Roméo LeBlanc: Wikis


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The Right Honourable
 Roméo-Adrien LeBlanc
 PC, CC, CMM, ONB, CD, BA BEd StJoseph, LLD(hc) StAnne, LLD(hc) StThom, LLD(hc) Mem, LLD(hc) McGill, LLD(hc) NB, DCL(hc) MtAll, DLitt(hc) Ryerson, DPA(hc) Monct, DUniv(hc) Ott

In office
8 February 1995 – 8 October 1999
Monarch Elizabeth II
Prime Minister Jean Chrétien
Preceded by Ray Hnatyshyn
Succeeded by Adrienne Clarkson

Born 18 December 1927(1927-12-18)
Memramcook, New Brunswick
Died 24 June 2009 (aged 81)
Grande-Digue, New Brunswick
Spouse(s) Lyn Carter
(1966 – 1981)
Diana Fowler
(1994 – 1999)
Profession Politician, Journalist, Teacher
Religion Roman Catholic

Roméo-Adrien LeBlanc PC CC CMM ONB CD (18 December 1927 – 24 June 2009) was a Canadian politician and statesman who, until 8 October 1999, served as the Governor General of Canada. He was appointed as such by Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, on the recommendation of then Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, to replace Ramon John Hnatyshyn as viceroy. The official announcement of the appointment was made on 22 November 1994,[1] and LeBlanc's investiture as the 25th governor general (since Confederation) took place on 8 February 1995.[2]

LeBlanc was born and educated on Canada's east coast and also studied in France prior to becoming a teacher and then a journalist for Radio-Canada. He was subsequently elected to the House of Commons in 1972, whereafter he served as a minister of the Crown until 1984, when he was moved to the Senate and became that chamber's speaker. LeBlanc's later appointment as the Canadian viceroy caused some controversy, due to perceptions of political favouritism, though he was praised for raising the stature of Acadians and francophones in Canada, and for opening up Rideau Hall to ordinary Canadians and tourists alike. LeBlanc cited his health as the reason for his stepping down from the viceregal post.

On 8 August 1974, LeBlanc was sworn into the Queen's Privy Council for Canada,[3] giving him the accordant style of The Honourable; however, as a former governor general of Canada, LeBlanc was entitled to be styled for life with the superior form of The Right Honourable.


Youth and political career

Born on 18 December 1927 and raised in Memramcook, New Brunswick, LeBlanc studied at the Collège St-Joseph in Memramcook, where he earned bachelor degrees in arts and education before studying French civilization at the Université de Paris. He then moved on to teaching for nine years – at Drummond's high school from 1951 to 1953, and the New Brunswick Teachers' College in Fredericton from 1955 to 1959 – after which he obtained work as a journalist with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's French language broadcaster, Radio-Canada, between 1960 and 1967, serving in the bureaus in Ottawa, the United Kingdom, and the United States.[4] His first marriage, to Joslyn "Lyn" Carter, with whom LeBlanc had two children, lasted from 1966 to 1981.[5] In 1994 he married Diana Fowler, who also had two children from a previous marriage.[6]

LeBlanc stepped into the realm of politics when he became the press secretary for successive prime ministers Lester B. Pearson and Pierre Trudeau, before running for the Liberal Party in the 1972 federal election to win his seat representing Westmorland-Kent in the House of Commons. He was then appointed to the Cabinet chaired by Trudeau, and became notable as the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans for most of the period 1974-82 (he was Canada's longest-serving fisheries minister). Hugely popular with Atlantic fishermen and with departmental staff, LeBlanc was a key figure in Canada's imposition of a 200-mile fishing zone; he noted that his department "led the way." On one occasion, LeBlanc persuaded Trudeau to close Canadian ports to Soviet fishing vessels, a headline-grabbing diplomatic thrust that resulted in better co-operation. On the national level, a new fisheries licensing system, and widespread use of quotas and zones, gave fishermen more protection from the unbridled overexpansion and cutthroat competition that had bedevilled many fisheries in the past. An additional system of advisory committees brought fishermen a far bigger voice in fishery management.

