René Lévesque

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René Lévesque in 1961
A bust of Rene Levesque at Hydro-Quebec.

René Lévesque (August 24, 1922November 1, 1987) was a Québécois politician and journalist who served as the 23rd premier of Quebec from 1976 to 1985. He was the first Québécois political leader since Confederation to attempt, through a referendum, to negotiate the political independence of Quebec. Starting his career as a reporter, and radio and television host, he later became known for his eminent role in Quebec's nationalization of hydro, and as an ardent defender of Quebec sovereignty. He was the founder of the Parti Québécois, and before that, a Liberal minister in the Lesage government from 1960 to 1966.


  • Il est un temps où le courage et l'audace tranquilles deviennent pour un peuple aux moments clés de son existence la seule forme de prudence convenable. S'il n'accepte pas alors le risque calculé des grandes étapes, il peut manquer sa carrière à tout jamais, exactement comme l'homme qui a peur de la vie.
    • There is a time when quiet courage and audacity become for a people at the key moments of its existence the only form of adequate caution. If it does not then accept the calculated risk of the great steps, it can miss its career forever, exactly like the man who is afraid of life.
    • On the plaque in front of his statue on the hill of the National Assembly of Quebec.
  • Est Québécois qui veut l'être.
    • Whoever wants to be a Quebecer is one.
    • Victory speech, 1976 Quebec election.
  • Je n'ai jamais pensé que je pourrais être aussi fier d'être Québécois.
    • I never thought that I could be so proud to be Québécois. [1]
    • Victory speech, 1976 Quebec election.
  • On n'est pas un petit peuple, on est peut-être quelque chose comme un grand peuple.
    • We are not a small people, we are maybe something of a great people.
    • Victory speech, 1976 Quebec election. [2]
  • Si j'ai bien compris, vous êtes en train de me dire: à la prochaine fois.
    • If I understood you well, you are telling me: Next time. [3] ([4]
    • Concession speech, 1980 Quebec referendum.
  • Mais j'ai confiance qu'un jour... y'a un rendez-vous normal avec l'Histoire que le Québec tiendra, et j'ai confiance qu'on sera là, ensemble, pour y assister.
    • But I have confidence that one day... there's a normal rendezvous with History that Quebec will hold, and I have confidence that we shall be there, together, to witness it. [5][6]
    • Concession speech, 1980 Quebec referendum.
  • And I would like to say we've got no lesson on that score to take from the McConnells, from anyone that has been dominating Quebec like a bunch of Rhodesians! The white group. If we have colours here you feel it and that is something we will not stand any more. This paternalistic, WASP ... and it is that, typically, WASP arrogance of the ones that have been leading our government and to the slush funds that they contribute to leaving both of our hacked bodies by the road for too long.
    • The Champions, Part 2: Trappings of Power [7]

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