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The Speakers of the Senate of Canada


Right Hon. Roméo LeBlanc
P.C., C.C., C.M.M., O.N.B., C.D., B.A., B.Ed. (1993–1994)

From a New Brunswick teacher to the Governor General of Canada, Roméo LeBlanc’s career was remarkable. It included more than 10 years in the Senate.

After obtaining arts and education degrees from the University of St. Joseph’s College, followed by two years’ study in Paris, LeBlanc spent nine years as a teacher. In 1960, he decided to change careers, establishing himself as a radio journalist. He later spent four years as a press secretary to Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson and his successor, Pierre Trudeau.

In 1972, at the age of 45, LeBlanc embarked on his fourth career, as a Liberal politician. Elected in a New Brunswick riding and soon promoted to the Cabinet, he was re-elected in three further general elections. Three of his four ministerial appointments concerned fisheries: he was known as “the fisherman’s friend,” and became the longest-serving federal Fisheries minister in Canadian history.

One of Trudeau’s last acts as Prime Minister was to appoint LeBlanc to the Senate. Most of LeBlanc’s Senate committee experience was centred in the Standing Committee on Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration, as member, Vice-Chair and Chair. His colleague Senator Jeremiah Grafstein recalled his trilingualism – French, English and “grassroots Acadian” – and that he was “an excellent and compelling, if modest, speaker in the Churchillian style.”

When Jean Chrétien was elected as Prime Minister in 1993, he appointed LeBlanc to the Speakership. LeBlanc would hold the position for less than a year, as Chrétien put LeBlanc’s name forward to the Queen for appointment as Governor General.

LeBlanc was the only Speaker of the Senate to go on to be appointed Governor General; he was also the first Acadian to serve as a speaker of the Senate.

Next Speaker: Hon. Gildas L. Molgat

Previous Speaker: Hon. Guy Charbonneau

Portrait of the Right Hon. Roméo LeBlanc

Born: L’Anse-aux-Cormier, New Brunswick, 1927

Died: Grand Digue, New Brunswick, 2009

Professional Background:
Education, Journalism, Public Relations

Political Affiliation: Liberal

Political Record:

Prime Minister During Speakership: