Steven Guilbeault

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Steven Guilbeault

Steven Guilbeault - Montréal (cropped).jpg
Guilbeault in 2019
Minister of Canadian Heritage
Assumed office
November 20, 2019
Prime MinisterJustin Trudeau
Preceded byPablo Rodríguez
Member of Parliament
for Laurier—Sainte-Marie
Assumed office
October 21, 2019
Preceded byHélène Laverdière
Personal details
Born1970 (age 50–51)
La Tuque, Quebec, Canada
Political partyLiberal
ResidenceMontreal, Quebec
Alma materUniversité de Montréal (BA)

Steven Guilbeault PC MP (born June 9, 1970) is a Canadian politician who has served as Minister of Canadian Heritage since November 20, 2019. A member of the Liberal Party, Guilbeault has sat as a member of Parliament (MP) since the 2019 federal election, representing the Montreal riding of Laurier–Sainte-Marie in the House of Commons.

A founding member of Équiterre, a Quebec environmental organization, he was also director and campaign manager for the Greenpeace Quebec chapter for ten years. Guilbeault stepped down as senior director and spokesperson for Équiterre in November 2018,[1] and in July 2019 was nominated as a federal Liberal candidate in the 2019 election.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

The son of a butcher, he is of French Canadian descent although his maternal grandmother, Edna O'Farrell, was Irish Canadian.[3][4] When he was five years old in his hometown of La Tuque in Haute-Mauricie, Guilbeault refused to get down from a tree that he had climbed, in an effort to block a land developer from clearing a wooded area behind his home. The tree was felled a few days later, but the event is cited by Guilbeault as the genesis of his environmental activism.[5][citation needed]

After studying computer science in CEGEP, he enrolled in industrial relations at the Université de Montréal in 1989.[6] A year later, he switched his major to political science. He minored in theology, exploring questions of international morality, liberation theology, poverty and the environment.[6]

Guilbeault became president of his faculty's student association and also took part in activities organized by Equitas (known at the time as the Canadian Human Rights Foundation).[citation needed] He was also active in the Fédération étudiante universitaire du Québec (FEUQ), where he made the acquaintance of François Rebello and Nicolas Girard, who would later enter the world of politics.[citation needed] He also joined the Groupe de recherche en intérêt public (GRIP), created out of the protest movement spearheaded by Ralph Nader, the renowned American consumer advocate. There he met Laure Waridel, Sydney Ribaux and François Meloche, with whom he would go on to found Équiterre a few years later.[7]

While in university, Guilbeault worked for two years (1992-1993) with the Canadian Human Rights Foundation, an organization dedicated to educating people, both at home and abroad, about human rights issues.[citation needed]

Early career[edit]

After the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1993, Guilbeault, Laure Waridel, Elizabeth Hunter, Patrick Henn, François Meloche and Sidney Ribaux founded Action for Solidarity, Equity, Environment and Development (ASEED). It acquired not-for-profit status in 1995. In 1998 it was rebranded as Équiterre. The organization's goal is to propose concrete solutions to make Canada a society where sustainable development and social economy would be central to the actions and concerns of its citizens, organizations and government. Steven Guilbeault was a member of Équiterre's board of directors for many years.[8]

In 1997, Guilbeault joined Greenpeace Canada. He was put in charge of its climate change division and he managed the climate and energy campaign before being the organization's Quebec bureau chief in 2000. In 2005, he coordinated the climate campaign for Greenpeace International.[9] On four occasions, Guilbeault made headlines for Greenpeace, such as when he scaled Toronto's CN Tower in 2001, accompanied by British militant Chris Holden. At the time the tower was the tallest in the world. After ascending to a height of 340m, they unfurled a banner that read: "Canada and Bush Climate Killers."[10] Guilbeault and Holden were arrested and charged with mischief for the stunt.[11] The goal was to grab the world's attention a week before the UN's sixth conference on climate change, where the fate of the Kyoto Protocol would be decided. Guilbeault remained Greenpeace's Quebec spokesperson until June 8, 2007, at which time he announced his resignation.[12]

In 2008, he returned to Équiterre, which he had cofounded fifteen years earlier, to work on climate change issues. He left that position in autumn 2018.[13]

Government work[edit]

