Madeleine Meilleur

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Madeleine Meilleur
Ontario MPP
In office
Preceded byClaudette Boyer
Succeeded byNathalie Des Rosiers
Ottawa City Councillor
In office
Preceded byStéphane Émard-Chabot
Succeeded byGeorges Bédard
ConstituencyRideau-Vanier Ward
Vanier City Councillor
In office
Preceded byMarc Grandmaître
Succeeded byRobert Crête
ConstituencyWilliam D'Aoust Ward
Ottawa-Carleton Regional Councillor
In office
Preceded byGuy Cousineau
Succeeded byPosition abolished
ConstituencyVanier (1991-1994)
Rideau-Vanier Ward (1994-2000)
Personal details
Born (1948-11-22) November 22, 1948 (age 71)
Kiamika, Quebec, Canada
Political partyLiberal
ResidenceOttawa, Ontario, Canada
OccupationRegistered Nurse, Lawyer

Madeleine Meilleur (born November 22, 1948) is a Canadian nurse, lawyer and former politician in Ontario, Canada. She was a Liberal member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 2003 to 2016. She represented the riding of Ottawa—Vanier. She was a cabinet minister in the governments of Dalton McGuinty and Kathleen Wynne.

In May 2017, she was nominated by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to become Canada's next Official Languages Commissioner. Her appointment had to be approved by the House of Commons of Canada and Senate to become official.[1] On June 7, 2017, she withdrew her name from consideration due to controversy around her selection.[2]


Meilleur was born in the Quebec community of Kiamika. She is both a registered nurse and a lawyer, specializing in labour and employment law and has served on the Ottawa-Carleton Regional District Health Council, the Champlain District Health Council, the Ottawa-Carleton Children's Aid Society and the Vanier Housing Corporation.

Municipal politics[edit]

Meilleur was elected to the city of Vanier's municipal council in 1991, and also served as a council member in the Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton (which included members from Vanier and other local municipalities).[3] In 2000, she was acclaimed as a city councillor in the newly amalgamated city of Ottawa.[4] During her time in municipal government, Meilleur represented the council on the French-Language Services Advisory Committee. She received the United Way's Community Builder's Award in 2001.[5]

Provincial politics[edit]

McGuinty government[edit]

In the 2003 provincial election, Meilleur was elected in the riding of Ottawa—Vanier as the Liberal Party candidate.[6]

The Liberal party won the election, and Meilleur was appointed Minister of Culture with responsibility for Francophone Affairs on October 23, 2003.[7] In November 2003, Meilleur announced that provincial grants would be made available to libraries in rural communities. In April 2004, she announced the extension of demolition controls on heritage buildings. In 2008, she became the province's first cabinet minister ever to attend an international summit of La Francophonie.

On April 5, 2006, Meilleur was appointed Minister of Community and Social Services.[8] She was reelected to her Ottawa—Vanier riding in the 2007 provincial election.[9]

After she was re-elected in the 2011 provincial election,[10] she was appointed Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services.

Julie Bilotta[edit]

On September 29, 2012, in a story that made international headlines, a 26-year-old woman from Cornwall, Ontario, Julie Bilotta, was forced to give birth to her now-deceased son, Gionni Garlow, in the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre, a jail under Ontario jurisdiction. While it is not unusual that a prisoner would give birth while incarcerated, Bilotta alleges that the prison guards and the medical staff ignored her cries for medical assistance. At the time this incident took place, Meilleur was the Ontario Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, making her the minister responsible for the institution in question. Meilleur subsequently announced a review into health care in Ontario’s provincial correctional facilities.

Wynne government[edit]

When Kathleen Wynne took over as Premier in 2013, Meilleur continued in her position as Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services.[11] She was re-elected in the 2014 provincial election.[12] On June 24, 2014 she was appointed Attorney General of Ontario, the first francophone to hold the position.[13]

In 2016, she was criticized over her initial refusal and subsequent delay in releasing the Special Investigations Unit's report on the police shooting of Andrew Loku.[14]

On June 9, 2016, Meilleur announced her retirement after 25 years in politics. Her resignation from the legislature coincided with a June 2016 cabinet shuffle.[14][15]

Cabinet positions[edit]

Ontario Provincial Government of Kathleen Wynne
Cabinet post (1)
Predecessor Office Successor
John Gerretsen Attorney General
Also responsible for Francophone Affairs
Yasir Naqvi
Ontario Provincial Government of Dalton McGuinty
Cabinet posts (3)
Predecessor Office Successor
Jim Bradley Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services
Also Responsible for Francophone Affairs
Yasir Naqvi
Sandra Pupatello Minister of Community and Social Services
John Milloy
David Tsubouchi Minister of Culture
Also Responsible for Francophone Affairs
Caroline Di Cocco

Commissioner of Official Languages[edit]

