Lucien Bouchard

Bouchard, Lucien (lüsyăNˈ bōshärˈ) [key], 1938–, French-Canadian separatist leader, b. Quebec. A lawyer and a political ally of Brian Mulroney, Bouchard served under him as Canada's ambassador to France (1985–88) and environment minister (1989–90). In 1990 he broke with Mulroney and the Progressive Conservative party over the failed Meech Lake Accord and formed the Bloc Québécois, a Quebec separatist party intended to complement the provincial Parti Québécois (PQ) on the federal level. In the 1993 elections the party became the second largest in the Canadian parliament, and the charismatic Bouchard became leader of the opposition. He lost a leg to a life-threatening bacterial infection in 1994 but returned to his seat in Commons and in 1995 nearly led separatism's supporters to victory in a Quebec referendum. Bouchard resigned from the parliament in 1996 to become Quebec's premier and leader of the PQ; he resigned as premier and party leader early in 2001.

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