Normand Lester

Le Livre noir du Canada anglais Option Canada 2001 in literature
Normand Lester
Normand Lester 2012-04-15.jpg
Normand Lester
Born (1945-07-10) July 10, 1945 (age 75)
OccupationInvestigative journalist,
columnist, author
Years active1964–present

Normand Lester (born July 10, 1945) is an investigative journalist from Quebec.[1][2] Though he built his reputation through investigations of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the Canadian Forces, he is best known for the controversy created in Canada after the publication of his book Le Livre noir du Canada anglais ("The Black Book of English Canada") in 2005.


Born to a Romanian immigrant and a French Canadian mother,[3] Lester started his career in journalism in 1964. Two years later, he began a 35-year career as a reporter for the Radio-Canada,[4] in which he found himself posted around the Western world, being posted in Washington, New York City and Paris.[5]

In 1986, he was posted as parliamentary correspondent in Ottawa. He began to investigate and study the activities of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, which had been created that year to take over duties formerly under the aegis of the RCMP. This would be the beginning of a long string of reports, some shocking, on the activities of CSIS, lasting twelve years. He investigated Claude Morin, cabinet minister and close advisor to René Lévesque and also a paid informant of the RCMP.

After the publication of the first part of the trilogy that is Livre noir du Canada anglais, Radio-Canada suspended him from his work on November 18, 2001, citing a lack of impartiality.

A few days later, Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste awarded him the Prix Olivar-Asselin for both his courage and excellence in investigative journalism. On December 5, 2001, after 35 years of service, Lester quit Radio-Canada. Since then, he has written for various newspapers, such as le Devoir.

In 2002, TVA hired him as a news commentator. In September 2005, he decided to quit for a similar job at TQS, with Jean-Luc Mongrain.

In 2006, he co-authored with Robin Philpot a book denouncing the actions of Option Canada, one of the organizations supporting the No side in the 1995 Quebec referendum. The actions of this group were alleged to have violated Quebec provincial laws and several key players in the organization would later be investigated for links to the sponsorship scandal. [1]

On May 25, 2013, at the age of 67, Normand Lester suffered an acute myocardial infarction while driving his car on Côte-Sainte-Catherine boulevard in Montreal, causing him to lose consciousness and rear-end another car at a red light. He was taken to the nearby Jewish General Hospital and promptly transferred to the Montreal General Hospital for open-heart surgery. He returned home on June 17 and has been feeling well since.[6]


Normand Lester at the Quebec international book fair 2011


  1. ^ Kate Lunau (28 May 2007). "The Interview: André Pratte". Macleans. Retrieved 8 February 2011.
  2. ^ "Canada Finds Itself Embroiled In Rare Spy Drama With Soviets". Bangor Daily News. Associated Press. 24 June 1988. Retrieved 8 February 2011.
  3. ^ Petrowski, Nathalie (15 January 2006). "Normand Lester: Peur de rien". La Presse. Montreal. p. 18.
  4. ^ "Normand Lester : épreuve des faits par le Syndicat des communications de Radio-Canada (CSN)" (Press release) (in French). Syndicat des communications de Radio-Canada. 19 January 2006.
  5. ^ Sioui, Marie-Michèle; Teiscera-Lessard, Philippe (25 May 2013). "Normand Lester lutte toujours pour sa vie". La Presse (in French). Montreal. Retrieved 25 May 2013.
  6. ^ "Normand Lester récupère très bien". TVA Nouvelles. Retrieved 20 April 2019.