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Lucien Bouchard

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Title: Lucien Bouchard  
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Subject: Jean Chrétien, Jacques Parizeau, Canadian federal election, 1993, 35th Canadian Parliament, Quebec general election, 1998
Collection: 1938 Births, Ambassadors of Canada to France, Bloc Québécois Leaders, Bloc Québécois Mps, Canadian Amputees, Canadian Political Party Founders, Canadian Politicians with Physical Disabilities, Canadian Roman Catholics, Commandeurs of the Légion D'Honneur, French Quebecers, Grand Officers of the National Order of Quebec, Lawyers in Quebec, Leaders of the Opposition (Canada), Leaders of the Parti Québécois, Living People, Members of the House of Commons of Canada from Quebec, Members of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada, Parti Québécois Mnas, People from Saguenay–lac-Saint-Jean, Premiers of Quebec, Progressive Conservative Party of Canada Mps, Quebec Lieutenants, Recipients of the 125Th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada Medal, Université Laval Alumni
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Lucien Bouchard

The Honourable
Lucien Bouchard
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
Leader of the Parti Québécois
In office
27 January 1996 – 2 March 2001
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
4 November 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
Saint-Cœur-de-Marie, Quebec, Canada
Political party Parti Québécois (provincial, 1990–2010)
Bloc Québécois (federal, 1990–2010)
Other political
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: ​; 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 1
  • Early years in politics and diplomacy 2
  • Referendum on sovereignty 3
  • Premier of Quebec 4
  • Retirement 5
  • Honours 6
  • Personal life 7
  • "Pour un Québec lucide" 8
  • Controversy 9
  • Legacy 10
  • Elections as party leader 11
  • Honours 12
  • See also 13
  • Further reading 14
    • In English 14.1
    • In French 14.2
  • References 15
  • External links 16
    • Biographies 16.1

Early life

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, and obtained a bachelor's degree in social science and a law degree at Université Laval in 1964. He was called to the Bar of Quebec later that year.

He practised law in Chicoutimi until 1985, while being given many charges as a public servant over the years: president of the arbitration committee for the education sector (1970 to 1976), prosecutor in chief for the commission for labour and industry (Cliche commission, 1974–75), co-president of the study commission on the public and parapublic sectors (Martin-Bouchard commission — 1975). 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.

Early years in politics and diplomacy

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 opposed them, saying they diluted the original spirit and objectives of Meech. Mulroney rejected his reasoning.

Soon afterward, Bouchard declared himself a sovereigntist and sent a message of support to the PQ. When Mulroney learned about this, he fired Bouchard from cabinet. The two have not spoken to each other since then, though they have occasionally run into each other in Montreal.[6] Mulroney later commented that his most regrettable and costly error as Prime Minister was having trusted Bouchard. Mulroney believed that Bouchard had planned to defect before the commission’s report, and only used it as an excuse.

Bouchard resigned from the Progressive Conservatives soon afterward, and 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 (although he and most of the Bloc's other founding members were fluently bilingual). 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.[7]

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.[8]

Referendum on sovereignty

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

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.

As Premier, Bouchard presided both over balanced budgets and a significant expansion of the province's social safety net with the implementation of a universal childcare system and pharmacare.[9]


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 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. He served as President of the Quebec Oil and Gas Association from 2011 until 2013.[10]

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."[11]

Bouchard revealed in a 2014 documentary that the Bloc Québécois was only intended to last long enough to prepare the ground for the 1995 referendum.[6] He believed its long duration weakened Quebec's influence within Canada by limiting the potential pool for federal cabinet ministers in successive Liberal and Conservative governments.[6][9] He also averred that the 1995 referendum may have passed had it been part of a two-step process. In his view, there should have been a first referendum to give the government the authority to negotiate Quebec sovereignty with an economic and political partnership with Canada and a second to approve the results of negotiations. He blamed Parizeau's rejection of that approach for the referendum's failure.[6][9]


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).

Personal life

Bouchard was initially married to Jocelyne Côté on October 15, 1966, then married second wife,[12] and separated from her,[13] 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.[14] 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.[15]

On May 18, 2013, Bouchard married Solange Dugas.

