Robert Bourassa


Robert Bourassa Famous memorial

Montreal, Montreal Region, Quebec, Canada
Death 2 Oct 1996 (aged 63)
Montreal, Montreal Region, Quebec, Canada
Burial Montreal, Montreal Region, Quebec, Canada
Plot Section D Concession 152
Memorial ID 4957 View Source

22nd Premier of Quebec. A member of the Quebec Liberal Party, he served in this position from May 1970 until November 1976 and again from December 1985 until January 1994. Born into a working class family, he received his education at the Université de Montréal, graduating in 1956 with a law degree and was admitted to the bar the following year. In 1960 he received a political economy degree from Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In June 1966 he entered politics when he was elected to the Quebec Legislative Assembly from the Mercier district. In January 1970 he became Leader of the Quebec Liberal Party and four months later he was made Premier, replacing Jean-Jacques Bertrand. During his 1st term, he implemented policies that protected the status of the French language for Quebec and in 1974 he introduced legislation that declared French to be Quebec's official language. The move alienated English-speaking citizens, because it was cumbersome for their businesses and professionals to function, and it also angered many French-speaking citizens because the law did not go far enough in their view. In 1971 he initiated the James Bay hydroelectric project that culminated with the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement four years later. In 1976 he lost the provincial election as a result of the official language controversy, along with corruption scandals within his government, and was replaced as Premier by René Lévesque, the leader of the separatist Parti Québécois. In June 1985, he won a legislative seat from the Bertrand district in a by-election, only to lose it six months later. However, he was able to lead his Party to victory in the October 1985 general election and became Premier, replacing Germain Leduc. During his 2nd term, he invoked the notwithstanding clause of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to override a Supreme Court of Canada ruling that declared parts of the Charter of the French Language unconstitutional. He also sought for the province of Quebec to be recognized in the Canadian Constitution as a "distinct society" that would allow for its citizens' grievances to be resolved within Canada with a new constitutional deal. In January 1994 he retired as Premier and was replaced by Daniel Johnson, Jr. He died from cancer (melanoma) at the age of 63. A statue in his honor resides in front of the Quebec National Assembly in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

Bio by: William Bjornstad


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 30 Mar 1999
  • Find a Grave Memorial 4957
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Robert Bourassa (14 Jul 1933–2 Oct 1996), Find a Grave Memorial ID 4957, citing Cimetière Notre-Dame-des-Neiges, Montreal, Montreal Region, Quebec, Canada ; Maintained by Find a Grave .