Henri Courtemanche

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The Hon.
Henri Courtemanche
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Labelle
In office
Preceded by Maurice Lalonde
Succeeded by Gustave Roy
In office
Preceded by Gustave Roy
Succeeded by Gaston Clermont
Senator for Rougemont, Quebec
In office
January 20, 1960 – December 22, 1961
Appointed by John Diefenbaker
Preceded by Elie Beauregard
Succeeded by Jacques Flynn
Personal details
Born (1916-08-07)August 7, 1916
Mont-Laurier, Quebec
Died March 19, 1986(1986-03-19) (aged 69)
Political party Progressive Conservative

Henri Courtemanche, PC (August 7, 1916 – March 19, 1986) was a Canadian parliamentarian.

Born in Mont-Laurier, Quebec, the son of Victor Courtemanche and Louise Massé, he was educated at the Académie de Mont-Laurier, the Séminaire de St. Joseph de Mont-Laurier, the Collège Saint-Laurent and the Université de Montréal. Courtemanche was called to the Quebec bar in 1947 and practised law in Mont-Laurier and Montreal. In 1945, he married Gisèle Paquette,[1] the daughter of Joseph-Henri-Albiny Paquette.[2]

Courtemanche was first elected as the Progressive Conservative Member of Parliament for Labelle, Quebec in the 1949 federal election. He was defeated in 1953 but returned to the Canadian House of Commons in the 1957 federal election. He had announced that he would run in the election as a "Nationalist Independent" - and ran and was elected as an "Independent Progressive Conservative". However, the election brought the Progressive Conservatives to power under John Diefenbaker with a minority government and Courtemanche rejoined the party within weeks of its election victory and was appointed Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons.[3]

Diefenbaker elevated Courtemanche to his Cabinet as Secretary of State for Canada following the 1958 federal election that returned the Tories with a majority government. On January 20, 1960, Courtemanche resigned from Cabinet, reportedly for health reasons,[4] and was appointed to the Senate.[3]

In 1961, he became the centre of a scandal when a former hospital administrator alleged that Courtemanche was paid a 10% kickback on all government grants made to a Montreal hospital in the mid-1950s.[5] Courtemanche claimed that the $66,000 he received in total were legal fees for his services.[6] He subsequently said the money was paid as a fee for his lobbying efforts.[7]

Ultimately, Courtemanche resigned his Senate seat on December 22, 1961, less than two years into his appointment, after an investigation into his activities found him "unworthy" of public office.[8]


  1. ^ Johnson, J.K. (1968). The Canadian Directory of Parliament 1867-1967. Public Archives of Canada. 
  2. ^ Biography of Albiny Paquette (in French)
  3. ^ a b Henri Courtemanche – Parliament of Canada biography
  4. ^ Ministerial Resignations, Parliament of Canada
  5. ^ "Charge $25,000 paid Quebec Senator in Hospital Kickback: Ex-State Secretary Denies Payoffs", Toronto Star, page A1, June 17, 1961
  6. ^ "$66,000 All Legal Fees -- Senator", Toronto Star, page A1, June 22, 1961
  7. ^ "Got paid for lobbying, no kickbacks -- Senator", Toronto Star, page A1, June 23, 1961
  8. ^ "Senator Resigns Post: Acts Found `Unworthy'", Toronto Star, page A1, December 22, 1961