LaPierre, Laurier

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Person

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LaPierre, Laurier

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        Description area

        Dates of existence

        21 Nov 1929 - 16 Dec 2012

        History

        The Honourable Laurier Lucien LaPierre O.C., PhD was born on 21 November, 1929 and raised in Quebec, Canada. On graduating high school he spent 4 years as a novitiate with the Paulist Fathers in Baltimore, Maryland, before transferring to the University of Toronto. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1955, a Master of Arts in 1957 and a PhD in 1962. Over his lifetime he was also awarded several honorary degrees, including Doctorates from the University of Prince Edward Island and Brock University.
        LaPierre began his career as a professor, teaching at several institutions across Canada. In 1962, while an instructor at McGill University, he was approached by Patrick Watson of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) to write and co-host a public affairs television show that eventually became the often-controversial “This Hour Has Seven Days” (1964-1966). He quickly became known as a preeminent social commentator – eloquent, passionate, well-informed and an authority about Canadian history and identity. Despite its popularity, CBC cancelled “This Hour” in 1966. LaPierre toyed briefly with politics, making an unsuccessful bid as a federal NDP candidate for the La Chine riding in Quebec, but remained involved with television broadcasting and production for the rest of his life, making guest appearances on many shows and hosting others. In 1976 he relocated to the West Coast to host a nightly show on a new independent station in Vancouver – CKVU. In 1997 LaPierre was appointed to the Board of Telefilm Canada, becoming Chairman in 1998, where he remained until his appointment to the Senate in 2001.
        Throughout his life Laurier LaPierre was actively involved in the study and promotion of Canadian federalism and culture such as the Historica Foundation and the Heritage Fairs program. As well as supporting gay rights he was also an outspoken supporter of the rights of First Nations, bilingualism and was heavily involved in the 1991 national debate on Canadian constitutional reform. He advocated numerous charities and organizations promoting Canadian heritage and authored or edited several books including “If You Love This Country” (1987), “1759: The Battle for Canada” (1990), “Canada My Canada” (1992), “Sir Wilfred Laurier and the Romance of Canada” (1996) and “Quebec: A Tale of Love” (2001).
        Laurier LaPierre married Paula Armstrong in 1960. Together they had two sons Dominic and Thomas. Laurier and Paula separated in the late 1970’s before formally divorcing. Already actively involved in supporting causes and charities connected to gay and lesbian communities, LaPierre announced he was gay at a public event in 1988.
        LaPierre was awarded the Order of Canada in 1994. In 2001 he was called to serve as a Liberal Senator by then-Prime Minister Jean Chretien. At the time, LaPierre was Canada’s first openly gay Senator. He served on Senate Standing Committees for Human Rights, Agriculture and Forestry, Transport and Communications, and Defence and Security and remained in office until required to retire due to his age in 2004.
        Laurier LaPierre remained active in supporting charities serving on various literary juries, such as the Charles Taylor prize for non-fiction. He passed away on 16 December, 2012, survived by his ex-wife, children, grandchildren, and his partner of many years, Harvey Slack.

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        Related entity

        Duke, Daryl (1929-2006)

        Identifier of related entity

        Category of relationship

        associative

        Type of relationship

        Duke, Daryl is the associate of LaPierre, Laurier

        Dates of relationship

        1976 - 1982

        Description of relationship

        Daryl Duke was affiliated with CKVU-TV, where LaPierre hosted a nightly television show

        Related entity

        Klenman, Norman (1923-)

        Identifier of related entity

        Category of relationship

        associative

        Type of relationship

        Klenman, Norman is the associate of LaPierre, Laurier

        Dates of relationship

        1976 - 1982

        Description of relationship

        Norman Klenman is assumed to be an associate of LaPierre due to his connection with CKVU-TV, where LaPierre hosted a television show

        Related entity

        Watson, Patrick

        Identifier of related entity

        Category of relationship

        associative

        Type of relationship

        Watson, Patrick is the associate of LaPierre, Laurier

        Dates of relationship

        1962 - 2012

        Description of relationship

        LaPierre had a friendship and working relationship with Patrick Watson for much of his life.

        Related entity

        Fotheringham, Allan (1932-)

        Identifier of related entity

        Category of relationship

        associative

        Type of relationship

        Fotheringham, Allan is the friend of LaPierre, Laurier

        Dates of relationship

        Description of relationship

        There are references within the collection to Allan Fotherham's being a dinner guest of LaPierre, as well as articles authored by Fotheringham about LaPierre

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        Dates of creation, revision and deletion

        Updated by JMH, 10 Oct 2018

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