Denis Paradis

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Denis Paradis

Denis Paradis.jpg
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Brome—Missisquoi
In office
October 19, 2015 – October 21, 2019
Preceded byPierre Jacob
Succeeded byLyne Bessette
In office
February 13, 1995 – January 23, 2006
Preceded byGaston Péloquin
Succeeded byChristian Ouellet
Chairman of the Standing Committee on Official Languages
In office
February 17, 2016 – September 11, 2019
Preceded byMichael Chong
Succeeded byEmmanuel Dubourg
Minister of State for Financial Institutions
In office
December 12, 2003 – June 19, 2004
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byOffice discontinued
Secretary of State for Latin America and Africa
In office
January 15, 2002 – December 11, 2003
Preceded byDavid Kilgour
Succeeded byOffice discontinued
Secretary of State for La Francophonie
In office
January 15, 2002 – December 11, 2003
Preceded byRon Duhamel
Succeeded byDenis Coderre[1]
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
September 1, 1999 – September 12, 2001[2]
Preceded byJulian Reed
Succeeded byAileen Carroll
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for International Cooperation
In office
January 26, 1999 – August 31, 1999
Preceded byClaudette Bradshaw
Succeeded byEugène Bellemare
Personal details
Born (1949-04-01) April 1, 1949 (age 72)
Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec
Political partyLiberal

Denis Paradis PC (born April 1, 1949) is a Canadian politician and lawyer who served as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Brome—Missisquoi from 2015 until 2019 and previously from 1995 to 2006. A member of the Liberal Party of Canada, Paradis was Minister of State for Financial Institutions from 2003 to 2004.

His brother, Pierre Paradis, is a member of the National Assembly of Quebec and a provincial cabinet minister. The Paradis brothers are political allies.[3]

Early life and private career[edit]

Paradis was born in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec. He has a Bachelor of Commerce degree (1970) and a Bachelor of Civil Law degree (1975) from the University of Ottawa and was admitted to the Quebec Bar in 1976.[4] In 1985, he co-authored the book Régles de procédure devant les tribunaux administratifs.[5]

After working as a partner in the firm Paradis-Poulin, he became the president of the Quebec Bar Association in 1993.[6] In June of the same year, he criticized the overcrowded state of some provincial courthouses.[7] He owns a winery in Saint-Armand, Quebec.[8]

First political offices (1995–2002)[edit]

Paradis was first elected to the House of Commons of Canada in a 1995 by-election, called after Gaston Péloquin, the sitting Bloc Québécois member for Brome—Missisquoi, was killed in an automobile accident.[9] Paradis championed the Canadian federalist cause in the campaign and said that his election would confirm Brome-Missisquoi's place within a united Canada.[10] The election was initially considered too close to call, but Paradis won by a significant margin. His victory was seen as helping the federalist cause in the buildup to the 1995 Quebec referendum on sovereignty.[11]

Paradis entered parliament as a backbench supporter of Jean Chrétien's government. In late 1995, he helped launch a Summer Work/Student Exchange project that encouraged students to develop their second-language skills.[12] He was elected chair of the Liberal Party's Quebec caucus in February 1997.

Paradis was returned to a second parliamentary mandate in the 1997 federal election, and in late 1997 he co-chaired a special committee that recommended Quebec's schools be divided on linguistic rather than denominational lines.[13] He was named as parliamentary secretary to the minister for International Cooperation in January 1999, and in September of the same year he was promoted to parliamentary secretary to the minister of Foreign Affairs.[14] He was again returned to parliament in the 2000 federal election.

