- Roméo LeBlanc
Infobox Governor General
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
February 8, 1995
October 7, 1999
monarch1 = Elizabeth II
order2 = 43rd
office2 = Speaker of the Canadian Senate
December 7, 1993
November 21, 1994
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
September 30, 1982
June 29, 1984
office4 = 3rd Minister of Fisheries and Oceans
monarch4 = Elizabeth II rep. by
March 3, 1980
September 29, 1982
office5 = 1st Minister of Fisheries and Oceans
monarch5 = Elizabeth II rep. by
April 2, 1979
June 3, 1979
Pierre de Bané
Member of Parliamentfor Westmorland-Kent
October 30, 1972
September 4, 1984
successor6 = Guy F. Crossman
birth_date = birth date and age|1927|12|18
Memramcook, New Brunswick
Diana Fowler LeBlanc
Politician, Journalist, Teacher
LeBlanc was appointed Governor General on
February 8, 1995, the first Acadianand the first person from the Maritimes to hold that post. He resigned from the position in 1999, citing health reasons.
He studied at the Collège St-Joseph in
Memramcook, earning a Bachelor of Artsand a Bachelor of Educationthere. He also studied French Civilization at the Université de Paris.
He was first elected to the House of Commons as a Liberal
Member of Parliamentin 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,
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 Chrétienwas criticized by some as being little more than a patronagegift 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 LeBlancwas likewise a member of the Liberal Party, and continued to work for the Prime Minister's office. In protest, Reform Party of Canadaleader Preston Manningrefused to attend LeBlanc's installation ceremony, as did Bloc Québécoisleader 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 Canadaclub, 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
* [http://www.gg.ca/gg/fgg/bios/02/index_e.asp Biography from Governor General's web site]
* [http://www.gg.ca/honours/search-recherche/honours-desc.asp?lang=e&TypeID=orc&id=3486 Order of Canada citation]
* [http://www.monarchist.ca/cmn/leblanc.htm Critical assessment of his term by Monarchist.ca]
* [http://epe.lac-bac.gc.ca/100/200/301/ic/can_digital_collections/governor/standard/pg03a.htm Collections Canada Biography]
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