On the Pacific coast, LeBlanc oversaw creation of the Salmonid Enhancement Program, aiming for a doubling of salmon production, and quelled plans by Alcan that were deemed to threaten salmon rivers at the time. But his main impact was on the Atlantic coast, starting with more fish. As Canada gained the 200-mile limit and banished most foreign vessels, LeBlanc warned against Canadians themselves overfishing, often using the line: "I fear that by gaining a zone, we will lose an excuse." He and his officials kept conservation quotas at a cautious level, bringing about a rebuilding that soon made Canada the world's leading fish exporter.

However, friction was often present between independent, smaller-boat fishermen and major companies operating large trawlers. LeBlanc took the side of the former, who comprised the great majority in the fishery, and, in general, without taking fish away from larger companies, he brought in quotas and other policies that protected the share of the small and medium-sized boats. He also forbade foreign corporations from holding commercial fishing licences. Further, in many areas, the independent fishermen had been only loosely organized, if at all, and LeBlanc galvanized the forming and strengthening of organizations. Other major policies, known as the owner-operator rule (licence holders would operate vessels themselves) and the separate-fleet rule (generally prevents corporations from holding licences in the under-65-foot fleet), remain important today.

Late in 1982, LeBlanc became Minister of Public Works for two years before being nominated by Trudeau to then Governor General Jeanne Sauvé for appointment to the Senate on 29 June 1984, and further selected by Prime Minister Brian Mulroney for Governor General Ray Hnatyshyn to appoint as that chamber's speaker in 1993.

Governor generalship

LeBlanc's time as the Queen's viceregal representative was considered to have been low key and largely uneventful, especially in comparison to that of his successor, Adrienne Clarkson. He was, however, the first Acadian governor general, which earned praise from the Acadian community, and he was also the first from the Canadian maritimes to be appointed as viceroy.[1]


As Governor General-Designate

It was announced from the Prime Minister's office on 22 November 1994 that Elizabeth II had, by commission under the royal sign-manual and signet, approved the recommendation of her Canadian prime minister, Chrétien, to appoint LeBlanc as her representative. Thereafter, LeBlanc was invited to an audience with Elizabeth II at Sandringham House, and was said to have been impressed and inspired by the devotion to duty on the part of both the Queen and Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother.[7]

The largest bout of publicity around LeBlanc and regarding his governor generalcy came immediately after the announcement of his appointment to the post. Though previous governors general had worked as politicians prior to and after serving as the viceroy, the recommendation to the Queen by her then Prime Minister – the Liberal Party leader Jean Chrétien – to appoint as her representative a prominent Liberal politician and organiser was criticised as being little more than a patronage gift to a loyal party member. In the 1993 federal election, LeBlanc had been one of the chief architects of the Liberal Party's election strategy, and was a strong party loyalist.[1] In protest, Reform Party of Canada leader Preston Manning refused to attend LeBlanc's installation ceremony, as did Bloc Québécois leader Lucien Bouchard.

As Governor General

As with each governor general, LeBlanc took on unofficial and personal mandates, choosing as his: voluntarism, the teaching of Canadian history, Canada's Aboriginal peoples, and the military. LeBlanc spoke often about the generosity, tolerance, and compassion of Canadians, and he admired the dignity and abilities of the common citizen. To recognize the "unsung heroes" who volunteer time and effort to help others, LeBlanc initiated in 1996 the Governor General's Caring Canadian Award. On 21 June of the same year, he was proud to issue a royal proclamation innagurating National Aboriginal Day as an annual observance.[8] As well, in 1996 LeBlanc formed the Governor General's Award for Excellence in Teaching Canadian History, and in 1999 partnered with the Canada Council for the Arts to create the Governor General's Awards in Visual and Media Arts. He also oversaw the issuance of the Governor General's Canadian History Medal for the Millennium, and the Governor General's Millennium Edition of the Map of Canada, which was taken into space in 1999 by Julie Payette.[9]

LeBlanc travelled in all parts of Canada, and had a special affinity for small towns and cities, making himself particularly visible in small-town Quebec after the province's referendum on secession in 1995. He participated in more than 2,000 events, including the annual New Year's Levée, which he moved to various locations around the country, seeing the party organised at Ottawa, Ontario (1996), Quebec City, Quebec (1997); Winnipeg, Manitoba (1998); and St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador (1999). Over the same years, LeBlanc also had public access to Rideau Hall (where he was highly popular with staff) and its grounds expanded and improved – including opening a dedicated visitors' centre in 1997 – so that the number of visitors increased three-fold to approximately 125,000 people per year.[9] In keeping with his respect for the First Peoples of Canada, LeBlanc placed a totem pole and inukshuk prominently on the Rideau Hall grounds.

