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Web-users’ favorite Francophone Québécois – Part C (#310)

Picking up where we left off a couple of posts ago, let us now look at the #11 to #15 spots of web-users’ “favourite“ Québécois.

If you haven’t noticed already, athletes hold a prominent place in people’s minds when they think of their favorite personalities.  But then again, that shouldn’t come as too much a surprise.  Québec, like the rest of Canada, takes hockey, international titles, and its Olympians very seriously.

11.  René Levesque

  • Politician (Born in New Brunswick.  Raised in New Carlisle, Gaspésie region.  Lived much of his adult life in Montréal and Québec City)
  • Long-time, well-known reporter and international correspondent for Radio-Canada.
  • Founded the Parti Québécois.
  • Was one of the main political figures in Québec during the 1970s, the constitutional rounds of the early 1980s, and was the main figure who brought Québec nationalism into Québec (and Canadian) politics.   For most people, when they think of the politics of the end of the 1960s to the beginning of the 1980s, it is difficult to not think of René Levesque.
  • Although he passed away in 1987, he is still held in high regard in people’s minds.  His charismatic nature made him the “Jack Layton” of Québec’s nationalist politics – a personality which was difficult not to like (even for those who did not share his goals of Québec sovereignty).


12.  Anne Hébert

  • Author & Poet (Born north of Québec City)
  • Anne Hébert can be credited as being one of the finest French fiction and poetry authors in Canada’s and Québec’s modern incubation age (a 50 year period which encompassed the mid 20th century).
  • Because of her stature in such an era (one of only a handful of individuals), she played a hand in establishing and charting the National Film Board, Radio-Canada, and cementing literature as a desirable “home-grown” cultural institution in the minds of the public.
  • Hébert won the Governor General’s Award three times.
  • Her most well known works are
    • Torrent, and
    • Kamouraska (compulsory school curriculum reading in Francophone schools across Canada).
  • To show how appreciated she is across Canada, there is even a Francophone school in Vancouver, British Columbia named after her.

Here are some examples of her poetry.

13.  Martin Brodeur

  • Hockey Player (Montréal, born & lived).
  • Three-time Stanley Cup winner with the New Jersey Devils.
  • Two-time Olympic gold medalist in hockey.
  • Multi-record holder (wins, losses, shutouts, games played).
  • Retired last year.

14.  Jean Beliveau

  • Hockey Player (Longueuil / Montréal).
  • One of the other greats of NHL hockey history.
  • Multi-record holder who played for the Montréal Canadiens for 20 years (until 1971).
  • Known for having won more Stanley Cups than any other person.
  • Passed away in 2014.

15.  Geneviève Bujold

  • Actress (Montréal).
  • One of the few people in the acting profession to have held major roles in Québec films from the inception of the modern film industry of Québec, right until present (for more information on the timelime of these eras, refer to the previous post, Denys Arcand: A quick Québec film industry backgrounder)
  • Best known in her historic role of Anne Boleyn in the 1969 classic film Anne of the Thousand Days.
  • She’s still starting in roles today, and has become a living legend.

(As an aside, Bujold played in the 1973 classic, Kamouraska, based on Anne Hébert’s novel, which I mentioned above).

Here is a very nice interview with her in FRENCH on TFO (Ontario’s French public broadcaster).

Here is an interview in ENGLISH regarding the same film you saw in the above clips.

The next posts will continue to offer a list of web-users’ favorite Francophone Québécois & Québécoises.

Conditioning: A few words regarding the death of Jacques Parizeau (#285)

A short word on today’s passing of Jacques Parizeau.

This will be quite an unexpected lesson in conditioning (the subject of the current series of several posts) – one which was not planned and is completely by chance owing to today’s sudden announcement of Mr. Parizeau’s passing.

Although controversial, Jacques Parizeau was a man of incredible vision and one of the most influential people in not only Québec’s modern history, but also Canada’s modern history.

The book “Jacques Parizeau, un bâtisseur”, by Laurence Richard, was the first biography I ever read (in the early 1990s, strangely enough when I was in was about 14 or 15 years old).

During his time as Premier, it was quite apparent to most people that he had one goal. He had the integrity to head straight for that goal as fast as possible — No detours, no hesitation. It was understood that the any pieces and “collateral damage” resulting from that goal could be dealt with after. Regardless if people agreed or not with his approach or end goal, people knew where he stood, and were invited to take it or leave it. In 1995, people left it.

Mr. Parizeau was generally upfront in this sense (as upfront as he could be considering he had to form and maintain coalitions with others who were more hesitant), and he deserves everyone’s respect for having the integrity to let it be known where he stood on issues under such circumstances.

It is a lesson all politicians from all political stripes can learn from.

How this fits into conditioning:

As a builder of government institutions during Quebec’s Quiet Revolution, he achieved more in his time as a cabinet minister during René Levesque’s government than what several ministers achieve in the course of a few governments.   He embarked on a wide range of industry nationalizations, the setting up of sovereign investment and pension funds, and other government institutions – many of which have since been copied across Canada – provincially coast to coast, or federally.

I always thought that had Mr. Parizeau been federalist, and had he sought to change the federation, the country in its entirety would have achieved heights never before conceived of.  However, history made it so he assumed a different role.

Yet his role as a builder of Québec’s fundamental institutions, and the values which have ensued from those institutions have undoubtedly had a spill over imbued effect into Canada’s overall collective psyche (one region of the country invariably and eventually affects other parts of the country).

In a strange twist of fate, Parizeau’s role as a “builder of modern Québec” has made him a builder of Québec’s modern psyche and society — and through the spill-over affect, of Canada’s modern psyche and society also (which heavily revolves around our highly province-to-province integrated collective welfare & social systems, economic and political systems, and societal expectations).  Thus, Mr. Parizeau has indirectly (and probably quite unknowingly) played a role in bringing Québec’s and English Canada’s collective psyches and societies closer in line than any time before.

He likely thought that Québec would have achieved independence decades ago before such a phenomenon could have ever occurred.

In this sense, a little bit of Jacques Parizeau will always be with all of us, regardless if you are Anglophone, Francophone, or regardless if you are from Vancouver, Saskatoon, Yarmouth or Hamilton.  We have all be impacted in some way by Parizeau’s society-building efforts.

Yet neither Anglophone patriotic conditioning, nor Francophone nationalist conditioning has him seen in this also equally valid light.