Jean Charest

From Academic Kids

The Honourable John James "Jean" Charest, P.C., (born June 24, 1958) is a lawyer and the Premier of the Province of Quebec, Canada.

Jean Charest

Jean Charest

Rank: 34th Premier
Term of Office: April 29, 2003–Present
Predecessor: Bernard Landry
Successor: incumbent
Date of Birth: June 24, 1958
Place of Birth: Sherbrooke
Spouse: Michèle Dionne
Profession: Lawyer
Political affiliation: Liberal


Born in Sherbrooke, Quebec, he obtained a law degree from the University of Sherbrooke and was admitted to the Barreau du Quebec in 1981. He worked as a lawyer until he was elected Progressive Conservative member of the Canadian Parliament for the riding (electoral district) of Sherbrooke in the 1984 election. From 1984 to 1986, Charest served as Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons. In 1986, at age 28, he was appointed to the Cabinet of then-Prime Minister Brian Mulroney as Minister of State for Youth. He was the youngest cabinet minister in Canadian history. He was appointed Minister of State for Fitness and Amateur Sport in 1988, and Minister of the Environment in 1991.

After Mulroney's retirement as PC Party leader and prime minister, Charest was a candidate for the leadership of the party at the 1993 Progressive Conservative leadership convention. He impressed many observers and party members, and placed a strong second to Defence Minister Kim Campbell, who had held a large lead going into the convention. Charest served as Deputy Prime Minsiter and Minister of Industry, Science and Technology in Campbell's short-lived cabinet.

In the 1993 election, the Conservative party was swept from power: only two of the party's 295 candidates were elected—Charest and Elsie Wayne. Charest was appointed interim party leader following Campbell's resignation.

In April 1995, he was confirmed as party leader and launched an effort to re-build the party. In the 1997 election, the Tories received 19% of the vote, but won only 20 seats out of 301, mostly in Atlantic Canada. The party was back from the brink, but Charest considered the result a disappointment.

In April 1998, Charest gave into considerable public and political pressure to leave federal politics and become leader of the Quebec Liberal Party. Charest was considered by many to be the best hope for the federalist QLP to defeat the sovereigntist Parti Québécois government. (The QLP is not affiliated with the federal Liberals.)

In the 1998 Quebec election, the Quebec Liberals received more votes than the PQ, but because the Liberal vote was concentrated in fewer ridings, the PQ won enough seats to form another majority government. The two parties won almost the same number of seats in the National Assembly of Quebec as they had won in the previous election in 1994, in which the Liberals had been led by Daniel Johnson, Jr.

In the April 2003 election, Charest was elected premier of Quebec with a majority government, ending nine years of rule by the PQ.

Declaring that he had a mandate to reform health care, cut taxes, reduce spending and reduce the size of government, Charest's first two years of his mandate were marked by stiff and vocal opposition to his policies by Quebec Labor Unions. The antagonism and negativity shared between his government and public sector employees has left Charest relatively unpopular amongst the general public. Many have suggested however, that Charest may reenter national politics again before his provincial term is completed in April 2008, as a federal leadership challenger, if Stephen Harper, leader of the new Conservative Party of Canada, falters in the next federal election, widely expected to occur by Spring 2006.

On June 15, 2005 Charest came under fire for calling Parti Québécois MNA Elsie Lefebvre a "bitch" ("chienne") after receiving a question regarding his wife. He apologized two days later.

Elections as party leader

Canada: He lost the 1997 election as leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada.
Quebec: He lost the 1998 election and won the 2003 election as leader of the Quebec Liberal Party.

See also

External links

Preceded by:
Bernard Landry
List of Quebec premiers
Succeeded by:
Preceded by:
Daniel Johnson, Jr.
Quebec Liberal Party leaders
Succeeded by:
Preceded by:
Kim Campbell
Progressive Conservative leaders
Succeeded by:
Elsie Wayne
Preceded by:
Irénée Pelletier
Member of Parliament for Sherbrooke
Succeeded by:
Serge Cardin

Template:End box

25th Ministry - Government of Kim Campbell
Cabinet Posts (3)
Preceded by:
Don Mazankowski
Deputy Prime Minister of Canada
Succeeded by:
Sheila Copps
Preceded by:
Michael Wilson (I,S&T);
Pierre Vincent (C&CA)
Minister of Industry, Science and Technology &
Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs
styled as<i></small>
Minister of Industry
Succeeded by:
John Manley
Special Cabinet Responsibilities
Preceded by:
Position created
Minister responsible for the Federal Office
of Regional Development - Quebec

Succeeded by:
Paul Martin
24th Ministry - Government of Brian Mulroney
Cabinet Posts (3)
Preceded by:
Robert de Cotret
Minister of the Environment
Succeeded by:
Pierre Vincent
Minister of State (Fitness and Amateur Sport)
Minister of State (Youth)

Template:Canpremierfr:Jean Charest


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