Minister (2002–2004)[edit]

Chrétien government[edit]

Paradis was appointed as Secretary of State for La Francophonie and Secretary of State for Latin America and Africa in Chrétien's government on January 15, 2002. These were ministerial positions but not full cabinet portfolios.[15]


Shortly after his appointment, Paradis met with Nigerian Information Minister Jerry Gana in an effort to prevent the execution of Safiya Hussaini.[16] He later supported the Commonwealth's decision to suspend Zimbabwe for one year in the aftermath of that country's disputed 2002 presidential election.[17]

Paradis accompanied Chrétien on a 2002 delegation to Africa that included stops in Morocco, Algeria, Nigeria, Senegal, Ethiopia and South Africa.[18] He supported the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), and in October 2002 he pledged more than two million dollars to promote security and good governance in francophone Africa.[19]

In March 2003, Paradis announced that Canada would provide one hundred million dollars to Ethiopia, Senegal, Ghana, Mali, Mozambique, and Tanzania under the Canada Fund for Africa. The stated intent of this funding was to recognize improved commitments to human rights and democracy.[20] Later in the same year, Paradis represented Canada at Olusegun Obasanjo's inauguration for a second term as President of Nigeria.[21]

Paradis nominated former United Nations Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali to be named to the Order of Canada in 2002. Boutros-Ghali received the honour in 2004.[22]

Latin America

Paradis led a Canadian trade delegation to Cuba in November 2002. This visit marked an improvement in relations between the countries, which had been strained for three years due to Canadian concerns about Cuba's human rights practices.[23]

In January 2003, Paradis hosted a diplomatic event called the Ottawa Initiative on Haiti. At this meeting, representatives from Canada, France, the United States of America, and the Organization of American States discussed Haiti's political future. No representatives of the Haitian government were present. A few months later, journalist Michel Vastel leaked information about the meeting that he said was given to him by Paradis. Writing in L'Actualité, Vastel claimed that the delegates decided that Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide should be replaced by a United Nations trusteeship within a year. Paradis has denied Vastel's claim.[24]

The Francophonie

In December 2002, Paradis called for the creation of a watchdog organization to target human rights violations in Francophonie nations.[25]

Martin government[edit]

Paradis was not, during Jean Chrétien's tenure as Prime Minister, among the group of Liberal parliamentarians (MPs) who supported Paul Martin's leadership ambitions. He nevertheless supported Martin at the 2003 Liberal Party leadership convention, which was held to elect Chrétien's successor.[26] Martin won a landslide victory and became prime minister on December 12, 2003. When he formed his first ministry, he appointed Paradis as minister of state for Financial Institutions.[27]

Paradis led several roundtable discussions with business, academic, and social groups in months that followed, during the buildup to the Martin government's 2004 budget.[28] Shortly before budget day, he said that the government would return to a practice of setting aside four billion dollars per year to cover emergency spending or the possibility of an economic downturn.[29]

Return to the backbenches and time out of office (2004–2015)[edit]

Paradis was narrowly re-elected in the 2004 federal election over Bloc challenger Christian Ouellet. He was not re-appointed to the ministry and returned to the government backbenches.[30] He lost his seat to Ouellet in the 2006 election, amid losses for the Liberal Party across Quebec.

Paradis supported Stéphane Dion in the Liberal Party's 2006 leadership election.[31] Dion won an upset victory in this contest, defeating Michael Ignatieff on the fourth ballot. Paradis attempted to reclaim his seat in the 2008 federal election but was narrowly defeated by Ouellet in a rematch from 2006.

Paradis ran for re-election in the 2011 federal election but lost to Pierre Jacob of the New Democratic Party amid a strong provincial swing to the NDP.[32]

Return to Parliament (2015–2019)[edit]

Paradis again ran as the Liberal Party's candidate in Brome—Missisquoi during the 2015 federal election, and this time was victorious, beating New Democrat Catherine Lusson. He ran for the office of Speaker of the House of Commons of Canada, losing to fellow Liberal MP Geoff Regan. Subsequently, he was elected to chair the Standing Committee on Official Languages. He did not run for re-election in the 2019 Canadian federal election.