"Pour un Québec lucide"

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.[16]


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."[17]

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.[18]


His government implemented some controversial policies, including cuts to the province's

Parliament of Canada
Preceded by
Clément Coté, Prog. Cons.
Member of Parliament from Lac-Saint-Jean
Succeeded by
Stéphan Tremblay, B.Q.
National Assembly of Quebec
Preceded by
Francis Dufour (Parti Québécois)
MNA, District of Jonquière
Succeeded by
Françoise Gauthier (Liberal)
Political offices
Preceded by
Jean Chrétien (Liberal)
Leader of the Opposition in Canada
Succeeded by
Gilles Duceppe (BQ)
Preceded by
Jacques Parizeau (Parti Québécois)
Premier of Quebec
Succeeded by
Bernard Landry (Parti Québécois)
Party political offices
Preceded by
Jacques Parizeau
Leader of the Parti Québécois
Succeeded by
Bernard Landry
  • "Biography". Dictionnaire des parlementaires du Québec de 1792 à nos jours (in French).  
  • Lucien Bouchard – Parliament of Canada biography
  • Agora biography (French)
  • Bilan du Siècle biography (French)
  • Lucien Bouchard page at CÉRIUM


External links

  1. ^ "Bouchard, family to meet the Pope at the Vatican". January 23, 2001. Retrieved 2010-06-30. 
  2. ^ a b "Government House. Awards to Canadians" (PDF).  
  3. ^ Canadian Press (2007-02-19). "Lucien Bouchard's mother dies at 95". Retrieved 2010-06-30. 
  4. ^ [3]
  5. ^ "Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada Complete List of Posts". 2007-06-08. Retrieved 2010-06-30. 
  6. ^ a b c d "Lucien Bouchard says 'wounds' remain with Brian Mulroney". CBC News. August 21, 2014. Retrieved August 27, 2014. 
  7. ^ WARREN CARAGATA in Ottawa with CARL MOLLINS in Washington. "Clinton Visits Chrétien". Retrieved 2009-09-09. 
  8. ^ "Bouchard returns to work after losing leg", at archives; originally broadcast on February 22, 1995; retrieved June 21, 2014.
  9. ^ a b c d "Lucien Bouchard documentary shows a politician’s charms don’t last: Hébert". Toronto Star. August 27, 2014. Retrieved August 27, 2014. 
  10. ^ "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. 
  11. ^ Bouchard calls PQ too radical. CBC News, 2010-02-18.
  12. ^ Vastel 1996, p. 53.
  13. ^ Martin 1997, p. 89, 159.
  14. ^ "Audrey Best succombe à un cancer". TVA Nouvelles (in French). January 25, 2011. Retrieved August 15, 2012. 
  15. ^ "Audrey Best dies". CBC. 2011-01-25. Retrieved 2014-04-02. 
  16. ^ Un an après "Pour un Québec lucide"" Interview with Paul Larocque. LCN, 16 October 2006""". 2006-10-16. Retrieved 2010-06-30. 
  17. ^ Allan Thompson, Toronto Star, October 17, 1995, p. A8
  18. ^ Smith, Curt (2001). Storied Stadiums. New York City: Carroll & Company; ISBN 0-7867-1187-6
  19. ^ "La porte reste fermée"" LCN, May 12, 2006""". 2009-04-23. Retrieved 2010-06-30. 
  20. ^
  21. ^ [4]


  • Bouchard, Lucien (1996). Lucien Bouchard mot à mot, Montreal: Stanké, 384 p. [prepared by Rémi Maillard]
  • Bouchard, Lucien (1992). À visage découvert, Montreal: Boréal
  • Vigile.netBouchard profile in , 2008
  • L'Encyclopédie de L'AgoraBouchard profile in , updated May 25, 2006
  • Beauregard, Denis. "Généalogie de Lucien Bouchard", in FrancoGene, 2003
  • Duguay, Nicolas. Lucien Bouchard profile in, 2001
  • Vastel, Michel (1996). Lucien Bouchard : en attendant la suite (in French). Outremont, Qc: Lanctôt Editeur.  
  • Caron, Jean-François (2015), "Lucien Bouchard, le pragmatisme politique", Québec: Les Presses de l'Université Laval
  • Côté, André-Philippe and David, Michel (2001). Les années Bouchard, Sillery: Septentrion

In French

  • 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]
  • Martin, Lawrence (1997). The antagonist : a biography of Lucien Bouchard. Toronto: Viking.  
  • Marsh, James (2008) "Bouchard, Lucien", The Canadian Encyclopedia. Historica Foundation

In English

Further reading

See also


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.

Elections as party leader

He claims that the goal of sovereignty is now a futile distraction from other priorities in Quebec.[20]


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