LeBlanc, Romeo A.

Romeo A. LeBlanc, journalist, politician, Governor General of Canada (b at L'Anse-aux-cormiers, Memramcook, NB 18 Dec 1927; d at Grande-Digue, NB, 24 June 2009). LeBlanc went to school at St Joseph's University (now U of Moncton) and U of Paris in France before teaching in New Brunswick in the 1950s. He joined Radio-Canada as a journalist in 1960 and became press secretary to PM Lester Pearson in 1967. He stayed on as press secretary to PM Pierre Trudeau until 1971 when he returned to U of Moncton as director of public relations. He ran for the House of Commons as a Liberal in 1972 and was elected. Following his re-election in 1974 he was named minister of state in charge of fisheries. LeBlanc oversaw the expansion of Canada's territorial waters from a 12-mile limit to its current 200-mile limit. In 1976 Fisheries and Environment became its own department and LeBlanc was named minister. He was re-elected in 1979 and again in 1980.

Following Joe Clark's short-lived government, Leblanc again became minister of fisheries and oceans in 1980, and then minister of public works in 1982. LeBlanc chose not to seek re-election in 1984 and was called to the Senate by PM Trudeau. A fluently bilingual Acadian, LeBlanc was selected by PM Jean CHRÉTIEN in 1994 to succeed Ray HNATYSHYN as Governor General of Canada when Hnatyshyn's term of office expired in Feb 1995. LeBlanc was the first Maritimer and first Canadian of Acadian descent to hold the vice-regal office. He retired in 1999 and became a Companion of the ORDER OF CANADA that year. He held numerous honorary doctorates from prestigious universities across eastern Canada.