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Lucien Bouchard

(b. 1938)


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(b. 22 Dec. 1938).

Premier of Quebec 1996–2001 Born at Saint Cœur‐de‐Marie (Quebec), he studied law at Laval University, and was a successful private lawyer for twenty years. Following his appointment as ambassador to Paris (1988), he was elected to the House of Commons as a member of the Conservative Party and became a member of Mulroney's Cabinet. Convinced by the failure of the Meech Lake Accord that Quebec had no future within Canada, he founded the Bloc Québécois (BQ) in 1990, which he led in 1993 to become the second largest parliamentary party nationwide, thus becoming leader of the official opposition. The fiery orator used this platform whenever possible to advance the cause of independence, and his charismatic intervention in the 1995 Quebec referendum secured a large number of pro‐sovereignty votes. To further the goal of separation, he resigned from the federal BQ to become Premier of Quebec in January 1996, and lead the Parti Québécois (PQ). He was unable to increase support for separatism and, owing to the province's difficult economic situation, was increasingly forced to introduce unpopular cuts in public spending. As a result, the PQ started to perform badly in provincial elections, and in 2001 he resigned following the BQ's bad showing in the national elections. Bouchard returned to practising law.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).


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