Philippe Couillard

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The Honourable
Philippe Couillard
PC MNA
Philippe Couillard 2014-11-11 E.jpg
31st Premier of Quebec
Incumbent
Assumed office
April 23, 2014
Monarch Elizabeth II
Lieutenant Governor Pierre Duchesne
Preceded by Pauline Marois
Leader of the Official Opposition in Quebec
In office
December 18, 2013 – April 23, 2014
Preceded by Jean-Marc Fournier
Succeeded by Stéphane Bédard
Minister of Health
In office
April 29, 2003 – June 25, 2008
Preceded by François Legault
Succeeded by Yves Bolduc
Leader of the Quebec Liberal Party
Incumbent
Assumed office
March 17, 2013
Preceded by Jean Charest
MNA for Jean-Talon
In office
2007–2008
Preceded by Margaret F. Delisle
Succeeded by Yves Bolduc
MNA for Mont-Royal
In office
May 1, 2003 – 2007
Preceded by André Tranchemontagne
Succeeded by Pierre Arcand
MNA for Outremont
In office
December 18, 2013 – 2014
Preceded by Raymond Bachand
Succeeded by Hélène David
MNA for Roberval
Incumbent
Assumed office
2014
Preceded by Denis Trottier
Personal details
Born (1957-06-26) June 26, 1957 (age 57)
Montreal, Quebec
Political party Quebec Liberal Party
Spouse(s) Suzanne Pilote
Residence Édifice Price, Québec City
Alma mater Université de Montréal
Profession university professor, neurosurgeon

Philippe Couillard (born June 26, 1957) is the 31st and current Premier of Quebec, leader of the Quebec Liberal Party and a former university professor and neurosurgeon in Quebec, Canada. He was elected MNA of Outremont with 55% of votes in the Outremont's by-election on December 9, 2013. In the 2014 election he moved to the riding of Roberval where he resides. Until June 25, 2008, he served as the Quebec Minister for Health and Social Services and was also MNA of Mont-Royal until he resigned in 2008 under Jean Charest's Liberal government.

Life and career[edit]

Couillard was born in Montreal, Quebec. He holds a medical degree and a certification in neurosurgery from the Université de Montréal. He was the head of the department of neurosurgery at Hôpital Saint-Luc from 1989 to 1992 and again at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Sherbrooke from 1996 to 2003. From 1992 to 1996, he practised in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. In 2003, he left the medical profession to run for a seat in the National Assembly representing the Quebec Liberal Party. He was elected MNA for Mont-Royal in the 2003 election and was appointed Minister of Health and Social Services on April 29, 2003.

Since taking office, he proved skillful in the handling of his department's public relations and was regarded by some as the most popular minister in the Charest government.[1] His accomplishments during his tenure included a $4.2 billion increase in the Quebec health budget, the prohibition of smoking in public places, and a reduction in the number of union local accreditations in the health sector.

Couillard announced his candidacy for the Jean-Talon riding in the Quebec City area, replacing Margaret Delisle who did not seek re-election due to health reasons. Couillard won the 2007 elections despite the Action democratique du Quebec's (ADQ) strong performance in the region in which the party gained the majority of the seats. Pierre Arcand succeeded Couillard in the Mont-Royal riding. Couillard was renamed the Health and Social Services Minister as well as the minister responsible for the provincial Capitale-Nationale (Quebec) region.

On June 25, 2008, Couillard officially announced his resignation as Minister and MNA. He was succeeded as Minister and Jean-Talon MNA by locally-known Alma doctor Yves Bolduc.[2][3]

On June 23, 2010, Couillard was appointed to the Security Intelligence Review Committee, and consequently was appointed to the Privy Council.[4]

On October 3, 2012, Couillard became the third person to enter the race to succeed Jean Charest as leader of the Quebec Liberal Party. When asked why he was re-entering politics, he said, "I feel the need to serve."[5]

Quebec election, 2014[edit]

On March 17, 2013, Couillard became the leader of the Quebec Liberal Party, beating ex-cabinet ministers Raymond Bachand and Pierre Moreau. On December 9, 2013, he was elected MNA for the riding of Outremont vacated by Bachand in a by-election.[6]

On March 5, 2014, amid weeks of speculation that the Parti Québécois would call a snap election, Lieutenant Governor Pierre Duchesne dropped the writs for a general election at the request of Premier Pauline Marois.

