, who hold dual Canadian-United States citizenship. Best held dual United States-France citizenship. She died on January 25, 2011, aged 50, from breast cancer.[13]

On May 18, 2013, Bouchard married Solange Dugas.

"Pour un Québec lucide"[edit]

On October 19, 2005, Bouchard and eleven other Quebecers of different backgrounds and political aspirations published a manifesto entitled "Pour un Québec lucide" ("For a clear-eyed vision of Quebec"). The manifesto warned Quebec's aging population about the challenges the future poses, demographically, economically and culturally. It made a certain impression on the Parti Québécois leadership race of 2005, getting mixed reactions. It was well received in other quarters, garnering praise on the editorial page of The Globe and Mail.

On October 16, 2006, Bouchard declared to TVA news reporter Paul Larocque, that the population of the province is not working enough and that it should be more productive in order to produce more resources for the population. He also added that his generation had contracted 75% of the province's current debt and that the future generations should not be handling the burden of paying for the previous ones.[14]

Controversy[edit]

Not long before the 1995 referendum, Bouchard drew considerable ire when he said on October 14, 1995, "We're one of the white races that has the fewest children." Liza Frulla, former Quebec culture minister commented, "We were shocked and hurt by Mr. Bouchard's various comments over the weekend. ... He is insulting our intelligence."[15]

He also refused additional provincial funding to Major League Baseball's Montreal Expos for a new park. The stadium reportedly would have played a major role in helping the Expos stay in Montreal. However, Bouchard said that he couldn't in good conscience authorize funding for a new sports facility when the province was being forced to shutter hospitals.[16]

Legacy[edit]

His government implemented some controversial policies, including cuts to the province's health care spending in order to balance the deficit provincial budget, and the amalgamation of Quebec's larger cities undertaken by his successor Bernard Landry. Other aspects of his legacy include the creation of a low-cost, universal public daycare system, the birth of Emploi Québec, and achieving a balanced budget. He is remembered for his sometimes "short fuse" when provoked and his unforgiving demands for excellence in those he worked with, but also for his charm and eloquence, and was appreciated as a formidable foe by his political adversaries. Bouchard has stated that he will not return to politics.[17]

Quotes[edit]

  • More than ever, it will be imperative to remind all that the sovereigntist way is one of generosity, of tolerance, and openness.
    • "Plus que jamais, il faudra rappeler que la démarche souverainiste en est une de générosité, de tolérance, et d'ouverture."[citation needed]
  • The people of Quebec possess all the assets to achieve an enviable place in the concert of nations (i.e., the international community). At the only condition of repatriating all of its public resources, rather than dispersing them on two conflicting fronts.
    • "Le peuple québécois possède tous les atouts pour se tailler une place enviable dans le concert des nations. À la seule condition de rapatrier toutes ses ressources publiques, plutôt que de les disperser sur deux fronts conflictuels."[citation needed]
  • Interview with TVA reporter Paul Larocque on October 16, 2006:[14]
  • There is a certain distress, a certain stagnation [in Quebec]. It is a comfort which is dangerous, because it holds the future for us which will not be comfortable and which will be very very difficult. (...) Quebec's great project of tomorrow needs to be conceived.
    • "Il y a un certain désarroi, un certain sur-place [au Québec]. C'est un confort qui est dangereux, parce qu'il nous réserve des lendemains qui ne seront pas confortables, qui vont être très très difficiles. (...) Le grand projet du Québec de demain, il faut le concevoir."
  • During the referendum campaign, October 14, 1995:
  • There is something magical about a Yes vote. With a wave of our magic wand, we will stir up a feeling of solidarity among Quebecers.
    • "Le oui a quelque chose de magique. D'un coup de baguette, nous allons provoquer la solidarité des Québécois."[citation needed]

Elections as party leader[edit]

He won the 1998 election and resigned in 2001. Bouchard remains, as of 2012, the only PQ leader to be Premier of Quebec for his entire leadership and the only non-interim PQ leader to never lose an election.

