M988.176.220 | René Lévesque, Boxer

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Drawing, cartoon
René Lévesque, Boxer
Aislin (alias Terry Mosher)
October 20, 1979, 20th century
Ink, felt pen and film on paper
26.4 x 30.6 cm
Gift of Mr. Terry Mosher
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  boxing (6) , Caricature (294) , Cartoon (19139) , Crisis (453) , Drawing (18637) , drawing (18379) , male (1608) , Parti Québécois (206) , Political parties (800) , Politicians (860) , René Lévesque (87) , Sport representation (63) , sports (154) , sports (645) , Symbolic representation (411) , Trade union (46)
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Keys to History

"We remember René Lévesque for his great moments: the historic election of his Parti québécois in 1976 and his valiant, if losing, struggle during Quebec's 1980 referendum, for example. But Lévesque had to deal with the same problems as other politicians - the day-to-day business of governing a complicated entity. At times it seemed that Lévesque's biggest battles were with the people in his own corner, his allies in the Parti québécois. That's why I drew this cartoon."

Terry Mosher (alias Aislin)

  • What

    René Lévesque, founder of the Parti québécois, often had more trouble with party militants than with his Liberal opponents. The "radicals" on his team criticized him for not doing enough to promote Quebec independence and for his willingness to compromise. Lévesque's relationship with unions, the traditional allies of the Parti québécois, were often marred by conflict.

  • Where

    During the period before the first sovereignty referendum, all of Quebec became a boxing ring for René Lévesque, who faced legions of adversaries.

  • When

    In June 1979, the seventh convention of the Parti québécois approved a go-slow strategy to achieve Quebec sovereignty. The delegates agreed that the government would seek in a referendum a mandate to negotiate with the rest of Canada sovereignty-association rather than independence, as demanded by party radicals. That referendum was held less than one year later, in May 1980. Despite the strategy that would have required a second consultation with Quebeckers before the withdrawal of Quebec from Confederation, the federalists won a convincing victory.

  • Who

    René Lévesque (1922-1987) was the founder and first leader of the Parti québécois. He was premier of Quebec from 1976 to 1985.