Maurice Richard (politician)

Maurice Richard (born September 22, 1946) is a Canadian politician in the province of Quebec. He was a Liberal member of the National Assembly of Quebec from 1985 to 1994 and was the mayor of Bécancour, a position to which he was first elected in 1976.

Maurice Richard
Mayor of Bécancour, Quebec
In office
Preceded byJean-Guy Dubois[1]
Succeeded byJean-Guy Dubois
In office
MNA for Nicolet-Yamaska
In office
Preceded bydivision created
Succeeded byMichel Morin
MNA for Nicolet
In office
Preceded byYves Beaumier
Succeeded bydivision abolished
Councillor in Bécancour, Quebec
In office
Personal details
Born (1946-09-22) September 22, 1946 (age 76)
Sainte-Angèle-de-Laval, Quebec
Political partyLiberal
Residence(s)Bécancour, Quebec

Early life and careerEdit

Richard was born in Sainte-Angèle-de-Laval, Quebec and received his early education there and in Nicolet. He attained certification from the Institut national des viandes in 1973 and later operated a food market in Bécancour. He has also been an artist and painter since 1976.[2]

Richard was a councillor in Bécancour from 1971 to 1976 and first served as the town's mayor from 1976 to 1985. He was interviewed by The Globe and Mail in 1983 as part of a feature piece on the community's industrial projects; in the course of the interview, he highlighted Bécancour's port on the St. Lawrence River, its efficient road and rail system, and its low-cost electricity.[3]

Richard came out as gay in the 1970s. His sexual identity became an issue when he ran for provincial office in 1985 but did not hurt his standing with the electorate.[4] In a 2011 interview, he said, "Les gens ne sont pas réticents à élire des homosexuels. [...] L’homophobie existe bien sûr dans certains milieux, mais nous sommes reconnus comme une société progressiste."("People are not reluctant to elect homosexuals.[...] Homophobia exists of course in some circles, but we are recognized as a progressive society.")[5]

Provincial politicianEdit

Richard was elected to the National Assembly of Quebec for Nicolet in the 1985 provincial election, defeating Parti Québécois (PQ) cabinet minister Yves Beaumier by a significant margin. The Liberals won a majority government in this election, and Richard entered the legislature as a backbench supporter of Robert Bourassa's administration. In 1988, he chaired a task force that examined Quebec's Sunday shopping laws; its report recommended that large food stores remain closed on Sundays, but that weekday hours be extended from 62 to 71 hours per week to allow stores to stay open later.[6] Richard also chaired the provincial agriculture, fisheries and food committee from 1987 to 1994.

He was re-elected without difficulty in the 1989 election but narrowly lost to Parti Québécois challenger Michel Morin in the 1994 election as the Liberals were defeated provincially. After his defeat, Richard chaired an internal Liberal Party committee working on policy strategies for the "Non" side in the 1995 Quebec referendum on sovereignty.[7]

Return to municipal politicsEdit

Richard began his second tenure as mayor of Bécancour in 1995 and was re-elected in 1999, 2003, 2005, and 2009. He has devoted significant attention to industrial issues; in 2004, he convened a meeting between local business and labour leaders in a bid to resolve a strike at an Alcoa aluminum plant.[8]

Richard took part in the ground-breaking ceremony for a solar silicon metal facility in 2007.[9] He supported Hydro-Québec's 2008 decision to refurbish Bécancour's Candu Gentilly 2 nuclear generating station, saying that his region depends on jobs produced by the plant.[10] In the aftermath of the 2011 Japanese nuclear accidents, he argued that there was no chance of a similar accident happening in his community. Richard said that Candu's cooling system is much different from that used at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant and that the ground under Bécancour is very solid, adding "If people are worried about earthquakes, I strongly suggest they come and live in Bécancour."[11]

Electoral recordEdit

2009 Bécancour mayoral election results
2005 Bécancour mayoral election results
2003 Bécancour mayoral election results
1999 Bécancour mayoral election results
1994 Quebec general election: Nicolet-Yamaska
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Parti Québécois Michel Morin 13,427 50.13 +14.67
Liberal Maurice Richard 12,520 46.74 −13.40
Natural Law Jacques Houde 840 3.14
Total valid votes 26,787 100.00
Rejected and declined votes 816
Turnout 27,603 84.85 +3.84
Electors on the lists 32,530
Source: Official Results, Le Directeur général des élections du Québec.
1989 Quebec general election: Nicolet-Yamaska
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Maurice Richard 15,164 60.14
Parti Québécois Guy Vachon 8,941 35.46
Green Jean-Léon Deschênes 1,111 4.41
Total valid votes 25,216 100.00
Rejected and declined votes 508
Turnout 25,724 81.01
Electors on the lists 31,753
Source: Official Results, Le Directeur général des élections du Québec.
1985 Quebec general election: Nicolet
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Maurice Richard 15,816 59.01
Parti Québécois Yves Beaumier 10,421 38.88
New Democratic Normand Villeneuve 425 1.59
Christian Socialist Hélène Couture 139 0.52
Total valid votes 26,801 100.00
Rejected and declined votes 286
Turnout 27,087 84.93
Electors on the lists 31,894
Source: Official Results, Le Directeur général des élections du Québec.


  1. ^ Jean-Guy Dubois is a broker in Bécancour. He has served as director of the local Chamber of Commerce and was a founding contributor to a sports arena in the community. He is not to be confused with a judge and former Liberal Party member of the House of Commons of Canada by the same name. See Marylène le Houillier, Une grande fête du sport d'équipe, Le Courrier Sud, 8 November 2009, accessed 21 August 2010; and Historique, Chambre de commerce et d'industrie de Bécancour, accessed 21 August 2010.
  2. ^ "Biography". Dictionnaire des parlementaires du Québec de 1792 à nos jours (in French). National Assembly of Quebec.
  3. ^ Victor Malarek, "Another decade, another promise: Hard-luck town ponders prosperity," The Globe and Mail, 6 August 1983, 12.
  4. ^ Hubert Bauch, "Sexual preference the issue as candidates clash on radio," Montreal Gazette, 28 November 1995, A5.
  5. ^ Frédéric Lacroix-Couture, "Homosexualité et politique : Les gais au pouvoir", Nouvelles Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, 11 January 2011, accessed 14 May 2011.
  6. ^ Benoit Aubin, "Quebec told to change Sunday shopping plan," The Globe and Mail, 6 October 1988, A9.
  7. ^ Harvey Shepherd, "Rookie Liberal MNA will play important role for No side in sovereignty vote," Montreal Gazette, 9 February 1995, F4; Robert McKenzie, "Parizeau bracing for summer battle over referendum," The Globe and Mail, 3 July 1995, A1.
  8. ^ "Becancour Mayor Convenes Alcoa, Union Meeting Thu," Dow Jones Commodities Service, 15 July 2004, 12:23.
  9. ^ "Timminco Announces Ground-Breaking for Becancour Solar Silicon Facility," CCNMatthews (Canada), 30 July 2007, 4:30.
  10. ^ Lynn Moore, "Cheers and jeers for Gentilly 2," Montreal Gazette, 20 August 2008, B1.
  11. ^ Katherine Wilton, "Becancour mayor stays cool; Gentilly-2; Quebec plant safe, he says," Montreal Gazette, 15 March 2011, A4.

External linksEdit