Bourassa, Robert

Bourassa, Robert,

1933–96, Canadian political leader. He received a law degree from the Univ. of Montreal (1957) and later studied at Oxford and Harvard. He was elected to the Quebec Legislative Assembly in 1966. In 1970 he became leader of the Quebec Liberal Party and then premier of the province. He was reelected in 1973, but in 1976 his party was defeated by the Parti QuébécoisParti Québécois
(PQ), provincial political party committed to the independence of Quebec. Founded in 1968, it soon became a force in provincial elections. In 1976, led by René Lévesque, it captured control of the provincial assembly.
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. He returned to politics in 1983 as leader of the Liberal party, subsequently serving again as premier (1985–93). Bourassa was an advocate of Quebec autonomy within a sovereign Canada and a strong supporter of the failed Meech Lake AccordMeech Lake Accord,
set of constitutional reforms designed to induce Quebec to accept the Canada Act. The Accord's five basic points, proposed by Quebec Premier Robert Bourassa, include a guarantee of Quebec's special status as a "distinct society" and a commitment to Canada's
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 (1990) and subsequent unsuccessful attempts to redefine provincial rights in the Canadian constitution.
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