Hydro-Quebec Montreal headquarters named after ex-premier Jean Lesage

Hydro-Quebec's Montreal headquarters has been named after former Liberal premier Jean Lesage, even though Rene Levesque is widely credited with completing the nationalization of Quebec's electricity industry.

Levesque, who eventually became Parti Quebecois premier, served as natural resources minister under Lesage in the 1960s.

Levesque left the Liberals in 1967 and went on to co-found the Parti Quebecois, which he led to power in 1976.

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard told reporters Monday that partisan politics did not play a role in the decision to name the landmark building after Lesage instead of Levesque.

``It's not a contest of popularity or memory,'' he said, surrounded by Lesage family members for the announcement.

Couillard pointed out Lesage did a lot for Quebec as the province entered the Quiet Revolution.

``It's also education, social programs, the whole modern Quebec that we live in today is due to his efforts as leader of the government at the time,'' he said.

Couillard added it took courage for Lesage to head into an election campaign on the issue of electricity and nationalization after only two years in office.

A Hydro-Quebec spokesman says a bust of Levesque that is prominently displayed outside the building will remain.