When the election campaign began, polls showed a close race between the Parti Québécois and the Liberals, however the PQ held a wide lead among francophone voters, giving the advantage in terms of seat distribution to the PQ. Couillard stated that, "his party [would] focus during the campaign on the concerns of Quebecers, including healthcare, education and jobs." He also accused Premier Pauline Marois of mismanaging Quebec's economy, saying that "Quebec is living beyond its means." He also clarified his opposition to the Quebec Charter of Values, describing it as "an unnecessary bill that succeeds only in dividing Quebecers".

The election campaign immediately centred on the issue of sovereignty with the high-profile entry of Quebec media baron Pierre Karl Peladeau into the race as a candidate for the Parti Québécois in the riding of St-Jerome. Over the course of the next couple of weeks, the polls began to break heavily in the favour of Couillard and the Liberals as the PQ began to bleed support to all 3 major opposition parties. Most analysts agreed that Couillard had a strong performance during the first televised leaders' debate. During the second televised leaders' debate with a week to go in the campaign, Couillard was on the defensive as he held a sizeable lead over the other party leaders in the polls. His second debate performance was not as strong as his first one, and he was criticized by both Pauline Marois and Francois Legault of the CAQ for suggesting that a factory worker in Quebec ought to be bilingual in the event that an Anglophone businessperson was to walk on the floor. While his comment was portrayed by his critics as proof that he was soft on the French language issue, his poll numbers continued to exceed those of his opponents.

On April 7, Couillard led the Quebec Liberals to 70 seats in the National Assembly and a return to government a mere 19 months after being ousted in one of their poorest election showings in the party's history.[7] On election night, Couillard stressed the importance of creating a better business climate in Quebec and doing away with some of the divisive policies that characterized Pauline Marois' tenure as Premier. He also pledged to work cooperatively with other provinces and the federal government and to reassert Quebec's place as a leader in the Canadian federation.

Electoral record[edit]

Quebec general election, 2014
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
Liberal Philippe Couillard 17,816 55.17 +26.79
Parti Québécois Denis Trottier 10,764 33.33 -13.37
Coalition Avenir Québec François Truchon 2,239 6.93 -12.45
Québec solidaire Guillaume Néron 1,018 3.15 -0.88
Parti des sans Parti Julie Boucher 237 0.73
Option nationale Luc-Antoine Cauchon 218 0.68 -0.83
Total valid votes 32,292 98.95
Total rejected ballots 342 1.05
Turnout 32,634 72.29 -0.30
Electors on the lists 45,143
Liberal gain from Parti Québécois Swing +20.08
Quebec provincial by-election, December 9, 2013
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
Liberal Philippe Couillard 5,582 55.11 +13.59
Québec solidaire Édith Laperle 3,264 32.23 +14.21
Option nationale Julie Surprenant 677 6.68 +4.97
Green Alex Tyrrell 384 3.79
Conservative Pierre Ennio Crespi 145 1.43
Parti nul Mathieu Marcil 59 0.58 -0.34
Autonomist Team Guy Boivin 17 0.17
Total valid votes 10,128 99.13
Total rejected ballots 89 0.87
Turnout 10,217 26.42 -41.79
Electors on the lists 38,671
Liberal hold Swing -0.41
Quebec general election, 2007: Jean-Talon
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
     Liberal Philippe Couillard 13,732 41.96 -4.64
     Parti québécois Véronique Hivon 9,859 30.13 -5.23
     Action démocratique Luc de la Sablonnière 6,056 18.51 +3.34
Green Ali Dahan 1,518 4.64 +3.23
     Québec solidaire Bill Clennett 1,463 4.47 +2.95*
     Christian Democracy Francis Denis 95 0.29 -

* Increase is from UFP


Quebec general election, 2003: Mont-Royal
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
Liberal Philippe Couillard 21,021 80.91 +0.67
Parti Québécois Vincent Gagnon 3,465 13.34 +0.60
Action démocratique Nour-Eddine Hajibi 1,240 4.77 +1.23
Equality Frank Kiss 256 0.99 -0.90

Premier of Quebec[edit]

Returning the Liberal Party of Quebec back to a majority government, after an eighteen month stint led by Pauline Marois and the Parti Quebecois, Philippe Couillard assumed office on April 23, 2014, naming 26 ministers to his cabinet.[8]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Jean-Marc Fournier
Leader of the Quebec Liberal Party
2013–present
Succeeded by
Incumbent
Preceded by
François Legault
Minister of Health and Social Services
2003–2008
Succeeded by
Yves Bolduc