Amongst numerous other official and ceremonial duties, the Governor General granted Royal Assent to amendments to the constitution on three occasions: on 21 April 1997, 19 December 1997, and 8 January 1998, and also issued the royal proclamation announcing the creation of the territory of Nunavut on 1 April 1999. (LeBlanc's own remarks on the occasion got wide circulation.) LeBlanc welcomed to Rideau Hall the Queen, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, along with a host of foreign dignitaries such as US President Bill Clinton and his wife, Hillary, King Hussein and Queen Noor of Jordan, and later Hussein's son, King Abdullah II, and his wife Queen Rania, as well as President of South Africa Nelson Mandela, and President of China Jiang Zemin. Further, he undertook eight state visits, becoming the first governor general of Canada to make such trips to the Czech Republic, India, Pakistan, the Côte d'Ivoire, Tanzania, Mali, and Morocco.[9]


The Governor General's standard as redesigned at LeBlanc's direction, declawed and delangued.

As Governor General, LeBlanc was viewed as having been a role model for Acadians, and was complimented for having drawn the attention of the country to Acadian history and culture. As such, he was seen as a symbol for reconciliation, given the past relations between the Acadians and the Canadian Crown's predecessor. At the same time, LeBlanc was also credited for returning Rideau Hall to a status closer to that which it held a century previous, when it was the centre of life in the capital.[1]

Although LeBlanc enjoyed all the provinces and territories, his visits touching small towns as well as big cities, he travelled to events in his home province to a degree that some saw as disproportionate. Moreover, LeBlanc never sought media coverage, with the result that many Canadians were unaware of who he was. His down-to-earth demeanour was thought by some to have been too "folksy" for the post.[7] The accusations of political patronage also failed to evaporate during LeBlanc's governorship; his son, Dominic LeBlanc, continued to work for the Prime Minister's Office until 1997, when he ran for election to the House of Commons in LeBlanc's old riding, where the Governor General had a series of events planned the very week he dropped the election writs. Further, LeBlanc's daughter maintained employment as a political assistant to Liberal Cabinet ministers, and some of the Governor General's staff had close Liberal Party connections.[1]

Personal touches were also left on the symbol of the Canadian viceregal office, from which LeBlanc removed the claws and tongue of the crowned lion,[7] saying that they were impolite and un-Canadian. Though the change did not gather much attention until near the end of LeBlanc's tenure, the reaction, when it came, was generally unfavourable, and the modifications were undone by his successor.[1]

Post-viceregal life and death

St. Thomas Church was the scene of Roméo LeBlanc's state funeral.

After being released from the Queen's service, LeBlanc returned to New Brunswick. There, after a lengthy battle with Alzheimer's disease, he died on 24 June 2009 in Grande-Digue, New Brunswick.[10] He was, as is protocol for all incumbent and former governors general, accorded a state funeral, which took place on 3 July 2009 in Memramcook, New Brunswick. The casket's path through the community was lined with officers from the department of Fisheries and Oceans, paying homage to LeBlanc's time as Minister of Fisheries and Oceans,[11] and sitting Governor General, Michaëlle Jean, as well as her prime minister, Stephen Harper, and LeBlanc's former prime minister, Jean Chrétien, all attended.[12]

Titles, styles, honours, and arms


Viceregal styles of
Roméo LeBlanc
Crest of the Governor-General of Canada.svg
Reference style His Excellency The Right Honourable
Son Excellence le très honorable
Spoken style Your Excellency
Votre Excellence
Alternative style Sir
  • 18 December 1927 – 8 August 1974: Mister Roméo LeBlanc
  • 8 August 1974 – 8 February 1995: The Honourable Roméo LeBlanc
  • 8 February 1995 – 7 October 1999: His Excellency The Right Honourable Roméo LeBlanc, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief in and over Canada
  • 7 October 1999 – 24 June 2009: The Right Honourable Roméo LeBlanc

