What's less known is that she survived a gun attack on Saturday, January 10, 1953 in Westmount, when her clandestine lover attempted to kill her before killing himself.
Reine left her home on Oxford Ave. in NDG to her lover's rooming house around 1:30 p.m. at 4041 Dorchester, part of a now-demolished strip of buildings on the north side, just west of Atwater in Westmount.
Her secret lover was a 28-(or maybe 26)-year-old Radio Canada freelance announcer named Bertrand Dussault. Not much is known about him other than that he was apparently quite skinny, according to a columnist who wished he'd put on 20 pounds.
The two hung out for about 45 minutes together, doing whatever they did and then Dussault asked her to leave her husband.
She didn't give him the answer he sought, so he blasted five shots in her direction out behind the house, hitting her twice.
She fled to nearby Tupper St. and was scooped up by a cab and survived after a stay in the hospital.
|The rooming house stood around here|
|Daniel Jr., Lise, Daniel Sr. Reine, Marie and Pierre-Marc|
after dad was elected in a surprise Union National
victory in 1966
At that time her husband Daniel Johnson Sr. was still a relative unknown, a 37-year-old backbencher for the Duplessis government serving as MNA for Bagot.
Marie, the daughter of a Conservative lawyer, had married Johnson in 1943.
Johnson offered his resignation but Duplessis declined and pressured the media to go easy on the story and only La Presse mentioned the name of the victim in a discreet article that went largely unnoticed.
|Reine fled Mrs. H. Peterson's rooming house and flagged|
a hack on Tupper
The building where Johnson's lover killed himself was demolished in 1965, as part of a provincially-backed project to widen Dorchester.
Pierre-Marc Johnson later recounted that he had to stay with his aunt for a while after his mother was shot. He became premier from Oct-Dec. 1985 while his older brother Daniel reigned as a Liberal premier for most of 1994.
To his credit, Pierre-Marc acknowledged the incident to a biographer who detailed the story in a 2007 biography of the family.