Roméo LeBlanc

Roméo LeBlanc

Infobox Governor General
honorific-prefix = The Right Honourable
name = Roméo-Adrien LeBlanc
honorific-suffix = PC CC CMM ONB CD LLD (Mun, "hc") LLD (Mem, "hc") DLitt ("hc") BEd BA (MtA, "hc") BA

order1 = 25th
office1 = Governor General of Canada
term_start1 = February 8, 1995
term_end1 = October 7, 1999
monarch1 = Elizabeth II
predecessor1 = Ray Hnatyshyn
successor1 = Adrienne Clarkson
primeminister1 = Jean Chrétien
order2 = 43rd
office2 = Speaker of the Canadian Senate
term_start2 = December 7, 1993
term_end2 = November 21, 1994
predecessor2 = Guy Charbonneau
successor2 = Gildas Molgat
office3 = 40th Minister of Public Works
and 1st Minister responsible for the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
monarch3 = Elizabeth II rep. by Edward Schreyer, Jeanne Sauvé
term_start3 = September 30, 1982
term_end3 = June 29, 1984
predecessor3 = Paul Cosgrove
successor3 = Charles Lapointe
office4 = 3rd Minister of Fisheries and Oceans
monarch4 = Elizabeth II rep. by Edward Schreyer
term_start4 = March 3, 1980
term_end4 = September 29, 1982
predecessor4 =
successor4 = James McGrath
office5 = 1st Minister of Fisheries and Oceans
monarch5 = Elizabeth II rep. by Edward Schreyer
term_start5 = April 2, 1979
term_end5 = June 3, 1979
predecessor5 = James McGrath
successor5 = Pierre de Bané
office6 = Member of Parliament for Westmorland-Kent
term_start6 = October 30, 1972
term_end6 = September 4, 1984
predecessor6 = Fernand Robichaud
successor6 = Guy F. Crossman
birth_date = birth date and age|1927|12|18
birth_place = Memramcook, New Brunswick
spouse = Diana Fowler LeBlanc
profession = Politician, Journalist, Teacher
religion = Roman Catholic|

Roméo-Adrien LeBlanc PC CC CMM ONB CD (born December 18, 1927 in Memramcook, New Brunswick) is a former Governor General of Canada.

LeBlanc was appointed Governor General 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.

Earlier career

He studied at the Collège St-Joseph in Memramcook, earning a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Education there. He also studied French Civilization at the Université de Paris.

LeBlanc was a teacher for nine years before becoming a journalist. After working for Radio-Canada, he served as press secretary for two Prime Ministers: Lester B. Pearson and Pierre Trudeau.

He was first elected to the House of Commons as a Liberal Member of Parliament in 1972. He served as Minister of Fisheries and Oceans most of the period 1974-82. He was Canada's longest-serving fisheries minister, and the most influential since the Confederation era.

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 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. A widespread system of advisory committees brought fishermen a far bigger voice in fishery management.

On the Pacific, LeBlanc oversaw creation of the huge Salmonid Enhancement Program, aiming for a doubling of salmon production. He was also known for quelling plans by Alcan that were deemed to threaten salmon rivers at the time.

But his main impact was on the Atlantic, starting with more fish. As Canada gained the 200-mile limit and banished most foreign vessels, LeBlanc warned against Canadians themselves overfishing. He often used 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.

Who would get the fish? Friction was often present between independent, smaller-boat fishermen and major companies operating large trawlers. LeBlanc took the side of the independents, who were the great majority in the fishery. 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.

In many areas, the independent fishermen had been only loosely organized, if at all. 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. In 1984, he was appointed to the Senate, where he became Speaker in 1993.

As Governor General

LeBlanc's term as The Queen's Vice-Regal Representative in Canada was considered to have been "low key", and largely uneventful, especially in comparison to that of his successor, Adrienne Clarkson.

His largest bout of publicity occurred immediately after the announcement of his appointment. The decision to appoint a prominent Liberal party politician and organizer as Governor General by Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chrétien was criticized by some 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 one of the party's most fierce partisans. His son, Dominic LeBlanc was likewise a member of the Liberal Party, and continued to work for the Prime Minister's office. In protest, Reform Party of Canada leader Preston Manning refused to attend LeBlanc's installation ceremony, as did Bloc Québécois leader Lucien Bouchard.

LeBlanc travelled widely in all parts of Canada, and had a special affinity for small towns and cities, such as Rossland, B.C. and Kapuskasing, Ontario. He was particularly visible in small-town Quebec after the 1995 referendum. He liked the north, and was proud to present a flag and coat of arms in a noted speech at the creation of the Nunavut territory in 1999. LeBlanc was equally pleased to have inaugurated National Aboriginal Day, and expressed great fellow-feeling with Aboriginal people in general.

LeBlanc believed in the abilities, good sense, and dignity of ordinary Canadians, and in 1996 established the Caring Canadian Award to recognize the "unsung heroes" who volunteer their time, efforts, and much of their lives to helping others.

LeBlanc was the first Acadian Governor-General, which earned praise from the Acadian community.

LeBlanc is an honorary member of the Royal Military College of Canada club, H20123.


He married Diana Fowler LeBlanc (b. 1940), who, as the spouse of the Governor-General, is made a Companion of the Order of Canada. They have four children. His son, Dominic LeBlanc, became a Liberal Member of Parliament in 2000.



Honorary military positions

External links

* [ Biography from Governor General's web site]
* [ Order of Canada citation]
* [ Critical assessment of his term by]
* [ Collections Canada Biography]


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