- Louis-René Beaudoin
Louis-René Beaudoin, PC (
May 5 1912– February 21 1970) was Speaker of the Canadian House of Commonsfrom 1953 to 1957.
Though trained as a lawyer, Beaudoin came from a
working classbackground and financed his education by working as a bus driver and labourer. He became a legal advisor to the Quebec Federation of Labour and volunteered for the Quebec Liberal Partyprior to winning election to Parliament.
Beadouin was first elected to the
Canadian House of Commonsin the 1945 election as a Liberal from Quebec. He became Deputy Speaker in 1952 and was appointed Speaker of the House of Commons on November 12, 1953.
Beaudoin's nomination was seconded by Leader of the Opposition George Drew, the first time in Canadian history that a nomination for Speaker was seconded by the Opposition Leader. His reputation as a competent Speaker grew until the
Pipeline Debatein 1956 in which the government invoked closure repeatedly in an attempt to force legislation through the house and force a vote with a minimum of debate.
In the course of the debate, Speaker Beaudoin initially ruled that debate could occur on an appeal of a ruling by the Deputy Speaker. The next day, Beaudoin reversed his ruling and moved that the vote on the appeal proceed without debate. The Opposition was outraged and a number of Members of Parliament (MPs) stormed the Chair, calling the Speaker a "traitor" and "coward".
The following Monday, George Drew introduced a motion of
censureagainst Mr. Beaudoin whom he accused of destroying the Speakership. The Liberal majority defeated the motion, but less than a month later, Mr. Drew called attention to a newspaper in which there was a letter by Beaudoin criticizing the behaviour of opposition members during the pipeline debate. Beaudoin argued it was a private letter, not intended to be published. The following day, however, he placed his resignation before the House. Prime Minister Louis St. Laurentwas out of the country, but on returning, he persuaded Mr. Beaudoin to stay on until the end of the Parliament.
Beaudoin's reputation was destroyed. While he was re-elected to the House in the 1957 election, he decided to retire in 1958. He moved to the
United States, enrolled in a doctoral program at Columbia University, but failed to finish his thesis. He spent the remainder of his life drifting from job to job even finding work serving beer in a tavern. He returned to Montreal, where he died aged 57 of a heart attack in 1970, "virtually penniless and alone, in the back seat of a Montreal taxi." [ [http://www.globalpublicaffairs.ca/article022407.html Global Public Affairs - A tragic, shocking fall from grace
* [http://www.parl.gc.ca/information/about/people/key/SP-BL/hoc-cdc/index.asp?Language=E¶m=1&id=8377 Speakers of the Canadian House of Commons biography]
* [http://www.parl.gc.ca/information/about/people/key/bio.asp?Language=E&query=8377&s=M Federal Political Biography from the Library of Parliament]
*Maloney, Mark. [http://www.globalpublicaffairs.ca/article022407.html "A tragic, shocking fall from grace"] , "Toronto Star", February 27, 2007. Accessed April 4, 2007.
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