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Encyclopedia > Pierre Bourgault

Pierre Bourgault (January 23, 1934-June 15, 2003) was a Quebec politician and essayist and public speaker who advocated Quebec sovereignty.

An albino, he was born in East Angus in the Estrie (Eastern Townships) region of Quebec to parents who sent him to boarding school at age 7, determined that he should receive the education which they lacked.

Beginning in the early 1960s he supported Quebec sovereignty, and in 1964 he became leader of the pro-independence Rassemblement pour l'indépendance nationale, which he had helped found in 1960. In 1968 he disbanded the RIN and invited its members to join René Lévesque's Mouvement Souveraineté-Association and the Ralliement national in the newly founded Parti Québécois, under Lévesque's leadership. However, Bourgault himself did not play any role in the PQ government that came to power in the 1976 Quebec election and often quarreled with Lévesque before leaving the PQ in the 1980s. In effect he sacrificed his own political career to unite pro-sovereignty forces.

In his early life he was a journalist at Montreal newspaper La Presse, and he returned to this in the 1990s as a columnist for Le Journal de Montréal. After 1976 he was a professor of communications at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM). He was also the co-host or regular columnist of several radio shows aired on la Société Radio-Canada, the French language sector of the CBC.

He was non-religious to the point of atheism, and despite their political differences had a solid friendship with Robert Bourassa. An ardent defender of the French language, he received the Prix Georges-Émile-Lapalme in 1997.

He once estimated that he had given 4000 speeches in his life, which are however mostly lost to posterity since he did not write them down.


  • Not a single one, not a single one among us, in 200 years, has won a battle. ...and this is what it is to be colonized! When we have but martyrs! how can we have aspirations!? How can we have the will to fight!?
    • Rassemblement pour l'indépendance nationale speech.

External link

  • Obituary (http://www.ledevoir.com/2003/06/17/30082.html) (from Le Devoir, in French)

  Results from FactBites:
Reference.com/Encyclopedia/Quebec sovereignty movement (4210 words)
He achieved that goal in October 1968 when the MSA held its first (and last) national congress in Quebec City.
The RN and MSA agreed to merge to form the Parti Québécois (PQ), and later that month Pierre Bourgault, leader of the RIN, dissolved his party and invited its members to join the PQ.
The Charter of the French Language and other attempts to make French secure as the primary language in Quebec had also deeply offended the Canadian population outside Quebec, since many of the other provinces had implemented Pierre Trudeau's initiatives to billingualize their institutions.
  More results at FactBites »



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