Pierre Juneau, Champion of Canadian Music Talent, Juno Awards Namesake, Dead at 89
Pierre Juneau, Champion of Canadian Music Talent, Juno Awards Namesake, Dead at 89

Pierre Juneau, for whom Canada's national Juno Awards is named, died Tuesday at the age of 89. He is often credited with starting the boom of Canadian artists that started in the 70s and brining internatinal respect to the country's domestic talent.

As the head of the newly formed Canadian Radio and Television Commission (CRTC) from 1968 to 1975 - a position given to him by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau with whom he had attended university - he was instrumental in legislating the Canadian Content (CanCon) regulations, requiring a minimum percentage of Canadian-made songs and programs. This helped foster the Canadian music industry.

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While broadcasters may not have been pleased by such a mandate on their business, the music industry showed its appreciation in 1971 by renaming the inaugural Gold Leaf Awards to The Juno Awards.

"We join Canadians in celebrating his legacy as the architect of Canadian content regulations, and the dynamic cultural industry that has since flourished," acting CRTC chairman Leonard Katz said in a statement.

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In 1975, the Montreal native was appointed Minister of Communications by Trudeau. He later became undersecretary of state and in 1980 deputy minister of communications. In 1982, he accepted another significant role in Canada's music and television industry, as president of the public Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).

"Pierre Juneau was a passionate defender of public broadcasting and a fervent promoter of Canadian content," current CBC President Hubert Lacroix said in a statement. "He was instrumental to shaping policy that allowed Canadians to build their own industry and their own content. We still feel his influence today."