Louis-Alexandre Taschereau served a large part of his tenure as Quebec Premier during the Great Depression. Deeply concerned by the precarious situation of a growing part of Quebec citizens during that crisis, his government adopted the first law on unemployment.
The companies which supplied electricity in the province, as well as being very rich, offered deficient, costly and incomplete service. These shoddy practices, which were to the detriment of the population, regional development and the economy in general, were denounced from pillar to post. Taschereau convened a special legislature committee on electricity to evaluate the potential impacts on economic development and on domestic pricing of nationalization of the industry. The role his government played in this dossier not only paved the way for the nationalization of hydroelectricity, but also was the cornerstone of the resolute Liberal philosophy of autonomy reflected in the slogan “MaÎtres chez-nous.”
All throughout his reign, Louis-Alexandre Taschereau fought for provincial control and competences in such matters as development of natural resources, broadcasting, fisheries and international commerce. By his laws with social consequences, some of which were a collective response to individual misery caused by the Crash of 1929, Louis-Alexandre Taschereau contributed to the well-bring of the least favoured among Quebec’s population. Even though these public interventions into the social domain traditionally served by religious institutions led to inevitable frictions and conflicts Taschereau maintained them in the name of liberalism.
Born in Quebec City in 1867, he served as Quebec Premier uninterrupted from 1920 to 1936.
His longevity as Premier as well as a Member of the National Assembly was quite remarkable. He sat as an MNA for some 35 years, from 1900 to his resignation on June 11, 1936.
He received honorary degrees from Laval University in 1908 and the University of Toronto in 1921.
He was named Officer of the Légion d’honneur in 1924, then Commander in 1927 and “Grand-Croix” in 1934.
He died in Quebec City on July 6, 1952, at the age of 85.