Jacques Parizeau: Wikis


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Jacques Parizeau

Jacques Parizeau

In office
September 26, 1994 – January 26, 1996
Lieutenant Governor Martial Asselin
Preceded by Daniel Johnson, Jr.
Succeeded by Lucien Bouchard

Born August 9, 1930 (1930-08-09) (age 79)
Montreal, Quebec
Political party Parti Québécois
Spouse(s) Alice Poznanska (deceased)
Lisette Lapointe
Profession Economist
Religion Roman Catholic

Jacques Parizeau, GOQ (born August 9, 1930) is an economist and noted Quebec sovereignist who was Premier of the Canadian province of Quebec from September 26, 1994 to January 29, 1996.



The son of Gerard Parizeau and Germaine Biron, Jacques Parizeau attended Collège Stanislas, a Roman Catholic private school. He went on to graduate with a PhD from the London School of Economics in London, England. A believer in Keynes' theory of economic interventionism, he was one of the most important advisors to the provincial government during the 1960s, playing an important behind the scenes role in the Quiet Revolution. He was especially instrumental in the nationalization of Hydro-Québec (a hydro-electric utility), the nationalization of the Asbestos Corporation Limited mines, and worked with Eric Kierans to create the Quebec Pension Plan. [1]

Parizeau gradually became a committed sovereigntist, and officially joined the Parti Québécois (PQ) on September 19, 1969.

After the PQ was elected to office in the 1976 provincial election, the new premier, René Lévesque, appointed Parizeau as Minister of Finance. Parizeau played an important role in the 1980 Quebec referendum campaign in favour of the government's proposals for sovereignty-association.

As Minister of Finance in Quebec, he was responsible for a number of innovative economic proposals, including the Quebec Stock Savings Plan ("QSSP").

Married to Polish immigrant Alice Poznanska (1930-1990), Jacques Parizeau was criticized for supporting the Charter of the French Language. This law limits access to English-language public schools to children whose parents didn't receive their education in English in Canada, and was generally opposed by the English-speaking minority.

In 1984, he had a falling out with Lévesque. Lévesque had moved away from pursuing sovereignty to accept a negotiation with the Federal Government, called Beau Risque. Parizeau opposed this shift, resigned from Cabinet among with many other members, and temporarily retired from politics. Lévesque was taken by surprise with all these retirements and retired soon after. He was replaced by Pierre-Marc Johnson.

In 1987, Johnson also left the PQ leadership after losing the 1985 election. Parizeau, still a widely liked figure, was elected to replace him as party leader on March 19, 1988.

Elections, 1995 Referendum and Aftermath

In the 1989 election, Parizeau's first as PQ leader, his party did not fare well. But five years later, in the 1994 election, they won a majority government. Parizeau promised to hold a referendum on Quebec sovereignty within a year of his election,and despite many objections, he followed through on this promise. In the beginning, support for sovereignty was only about 40% in the public opinion polls. As the campaign wore on, however, support for the "Yes" side grew larger. This growth halted, however, and Parizeau came under pressure to hand more of the campaign over to the more moderate and conservative Lucien Bouchard, the popular leader of the federal Bloc Québécois party. Parizeau agreed, and as the campaign progressed, lost his leadership role to Bouchard.

During the 1995 referendum he caused an uproar when it was reported by columnist Chantal Hébert in the La Presse newspaper that despite the guarantee of an offer of partnership with the rest of Canada before declaring sovereignty following a "Yes" vote, Parizeau had told a group of foreign diplomats that what mattered most was to get a majority vote from Quebec citizens for the proposal to secede from Canada because with that, Quebecers would be trapped "lobsters thrown into boiling water". [2] On the night of the referendum, Quebec came within only a few thousands of votes of separation, but the Yes side still lost. In his concession speech, Parizeau said sovereignty had been defeated by "money and the ethnic vote", and referred to the Francophones who voted Yes in the referendum as "nous" (us) when he said that this majority group was, for the first time, no longer afraid of political independence. 60% of Quebec Francophones (who represent 80% of all Quebecers) voted Yes. However, the sovereigntist side accepted the results of the vote which they had initiated.

Parizeau was widely criticized for the remarks, which he later characterized as unfortunate and as meriting the disapproval they received. Many suspected he may have been drinking. He resigned as PQ leader and Quebec premier the next day. The English-language media, as well as non-sovereignist newspapers such as La Presse and Le Soleil, associated Parizeau's resignation only with these remarks. As against which, the sovereignist-friendly media (notably Le Devoir newspaper) argued that he had made the decision beforehand, drawing attention to a television interview conducted on the eve of the vote with the Groupe TVA channel in which Parizeau spoke of his intentions to step down in the event of defeat. (This interview had previously been held under "embargo", which is to say that the station agreed not to broadcast it until the referendum was over.)

Parizeau was replaced by Lucien Bouchard as PQ leader and Quebec premier on January 29, 1996.

Parizeau retired to private life, but continued to make comments critical of Bouchard's new government and its failure to press the cause of Quebec independence. He owns an estate at his vineyard in France, a farm in the Eastern Townships of Quebec and a home in Montreal. His biographer is Pierre Duchesne.

His wife and former secretary during his premiership, Lisette Lapointe won a seat in the National Assembly as a candidate for the PQ in the provincial riding of Crémazie in the 2007 Quebec general election.

