Bio on Bernard Richard, volunteer-assistant to former Justice Michel Bastarache in the Moncton Archdiocese “conciliation” process

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New Brunswick Office of the Ombudsman


Bernard Richard

Bernard Richard, a lawyer and a former social worker, was born April 11, 1951 , in Toronto , Ontario . His family returned to Cap-Pelé and he attended local schools. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree (psychology) from Université de Moncton and a Bachelor of Laws from the
University of New Brunswick .

He is a member of the Canadian Bar Association, the Law Society of New Brunswick and the Association des juristes d’expression française du Nouveau-Brunswick. He practiced law at Cap-Pelé with the law firm of Richard, Savoie, Belliveau. Prior to attending law school, he worked as a social worker.

In the 1974 provincial election he offered as a candidate for the Parti acadien in the new single-member riding of Shediac. He was later elected to the council of the Village of Cap-Pelé and he served as deputy mayor from 1977 to 1980. He also served as Secretary General of the Société Nationale de l’Acadie from 1980 to 1984.

Mr. Richard was first elected to the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick on September 23, 1991 , as the M.L.A for Shediac. He was re-elected September 11, 1995 , to represent the new riding of Shediac-Cap-Pelé, and was subsequently appointed Minister of State for Intergovernmental and Aboriginal Affairs. He added the responsibilities of acting Minister of Justice and Attorney General on March 27, 1997. He was appointed Minister of Education on July 21, 1997. He resigned as a member of the Executive Council February 6, 1998, to run for the leadership of the provincial Liberal Party. On May 14, 1998 , he was sworn in as Minister of Education, and served in that capacity until June 21, 1999 . He also served as Minister responsible for social policy renewal during this same period.

Mr. Richard was re-elected in the provincial general election held June 7, 1999 , to represent Shediac-Cap-Pelé.

On March 21, 2001 , he was chosen as Leader of the Official opposition and Interim Leader of the Liberal Party of New Brunswick. He held this post until May 11, 2002. On May 14, 2002, he assumed the role of Opposition House Leader. He was also chair of the Official Opposition caucus. Mr. Richard has twice been the chargé de mission for the Americas region of the Assemblée Parlementaire de la Francophonie.

He was re-elected in the provincial general election held June 9, 2003 . He continued as Official Opposition House Leader. He announced his decision to leave political life on November 25, 2003.

On January 3, 2004, Mr. Richard assumed the responsibilities of New Brunswick Ombudsman. He is the 6th person to occupy this position. In May 2005, Mr. Richard was elected president for a term of two years, of the Forum of Canadian Ombudsman, an association of Ombudsman from the public, university and private sectors. He is also the vice-president of the Association des Ombudsmans et Médiateurs de la Francophonie since November 2005. In November 2006, Mr. Richard was appointed New Brunswick ‘s first Child and Youth Advocate. In May 2007, he was elected president of the Canadian Council of Parliamentary Ombudsman.


Bernard Richard

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bernard Richard (born April 11, 1951 in Toronto, Ontario) is a Canadian social worker, lawyer, and politician in the Province of New Brunswick.

Raised and educated in Cap-Pelé, New Brunswick, Richard earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Moncton and a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of New Brunswick. He first entered politics as a young man, running unsuccessfully in Shediac for the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick as a Parti Acadien candidate in the 1974 election. He became involved in municipal politics in the village of Cap-Pélé. His second entry into provincial politics was in the 1991 election, this time as a Liberal. He won. He was re-elected in 1995, 1999 and 2003.

He was named to cabinet in 1995 and left in 1998 to contest the leadership of the Liberal Party. He was unsuccessful in his leadership bid and was returned to the cabinet position by Camille Thériault who was the victor in the contest. Richard managed to be re-election by the largest margin of any candidate in the 1999 election, despite the fact that his party suffering a massive defeat.

When Thériault resigned as leader in 2001, Richard briefly considered another run but instead became interim leader. When Shawn Graham became leader in 2002, Richard was made house leader and finance critic, two key roles in the opposition. Richard maintained these roles after the 2003 election.