Electoral record[edit]

2015 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Liberal Denis Paradis 25,744 43.88 +21.82
New Democratic Catherine Lusson 14,383 24.51 -18.13
Bloc Québécois Patrick Melchior 10,252 17.47 -3.79
Conservative Charles Poulin 6,724 11.46 -0.45
Green Cindy Moynan 1,377 2.35 +0.22
Strength in Democracy Patrick Paine 195 0.33
Total valid votes/Expense limit 58,675 100.0     $222,301.16
Total rejected ballots 716
Turnout 59,391
Eligible voters 85,201
Source: Elections Canada[33][34][35]
2011 Canadian federal election
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
New Democratic Pierre Jacob 22,407 42.64 +33.59
Liberal Denis Paradis 11,589 22.06 -10.73
Bloc Québécois Christelle Bogosta 11,173 21.26 -13.95
Conservative Nolan LeBlanc-Bauerle 6,256 11.91 -6.75
Green Benoit Lambert 1,120 2.13 -1.45
Total valid votes/Expense limit 52,545 100.00
Total rejected ballots 588 1.05
Turnout 53,133 66.30
Eligible voters 80,137
2008 Canadian federal election: Brome—Missisquoi
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Bloc Québécois Christian Ouellet 17,561 35.21 −3.12 $75,915
Liberal Denis Paradis 16,357 32.79 +4.82 $66,462
Conservative Mark Quinlan 9,309 18.66 −1.69 $78,614
New Democratic Christelle Bogosta 4,514 9.05 +3.20 $4,678
Green Pierre Brassard 1,784 3.58 +0.03 $126
     Independent David Marler 354 0.71 $16,915
Total valid votes 49,879 100.00
Total rejected ballots 531
Turnout 50,410 65.78 −0.46
Electors on the lists 76,636
2006 Canadian federal election: Brome—Missisquoi
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Bloc Québécois Christian Ouellet 18,596 38.33 −1.33 $66,782
Liberal Denis Paradis 13,569 27.97 −14.11 $58,420
Conservative David Marler 9,874 20.35 +9.30 $69,104
New Democratic Josianne Jetté 2,839 5.85 +3.19 $2,722
     Progressive Canadian Heward Grafftey 1,921 3.96 $60,081
Green Michel Champagne 1,721 3.55 −1.00 $2,460
Total valid votes 48,520 100.00
Total rejected ballots 554
Turnout 49,074 66.24 +3.61
Electors on the lists 74,088
Sources: Official Results, Elections Canada and Financial Returns, Elections Canada.
2004 Canadian federal election: Brome—Missisquoi
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Liberal Denis Paradis 18,609 42.08 −7.50 $56,708
Bloc Québécois Christian Ouellet 17,537 39.66 +7.93 $29,014
Conservative Peter Stastny 4,888 11.05 −6.50 $14,318
Green Louise Martineau 2,011 4.55 none listed
New Democratic Piper Huggins 1,177 2.66 $5
Total valid votes 44,222 100.00
Total rejected ballots 790
Turnout 45,012 62.63
Electors on the lists 71,866
Percentage change figures are factored for redistribution. Conservative Party percentages are contrasted with the combined Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservative percentages from 2000.
Sources: Official Results, Elections Canada and Financial Returns, Elections Canada.
2000 Canadian federal election: Brome—Missisquoi
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Liberal Denis Paradis 21,545 50.26 +7.89 $60,175
Bloc Québécois André Leroux 13,363 31.17 +3.34 $57,054
Progressive Conservative Heward Grafftey 5,502 12.84 −15.25 $58,417
Alliance Jacques Loyer 1,977 4.61 $387
New Democratic Jeff Itcush 480 1.12 −0.60 none listed
Total valid votes 42,867 100.00
Total rejected ballots 986
Turnout 43,853 65.72 −10.33
Electors on the lists 66,730
Sources: Official Results, Elections Canada and Financial Returns, Elections Canada.
1997 Canadian federal election: Brome—Missisquoi
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Liberal Denis Paradis 19,261 42.37 $54,531
Progressive Conservative Claude Boulard 12,770 28.09 $29,694
Bloc Québécois Noël Lacasse 12,652 27.83 $35,640
New Democratic Nicole Guillemet 781 1.72 $572
Total valid votes 45,464 100.00
Total rejected ballots 1,346
Turnout 46,810 76.05
Electors on the lists 61,553
Sources: Official Results, Elections Canada and Financial Returns, Elections Canada.

