Jean-Louis Roux

The Honourable
Jean-Louis Roux
26th Lieutenant Governor of Quebec
In office
August 8, 1996  January 30, 1997
Monarch Elizabeth II
Governor General Roméo LeBlanc
Premier Lucien Bouchard
Preceded by Martial Asselin
Succeeded by Lise Thibault
Senator for Mille Isles, Quebec
In office
August 31, 1994  August 8, 1996
Appointed by Jean Chrétien
Preceded by Solange Chaput-Rolland
Succeeded by Léonce Mercier
Personal details
Born (1923-05-18)May 18, 1923
Montreal, Quebec
Died November 28, 2013(2013-11-28) (aged 90)
Montreal, Quebec
Alma mater Université de Montréal
Profession Playwright, entertainer, politician

Jean-Louis Roux, CC CQ (May 18, 1923 – November 28, 2013) was a Canadian politician, entertainer and playwright who was briefly the 34th Lieutenant Governor of Quebec.[1][2]


Born in Montreal, Quebec, he originally studied medicine at the Université de Montréal, but gave it up to pursue acting. After travelling and performing in New York City and Paris he returned to Montreal and helped create the Théâtre du Nouveau Monde and became a frequent actor in and director of its productions for the next several years. He also turned to writing and wrote successful plays, radio dramas, and television shows.

His greatest fame comes from his role on La famille Plouffe, a very successful Quebec situation comedy. Roux served as President of the Canadian Conference of the Arts from 1968 through 1970. In 1994 he was appointed to the Senate and remained there until resigning in 1996.[2] A fierce federalist, great controversy arose when he compared Quebec separatists to Nazis.

Upon leaving the Senate he was, at age 73, the oldest person ever appointed Lieutenant-Governor of Quebec on August 8, 1996. Controversy reemerged when pictures were found showing Roux wearing a swastika on his lab coat in protest of the proposal to invoke conscription for service in World War II,[3] and evidence emerged that he had participated in a 1942 protest against conscription in which some protesters, but not Roux, smashed the windows of some Jewish-owned businesses.[4] Roux served (training) in the Canadian Army from 1942 to 1946; he had no known ties to fascist or anti-Semitic groups,[5] and had in fact been a quite outspoken opponent of Nazism and anti-Semitism throughout his career,[6] sometimes even refusing to accept roles in productions which he considered to include anti-Jewish stereotypes.

The controversy was widely viewed as an attempt to discredit an outspoken opponent of the Quebec sovereignty movement,[6] as well as to whitewash emerging revelations that some figures in the Quebec sovereignty movement had also expressed fascist and anti-Semitic views in the past.[7]

He later issued an apology for the swastika incident, which he described as "a medical student's mischievous desire to show off and be provocative, and in no way corresponded to any political conviction or ideology on my part,"[8] and announced his resignation as lieutenant governor on November 5, 1996.[7] He retained the office, to give Prime Minister Jean Chrétien time to find and appoint a replacement, until Lise Thibault officially succeeded him on January 30, 1997.[9]

On May 31, 1997 Roux returned to public life when the federal government appointed him to be chair of the Canada Council.

In 1971 he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada and was promoted to Companion in 1987. In 1989, he was made a Knight of the National Order of Quebec. Roux received a Governor General's Performing Arts Award for his lifetime contributions to Canadian theatre in 2004.[10]

He died in Montreal on November 28, 2013.[11]


Coat of arms

See also


  1. St-Pierre, Caroline (November 29, 2013). "Jean-Louis Roux, actor and co-founder of TNM, dies at 90". Montreal Gazette. Retrieved 29 November 2013.
  2. 1 2 "ROUX, The Hon. Jean-Louis, C.C., C.Q., B.A., R.S.C.". Database of the Parliament of Canada. Retrieved 29 November 2013.
  3. "Soviets saw nest of fascists in Quebec". Montreal Gazette, February 28, 2000.
  4. "Que. Lt.-Gov. defended by deputy PM; Accused of `racist behavior'". Edmonton Journal, November 5, 1996.
  5. "Wore swastika, but no Nazi, says Roux". Halifax Daily News, November 5, 1996.
  6. 1 2 "Jean-Louis Roux's unfinished business". Montreal Gazette, November 5, 1996.
  7. 1 2 "Resignation of `man of honor' accepted by angry Chretien". Windsor Star, November 6, 1996.
  8. "Roux admits wearing swastika in 1942: Quebec's Lieutenant-Governor says actions came out of 'student's mischievous desire to show off". The Globe and Mail, November 5, 1996.
  9. "Thibault sworn in - but no speeches". Montreal Gazette, January 31, 1997.
  11. "L'homme de théâtre québécois Jean-Louis Roux s'est éteint". Radio-Canada, November 29, 2013.
  12. Canadian Heraldic Authority (Volume IV), Ottawa, 2002
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