Paul Sauvé

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Paul Sauvé
Paul Sauvé, 1954.JPG
Paul Sauvé, 1954
17th Premier of Quebec
In office
September 7, 1959 – January 2, 1960
MonarchElizabeth II
Lieutenant GovernorOnésime Gagnon
Preceded byMaurice Duplessis
Succeeded byAntonio Barrette
MNA for Deux-Montagnes
In office
November 4, 1930 – November 25, 1935
Preceded byArthur Sauvé
Succeeded byJean-Léo Rochon
In office
August 17, 1936 – January 2, 1960
Preceded byJean-Léo Rochon
Succeeded byGaston Binette
Personal details
Born(1907-03-24)March 24, 1907
Saint-Benoît, Quebec, Canada
DiedJanuary 2, 1960(1960-01-02) (aged 52)
Saint-Eustache, Quebec, Canada
Political partyUnion Nationale
Spouse(s)Luce Pelland
Residence1258 des fleurs

Joseph-Mignault-Paul Sauvé (March 24, 1907 – January 2, 1960) was a Quebec lawyer, World War II veteran and politician. He was Premier of Quebec in 1959 and 1960.


Paul Sauvé was born in Saint-Benoit, Quebec, Canada to journalist and parliamentarian Arthur Sauvé and Marie-Louise Lachaîne. By 1923, his family moved to Saint-Eustache and he began his studies at the Séminaire de Ste-Thérèse and transferred to the Collège Sainte-Marie de Montréal where he graduated in 1927. Sauvé would go on to study law at the Université de Montréal, being called to the bar on July 8, 1930.

Political Position[edit]

Arthur Sauvé, his father, had been leader of the Conservative Party during the Premiership of Liberal Louis-Alexandre Taschereau. He transferred to federal politics in 1930 and became Postmaster General in the R. B. Bennett government. Paul Sauvé then ran as a Conservative for his father's former riding of the comté des Deux-Montagnes in the Quebec legislature in 1930, to become to the youngest elected member at the age of 23. He would be defeated in the 1935 election but re-elected in 1936 as a member of the newly formed Union Nationale. He was then elected as Speaker to become, at the age of 29, the youngest person elected to that position.

When Canada entered the Second World War in 1939, Paul Sauvé reported to Les Fusiliers Mont-Royal, the regiment to which he belonged as a reserve officer, and served overseas in the Canadian military for the duration of the Second World War, taking part in the Battle of Normandy and in the South Beveland Campaign. In 1945, he returned from Europe and resumed his official duties with the Quebec legislature. In 1946, he became Quebec's first Minister of Social Welfare and Youth.

Sauvé succeeded Maurice Duplessis as leader of the Union Nationale and Premier of Quebec following his death on September 7, 1959; he continued to serve as his own Social Welfare and Youth Minister. However, Sauvé's tenure would be short-lived, as he himself would shortly die in office on January 2, 1960 in Saint-Eustache of a heart attack. His 112-day tenure as premier is the shortest non-interim stint in the province's history.


In 1936, he married Luce Pelland, with whom he had three children: Luce-Paule (1937), Pierre (1938) and Ginette (1944).

Sauvé is viewed as having upheld his convictions and had not succumbed to fear of demotion by "The Chief" (Duplessis). Some say that he stood alone in a cabinet of "yes men".

By the time he became Premier, Sauvé was well aware that he had, at most, two years before the next election. Realizing the need to modernize one of the most conservative provincial governments in Canada, he announced radical changes in the ways Quebec would be run. His resolve was conveyed in the motto he adopted: "Désormais" (from now on). During those "100 Days Of Change," Sauvé undertook a wide-ranging review of issues facing the Quebec government, including many that had been ignored during the Duplessis era.

As educational reform was seen as a means to social change and national development, Sauvé begun negotiations to recover the money Ottawa set aside for higher education, while government grants would increase towards educational institutions, no longer distributed at the government's discretion.

Regarding Canadian federalism, the Sauvé provincial government considered that federal grants to universities encroached an area reserved exclusively for the provinces under the British North America Act, 1867 (since renamed the Constitution Act, 1867). Demands were also made in respect that the provincial university education tax be deductible.

The Sauvé government also wanted to undertake an indepth study of the federal legislation regarding the federal hospital insurance system and the means for adapting it for Québec.

He died prematurely in office on January 2, 1960, leaving the Union Nationale government in disarray and regarded by many as likely 'founder' of the Quiet Revolution. Less than a year later, the Union Nationale was defeated under his successor, Antonio Barrette.

Paul Sauvé Arena in Montreal was named after him, and was used by the Parti Québécois for their election night rally in 1976 where they celebrated victory in the provincial election.


  • "Paul Sauvé - Un homme tourné vers l'avenir". Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (in French). Retrieved 2006-10-24.[dead link]
  • "Quebec's Position on Constitutional and Intergovernmental Issues" (PDF). Secrétariat of Québec on Canadian Intergovernmental Affairs. Retrieved 2007-09-24.
  • Quebec Since 1930. Paul-André Linteau. Retrieved 2007-09-25.
  • Canada and Québec: One Country, Two Histories. Robert Bothwell. Retrieved 2007-09-25.

External links[edit]

National Assembly of Quebec
Preceded by
Lucien Dugas (Liberal)
Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Quebec
7 October 1936 – 19 February 1940
Succeeded by
Bernard Bissonnette (Liberal)
Party political offices
Preceded by
Maurice Duplessis
Leader of the Union Nationale
Succeeded by
Yves Prévost