"Father of the Quiet Revolution"

Jean Lesage (1912-1980)

When his party came to power in June 1960, Premier Jean Lesage immediately set about modernizing Québec society—a task that earned him the sobriquet "Father of the Quiet Revolution." He created the ministère de l'Éducation and the ministère des Affaires culturelles and founded the Société générale de financement (SGF). He instituted the Québec Pension Plan and established the Caisse de dépôt et de placement to invest and manage public pension funds. While he had no hesitation about giving Hydro-Québec responsibility for developing any hydropower site not already granted to private interests, he expressed reservations about the soundness of extending nationalization to all private electricity distributors. Ever the pragmatist, he decided to submit this plan to the Québec electorate for approval. Jean Lesage was a convincing orator and led one of the most colorful election campaigns ever witnessed in Québec, under the theme "Maîtres chez nous!" (masters in our own house). When his party was returned to power, he completed the work his Liberal predecessor Adélard Godbout had begun 18 years earlier.

Jean Lesage