Meilleur was nominated to become the Commissioner of Official Language by the federal government on May 15, 2017. Her appointment was challenged as failing to be sufficiently non-partisan due to Meilleur's links to the ruling Liberal Party of Canada.[16] She withdrew her name from consideration on June 7, 2017.[2] In the end, this position was filled by Raymond Théberge.[17]

Electoral record[edit]

2014 Ontario general election: Ottawa—Vanier
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Madeleine Meilleur 21,810 55.55 +4.04
Progressive Conservative Martin Forget 8,750 22.29 -1.16
New Democratic Hervé Ngamby 5,228 13.32 -6.29
Green Dave Bagler 3,144 8.01 +3.49
Libertarian Phillip Richard 329 0.84
Total valid votes 39,261 98.70
Total rejected, unmarked and declined ballots 517 1.30 +0.88
Turnout 39,778 48.86 +2.05
Eligible voters 81,412  
Liberal hold Swing +2.60
"Valid Votes Cast for Each Candidate" (PDF). Elections Ontario. 2016. Retrieved June 21, 2016.
2011 Ontario general election
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Madeleine Meilleur 19,615 51.4
Progressive Conservative Fred Sherman 8,931 23.4
New Democratic Paul Étienne Laliberté-Tipple 7,525 19.7
Green Dave Bagler 1,719 4.5
Family Coalition Emmanuel Houle 352 0.9
Total valid votes 38,142 100.0
2007 Ontario general election
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Madeleine Meilleur 20,951 50.8 -1.7
Progressive Conservative Bruce Poulin 9,169 22.2 -4.0
New Democratic Ric Dagenais 6,144 14.9 -0.8
Green Leonard Poole 4,287 10.4 +5.9
Family Coalition Frank Cioppa 400 1.0
Independent Robert Larter 256 0.6
Total valid votes 38,142 100.0
2003 Ontario general election
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Madeleine Meilleur 22,188 53.5 +0.5
Progressive Conservative Maurice Lamirande 10,878 26.2 -5.6
New Democratic Joseph Zebrowski 6,507 15.7 +5.2
Green Raphael Thierrin 1,876 4.5 +2.1
Total valid votes 41,449 100.0


  1. ^ "Liberals nominate Madeleine Meilleur as official languages commissioner". CBC News. May 15, 2017.
  2. ^ a b Tasker, John Paul (June 7, 2017). "Madeleine Meilleur takes herself out of the running for languages commissioner job". CBC News.
  3. ^ Asimakopulos, Anna (November 13, 1991). "Vanier: Cousineau comes from behind". The Ottawa Citizen. p. B4.
  4. ^ "Ward 12:Rideau-Vanier: Meilleur acclaimed". The Ottawa Citizen. November 14, 2000. p. B5.
  5. ^ "Sidelines". The Ottawa Citizen. September 27, 2001. p. C7.
  6. ^ "Summary of Valid Ballots by Candidate". Elections Ontario. October 2, 2003. Retrieved March 2, 2014.[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ "Premier Dalton McGuinty and his 22-member cabinet were sworn in Thursday". Canadian Press NewsWire. October 23, 2003. p. 1.
  8. ^ Macaluso, Grace (April 6, 2006). "MPP gets new post: Sandra Pupatello: Ont. cabinet's most powerful woman". The Windsor Star. p. 1.
  9. ^ "Summary of Valid Ballots Cast for Each Candidate" (PDF). Elections Ontario. October 10, 2007. p. 11 (xx). Archived from the original (PDF) on October 7, 2009. Retrieved March 2, 2014.
  10. ^ "Summary of Valid Ballots Cast for Each Candidate" (PDF). Elections Ontario. October 6, 2011. p. 13. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 30, 2013. Retrieved March 2, 2014.
  11. ^ "Ontario's new cabinet". Waterloo Region Record. Kitchener, Ont. February 12, 2013. p. A3.
  12. ^ "General Election by District: Ottawa-Vanier". Elections Ontario. June 12, 2014. Archived from the original on September 23, 2014.
  13. ^ Richard Brennan; Robert Benzie; Rob Ferguson (June 24, 2014). "Kathleen Wynne warns financial cupboard is bare". Toronto Star.
  14. ^ a b Robert Benzie (June 9, 2016). "Ontario Attorney General Madeleine Meilleur resigning from politics". Toronto Star.
  15. ^ "Struggling Wynne Shuffles Cabinet, Adds 7 New Ministers". Toronto Star. June 13, 2016.
  16. ^ Hebert, Chantal (May 24, 2017). "Madeleine Meilleur's appointment fails the non-partisan smell test: Hébert". The Toronto Star. Retrieved May 25, 2017.
  17. ^ "Raymond Théberge named Canada's official languages commissioner". CBC News. Retrieved March 1, 2018.

External links[edit]