|Preceded by||Guy Côté|
|Born||December 21, 1943
Quebec City, Quebec
|Residence||Quebec City, Quebec|
|Profession||Journalist, radio host|
André Arthur MP (born December 21, 1943 in Quebec City) is a Canadian radio host and politician. He was elected as an independent Member of Parliament in the riding of Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier in the 2006 Canadian federal election. His father René Arthur and uncle Gérard Arthur were also radio hosts in their days.
Arthur began his radio career at CHRC in 1970. He has also appeared on CJRP, CKAC, CKVL, CJMF-FM, CJMS and, most recently (until December 22, 2005), at CKNU-FM and CIMI-FM, all French-language stations. In 2007, for a brief period, he was part of the morning show on CHEQ-FM with Marie Saint-Laurent as well as the web radio station Rockik.com. He is known for his outspoken style and anti-statist politics in a province known for mainly supporting left-of-centre policies, but has nonetheless earned widespread popularity, and earned the nickname le Roi Arthur ("King Arthur"). As a young adult he worked as hockey referee; according to Arthur, this experience taught him how to accept being heavily criticized. He has two children.
Arthur's career has been marked by a number of lawsuits. He has been sued for defamation by two Quebec Premiers, Lucien Bouchard and Daniel Johnson Jr. He has also faced penalizing decisions by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) and the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council, perhaps most notably regarding several on-air statements he made which led to the non-renewal of the licence of CHOI-FM. His most recent gig, as morning and noon host for CKNU in Donnacona, Quebec, ended on December 22, 2005, soon after Genex Communications announced it was selling the station to RNC Media, which declined to renew his contract.
For several years, he opened his radio show with The Muppets' theme song.
From 1972 to 1979, in addition to being heard on CHRC, Arthur was a news anchor for the local evening news program at Télé-4 (CFCM-TV, a TVA affiliate) in Quebec City. On August 20, 2008, it was announced that Arthur would host a talk show on the TQS network, starting September 29; however, a federal election was called in the meantime, delaying the starting date. Arthur successfully ran for MP in the 2008 election.
TQS announced the show's cancellation on August 5, 2009.
André Arthur is a self-described libertarian, and his political views are generally in line with the libertarian ideology. He generally opposes the concept of government intervention in the economy, and supports tax cuts (as opposed to subsidies) as the most efficient way to promote economic growth and respect individual liberty.
He is also a noted admirer of the United States, which he perceives to be less intrusive in people's lives. Arthur claims that if he were an American citizen he would never vote for George W. Bush as President – one factor being Arthur's opposition to the Iraq War. Nonetheless, Arthur considers George W. Bush (as well as Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper) to be very consistent, a quality that he admires.
Arthur is a federalist. He is known for his opposition to Quebec sovereignty, not so much because of any profound attachment to Canada, but because he fears independence would increase what he sees as the socialist tendencies of Quebec as a political entity. According to a number of Parti Québécois analysts, Arthur's influence was a significant cause of the lower-than-expected "Yes" vote in the Quebec City area in the 1995 referendum.
He was elected in the 2006 Canadian federal election as an Independent Member of Parliament for the Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier district of Quebec. In winning the riding, Arthur became the first truly independent and non-incumbent candidate to be elected to the House of Commons since Tony Roman won an Ontario district in 1984. Arthur officially became a candidate on January 2, 2006, three weeks before Election Day. Having the advantage of name recognition and running an intensive pre-campaign every day for about two months during his morning and noon shows, he used no campaign paraphernalia and spent only $924 on his campaign. Arthur boasts of being "the cheapest Member of Parliament in Canada", claiming to have spent less than any other elected candidate at this election.
On January 25, 2006, in an interview with Anna Maria Tremonti, host of CBC Radio One's morning news program The Current, Arthur stated that he would not join any political party during the then-current parliament, but he did note that the policies of the governing Conservative Party of Canada best reflect his personal political beliefs and stances on many major issues. He also stated that he entered politics as an independent with the influence and record of non-affiliated MP Chuck Cadman, the most recent MP to be elected to the House of Commons as an independent, in mind. It was reported in May 2006 that he might consider joining the Conservatives, however he later denied this saying his comments had been misinterpreted.
Arthur's 2006 bid was not his first attempt to win political office, although he claim that his 2006 bid was the only time he really wanted to be elected (according to Arthur, in previous candidacies his goal had been to divide the results. He ran as an Independent candidate from the Louis-Hébert district in the 1994 Quebec provincial election. He finished second with 29% of the vote, behind Parti Québécois candidate Paul Bégin (39%).
On November 30, 2006 Arthur announced in a press conference that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer and would be receiving treatment at Quebec City's Hotel-Dieu hospital in the coming weeks. He also mentioned that despite the cancer, he would remain in his post as the MP for Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier.
The Conservative Party decided not to run a candidate against Arthur in the 2008 federal election. This decision proved to be decisive in his re-election; Arthur won the seat with only 33.5% of the vote, against 32% for Richard Coté of the Bloc Québécois.
André Arthur has the record of absentism in the parliament due to his other occupations including the hosting of radio and television shows.
Arthur's father and uncle, René and Gérard, were Armenian immigrant children who came from Constantinople to Montreal in the 1910s, fleeing the Armenian genocide, with their parents and siblings, via New York. According to Arthur, the family was mistakenly considered to be Jewish by some Montreal residents at the time, because their last name contained the name Isaac, thus being victims of antisemitism. Consequently, the family changed its name to Arthur, a French-sounding name, which was also André Arthur's grandfather's first name (he was alternatively known as Arthur Isakian or Arthur DerSahag, Sahag meaning Isaac in Armenian).
On November 17, 1998, during a broadcast on CKVL, Arthur attacked taxi drivers in Montreal, especially those who were "Arab and Haitian". According to the summary of facts presented in the Superior Court, Arthur denounced "their incompetence and filthiness, while suggesting they get their licenses by corruption and are somehow responsible for the deplorable state of this mode of transport in the city."
Redirecting to André Arthur