Sir Jean-Lomer Gouin

Sir Jean-Lomer Gouin, lawyer, politician, premier of Québec (b at Grondines, Canada E 19 Mar 1861; d at Québec City 28 Mar 1929), was the father of Paul GOUIN, founder and leader of the ACTION LIBÉRALE NATIONALE.

Gouin, Sir Jean-Lomer

Sir Jean-Lomer Gouin, lawyer, politician, premier of Québec (b at Grondines, Canada E 19 Mar 1861; d at Québec City 28 Mar 1929), was the father of Paul GOUIN, founder and leader of the ACTION LIBÉRALE NATIONALE. Of modest origins but well connected following his marriage to the daughter of Prem Honoré MERCIER, Gouin began his career in Montréal civic politics, joining the provincial Cabinet in 1900. He became premier in 1905, continuing and defending his predecessor S.N. PARENT's policy of industrial development against a concerted attack by Henri BOURASSA.

Although welcoming foreign investment to develop Québec's resources, Gouin was anxious that French Canadians should share the benefits of industrialization. He became a committed educational reformer, eventually serving as president of Université de Montréal and chairman of 2 enquiries into public education in the 1920s.

Like other Québec Liberals, Gouin felt betrayed when the federal government imposed CONSCRIPTION in WWI but reaffirmed his commitment to Confederation in the "Francoeur Debate" of 1918 and ran for Parliament in 1921, having resigned from the premiership in July 1920. Minister of justice 1921-24 in Mackenzie KING's Cabinet, he functioned primarily as spokesman for tariff-protected industries, contributing to an impression that he had become a tool of powerful financial interests.

Disillusioned, the author of Québec's dramatic emergence as an industrialized province soon retired from politics. He became lieutenant-governor of Québec in 1929, but died after less than 3 months in office.