Canadian federal by-election, February 13, 1995: Brome—Missisquoi
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Liberal Denis Paradis 19,078 51.02 +14.36 $54,562
  Bloc Québécois Jean-François Bertrand 15,764 42.16 +1.40 $53,734
  Progressive Conservative Guy Lever 1,235 3.30 −13.85 $36,225a
  Reform Line Maheux 517 1.38 $21,755
  New Democratic Party Paul Vachon 371 0.99 −0.27 $9,325
  Christian Heritage Jean Blaquière 126 0.34 $2,321
  Non-Affiliated Yvon V. Boulanger 107 0.29 $3,816
Green Éric Ferland 101 0.27 $412
  Natural Law Michel Champagne 77 0.21 −1.08 $6,538
  Abolitionist John H. Long 15 0.04 −1.61 $1,219
Total valid votes 37,391 100.00
Total rejected ballots 288
Turnout 37,679 64.32 −12.32
Electors on the lists 58,579
a- Does not include unpaid claims.


  1. ^ Coderre was styled as Minister responsible for the Francophonie.
  2. ^ Technically, this position was vacant during the 2000 Canadian federal election. For reasons of convenience, Paradis's time in office is here listed as one continuous term.
  3. ^ This point is not as self-evident as it may seem. Some prominent Quebec siblings, most notably Daniel Johnson, Jr. and Pierre-Marc Johnson, have been political rivals.
  4. ^ Canada Votes 2004: Brome-Missisquoi, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, accessed 2 December 2010.
  5. ^ Canada Votes 2008: Brome-Missisquoi, Candidate Profiles, accessed 2 December 2010.
  6. ^ Anne McIlroy, "A kind of early referendum," Hamilton Spectator, 11 February 1995, A12.
  7. ^ "Courthouses raise concerns," Globe and Mail, 22 June 1993, A9.
  8. ^ Barb Bellingham, "It's a proper stomp; First grape harvest," Sherbrooke Record, 26 September 2007, p. 8.
  9. ^ Paradis is from Brome—Missisquoi; he defeated Daniel Mignault and Heather Keith-Ryan for the Liberal Party nomination. See "Byelections Quebec is key issue in vote: Byelections to target sovereignty Conway Daly," Winnipeg Free Press, 29 December 1994. Mignault was a former industrial commissioner for Sherbrooke and Bromont and a director of industrial development of Gaz Metropolitain. See "Gaz Metropolitain Appointment," Globe and Mail, 18 October 1984, B11; Hubert Bauch, "Townships fever," Montreal Gazette, 10 April 1988, M26; Aaron Derfel, "Robillard promises hard fight," Montreal Gazette, 29 December 1994, A1.
  10. ^ Tu Thanh Ha, "Paradis wins nod in Quebec riding," Globe and Mail, 9 January 1995, A4. It was noted that several members of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada joined the Brome—Missisquoi Liberal riding association in this by-election, due to the weakened status of their own party. See Fred Langan, "A two-way fight in the riding would in many ways mirror the referendum," Financial Post, 14 January 1995, p. 17.
  11. ^ Derek Ferguson, "Chrétien's low profile irks Manning," Toronto Star, 10 February 1995, A11.
  12. ^ "Minister Don Boudria Launches the 3rd Edition of the Summer Work/Summer Exchange Project" [press release], Canada NewsWire, 19 June 1998, 11:28.
  13. ^ Graham Fraser, "Committee endorses linguistic school boards in Quebec," Globe and Mail, 8 November 1997, B12.
  14. ^ Member of Parliament Profile: Denis Paradis, Parliament of Canada, accessed 30 November 2010.
  15. ^ Guide to Canadian Ministries since Confederation: Secretaries of State, Parliament of Canada, accessed 13 January 2011.