Honours[edit]

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

In English[edit]

  • Martin, Lawrence (1997). The antagonist : a biography of Lucien Bouchard. Toronto: Viking. ISBN 067087437X. 
  • Cornellier, Manon (1995). The Bloc, Toronto: James Lorimer & Co. [translated by Robert Chodos, Simon Horn and Wanda Taylor]
  • Bouchard, Lucien (1994). On the Record, Toronto: Stoddart [translated by Dominique Clift]

In French[edit]

  • Côté, André-Philippe and David, Michel (2001). Les années Bouchard, Sillery: Septentrion
  • Vastel, Michel (1996). Lucien Bouchard : en attendant la suite (in French). Outremont, Qc: Lanctôt Editeur. ISBN 2894850093. 

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Bouchard, family to meet the Pope at the Vatican". Pqasb.pqarchiver.com. January 23, 2001. Retrieved 2010-06-30. 
  2. ^ a b "Government House. Awards to Canadians". Canada Gazette 136 (39): 2894. 2002-09-28 
  3. ^ Canadian Press (2007-02-19). "Lucien Bouchard's mother dies at 95". thestar.com. Retrieved 2010-06-30. 
  4. ^ [1][dead link]
  5. ^ "Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada Complete List of Posts". International.gc.ca. 2007-06-08. Retrieved 2010-06-30. 
  6. ^ WARREN CARAGATA in Ottawa with CARL MOLLINS in Washington. "Clinton Visits Chrétien". Thecanadianencyclopedia.com. Retrieved 2009-09-09. 
  7. ^ Bouchard returns to work after losing leg, at CBC.ca archives; originally broadcast on Feb. 22, 1995; retrieved March 22, 2012
  8. ^ "Former Quebec premier Lucien Bouchard steps down as chairman of Quebec Oil and Gas Assoc.". The Montreal Gazette. February 7, 2013. Retrieved March 8, 2013. 
  9. ^ Bouchard calls PQ too radical. CBC News, 2010-02-18.
  10. ^ Vastel 1996, p. 53.
  11. ^ Martin 1997, p. 89, 159.
  12. ^ "Audrey Best succombe à un cancer". TVA Nouvelles (in French). January 25, 2011. Retrieved August 15, 2012. 
  13. ^ "Audrey Best dies". CBC. 2011-01-25. Retrieved 2014-04-02. 
  14. ^ a b ""Un an après "Pour un Québec lucide"" Interview with Paul Larocque. LCN, 16 October 2006". Lcn.canoe.com. 2006-10-16. Retrieved 2010-06-30. 
  15. ^ Allan Thompson, Toronto Star, October 17, 1995, p. A8
  16. ^ Smith, Curt (2001). Storied Stadiums. New York City: Carroll & Company; ISBN 0-7867-1187-6
  17. ^ """La porte reste fermée"" LCN, May 12, 2006". Lcn.canoe.com. 2009-04-23. Retrieved 2010-06-30. 
  18. ^ [2][dead link]

External links[edit]

Biographies[edit]

Parliament of Canada
Preceded by
Clément Coté, Prog. Cons.
Member of Parliament from Lac-Saint-Jean
1988-1996
Succeeded by
Stéphan Tremblay, B.Q.
National Assembly of Quebec
Preceded by
Francis Dufour (Parti Québécois)
MNA, District of Jonquière
1996–2001
Succeeded by
Françoise Gauthier (Liberal)
Political offices
Preceded by
Jean Chrétien (Liberal)
Leader of the Opposition in Canada
1993-1996
Succeeded by
Gilles Duceppe (BQ)
Government offices
Preceded by
Jacques Parizeau (Parti Québécois)
Premier of Quebec
1996-2001
Succeeded by
Bernard Landry (Parti Québécois)
Party political offices
Preceded by
Jacques Parizeau
Leader of the Parti Québécois
1996-2001
Succeeded by
Bernard Landry