LeBlanc's style and title as governor general was, in full, and in English: His Excellency The Right Honourable Roméo-Adrien LeBlanc, Chancellor and Principal Companion of the Order of Canada, Chancellor and Commander of the Order of Military Merit, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief in and over Canada, and in French: Son Excellence le très honorable Roméo-Adrien LeBlanc, chancelier et compagnon principal de l'ordre du Canada, chancelier et commandant de l'ordre du mérite militaire, gouverneur général et commandant en chef du Canada. It should be noted that, for LeBlanc, Commander-in-Chief was strictly a title, and not a position that he held; the actual commander-in-chief (who can also be, and is, called such) is perpetually the monarch of Canada.[13]

In his post-viceregal life, LeBlanc's style and title is, in English: The Right Honourable Roméo LeBlanc, Companion of the Order of Canada, Commander of the Order of Military Merit, Member of the Order of New Brunswick, and in French: le très honorable Roméo LeBlanc, compagnon de l'ordre du Canada, commandant de l'ordre du mérite militaire.


Ribbon bars of Roméo LeBlanc
Order of Canada (CC) ribbon bar.png Order of Military Merit (Canada) ribbon (CMM).jpg Venerable Order of St John Ribbon 1.jpg Order New Brunswick ribbon bar.png
Canada125 ribbon.png QEII Golden Jubilee Medal ribbon.png CD-ribbon.png National Order of Merit Grand Officer Ribbon.png
Foreign honours

Honorary military appointments

Honorary degrees


See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f Fidelis (1999). "The LeBlanc Years: A Frank Assessment". Canadian Monarchist News (Toronto: Monarchist League of Canada) Autumn 1999. Retrieved 2 March 2009.  
  2. ^ Office of the Govenror General of Canada. "Govenror General > Former Governors General > The Right Honourable Roméo LeBlanc". Queen's Printer for Canada. Retrieved 2 March 2009.  
  3. ^ Privy Council Office (30 October 2008). "Information Resources > Current Chronological List of Members of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada > 1971 – 1980". Queen's Printer for Canada. Retrieved 2 March 2009.  
  4. ^ a b c d Library and Archives Canada. "Governor General Roméo LeBlanc and Mrs. Diana Fowler LeBlanc". Queen's Printer for Canada. Retrieved 2 March 2009.  
  5. ^ Martin, Sandra (24 June 2009), "He never, ever lost his roots", The Globe and Mail,, retrieved 24 June 2009  
  6. ^ Office of the Governor General of Canada. "Governor General > Former Governors General > Roméo LeBlanc > Mrs. Diana Fowler LeBlanc, C.C., B.S.W., D.U.". Queen's Printer for Canada. Retrieved 3 March 2009.  
  7. ^ a b c Editorial. "No Garish Sun". Canadian Monarchist News (Monarchist League of Canada) Autumn 1999. Retrieved 7 March 2009.  
  8. ^ Office of the Governor General of Canada. "Governor General > Former Governors General > Roméo LeBlanc > Personal Causes of the Rt. Hon. Roméo LeBlanc". Queen's Printer for Canada. Retrieved 3 March 2009.  
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i Office of the Governor General of Canada. "Governor General > Former Governors General > Roméo LeBlanc > Highlights of the Mandate". Queen's Printer for Canada. Retrieved 3 March 2009.  
  10. ^ Taber, Jane (24 June 2009), "Roméo LeBlanc dies at 81", The Globe and Mail,  
  11. ^ Canadian Press (3 July 2009), "'Great gentleman of Acadia' honoured", Toronto Star,, retrieved 3 July 2009  
  12. ^ Moore, Oliver (3 July 2009), "Dignitaries gather to mourn LeBlanc", The Globe and Mail,, retrieved 3 July 2009  
  13. ^ Victoria (29 March 1867), Constitution Act, 1867, III.15, Westminster: Queen's Printer,, retrieved 15 January 2009  
  14. ^ Office of the Governor General of Canada. "Honours > Order of Canada". Queen's Printer for Canada. Retrieved 27 February 2009.  
  15. ^ Office of the Governor General of Canada. "Honours > Order of Military Merit". Queen's Printer for Canada. Retrieved 27 February 2009.  
  16. ^ Office of the Governor General of Canada. "Honours > Insignia Worn by the Governor General". Queen's Printer for Canada. Retrieved 27 February 2009.  
  17. ^ Intergovernmental and International Relations (1 August 2005). "Order of New Brunswick recipients announced". Press release. Retrieved 2 March 2009.  
  18. ^ [1]
  19. ^ Office of the Governor General of Canada (1 October 1999). "Heraldry > Emblems of Canada and of Government House > Symbols of Past Governors General > The Coat of Arms of The Right Honourable Roméo LeBlanc". Queen's Printer for Canada. Retrieved 4 March 2009.  

