Bernard Valcourt

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The Honourable
Bernard Valcourt
Member of Parliament for Madawaska—Victoria
In office
September 4, 1984 – October 25, 1993
Preceded by Eymard Corbin
Succeeded by Pierrette Ringuette
MLA for Edmundston
In office
Preceded by Roland Beaulieu
Succeeded by Madeleine Dubé
Member of Parliament for Madawaska—Restigouche
In office
Preceded by Jean-Claude D'Amours
Succeeded by René Arseneault
Personal details
Born (1952-02-18) February 18, 1952 (age 63)
Saint-Quentin, New Brunswick
Political party Conservative (2011–)
Other political
Progressive Conservative (1984–1993)
Profession lawyer

Bernard Valcourt, PC QC (born February 18, 1952) is a Canadian politician and lawyer, who served as Member of Parliament for the electoral district of Madawaska—Restigouche, New Brunswick until he was defeated in the 2015 federal election.

Early federal political career and Mulroney cabinet[edit]

Valcourt was first elected to the House of Commons of Canada as a Progressive Conservative candidate in the 1984 election that brought Brian Mulroney to power. He was appointed to the Cabinet of Canada in 1986 as a Minister of State. In January 1989, he was promoted to Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs,[1] but was forced to resign from Cabinet in August when he was involved in a drunk driving motorcycle accident that cost him an eye.[2]

He returned to Cabinet seven months later as Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.[1] In 1991, he was promoted to Minister of Employment and Immigration,[1] and held the position until the government of Mulroney's successor as Progressive Conservative Party leader and prime minister, Kim Campbell, was defeated in the 1993 election. Valcourt was defeated in that election, along with every Tory MP in Atlantic Canada except Elsie Wayne.

Provincial leader[edit]

In May 1995, Valcourt was elected leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of New Brunswick.[3] While he won a seat in the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick in the 1995 provincial election, his party only won six seats against 48 for Frank McKenna's Liberals. Valcourt resigned as leader in 1997 following a lukewarm endorsement of his leadership at a party convention, and was succeeded by Bernard Lord.[4]

Return to federal politics[edit]

On March 28, 2011, Valcourt declared his candidacy in the 2011 federal election, running in the riding of Madawaska—Restigouche, which covers the bulk of the territory he'd represented two decades earlier.[5][6] He was elected on May 2, 2011, defeating Liberal incumbent Jean-Claude D'Amours. He was subsequently appointed to cabinet as Minister of State for both the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and La Francophonie. His sister Martine Coulombe was elected to the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick in the 2010 provincial election.[7] On July 4, 2012, he was given the additional portfolio of Associate Minister of Defence.[8] Valcourt was part of the AEG initiative, saying co-operation between both the federal and provincial governments, as well as utilities, is key. “The Atlantic Energy Gateway initiative has brought the critical players in the region’s energy sector together to not only work toward an affordable, secure, clean energy future, but to also maximize the business and job growth potential of further developing our region’s clean and renewable energy industries,” said Valcourt in a release.[9]

On February 22, 2013, Valcourt became Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development in a cabinet shuffle.[10] Valcourt stirred controversy when he claimed that the high rates of suicide among aboriginal youths were "the responsibility of their parents".[11]

On June 2, 2015, Valcourt generated national attention during the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Report. When a call to launch a national inquiry into the over 1,000 murdered and missing aboriginal women, everyone in attendance clapped and gave a standing ovation except for Valcourt.[12]

In the 2015 federal election, Valcourt was defeated by Liberal René Arseneault finishing third with just over 16% of the vote.[13]

Electoral record[edit]

