Bernard, J. LéonceJ. Léonce Bernard, politician, lieutenant governor of PEI (b at Abram-Village, PEI, 23 May 1943). Léonce Bernard received his early education from Evangeline School and later completed bookkeeping and accounting courses while a member of the Royal Canadian Air Force. He married Florence Gallant of Cape Egmont and had four children. Before entering politics, Bernard was employed as office manager with McGowan Motors in Montague, PEI, and as general manager of the Evangeline Credit Union in Wellington, PEI.
Léonce Bernard's strong support of the co-operative movement, both provincially and nationally, began before his entry into politics. He served as president of the Conseil de la Coopération de l'Î-P-É and as president and treasurer of the Conseil canadien de la Cooperation. He also served on the advisory committee for the federal minister responsible for co-operatives, as a member of the Credit Union Deposit Insurance Corporation, and as a member of the Regional Community Development Cooperative Board. He was active in community affairs, serving in executive positions of many organizations: Village of Wellington, the Federation of PEI Municipalities, the United Way, the French Language School Board, the Wellington Fire Department and Firemen's Club, the Wellington Boys and Girls Club, the Wellington and Area Minor Hockey and the Evangeline Tourism Association. He is a member of the Wellington Royal Canadian Legion (Branch 17), the Club Richelieu Évangéline and the Immaculate Conception Church.
Bernard began his political career in the late 1970s. First elected to the Legislative Assembly as Member for Third Prince in a by-election in 1975, he was re-elected in five subsequent general elections in 1978, 1979, 1982, 1986 and 1989. He was in Opposition from 1979 to 1986. In the government of Premier Joseph GHIZ, he served as Minister of Industry and Chairman of the PEI Development Agency from 1986 to 1989, and from 1989 to 1991 was Minister of Fisheries and Community Affairs, retiring from politics in 1991.
He was installed as lieutenant-governor of Prince Edward Island on 28 May 2001. Bernard is the 39th Lieutenant Governor of Prince Edward Island since the creation of the colony in 1769 and the 26th since Confederation. Upon his swearing in as lieutenant-governor, Bernard received the title Chancellor of the ORDER OF PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND and is a member of the Order. He has received the following awards: L'Ordre Mérite Cooperative; L'Ordre des Francophones D'Amérique; La Pleiade "Order de la Francophonie"; Credit Union Member of the Year; Coop Atlantic Member of the Year "Standing Ovation."
Bernard's term as lieutenant-governor ended in 2006, and he was succeeded by Barbara HAGERMAN on 31 July.