The Progressive Conservative government of Bernard Lord had won a bare majority in 2003, winning 28 of 55 seats and were anxious to strengthen their position. After first attempting to convince a Liberal to sit as speaker and then offering cabinet positions and other appointments to several Liberals, Richard accepted the post of provincial ombudsman, thus resigning his seat and increasing the Tory majority to 28/54 for the ensuing year before a by-election was held.

On November 6, 2007, New Brunswick news outlets reported that the Progressive Conservatives were encouraging Richard to leave his post as ombudsman and return to politics as leader of their party.[1]

3 Responses to Bio on Bernard Richard, volunteer-assistant to former Justice Michel Bastarache in the Moncton Archdiocese “conciliation” process

  1. Sylvia says:

    This is the man who has, according to Mr. Batsarache, “offered to give advice and support to victim [sic] seeking assistance free of charge.” 

    Note that Bernard Richard was born in Toronto in 1951 but raised and educated in – you guessed it –  Cap-Pelé, New Brunswick.

    Richard would have known Father Camille Leger, and 10:1 most victims knew or know Bernard Richard.  In fact, most victims will feel as comfortable with Bernard Richard as Normand Brun did with his old schoolmate Father Valery Vienneau.  

    How I wonder did Richard know there was going to be a conciliation process for the Archdiocese of Moncton for which to volunteer?  Who told him about it?  and, when?

  2. JG says:

    *I’m amazed at the speed this has gone from a “rumor” to obviously a serious problem for the diocese of Moncton. They are fully aware of the extent of the abuse and the number of complaints which will surface and they want to minimize the damage.??!!

    First Bastarache, the pride of many Acadians as the first Supreme Court Judge from “our” midst… and now Bernard Richard, another revered Acadian…sort of our “Mother Theresa”, squeaky clean…our Mr Windex! The little Acadians who want to come forward will be doubly “impressed” into accepting whatever he says is right for them!  If Bastarache has been criticized in Quebec, in the Bathurst Diocese cover-up, now the church is bringing in the “good cop”. So the victims will have their heads spun just right. Smart “political” move by the church!!

    Next I expect they will play the “nationalist” cards, bring out the Acadian flag!! I have already heard the barely veiled suggestion that the Moncton Cathedral,  in dire need of repair, may have to wait to be refurbished in view of the coming settlements…The Cathedral has been the subject of many discussions, probably a committee or two to find funds, in the millions,  to repair it…I wouldn’t be surprised if Mr. Richard isn’t already deeply involved…with all the “elite” of the Acadian community.  I don’t blame them, knowing how deep the religious roots meander in our veins. However, knowing the “submissive”. “respectful”, “benevolent” ways of the Acadian culture,  I feel an increased revulsion at the ways of the church in manipulating the heart strings of the Acadians…to hide its serious failings!

    The abuse was obviously very serious in the Acadian communities of 40-50 or more years ago…and is now coming out. Now the church is going to use the notoriety of some to victimize even further those people and communities…

    Mr Richard should have distanced himself from Bastarache  and the Moncton diocese to maintain his credibility with the victims, to defend their interests and maybe obtain more transparency…

    THAT is a disappointment! They “played” him well or else he was/is too close to the other people in “power” to see clearly where the lines should be drawn…

    I would like to hear from others,  maybe closer to the Moncton centers of “influence”, how they see this?…or people from the Acadian Peninsula…is this another betrayal by the “boys club”…who have gone through school together, to the seminary(?), college, University and educated by the “Brothers”…

    So, we save money with the victims and we save our Cathedral…the “heart” of our Acadian culture!..  “Do I ever have a deal for you…a nice brass plate with your name in bold letters in the entrance…”


  3. Anna Girouard says:

    Bernard Richard’s work defending children is a grand noble cause. Could it be possible to get in touch with him. Protecting Canadian Children tries to do the same. We need his help.

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