Former senator Jean-Louis Roux dead at the age of 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.

Roux, a prominent member of Quebec’s theatre community for decades, was 90.

His death was confirmed today by the Theatre du Nouveau Monde, which he helped found in 1951.

The ardent federalist was named to the Senate in 1994 by then-prime minister Jean Chretien.

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

Just a few months after being appointed lieutenant-governor in 1996, Roux resigned after telling a magazine he drew a swastika on this 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 attributed his actions to youthful bravado and said he did not support Adolf Hitler’s regime.

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

Roux went on to head the Canada Council for the Arts in the late 1990s and early 2000s.