Appointed to the Senate by the Rt. Honourable Jean Chrétien, Senator Viola Léger represents the province of New Brunswick and the Senatorial Division of New Brunswick. She has served in the Senate of Canada since June 13, 2001.
She is currently a Member of the following Senate Committees: Aboriginal Peoples; Official Languages (Joint); and, Social Affairs, Science and Technology.
An award winning actress, Senator Léger has been one of the brightest stars in the firmament of Acadian arts and culture.
After commencing a career as a drama teacher in New Brunswick, she went to Paris to study theatre and drama with the renowned Jacques Lecoq. In 1971, she began a long and outstanding career in acting as the lead in Antonine Maillet's La Sagouine, a role she has performed over 1,500 times across Canada, abroad and on television. Over the years, she has acted in a great number of memorable works by writers such as Antonine Maillet, Michel Tremblay, Michel Garneau, Jean Daigle, Tennessee Williams, Garcia de Lorca, and Anne Legault. She has also appeared in films and on television, notably in the Bouscotte series.
In 1985, Senator Léger founded La Compagnie Viola Léger Inc., which stands as a sign of her attachment to her Acadian roots.
Her singular talent has earned her numerous honourary doctorates and many awards, including: the Chevalier de l'Ordre de la Pléiade (1978); the Dora Mavor Moore Award (1981); the Médaille du Conseil de la vie française en Amérique (1987); the Chevalier de l'Ordre français des Arts et des Lettres (1991); and the Masque de l'interprétation féminine de l'Academie québécoise du théâtre. In 1989, she was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.
Senator Léger holds a B.A. and a B.Ed. from the University of Moncton, and an M.F.A. (Theatre Education) from Boston University.
She was born on June 29, 1930.