In June 2008, along with the other four living former Premiers of Quebec, Parizeau was named a Grand Officer of the National Order of Quebec by Premier Jean Charest [3].



  • "Les post-keynésiens et la politique économique contemporaine", in Angers, François-Albert (ed.) Essai sur la centralisation. Analyse des principes et perspectives canadiennes, 1960 (online)
  • La solution. Le programme du Parti québécois présenté par René Lévesque, 1970 (online)
  • Cours initiation à l'économie du Québec, 2 volumes, 1975


  • Pour un Québec souverain, 1997 (online)
  • Le Québec et la mondialisation. Une bouteille à la mer?, 1998
  • La souveraineté du Québec. Hier, aujourd'hui et demain, 2009

Letters, articles

  • "Qui sommes-nous? Où allons-nous?", in Le Devoir, October 30, 1996 (online: fr en)
  • "Lettre ouverte aux souverainistes", in Le Devoir, December 19, 1996 (online)
  • "La déclaration unilatérale est indispensable", in Le Devoir, September 16, 1997 (online)
  • "Lettre ouverte aux juges de la Cour suprême", in Le Devoir, September 4 and 5, 1998 (online)
  • "L'AMI menace-t-il à la souveraineté des États?", in L'Action nationale, November 4, 1998 (online)
  • "Le libre-échange, les droits des multinationales et le dilemme de l'État", in L'Action nationale, May 5, 2001 (online: fr, en)


  • Report of the Study Committee on Financial Institutions, 1969
  • Brief submitted to the Committee on Institutions, responsible for conducting a broad consultation on Bill 99, 2000 (online)
  • Entre l'innovation et le déclin : l'économie québécoise à la croisée des chemins, 2007 (conference at HEC)


  • Well, in a case like this, what do we do? We spit in our hands and we start over!
    • "Bon, ben, dans un cas comme ça, qu'est-ce qu'on fait? On se crache dans les mains et on recommence!"
    • 1995 referendum concession speech.
  • "It is true, it is true that we were beaten, but in the end, by what? By money and ethnic votes, essentially."
    • "C'est vrai, c'est vrai qu'on a été battus, au fond, par quoi? Par l'argent puis des votes ethniques, essentiellement."
    • 1995 referendum concession speech.
  • Question of the 1995 referendum on independence. (read) ([[Media:)
  • May 15, 2005 -interview on CTV news with reporter/anchorwoman Lisa LaFlamme, Parizeau said the Clarity Act "meant nothing" and would be ignored. "Can you imagine feds saying we don't like your answers," Parizeau told the interviewer, calling such suggestions a "political stunt."

Definition of a Québécois: "Il vit ici, et il veut participer!"

Elections as party leader

He lost the 1989 election, and won the 1994 election. He announced his resignation the day after the "Yes" side in the 1995 Quebec referendum was defeated.


See also


In English

In French

  • Duchesne, Pierre (2004). Jacques Parizeau. Tome III: Le Régent - 1985-1995 Montréal: Éditions Québec Amérique, 578 p.
  • Duchesne, Pierre (2002). Jacques Parizeau. Tome II: Le Baron - 1970-1985 Montréal: Éditions Québec Amérique, 544 p.
  • Duchesne, Pierre (2001). Jacques Parizeau. Tome I: Le Croisé - 1930-1970 Montréal: Éditions Québec Amérique, 624 p.
  • Richard, Laurence (1992). Jacques Parizeau, un bâtisseur, Montreal: Éditions de l'Homme, 249 p.
  • "Jacques Parizeau", dossier at Vigile.net, 2008
  • "Jacques Parizeau", dossier at L'Encyclopédie de l'Agora, updated May 25, 2006
  • "Jacques Parizeau. « Je vous parle de l'homme »", interview by Michaëlle Jean, research by Florence Meny at Radio-Canada.ca, January 2003 (requires Flash)
  • Pelletier, Francine (2003). Monsieur, Montreal : Macumba International, 52 min.
  • McKenzie, Robert (1972). Comment se fera l'indépendance. Entrevues de: René Lévesque, Jacques Parizeau, Jacques-Yvan Morin et Camille Laurin, Montreal, : Editions du Parti québécois, 56 p.
  • Lacombe, Pierre and Lacoursière, Jacques (2005). Jacques Parizeau, Montreal : CinéFête, 47 min.
  • Lepage, Marquise (2005). Jacques Parizeau, l'homme derrière le complet trois pièces, Productions Pixcom, 120 min. (broadcasted on Société Radio-Canada and RDI)

External links

National Assembly of Quebec
Preceded by
Jean Perreault (Liberal)
MNA, District of L'Assomption
Succeeded by
Jean-Guy Gervais (Liberal)
Preceded by
Jean-Guy Gervais (Liberal)
MNA, District of L'Assomption
Succeeded by
Jean-Claude Saint-André (Parti Québécois)
Government offices
Preceded by
Daniel Johnson, Jr.
Premier of Quebec
Succeeded by
Lucien Bouchard
Political offices
Preceded by
Guy Chevrette
Leader of the Opposition in Quebec
Succeeded by
Daniel Johnson, Jr.
Party political offices
Preceded by
Pierre-Marc Johnson
Leader of the Parti Québécois
Succeeded by
Lucien Bouchard

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