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Lieutenant Governor of Quebec

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Lieutenant Governor of Quebec

Lieutenant Governor of Quebec
Shield of the Lieutenant Governor
Pierre Duchesne

since 7 June 2007
Style His Honour the Honourable
Appointer Governor General of Canada
Term length At the Governor General's pleasure
Formation 1 July 1867
First holder Sir Narcisse-Fortunat Belleau

The Lieutenant Governor of Quebec (, French (masculine): Lieutenant-gouverneur du Québec, or (feminine): Lieutenant-gouverneure du Québec) is the viceregal representative in Quebec of the Canadian monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, who operates distinctly within the province but is also shared equally with the ten other jurisdictions of Canada, as well as the other Commonwealth realms and any subdivisions thereof, and resides predominantly in her oldest realm, the United Kingdom. The Lieutenant Governor of Quebec is appointed in the same manner as the other provincial viceroys in Canada and is similarly tasked with carrying out most of the monarch's constitutional and ceremonial duties.[1] The present, and 28th, Lieutenant Governor of Quebec is Pierre Duchesne, who has served in the role since 7 July 2007.

Role and presence

The Lieutenant Governor of Quebec is vested with a number of governmental duties, though, unlike all other Canadian provinces, and while he or she does remain one of the two parts of the legislature, the viceroy in Quebec does not read the Throne Speech, a session of the National Assembly instead beginning with the Opening Speech by the premier.[2][3] The lieutenant governor is also expected to undertake various ceremonial roles. For instance, upon installation, the lieutenant governor automatically becomes a Knight or Dame of Justice and the Vice-Prior in Quebec of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem and will also present numerous other provincial honours and decorations,[4] as well as various awards that are named for and presented by the lieutenant governor,[5] which were reinstated in 2000 by Lieutenant Governor Lise Thibault. These honours are presented at official ceremonies, which count amongst hundreds of other engagements the lieutenant governor partakes in each year, either as host or guest of honour; in 2006, the Lieutenant Governor of Quebec undertook 400 engagements and 200 in 2007.[6]

Standard of the Lieutenant Governor of Quebec

At these events, the lieutenant governor's presence is marked by the lieutenant governor's standard, consisting of a blue field bearing the shield of the Arms of Her Majesty in Right of Quebec surmounted by a crown and set within a white disc; the Quebec viceregal flag is only one of two that are significantly different from all the others in Canada. Within Quebec, the lieutenant governor also follows only the sovereign in the province's order of precedence, preceding even other members of the Canadian Royal Family and the Queen's federal representative.

The entrance of the offices of the Lieutenant Governor of Quebec, at 1050 des Parlementaires, in Québec City

It has been argued by Jeremy Webber and Robert Andrew Young that, as the office is the core of authority in the province, the secession of Quebec from Confederaton would first require the abolition or transformation of the post of Lieutenant Governor of Quebec; such an amendment to the constitution of Canada could not be done without, according to Section 41 of the Constitution Act, 1982, the approval of the federal parliament and all other provincial legislatures in Canada.[7] Others, such as J. Woehrling, however, have claimed that the legislative process towards Quebec's independence would not require any prior change to the viceregal post.[8] Young also felt that the lieutenant governor could refuse Royal Assent to a bill that proposed to put an unclear question on sovereignty to referendum or was based on the results of a referendum that asked such a question.[9]


The office of Lieutenant Governor of Quebec came into being in 1867, upon the creation of Quebec at Confederation,[10] and evolved from the earlier position of Lieutenant Governor of Canada East. Since that date, 28 lieutenant governors have served the province, amongst whom were notable firsts, such as Lise Thibault—the first female and first disabled lieutenant governor of the province. The shortest mandate by a Lieutenant Governor of Quebec was Lomer Gouin, from January to March 1929, while the longest was Hugues Lapointe, from 1966 to 1978.[11]

Lomer Gouin, 15th Lieutenant Governor of Quebec, from January to March 1929

One of the few examples in Canada of a viceroy exercising the royal prerogative against or without ministerial advice came in 1887, when Lieutenant Governor Auguste-Réal Angers dismissed the Cabinet headed by Premier Honoré Mercier; a report concluded that Mercier's government had benefited from a kickback scheme with contractors building the Baie des Chaleurs railway.[12]

The appointment of Jean-Louis Roux as Lieutenant Governor of Quebec by Governor General Roméo LeBlanc, on the advice of Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, stirred controversy, as Roux was well known as a strong opponent of Quebec independence and, soon after he took up the post, it was revealed that, as a university student in the 1940s, he had worn a swastika on his lab coat in protest of the proposal to invoke conscription for service in World War II and had participated in an anti-Semitic protest.[13][14] Roux had, in an interview after his appointment as lieutenant governor, stated that he might have to use the reserve powers of the Crown should certain circumstances arise following a referendum result in favour of Quebec's separation from Canada; a statement that displeased Roux's premier at the time, Lucien Bouchard. Bouchard thereafter exploited the revelation of Roux's past anti-Semitism and the Lieutenant Governor soon resigned his post voluntarily in 1996.[13][15] The following year, Bouchard tabled in the legislature three motions, calling the Office of the Lieutenant Governor "a heritage of the colonial past", the appointment process controversial and interfering, and demanding the post be abolished, though, until then, the federal Crown-in-Council should appoint a person "democratically designated by the [Quebec] Assembly".[15]

Living Former Vice-Regal

There are only two living former Lieutenant Governor (as of 2014):

See also


  1. ^  
  2. ^ National Assembly of Quebec. "Parliament and Government". Éditeur officiel du Québec. Archived from the original on February 23, 2010. 
  3. ^ Wiseman, Nelson (2009). "In Search of a Quebec Constitution". Revue québécoise de droit constitutionnel (Quebec City: l'Association québécoise de droit constitutionnel) 2: 144. Retrieved 4 March 2011. 
  4. ^ "Canada Wide > About Us > The Order of St. John > The Order of St. John in Canada". St. John Ambulance Canada. Retrieved 2 June 2009. 
  5. ^ Office of the Lieutenant Governor of Quebec. "Awards Program > Lieutenant Governor of Québec Awards Program". Éditeur officiel du Québec. Retrieved 6 July 2009. 
  6. ^ Berezovsky, Eugene (2009). Staff of Canadian Monarchist News, ed. $1.52 per Canadian: The Cost of Canada's Constitutional Monarchy (4 ed.). Toronto: Monarchist League of Canada. p. 3. Retrieved 15 May 2009. 
  7. ^ Young, Andrew (1998). The secession of Quebec and the future of Canada. Montreal: McGill-Queen's Press. p. 215.  
  8. ^ Webber, Jeremy (1997). "The Legality of a Unilateral Declaration of Independence under Canadian Law". The McGill Law Journal (Montreal: McGill University) 42 (2): 288. Retrieved 3 March 2011. 
  9. ^ Young 1998, p. 457
  10. ^ Victoria 1867, V.63
  11. ^ Office of the Lieutenant Governor of Quebec. "History > Previous Lieutenant Governors". Éditeur officiel du Québec. Retrieved 6 July 2009. 
  12. ^ Gougeon, Gilles (1994). A History of Quebec Nationalism. Bardfield End Green: Miles Kelly Publishing. p. 52.  
  13. ^ a b  
  14. ^ Boyce, Peter John (2008). The Queen's Other Realms: The Crown and Its Legacy in Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Sydney: Federation Press. p. 99.  
  15. ^ a b Boyce 2008, p. 100

External links

  • Les lieutenants-gouverneurs depuis 1867 (French)
  • Lieutenant Governor of Quebec
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