M996.11.22 | Bou-Weather Cock
Aislin (alias Terry Mosher)
1991, 20th century
Ink on paper
26.5 x 27.5 cm
Gift of Mr. Terry Mosher
© McCord Museum
Keywords: Cartoon (19139) , Drawing (18637) , drawing (18379) , Political parties (800) , Politicians (860) , politics (10928) , Politics (1624) , Provincial (500) , Québec Liberal Party (243) , Robert Bourassa (105)
Keys to History
"Robert Bourassa was one of Quebec's - of Canada's - most interesting political figures, someone who survived some very complicated times by learning on the job. As the young premier of Quebec during the early 1970s, Bourassa seemed naive in the face of the confrontations and rhetoric. Soundly defeated by René Lévesque and the Parti québécois in the historic election of 1976, Bourassa returned as premier in 1985 a far craftier man. For the next eight years he paid close attention to the whims and vagaries of the populace, changing direction whenever he thought it necessary to do so to ensure social peace. That is why this shows Bourassa as a weathervane. Of the many caricatures I drew of him, this is a favourite."
Terry Mosher (alias Aislin)
A major figure on the Quebec political scene, Robert Bourassa (1933-1996) sought, throughout his career, compromise among the different forces in Quebec society. This was his approach in both constitutional and linguistic matters. While some criticized his shifts in position - or, his contradictions - others saw in him an ability to take advantage of circumstances coupled with sharp political intuition.
Robert Bourassa's Liberals had to navigate a variety of polarized electoral groups in Quebec. While the Parti québécois found its greatest support in francophone ridings, the Liberal Party had a base of support among the anglophones of Montreal's West Island and among allophone voters. In 1989, with the rise of the Equality Party, the Liberals realized that they could no longer count on getting almost 100% of anglophone votes.
In March 1991, the Quebec Liberal Party published the Allaire Report, proposing a new constitutional arrangement for Quebec. The report's quasi-sovereignist approach represented an abrupt change of direction. It was the culmination of a period of turmoil within the party that had started with the failure of the Meech Lake Accord and the rise of the sovereignist movement. At the end of the Liberal convention at which the Allaire Report was released, however, Robert Bourassa reaffirmed his commitment to federalism, a move which disappointed many party members.
Born in 1933, Robert Bourassa took over as leader of the Quebec Liberal Party in 1970. He headed the government of Quebec from 1970 to 1976, and also from 1985 to 1993.