Laurier LaPierre, television personality, author, editor, academic (born at Lac-Mégantic, Qué 21 Nov 1929; died at Ottawa, 17 Dec 2012).
Laurier LaPierre, television personality, author, editor, academic (born at Lac-Mégantic, Qué 21 Nov 1929; died at Ottawa, 17 Dec 2012). Brought up in rural poverty in the Eastern Townships, LaPierre received a PhD in history from U of T in 1962 and taught French Canada studies at U of Western Ontario, Loyola College in Montréal, and from 1962 to 1978 at McGill. He established a national reputation as co-host of the CBC's popular television program This Hour has Seven Days (1964-66), where his charm and his articulate and occasionally emotional interviewing style captured the attention of his audience.
However, it was considered unprofessional by CBC management, particularly an incident, on 20 Mar 1966, when he was so moved by an interview with the mother of young Steven Truscott (see R v Truscott) that he shed a tear on camera. He later resumed his academic career, with teaching stints at the University of Western Ontario, Loyola College and McGill University. In 1968 he was defeated when he ran as a federal NDP candidate in the Quebec riding of La Chine, but continued his political career with an appointment to the Senate in 2001, serving for three years. During his time in politics, he spoke out passionately on the rights of Canada's First Nations as well on issues related to bilingualism and gay and lesbian rights. LaPierre served on the Citizen's Forum on Canada's Future in 1991 during the national debate on Canada's constitutional arrangement. His experience in that post led him to write Canada, My Canada in 1992.
Laurier LaPierre received the Order of Canada in 1994.