External links

Parliament of Canada
Preceded by
Guy F. Crossman
Member of Parliament for Westmorland—Kent
1973 – 1984
Succeeded by
Fernand Robichaud
Political offices
Preceded by
Guy Charbonneau
Speaker of the Canadian Senate
7 December 1993 – 21 November 1994
Succeeded by
Gildas Molgat
22nd Ministry - Second Government of Pierre Trudeau
Cabinet Posts (2)
Predecessor Office Successor
Paul James Cosgrove Minister of Public Works
30 September 1982 – 29 June 1984
Charles Lapointe
James McGrath Minister of Fisheries and Oceans
3 March 1980 – 29 September 1982
Pierre de Bané
Special Cabinet Responsibilities
Predecessor Title Successor
n/a Minister responsible for the
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
30 September 1982 – 29 June 1984
20th Ministry - First Government of Pierre Trudeau
Cabinet Posts (5)
Predecessor Office Successor
New title Minister of Fisheries and Oceans
2 April 1979 – 3 June 1979
James McGrath
Himself, as Acting Minister Minister of the Environment
14 September 1976 – 1 April 1979
styled as
Minister of Fisheries and the Environment
Leonard Stephen Marchand
Jean Marchand Minister of the Environment (acting)
1 July 1976 – 13 September 1976
Himself, as Minister
Jeanne Sauvé Minister of the Environment (acting)
5 December 1975 – 21 January 1976
Jean Marchand
n/a Minister of State (Fisheries)
8 August 1974 – 13 September 1976


Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Romeo LeBlanc article)

From Wikiquote

Roméo LeBlanc, PC, CC, ONB, CMM, CD (born December 18, 1927 in Memramcook, New Brunswick) is a former Governor General of Canada. LeBlanc was appointed Governor General of Canada on February 8, 1995, the first Acadian and the first person from the Maritimes to hold that post. He resigned from the position in 1999, citing health reasons.


  • "If I am to be known for anything, I would like it to be for encouraging Canadians, for knowing a little bit about their daily, extraordinary courage. And for wanting that courage to be recognized."
    • Source: installation speech, February 8, 1995
  • "Volunteers have enriched the lives of every Canadian, and asked nothing for themselves. Now we will honour the hidden helpers and the unsung heroes of Canada. It is time to give something back to the givers."
    • Source: speech on the occasion of the "Unsung Heroes" winning design (Caring Canadian Award), November 21, 1995
  • "I am told that there is a proverbial phrase among the Inuit: 'a long time ago, in the future.' Let the children see our history, and maybe it will help to shape the future."
    • Source: address to the Empire Club and the Royal Commonwealth Society, June 26, 1996
  • "We owe the Aboriginal peoples a debt that is four centuries old. It is their turn to become full partners in developing an even greater Canada. And the reconciliation required may be less a matter of legal texts than of attitudes of the heart."
    • Source: speech on the occasion of the presentation of the 1996 Native Role Models, February 23, 1996
  • "We send our [peacekeepers] off to some disputed zone, full of local intrigue and power blocs and uncertainty and danger, and they are supposed to save lives not with their weapons, but through their competence and their character. And they do it."
    • Source: speech on the occasion of the presentation of the insignia of the Order of Military Merit, February 5, 1997

The above mostly consists of excerpts from his speeches as Governor General. Full speeches and messages are available on the Governor General of Canada's website.

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