Jean Lesage sculpted the face of modern Quebec. He undertook an ambitious plan of social reform, which would come to be known historically as The Quiet Revolution. The Lesage government would initiate a long list of social and economic programs that are still in effect today, including hospitalization insurance the Régie des rentes du Québec, and the Caisse de dépôt et placement, a powerful tool for economic development. It is also to the Lesage Cabinet and its “Ēquipe du Tonnerre”| that we owe the full nationalization of electricity, another fundamental economic engine for the province.
Born in Montreal, Jean Lesage was admitted to the Quebec Bar in 1934. He served as a Crown Prosecutor from 1939 to 1944.
He was elected to the House of Commons from 1945 through 1958 and held several cabinet posts. He became leader of the Quebec Liberal Party in 1958 and was elected at the head of a new Quebec government in 1960, ending 16 years of Union Nationale rule in the province.
Faithful to the principles of Liberalism since a century, the government created a Ministry of Education, which would spearhead its trailblazing efforts aimed at the benefit of the collectivity. Jean Lesage also created the Ministry of Cultural Affairs in 1961, which would contribute to Quebec’s international cultural expansion.
He died in Sillery on December 12, 1980 at the age of 68.