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Robert Bourassa

Robert Bourassa (1933-1996) was a Canadian politician. As Liberal premier of Quebec from 1970 to 1976 and 1985 to 1994, he was a strong federalist and a supporter of the Meech Lake and Charlottetown Accords.

He played a critical role in the October Crisis of 1970 in which his colleague Pierre Laporte was murdered. It was Bourassa who pushed Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau to call in the army. After Laporte's kidnapping Bourassa barricaded himself and his cabinet behind heavy layers of security. He lost an election to René Lévesque in 1976 but returned to office in 1985.

During his time in power he continued policies such as language laws and pushing for Quebec to be acknowledged as a distinct society. He promised Quebecers that their grievances could be resolved within Canada with a new constitutional deal. He worked closely with Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and received many concessions from the federal government, culminating in the Meech Lake and Charlottetown Accords. Quebecers and the rest of Canada were unhappy with the agreements, however, and the constitutional reform efforts collapsed, reviving the separatist movement.

Bourassa, not in great health and quite unpopular, retired from politics and was replaced by Daniel Johnson, Jr, who quickly lost an election to the separatist Parti Québécois.

He died in 1996 of skin cancer.

First Term
Preceded by:
Jean-Jacques Bertrand
List of Quebec premiers Succeeded by:
René Lévesque
Second Term
Preceded by:
Pierre-Marc Johnson
List of Quebec premiers Succeeded by:
Daniel Johnson, Jr