Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Former Senator Jean-Louis Roux Dead at the Age of 90

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Former Senator Jean-Louis Roux Dead at the Age of 90

Article excerpt

Former senator Jean-Louis Roux dead at 90


MONTREAL - Former senator Jean-Louis Roux, who was forced to resign as Quebec lieutenant-governor after admitting he wore a Nazi swastika as a youngster, has died at the age of 90.

Roux's death on Thursday was confirmed by the Theatre du Nouveau Monde, which he helped found in 1951.

Roux had been a prominent member of Quebec's theatre community for decades before he was named a Companion of the Order of Canada in 1987.

Seven years later, then-prime minister Jean Chretien came calling and appointed him a senator.

Roux triggered the ire of the Yes side in the referendum campaign in 1995 when he compared separatists to Nazis.

And many sovereigntists were even more infuriated when Chretien named the ardent federalist Quebec's lieutenant-governor in 1996 without the approval of the provincial government.

But it was a mandate that lasted just a few months.

What sparked Roux's resignation was his admission in a magazine interview he had drawn a swastika on his lab coat in 1942 when he was a pre-medical student.

He also said he participated as a 19-year-old in an anti-conscription protest which degenerated into vandalism against shops believed to be owned by Jews. Roux said he was not among those who smashed the windows.

Roux attributed his actions to youthful bravado and said he did not support Adolf Hitler's regime.

He fought back tears at a news conference a day after his resignation as he apologized to the Jewish community.

''I ask everyone to be generous enough to forgive me,'' he said.

''I'm also speaking to the Jewish community, the victim of odious Nazi repression during the 1930s and '40s,'' Roux read from a statement after meeting with Jewish leaders.

''The carefree attitude of youth may be an explanation but it can't in any way serve as an excuse and especially not as justification. …

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