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Jules Léger, ambassador to France

The Story


"The duties of the Canadian ambassador to France are many; they are varied, and they are very interesting," says Jules Léger. He should know. He's held the job for a year now and says it's all-encompassing work that often takes up his entire day and night. "Contacts can be as fruitful at 11 at night as they are at 11 in the morning," he explains. In this 1965 CBC-TV documentary, we see Léger stroll through charming Paris streets and navigate his way through his daily duties.

Medium: Television
Program: 20/20
Broadcast Date: July 25, 1965
Guest(s): Jules Léger, Gabrielle Léger
Director: Richard Zolov
Producer: Pierre Normandin, Richard Knowles
Duration: 27:43

Did You know?


• Jules Léger was born in Saint-Anicet, Que., on April 4, 1913.

• After completing a law degree at the Université de Montréal, he went on to earn a PhD from the Sorbonne in Paris.

• Shortly after returning to Canada, Léger joined the department of external affairs. As a diplomat he held a variety of posts, including Canada's ambassador to Mexico, Italy and France.

• Léger became Canada's governor general in 1974. Just six months after taking on the role, he suffered a stroke that left him with impaired speech and a paralyzed right arm. He later expressed dismay that if it hadn't been for the stroke, he would have accomplished much more as governor general.

• As governor general, he did accomplish a number of things, including establishing the Jules Léger Prize for New Chamber Music and Jules Léger Scholarship to promote academic excellence in bilingual programs at the University of Regina. He's also credited with having modernized the governor general's dress code, being the first to wear the less formal "morning dress" at state functions rather than the traditional court dress of the Windsor uniform.

• Léger left the office of Governor General in 1979. He passed away in 1980.

 


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