This is the title of the brand new documentary Télé-Québec, which follows the path taken by the great politician on the occasion of his 100e birthday. a real tour in the collective memory, which takes us from its origins in New Carlisle to the great moments of his political life. A must see on Wednesday 9 February at 8 pm.
Documentary Trailer Who remembers René Lévesque?
René Lévesque, a man of honor, integrity and conviction who helped forge Quebec’s identity, is a key figure in our history. Considered by many to be the father of the nation, this extraordinary character has devoted a quarter of a century to restoring confidence, hope and pride to the people of Quebec. What remains of his ambitions and achievements 35 years after his death? What is the true legacy of this larger-than-life man?
These are the questions answered Who remembers René Lévesque?, broadcast on Télé-Québec. Result of a collaboration between Les Productions Bazzo Bazzo and the magazine Newsthe documentary directed by Louis Asselin follows the wanderings of political journalist Guillaume Bourgault-Côté, who follows in the politician’s footsteps.
From Montreal to the National Assembly via New Carlisle, this real tour in space-time he meets colleagues, admirers, observers of the Quebec political scene and relatives such as Claude Lévesque, the politician’s son, who lights up part of his life. So many testimonies that together paint a striking portrait of the social and political heritage of the former prime minister.
A hero’s journey for people
René Lévesque died in 1987, but today he still occupies an important place in the collective imagination of several generations of Quebecers, many of whom consider him a true hero. In fact, a Léger poll for the documentary shows that 66% of those polled consider René Lévesque to be the most important political figure in Quebec’s history since the Quiet Revolution. As the documentary shows, all politicians, journalists, activists or ordinary citizens are deeply scarred by his profound humanism.
His well-known commitment to the less fortunate in society dates back to his childhood in New Carlisle, in a corner of Gaspésie dominated by the presence of a large population of English-speaking loyalists. René Lévesque became aware of social inequalities from an early age and developed a strong aversion to injustice, which was the cornerstone of all his political action.
René Lévesque dropped out of law school in 1943 to pursue a career as a radio announcer and journalist. Being perfectly bilingual, he was recruited by the US military in 1944 as a war correspondent, putting him at the forefront of World War II. On his return from Europe, he worked as a journalist for Radio-Canada International and then became a star host, notably on the show Point de mire. His interest in international issues enabled him to take a clear look at Quebec, which would define the political action taken in the 1960s within Jean Lesage’s Liberal government and which would bring it to power in 1976.
Witnessing a Lasting Legacy
Who remembers René Lévesque? doesn’t take the classic biopic route. The documentary does not deal with the failures or the private life of the great man, but rather focuses on the anthology of his political legacy.
Expert comments and discussions in the field with key witnesses of René Lévesque’s political action, such as Pauline Marois, Liza Frulla, political scientist Éric Montigny and Martine Tremblay, who was his chief of staff, allow us to understand the great impact of the great social economic projects carried out by René Lévesque that led to the blossoming of the identity of the Quebec people. With the added bonus of the point of view of artists such as the sculptor Fabien Pagé, who immortalized René Lévesque twice, or the actors Emmanuel Bilodeau and Denis Bouchard.
In addition to his emblematic role as founder of the Parti Québécois and leader of the nationalist and sovereignist movements, René Lévesque was at the origin of numerous reforms whose impact would have been significant. One of the most significant achievements was Bill 101 – and the measures to protect the French language and promote the integration of new immigrants – the one that most affected respondents to the survey for the documentary. The 1980 referendum followed and, unsurprisingly, the immense project of the nationalization of electricity and the transformation of Hydro-Quebec, described by Martine Tremblay as the flagship of Quebec’s economic reconquest.
Other large-scale projects: the creation of the very first Ministry of the Environment and the BAPE; the controversial adoption of the law respecting the protection of farmland, which could curb speculation and curb urban sprawl, while preserving Quebec’s food autonomy; the creation of Sépaq, nature reserves and ZECs that have transformed the area into a common good accessible to all, as well as the recognition of the ancestral rights of the First Nations, a fundamental gesture of which René Lévesque was very proud. Not to mention the passage of the Political Party Financing Act, the Consumer Protection Act and the Auto Insurance Act. Among other things !
We are all heirs of René Lévesque The journey on which Guillaume Bourgault-Côté takes us reminds us that René Lévesque’s many achievements have structured society as we know it today by helping Quebec take control of the main levers of its economy. What we remember from this documentary is that we are all the heirs of René Lévesque, a visionary, committed, charismatic and inspiring man. This is undoubtedly why his memory is so dear to us and why young and old will want to rediscover this great character on the airwaves of Télé-Québec.
A fruitful collaboration
Télé-Québec is the public media with an educational and cultural vocation in Quebec. Multiplatform, Télé-Québec offers a unique programming aimed at cultivating a taste for knowledge, encouraging the acquisition of knowledge, stimulating reflection, promoting local artistic and cultural life and reflecting regional realities and diversity from Québec. In addition to its headquarters in Montreal, the company has 10 regional offices. Whether on its website or with its application, Télé-Québec offers all its video content on all screens for free. You can follow Télé-Québec on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. telequebec.tv
This content was produced by Le Devoir’s dedicated publishing team in conjunction with the advertiser. The editors of Le Devoir had no role in the production of this content.