In 1978 he was chosen to succeed Robert BOURASSA as leader of the Québec Liberal Party and entered the National Assembly the next year as the member for Argenteuil. He campaigned actively for the Non side against Prem René LÉVESQUE in the referendum on Québec SOVEREIGNTY-ASSOCIATION, but his participation was eclipsed by that of PM TRUDEAU. His party was defeated in the 1981 election and, despite the democratic reforms and intellectual revival that he brought to the Liberal Party, his leadership was seriously questioned and he resigned in the fall of 1982.
However he remained an MNA, and following the Liberal victory in 1985 Bourassa named him minister of education. In 1989 he became minister of education and minister of higher education and science, with responsibility for the administration of the French-language charter. In 1990 he was named minister of municipal affairs and public security and retained the responsibility for the charter.
Author DANIEL LATOUCHE