Monique Bégin

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Monique Bégin
Minister of Health and Welfare
In office
March 3, 1980 – September 16, 1984
Prime MinisterPierre Trudeau
Preceded byDavid Crombie
Succeeded byJake Epp
In office
September 16, 1977 – June 3, 1979
Prime MinisterPierre Trudeau
Preceded byMarc Lalonde
Succeeded byDavid Crombie
Minister of National Revenue
In office
September 14, 1976 – September 15, 1977
Prime MinisterPierre Trudeau
Preceded byBud Cullen
Succeeded byJoseph-Philippe Guay
Member of Parliament for Saint-Michel
In office
October 30, 1972 – May 22, 1979
Preceded byVictor Forget
Succeeded byThérèse Killens
Member of Parliament for Saint-Léonard—Anjou
In office
May 22, 1979 – July 9, 1984
Preceded byfirst member
Succeeded byAlfonso Gagliano
Personal details
Born(1936-03-01)March 1, 1936
Rome, Italy
DiedSeptember 8, 2023(2023-09-08) (aged 87)
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Political partyLiberal
WebsiteParliament of Canada biography

Monique Bégin PC CC FRSC (March 1, 1936 – September 8, 2023) was a Canadian academic and politician.

Early life[edit]

Bégin was born in Rome to a Canadian-born sound engineer Joseph Lucien Bégin (1895–1964) and Belgian-born accountant Marie-Louise Vanhavre (1906–1967)[1][2] and raised in France and Portugal before emigrating to Canada at the end of World War II. She received an MA degree in sociology from the Université de Montréal and a PhD degree from the Sorbonne. She described her early life in Montreal as challenging, but credited community groups and her childhood role as a Girl Guides of Canada member as "sav(ing) her life".[3]

Political career[edit]

In 1967, Bégin became executive secretary of the Royal Commission on the Status of Women, which published its report in 1970. She won election to the House of Commons of Canada as a Liberal candidate in the riding of Saint-Michel in Montreal in the 1972 election. Bégin, Albanie Morin and Jeanne Sauvé, all elected in 1972, were the first women ever elected to the House of Commons from Quebec.

Bégin was appointed to the Canadian Cabinet by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau as Minister of National Revenue from 1976 to 1977, and served as Minister of Health and Welfare from 1977 to 1979 and again from 1980 to 1984 during which she introduced the Canada Health Act in Parliament which was passed by the House of Commons and is still in force today. She declined to run again in the 1984 election and retired from politics.


In 1986, she joined the University of Ottawa and Carleton University as the first joint Ottawa-Carleton Chair of Women's Studies. From 1990 to 1997, she was the University of Ottawa's dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences and continued teaching as a professor emeritus. From 1993 to 1995, she also served as co-chair of Ontario's Royal Commission on Learning with Gerald Caplan.

In 1997, she was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. Bégin served as the Treasurer for the International Centre for Migration and Health.

In 2015, she was a recipient of the Governor General's Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case.[4]

In 2018, she published the memoir Ladies, Upstairs!: My Life in Politics and After.[5]

Bégin was elevated to a Companion of the Order of Canada in 2020.[6]


Monique Bégin died in Ottawa on September 8, 2023, at the age of 87.[7]

Electoral record[edit]

1980 Canadian federal election: Saint-Léonard—Anjou
Party Candidate Votes %
Liberal Monique Bégin 42,228 81.12
New Democratic Filippo Salvatore 3,741 7.19
Progressive Conservative Pierre Gauthier 2,972 5.71
Rhinoceros Pierre Guzzo-Céros 1,569 3.01
Social Credit Gaétan Bernard 1,194 2.29
Union populaire U.P. Nelson Bouchard 260 0.50
Marxist–Leninist Caroline Commandeur-Laloux 91 0.17
Total valid votes 52,055 100.00
Total rejected ballots 607
Turnout 52,662 66.44
Electors on the lists 79,266
Source: Report of the Chief Electoral Officer, Thirty-second General Election, 1980.
1979 Canadian federal election: Saint-Leonard-Anjou
Party Candidate Votes
Liberal Monique Bégin 45,582
Social Credit Réal Ménard 5,102
Progressive Conservative Luciano Coraggio 3,556
New Democratic Colette Lalancette-Deschamps 3,105
Rhinoceros Joanne Noël 1,291
Union populaire Alice Derome 268
Marxist–Leninist Carole Commandeur-Laloux 176
1974 Canadian federal election: Saint-Michel
Party Candidate Votes
Liberal Monique Bégin 29,822
Progressive Conservative Pierre Noël 6,816
Social Credit Charles-Eugène Landry 4,348
New Democratic J. Richard Sylvestre 3,833
Marxist–Leninist Anna C. Campagna 476
Communist Gloria Mallaroni 277
1972 Canadian federal election: Saint-Michel
Party Candidate Votes
Liberal Monique Bégin 23,850
Social Credit Charles-Eugène Landry 8,591
Progressive Conservative J.-Maurice Bergeron 7,158
Independent Robert G. Beale 4,758
New Democratic Hélène Lewis 4,551


There is a Monique Bégin fonds at Library and Archives Canada.[8]


  1. ^ "Bégin, Hon. Monique, P.C., O.C., F.R.S.C., B.A., M.A. |".
  2. ^ "Hommage à Madame Monique Bégin".
  3. ^ "Monique Bégin: The feminist trailblazer –". November 7, 2017. Retrieved December 1, 2018.
  4. ^ Communication, Status of Women Canada. "2015 Recipients Governor General Awards in Commemoration of the Persons Case". Retrieved October 25, 2022.
  5. ^ "Ladies, Upstairs!: My Life in Politics and After, by Monique Bégin". Quill & Quire, March 2019.
  6. ^ "Governor General Announces 114 New Appointments to the Order of Canada". November 26, 2020.
  7. ^ The Honourable Monique Bégin passes away – 1936–2023
  8. ^ "Finding aid to Monique Bégin fonds, Library and Archives Canada" (PDF). Retrieved August 31, 2020.

External links[edit]