Canadian federal election, 2011: Madawaska-Restigouche
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
Conservative Bernard Valcourt 14,224 40.64 +7.41 $52,308.15
Liberal Jean-Claude D'Amours 12,309 35.17 -12.23 $60,570.18
New Democratic Wilder Jules 6,562 18.75 +3.13 $6,934.01
Independent Louis Bérubé 1,290 3.69 $113.00
Green Lynn Morrison 612 1.75 -2.00 $0.00
Total valid votes/Expense limit 34,997 100.0     $81,731.56
Total rejected, unmarked and declined ballots 577 1.62 +0.04
Turnout 35,574 69.80 +3.03
Eligible voters 50,966
Conservative gain from Liberal Swing +9.82
New Brunswick general election, 1995: Edmundston
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
Progressive Conservative Bernard Valcourt 4,215 59.20 +38.41
Liberal Roland Beaulieu 2,803 39.37 -26.91
New Democratic Maureen Michaud 102 1.43 -11.50
Total valid votes 7,120 100.0  
Progressive Conservative gain from Liberal Swing +32.66
Canadian federal election, 1993: Madawaska-Victoria
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
     Liberal Pierrette Ringuette-Maltais 16,058 48.8 +5.0
     Progressive Conservative Bernard Valcourt 15,045 45.7 -2.5
Reform Kimberly Spikings 955 2.9 +2.9
     New Democratic Party Parise Martin 844 2.6 -5.4
Total 32,902
Canadian federal election, 1988: Madawaska-Victoria
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
     Progressive Conservative Bernard Valcourt 14,747 48.2 -3.7
     Liberal Romeo Rossignol 13,385 43.8 +1.9
     New Democratic Party Réal Couturier 2,441 8.0 +1.8
Total 30,573
Canadian federal election, 1984: Madawaska-Victoria
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
     Progressive Conservative Bernard Valcourt 16,411 51.9 +29.0
     Liberal Gerald Clavette 13,245 41.9 -23.9
     New Democratic Party Floranne McLaughlin-St-Amand 1,968 6.2 -5.1
Total 31,624


  1. ^ a b c "Guide to Canadian Ministries since Confederation". Retrieved June 7, 2010. 
  2. ^ "No more Mr. Nice Guys?". The Globe and Mail. May 21, 2010. Retrieved June 7, 2010. 
  3. ^ "New Brunswick's new top Tory set to make political sparks fly...". Toronto Star. May 15, 1995. Retrieved June 7, 2010 (Pay-per-View).  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  4. ^ "Valcourt resigns as leader of NB Tories Former high flyer had little...". Toronto Star (May 20, 1997 (Pay-per-View)). May 20, 1997. Retrieved June 7, 2010. 
  5. ^ "Valcourt plans political comeback in N.B. riding". CBC News. March 28, 2011. Retrieved June 26, 2015. 
  6. ^ "Former Mulroney Tory cabinet minister attempting comeback in N.B. riding". Winnipeg Free Press. March 28, 2011. Retrieved March 29, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Valcourt's sister hopes to tap ex-MP's popularity". CBC News. September 9, 2010. Retrieved June 26, 2015. 
  8. ^ Canadian Press (July 4, 2012). "Julian Fantino to replace Bev Oda as international co-operation minister". Toronto Star. Retrieved July 4, 2012. 
  9. ^ "CBC news - Regional co-operation focus of energy meeting". CBC news. CBC news. Retrieved September 12, 2012. 
  10. ^ "Bernard Valcourt, new aboriginal affairs minister, a 'straight talker' who knows the file". Ottawa Citizen. February 22, 2013. Retrieved June 26, 2015. 
  11. ^ "Canada’s Aboriginal Minister Shrugs Off Responsibility for Youth Suicides on Reserves, Says It’s Parents’ Problem". VICE NEws (VICE News). Retrieved May 27, 2015. 
  12. ^ "Truth and Reconciliation report brings calls for action, not words". CBC News. June 2, 2015. Retrieved June 2, 2015. 
  13. ^ "Madawaska-Restigouche elects Liberal René Arseneault". CBC News. October 19, 2015. Retrieved November 5, 2015. 
  14. ^ Elections Canada – Official voting results, Forty-first general election, 2011
  15. ^ Elections Canada – Candidate's electoral campaign return, 41st general election

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Danny Cameron
Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick
Succeeded by
Elvy Robichaud
Party political offices
Preceded by
Dennis Cochrane
Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of New Brunswick
Succeeded by
Bernard Lord
Party political offices
Preceded by
James Moore
Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development
Succeeded by
Carolyn Bennett