Fact Check

Lucien Bouchard and Fred West

Canadian politician Lucien Bouchard was mistakenly identified as a serial killer in a newspaper.

Published April 16, 2001


Claim:   Photographs of a Canadian politician and his wife appeared over a newspaper article identifying them as serial killers Fred and Rosemary West.

Status:   True.

Origins:   Some gaffes just can't be improved upon:

A photograph of Quebec separatist Lucien Bouchard and his wife was published in a Hong Kong newspaper Thursday with the wrong caption, identifying them as British serial killers Fred and Rosemary West.

The photograph appeared in the English-language South China Morning Post with the headline: "Cheerful, Charming Odd-jobman West Driven by Sex and Sadism."

The story was about the Wests, a British couple linked to a series of gruesome murders and dismemberment. But the photograph was that of Bouchard and his wife, Audrey, shown together as the Bloc Quebecois leader announced his decision to seek the job as premier of Quebec.

Perhaps it takes a Canadian to fully savor the delicious irony of this. Former Leader of the Opposition in Canada's House of Commons, former Premier of Quebec, and avowed separatist, Bouchard is easily one of the most recognizable political figures in Canada. Were one to sum him up in one word, it could only be "unsmiling." (Popular wisdom has it that on any given day the probability of Lucien Bouchard cracking a smile is greatly exceeded by the chance of unemployment disappearing, Bell Canada lowering its rates, and the Canadian dollar rising to $1.87 U.S.) To identify Bouchard as "cheerful" and "charming" is even more of a howler than confusing him with a serial killer.

Barbara "it was an occident" Mikkelson

Last updated:   1 January 2005

  Sources Sources:

    Agence France Presse.   "Newspaper Apologies for Canadian Separatist Leader's Picture Mix-Up."

    24 November 1995.

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