  16. ^ Isabelle Ducas, "Nigerian minister says Safiya Husaini will not be stoned to death," Canadian Press, 22 February 2002, 20:13.
  17. ^ David Ljunggren, "Canada applauds as Commonwealth suspends Zimbabwe," Reuters News, 19 March 2002, 17:56. Some opposition parliamentarians, including Keith Martin, called for stronger sanctions. Chrétien later defended the Commonwealth's decision in his autobiography, writing that a harsher response would have been counter-productive.
  18. ^ Daniel Leblanc, "MPs chosen for diversity," Globe and Mail, 11 April 2002, A7; Gwynne Dyer, "The Enigma of Thabo Mbeki," Guelph Mercury, 11 April 2002, A9.
  19. ^ Denis Paradis, "Canada meeting the Africa challenge: the new partnership," Canadian Speeches, 1 July 2002, p. 17; "Chrétien says he's ready to talk human rights at Beirut francophone meeting," Canadian Press, 18 October 2002, 02:10.
  20. ^ Elizabeth Thompson, "Aid earmarked for six African countries," Calgary Herald, 3 March 2003, A4.
  21. ^ Glenn McKenzie, "Obasanjo starts new term with pledge to act against poverty and corruption," Canadian Press, 29 May 2003, 17:17.
  22. ^ Drew Fagan, "Honour for Boutros-Ghali sparks debate," Globe and Mail, 6 May 2004, A6.
  23. ^ Jeff Sallot, "Canada's trade mission to Cuba signals thaw," Globe and Mail, 2 November 2002, A6; "Canada re-establishes normal ties with Cuba," Toronto Star, 2 November 2002, A06.
  24. ^ Engler, Yves; Fenton, Anthony (August 2005). Canada in Haiti: Waging War on the Poor Majority. Co-published: RED Publishing, Fernwood Publishing. ISBN 1-55266-168-7. , page 43. Neither Vastel or L'Actualité retracted the story. Journalist Anthony Fenton later accused Paradis and other Canadian officials of being implicated in the 2004 Haitian coup d'état that overthrew Aristide. See Anthony Fenton, "Canadian crimes in Haiti: beyond complicity," Canadian Dimension, 1 September 2004, p. 6.
  25. ^ David Ljunggren, "Canada wants Francophonie human rights watchdog," Reuters News, 10 December 2002, 13:23.
  26. ^ "Secretary of State Denis Paradis gives his support to Paul Martin in the Liberal Party leadership race," Canada NewsWire, 4 May 2003.
  27. ^ "List of the new Canadian cabinet," Reuters News, 12 December 2003, 10:37.
  28. ^ See for instance "Federal Finance Minister Ralph Goodale takes his pre-budget roundtable discussions to P-E-I and New Brunswick today," Broadcast News, 23 January 2004, 04:38; "Canada NewsWire Daybook for Thursday, January 29, 2004," Canada Newswire, 29 January 2004, 07:01; "CP News Agenda for Friday, Feb. 13," Canadian Press, 13 February 2004, 03:10.
  29. ^ Heather Scoffield, "‘Prudence' in budget will curb spending," Globe and Mail, 8 March 2004, B1.
  30. ^ Susan Delacourt and Les Whittington, "New-look cabinet," Toronto Star, 20 July 2004, A01.
  31. ^ Philip Authier, "Former Quebec minister snubs Dion," National Post, 28 September 2006, A6. The article title refers to Liza Frulla, not Paradis.
  32. ^ "Brome-Missisquoi – Le Parti libéral va élire son exécutif" Archived 2010-12-06 at the Wayback Machine,, 12 November 2010, accessed 8 December 2010.
  33. ^ Elections Canada – Confirmed candidates for Brome—Missisquoi, 30 September 2015
  34. ^ Elections Canada – Preliminary Election Expenses Limits for Candidates Archived August 15, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
  35. ^ [1]