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Alberta's Francophone Heritage
Background, People, Culture, Heritage Community Foundation, Albertasource and Alberta Lottery Fund

 

Francophone Edukit

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Franco-Albertan Politicians
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Legislation

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on Bilingualism and Biculturalism (RCBB)

Official
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Trudeau and the Canadian Charter

Franco-Albertan Politicians

Influential Figures

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Over the years, a great many Franco-Albertans participated in politics at all levels.

In 1891, Antonio Prince represented the County of Saint-Albert in the Legislative Assembly of the North-West Territories. Frédéric Villeneuve, the founder of the first Francophone newspaper, L’Ouest Canadian was elected in the same county in 1898. He was replaced by J.A. Lambert in 1903.

Many francophones also served as senators: Dr Philippe Roy (1905), Jean-Léon Côté (1923), Prosper E. Lessard (1925) and Dr Aristide Blais (1940). In 2005, the Federal government appointed Dr Claudette Tardif, the former Dean of Faculté Saint-Jean.

The first Franco-Albertan to serve in the House of Commons was René-Antoine Pelletier (1935). Joseph Déchène served from 1940 to 1958 and Marcel Lambert served from 1957 to 1984.

At the provincial level, no Franco-Albertan was elected in the first elections of the newly formed Province of Alberta in 1905. But three Liberal candidates were elected in 1909: Boudreau, Lessard (minister without portfolio), and Côté.

In the 1913 and 1917 provincial elections, five Franco-Albertans, all Liberal candidates, were elected: Lessard, Gariépy (Minister of Municipal Affairs) Côté, Boudreau and Turgeon.
Two United Farmers of Alberta MLAs , Laudas Joly and Télesphore St-Arnaud, and two Liberal MLA’s, Jean-Léon Côté and Joseph Déchène, were elected in 1921. Giroux was elected in 1914 and again in 1926 as were Liberal MLA’s Giroux and Boudreau and UFA MLA’s Joly and Delisle.

In 1930, three Liberal candidates, Giroux, Déchène and Dakin and Omer Saint-Germain of the UFA were elected. In 1934, Saint-Germain joined Brownlee’s Liberal Party. The same year Beaudry and Maynard both won seats for the Social Credit Party. They were re-elected in 1940. Social Credit MLA Bourcier won in Lac Sainte-Anne. Lionel Tellier won as an independent in the county of Saint-Albert and the Liberal Harry Tremblay who served in the army at the time of the election won for the County of Grouard. Beaudry, Maynard and Bourcier kept their seat in 1944.

But as of 1949, the number of Franco-Albertan MLA’s diminished sharply. Amongst the few elected after that year were Roméo Desfossés and Lucien Maynard (named minister without portfolio in 1936 and Attorney General in 1943), Roméo Lamothe (1963), Damasse Bouvier (1971), Léo Piquette (1986), Yolande Gagnon (1989) and Paul Langevin (1993 and 1997).

Born in Bonnyville in 1955, the hon. Denis Ducharme (1997 and 2001) was name Francophone Secretary by Ralph Klein’s Conservative Government.

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