RIP: Canadian Telco's 'Godfather', André Bureau

André Bureau, a former CRTC chair and Astral Media president, died on Friday from cancer at age 83.

His death was announced by Bell Media Quebec VP, Pierre Rodrigue.

"He was really the godfather of the telecommunications industry as we know it today in Canada," Stephen Greenberg, president of Facet4 Media, told La Presse.

"He helped create laws and regulations," Greenberg went on to say, adding that he considered him to be a "mentor."

The Greenberg and Bureau families had been close for many years; Stephen Greenberg's father, Harold, was the founding president of Astral. André Bureau was President and Chief Executive Officer of the Astral Broadcasting Group from 1989 to 2008. He also served on the Board of Directors of Astral Media from 1996 to 2013 as President. His son Jean also worked at Astral Communications, as did Stephen Greenberg.

"He was one of the builders in the industry," Greenberg went on to say. "He helped develop the co-production (and) put programs in place. "

Born in Trois-Rivières, Quebec, he received an LL.B. from Université Laval in 1958 and a D.E.A. from the University of Paris I: Panthéon-Sorbonne in 1960. He was called to the Quebec Bar in 1959.

From 1968 to 1972, he was an Executive Vice-President at La Presse, one of Quebec's largest French-language daily newspapers. He returned to practicing law from 1973 to 1976 before being appointed Executive Vice-President at Télémédia Communications Ltée in 1976. He was president from 1980 to 1981 and president of Telemedia Ventures from 1981 to 1982. From 1982 to 1983, he was president and CEO of Canadian Satellite Communications Inc. From 1983 to 1989, he was Chairman of the CRTC. He then became President and CEO of Astral Inc and president of Astral Broadcasting Group Inc. In 1989, he practiced with Heenan Blaikie as counsel.

In 1993, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. In 2004, he was inducted into the Canadian Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame and in 2012, he was made an Officer of the National Order of Quebec.

An unsigned statement from the CRTC said that "Mr. Bureau played a pivotal role in providing Canadians more choice on television. It was during his mandate that the first specialty television channels were licensed in 1984. From those beginnings, Canadians today enjoy a variety of lifestyle, sports, music, third-language and other specialized programming that cater to their interests.

"We join Canadians in celebrating his legacy and contributions to the broadcasting and telecommunications sectors. His resolve and dedication will be missed, and we offer our sincere condolences to his family.”

-- Sources: La Presse, Wikepedia, CRTC, Bell Media

Supplementary materials

Office says no to Power Corporation -- Guy Fournier, La Journal de Montreal

André Bureau: From transistor radios to smart phones – Denis Carmel, CARTT.ca

André Bureau in redux on CPAC

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