Laurier LaPierre : biography
Laurier L. LaPierre, (November 21, 1929 – December 16, 2012), was a Canadian Senator and broadcaster, journalist and author. He was a member of the Liberal Party of Canada.
Fluently bilingual, LaPierre is best known for having been co-host with Patrick Watson of the influential public affairs show This Hour Has Seven Days in the 1960s. After the show’s cancellation, LaPierre moved to politics as a "star candidate" for the New Democratic Party in the 1968 federal election. The party was hoping that he would help achieve an electoral breakthrough in Quebec, but he managed to come only in a distant second place in the riding of Lachine with 19.5% of the vote.
He returned to broadcasting and writing for the next several decades until his appointment to the Senate in June 2001. As a member of the Liberal caucus, LaPierre was an outspoken supporter of Jean Chrétien against supporters of rival Paul Martin.
LaPierre was born in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec. He received a B.A in 1955 from the University of Toronto (St. Michael’s College), M.A in 1957 and Ph.D in history in 1962 from the University of Toronto. He wrote several books including Quebec: A Tale of Love; Sir Wilfrid Laurier and the Romance of Canada; 1759: The Battle for Canada; Québec hier et aujourd’hui; and, The Apprenticeship of Canada, 1876-1914. He also wrote articles for The Financial Post, International Review, Canadian Forum and Encyclopædia Britannica. He was an activist with EGALE, a lobby group for gay and lesbian rights, since coming out as gay in the late 1980s. He was Canada’s first openly gay senator.
In 2004, LaPierre made news by responding in an e-mail to a Christian regarding the then proposed hate crime Bill C-250, with various comments, including the statement "God! You people are sick. God should strike you dead!" and commented on the Bible by saying, "In a book that is supposed to speak of love and you find passages of hatred. You should be ashamed of yourself of reading such books!" LaPierre later issued an apology., National Post, 21 April 2004 He retired upon reaching the mandatory retirement age of 75 on November 21, 2004. Debates of the Senate (Hansard), 1st Session, 38th Parliament, Volume 142, Issue 14. Tuesday, November 16, 2004. Retrieved 17 December 2012.
LaPierre was an advocate for a Canadian republic.. Citizens for a Canadian Republic. Retrieved 17 December 2012.
Appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1994, he was cited as one of Canada’s "most valuable political commentators and respected champions of social justice."
LaPierre, who was once married and had two sons, is also survived by his long-time partner Harvey Slack.
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