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Léo Richer Laflèche

Léo Richer LaFlèche
Member of Parliament
for Outremont
In office
November 30, 1942 – June 10, 1945
Preceded byThomas Vien
Succeeded byÉdouard Rinfret
Personal details
Born(1888-04-16)April 16, 1888
Concordia, Kansas, U.S.
DiedMarch 7, 1956(1956-03-07) (aged 67)
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Political partyLiberal
Jean Brady
(m. 1920)
OccupationMajor General, Civil Servant, Diplomat, Politician
CabinetMinister of National War Services (1942-1945)
Military service
Allegiance Canada
Branch/service Canadian Army
Years of service1914−1940
RankMajor General
Unit22nd Battalion, CEF
Battles/warsWorld War I
World War II

Major General Léo Richer LaFlèche, PC DSO (April 16, 1888 – March 7, 1956) was a Canadian general, civil servant, diplomat, and politician.

Léo Richer La Flèche was born in Concordia, Kansas, on April 16, 1888. The same year, with his parents, Léo moved to Sorel, Quebec, because of his father's work in Ottawa as a civil servant. Leo managed the Molson Bank in Ville St-Pierre until the outbreak of the First World War.[1] He served with the Royal 22nd Battalion, CEF, during World War I, as an infantry officer, where he was severely wounded. On June 17, 1916, a soldier in Léo's battalion noticed him lying in a field, left for dead. He and four other soldiers transported the dying officer on a stretcher as they crossed a battlefield under German artillery fire. The General in charge spotted the heroic act and as a result, the five soldiers were each awarded a Military Medal.[1] In 1917, Léo was awarded the Distinguished Service Order and the Légion d'honneur of France for his service. He later became a lieutenant-colonel commanding the District Depot No. 4, Montreal which consisted of roughly 70,000 men. He would achieve the rank of major general.[2] He co-founded the Canadian Legion in 1925 and became dominion president of the Canadian Legion in 1929.[3] From 1932 to 1939, he was Deputy Minister of National Defence, Vice-Chairman Defence Council and briefly served as military attaché to Paris before the German invasion.[4]

From 1940 to 1942, he was the associate deputy minister of War Services and was chairman of the National Film Board from 1941 to 1943.[5] In 1941, he received an honorary LL.D. from the University of Ottawa.[6]

He was elected as the Liberal candidate to the House of Commons of Canada for the Quebec electoral district of Outremont in a by-election on November 30, 1942, called after the MP at the time, Thomas Vien, resigned. He defeated future mayor of Montreal Jean Drapeau who was running for the Bloc Populaire.[7] Later that year, Prime minister Mackenzie King named him Minister of National War Services. He remained in this role until he became the first Canadian ambassador to Greece on April 17, 1945, a post he kept until 1949.[8]

On October 20, 1949, he presented his credentials to the governor general of Australia as the new high commissioner of Canada. On August 19, 1952, he also held this position in Buenos Aires, Argentina, as he officially took his post as the Canadian ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary in charge of the diplomatic relations with neighbouring Uruguay.[9] He returned to Canada in 1955. He died the next year at the age of 67. His grave is in the Notre Dame des Neiges Cemetery of Montreal.[10]


  1. ^ a b "Patrimoine Militaire – le Major J R Laflèche par Louise Pelletier". 11 November 2014.
  2. ^ Léo Richer Laflèche – Parliament of Canada biography
  3. ^ Granatstein, J. L. (2005). The Generals: The Canadian Army's Senior Commanders in the Second World War. University of Calgary Press. ISBN 9781552381762.
  4. ^ Granatstein, J. L. (2005). The Generals: The Canadian Army's Senior Commanders in the Second World War. University of Calgary Press. ISBN 9781552381762.
  5. ^ "National Film Board fonds: Office of the Chairman". Library and Archives Canada. Archived from the original on 12 March 2007. Retrieved 20 August 2006.
  6. ^ "Honorary Doctorates". University of Ottawa.
  7. ^ "History of Federal Ridings".
  8. ^ "Patrimoine Militaire – le Major J R Laflèche par Louise Pelletier". 11 November 2014.
  9. ^ "Heads of Post List". Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.
  10. ^ Répertoire des personnages inhumés au cimetière ayant marqué l'histoire de notre société (in French). Montreal: Notre Dame des Neiges Cemetery.
Non-profit organization positions Preceded byArthur Currie President of the Royal Canadian Legion 1929–1931 Succeeded byJohn Roper Diplomatic posts Preceded byJohn Kennett Starnes Canadian Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Greece 1945–1949 Succeeded byGeorge Loranger Magann Preceded byKenneth Alfred Greene Canadian High Commissioner to Australia 1949–1950 Succeeded byCarman Millward Croft Preceded byLionel Victor Joseph Roy Canadian Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Argentina 1952–1955 Succeeded byLouis Phillippe Picard New office Canadian Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Uruguay 1952–1955 Succeeded byFulgence Charpentier
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Léo Richer Laflèche
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