Premier Louis J. Robichaud: An Acadian Icon

Premier Louis J. Robichaud: An Acadian Icon

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Running time:

45 minutes


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A charismatic and driven man, Louis Robichaud became the first Acadian elected as premier of New Brunswick in the upset Liberal victory of 1960. At a time when the province's rural and Acadian communities were in the grips of a long depression, Robichaud made it his mission to eliminate the well-entrenched divide between rich and poor, English and French, rural and urban centres. His "Program of Equal Opportunity" was a massive overhaul of all aspects of government, in particular municipal services, property taxation, education and bilingualism. It sparked division across the province and generated powerful enemies among the province's elites-notably industrial giant K.C. Irving, whose vast empire employed one in five New Brunswick workers.

This comprehensive documentary traces Robichaud's tumultuous career. His childhood in one of the poorest counties in Canada, his days as an intellectual upstart in the seminary, his early political life stumping the province's remote areas to create a groundswell of voter support, all set the stage for his high-profile battle to reform New Brunswick. "P'tit Louis" was a great favourite with the people, but he paid an enormous personal price for his political ambitions. Robichaud's last interviews shortly before his death, as well as commentary from former allies and foes, academics, writers and personal friends, create a stirring portrait of one of Canada's most dynamic political heroes and his unparalleled legacy of change.

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