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Daniel Poliquin

Författare till A Secret Between Us

16+ verk 128 medlemmar 5 recensioner

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Verk av Daniel Poliquin

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Allmänna fakta

Montréal, Québec, Canada
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Priser och utmärkelser
Order of Canada



This is a well written biography of Rene Levesque, the first leader of the Parti Quebecois. It provides the historical foundation of the reasons why Levesque was able to assemble a group of like minded people to pursue the separation of Quebec from Canada. Levesque was a very innovative minister in the government of Jean Lesage who defeated the Union National's Duplessis. The UN had kept quebecers under the thumb of the Catholic Church as illiterate and unambitious peasants. Levesque introduced the consolidation of hundreds of hydroelectric utilities to create Hydro Quebec. The creation of the PQ is told in detail but one gets the sense that Levesque was never a true believer in in Quebec's independence. Levesques fights with Pierre Trudeau over the repatriation do the Canadian constitution and the Charter of Rights are well describes. Poor Rene was a troubled man, a skirt chaser and heavy drinker. He died at an early age of a massive heart attack. Good book… (mer)
MaggieFlo | 2 andra recensioner | Aug 20, 2014 |
In this informative, entertaining, and witty biography Daniel Poliquin demystifies one of Canada's most famous Premiers and Quebec nationalists. Poliquin has stripped away fanciful and villainous illusions about Levesque, has shown us his personal flaws, his frugal lifestyle, his fondness of America, his concerns (e.g. the working people, Aboriginals in Quebec's north), his integrity (e.g. the ending of patronage and kickbacks in Quebec provincial politics) to show us the unapologetic, scruffy, skirt-chasing democrat who tirelessly worked to get a better deal for the Quebec that he always was.

Levesque made tangible improvements to the lives of the people in Quebec. He was the one who convinced Lesage to go through with expansion Hydro-Quebec and the nationalization of Quebec's electric industry, which was previously owned by the English-Canadian elite. From the start of his political career with Quebec’s Liberal Party, Levesque worked against the grain to reform the corruption and violence of Quebec politics by making state transparency mandatory, e.g. calls for tenders, ending post-election patronage. And he was always thinking how to unleash Quebec's creativity to gain international respectability. For example on pg. 189, when a group of "young street performers adept at walking on stilts and breathing fire" were turned down for an arts grant, Levesque (personally) stepped in, and reversed that decision. Those "young street performers" became Cirque du Soleil, a billion-dollar entertainment company known throughout the world and a pride of Quebec.

Poliquin reminds us, again and again, that Levesque was not a Quebec separatist. What he wanted was a new deal on sovereignty-association, however far-fetched it was. He sought sovereignty-association because the Anglais, the English-speaking Canadian business elite, had controlled Quebec for decades, had exploited its people, and had essentially (with the Catholic Church, and later with the heavy-hand of the Union Nationale) kept Quebec in a backwards, poorly-educated, 18th century agrarian society. Levesque wanted to improve people's lives, and he believed that the only pragmatic way for the Quebecois to get that new deal from the those who held the reins of power were with small careful steps.

Moreover, Poliquin made pains to remind us that Levesque sought sovereignty-association and a continuation of relations with (English) Canada over his own Parti Quebecois caucus. He fought against his own PQ to maintain public funding for minority language public schools. He threatened to quit almost a dozen times to stop his caucus' radical independence and Quebec nationalist programs to protect minorities in Quebec and his dreams of sovereignty-association.

This short 201-page biography is never dull, it’s never boring, and it certainly succeeds in reminding us about the always interesting and "extraordinary" Canadian that was Rene Levesque.
… (mer)
GYKM | 2 andra recensioner | Jun 6, 2011 |
This is a short book about the political life of Rene Levesque, nationalist premier of Quebec and first leader of the Parti Quebecois. It is highly readable and well written, with the occasional tongue-in-cheek turn of phrase that broings the subject to life. While the Extraordinary Canadians series is not an in-depth study of its subjects, this author has packed a lot of analysis and insight into these 200 pages.
LynnB | 2 andra recensioner | Sep 28, 2010 |


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