CBC Digital Archives

Lesson Plan: For Teachers: Discussing Bourassa

History, Social Studies
1 to 2 lessons
To identify factors contributing to political success, to understand the impact of a politician on a community or country
Students prepare a broadcast retrospective of Bourassa’s political career and analyze and discuss the factors that contribute to political success.

Lesson Plan

Before Exploring

Ask: What makes a successful leader? Record students' responses. Ask students to give some examples of current political leaders and to indicate which of the qualities they think these leaders have or do not have. Ask: What Canadian and international political leaders do you think are successful? Why? What qualities do Canadian politicians need to have to appeal to Canadian voters? Is it important for Canadian politicians to be bilingual? To be familiar with the different cultures and regions of the country? Discuss and record student responses.

Outline the Opportunity

Direct students to the topic Robert Bourassa: Political Survivor on the CBC Digital Archives website. In groups of four or five, have students explore the topic to review the life and career of Robert Bourassa. Students should note the qualities Bourassa possessed that helped him achieve success in politics, as well as those qualities that may have hurt his political career. Provide students with the following questions to help focus their inquiry (also available on the download sheet Discussing Robert Bourassa):

  1. Why is Bourassa considered a "political survivor"?
  2. What background and knowledge did Bourassa bring to his career in politics?
  3. How do you explain the term "passionless politics," and how would you apply it to Bourassa's career?
  4. What do you think are Bourassa's major political achievements?
  5. Overall, do you consider Bourassa's career in politics to have been successful? Why or why not?

Groups will use their responses to prepare a broadcast retrospective of Bourassa's political career. Each member of the group should respond to at least one question, with one student acting as moderator. Invite groups to present their broadcast to the class.

Revisit and Reflect

After the presentations, focus on the recorded responses from Before Exploring. Based on their research and the presentations they saw, students should analyze and discuss to what extent Bourassa was a successful politician.


Students can prepare a chart organizer listing the strengths and weaknesses of Bourassa as a political leader.


Download PDF

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