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Drawing Maurice Duplessis

The Story


For artist Robert LaPalme, Quebec Premier Maurice Duplessis was an inspiration, a target and an endless source of material. During the 1950s, LaPalme vilified the premier in his popular cartoons in the newspaper Le Devoir. "I despised [Duplessis's] politics," LaPalme says before conceding, "he was very intelligent, very witty and very charming." In this CBC Television interview, LaPalme describes his relationship with his controversial muse. 

Medium: Television
Program: Today From...
Broadcast Date: Nov. 27, 1979
Guest(s): Robert Lapalme
Host: Sheridan Nelson
Duration: 5:01

Did You know?


. Robert LaPalme was born in Montreal on April 14, 1908. He died June 19, 1997 in Longueuil, Que.
. Over the course of his career, LaPalme created cartoons for Le Droit, Le Devoir and La Presse among others.

. One of LaPalme's most famous cartoons featured a scowling Duplessis as a pimp, selling his province to Uncle Sam. Editorial cartoonist Terry "Aislin" Mosher admired LaPalme's courageous assaults. "What Robert LaPalme should be remembered for were his wonderful, singular attacks on Maurice Duplessis. It was a cowardly time in Quebec and he stood alone," Mosher told the Montreal Gazette on June 21, 1997.

. After Duplessis's death, LaPalme was appointed the artistic director of Expo 67 by Montreal Mayor Jean Drapeau. LaPalme and Drapeau drafted the ambitious but ultimately rejected plan to dismantle Paris's Eiffel Tower to bring to Montreal for a temporary display.
. In 1972, LaPalme was awarded the Order of Canada. He was specifically recognized as a "Caricaturist whose talent and sense of humour have been enjoyed in many different forms for many years."

. Pierre Trudeau was also a key force in mobilizing the anti-Duplessis forces. In 1950, Trudeau founded Cité Libre, a review which critcized the Union Nationale government and emphasized the importance of the individual and Quebec's place within Canadian federalism. He later supported the asbestos strikers and detailed their plight in The Asbestos Strike (1956).


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