Guilbeault sat on the board of the Agence de l'efficacité énergétique from 2007 to 2009 and chaired the Committee on Emerging Renewable Energy from 2009 to 2011 for the Government of Quebec.[14] He also sat on the climate change advisory committees of three successive Quebec governments: Jean Charest’s Liberals, Pauline MaroisParti Québécois, and subsequently co-chairing the committee formed by Philippe Couillard’s Liberal government starting in 2014.[citation needed]

Stéphane Dion, a former federal Cabinet minister, remarked that Guilbeault "is among the select few in the environmental community with whom it is important to remain in contact, because his reactions and his opinions will count".[15] Kalee Kreider, formerly with Greenpeace and former communications director for Al Gore, said that Steven Guilbeault "has at once gained the respect of those in government, NGOs and industry."[16]

Other professional activities[edit]

Guilbeault has been a commentator for CBC/Radio-Canada, La Presse and Corporate Knights magazine, and has been a columnist for the Métro newspaper for nearly a decade.[17] He worked as a senior consultant for Deloitte and Touche, and served as co-chair of Climate Action Network International for five years.[18] He also chaired the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal's Committee on Sustainable Development from 2007 to 2010.[19]

Since 2009, Guilbeault has been a strategic consultant for Cycle Capital Management's venture capital fund, which is dedicated to developing clean technologies.[20]

Political career[edit]

On June 19, 2019, Guilbeault announced that he was seeking the Liberal Party of Canada nomination for the riding of Laurier—Sainte-Marie in the 2019 Canadian federal election. On October 21, 2019, he was elected with 41.77% of the vote, flipping a riding once held by New Democratic Party MP Hélène Laverdière.[21]

Heritage minister[edit]

On November 20, 2019, Guilbeault was named as the Trudeau government's minister of Canadian heritage, succeeding Pablo Rodríguez.[22]

Bill C-10 (2021)[edit]

In 2021, Guilbeault introduced a bill (C-10) to amend the Broadcasting Act, to modernize the legislation to include online broadcasting services. The proposed amendment faced round criticism in the media, with concerns that it could be used limit freedom of speech or expression on social media.[23] Following calls by the New Democratic Party and Conservative opposition, the government introduced further amendments, clarifying that social media would not be regulated under the proposed legislation.[24] Guilbeault has stated that users with a large social media presence could be considered "broadcasters," and thus be subject to government oversight and regulations.[25]


In 2009, Guilbeault became a member of the Cercle des Phénix de l’environnement du Québec.[26] He is also an honourary fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.[27] He was recognized as one of the 35 most influential figures in the past 35 years by the Fondation Marie-Vincent in 2010 and as an Americas Leader by the US magazine Americas Quarterly.[28]

In 2012 Guilbeault received the Médaille de l’Université de Montréal.[29] In 2014, he received the Blanche-Lemco-Van-Ginkel award from the Ordre des urbanistes du Québec for his significant contribution to urban planning in Quebec.[30]

In 2016, Guilbeault received the Impératif français award recognizing his contribution to the vitality of the French language and French culture.[31]

Electoral record[edit]

2019 Canadian federal election: Laurier—Sainte-Marie
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Liberal Steven Guilbeault 22,306 41.77 +18.11 $84,747.37
New Democratic Nimâ Machouf 13,453 25.19 -13.08
Bloc Québécois Michel Duchesne 12,188 22.82 -5.89 $25,536.85
Green Jamil Azzaoui 3,225 6.04 +2.56
Conservative Lise des Greniers 1,504 2.82 -1.28
People's Christine Bui 320 0.6
Rhinoceros Archie Morals 208 0.39
Marxist–Leninist Serge Lachapelle 98 0.18 -0.01
Communist Adrien Welsh 67 0.13 -0.06 $867.96
Independent Dimitri Mourkes 42 0.08
Total valid votes/Expense limit 53,409 100.0
Total rejected ballots 551
Turnout 53,960 65.4
Eligible voters 82,524
Source: Elections Canada[32][33]

Selected publications[edit]

  • Steven Guilbeault, Le bon, la brute et le truand - Ou comment l’intelligence artificielle transforme nos vies, Montréal, (Québec), Éditions Druide, 2019.
  • Steven Guilbeault and François Tanguay, Le prochain virage, Montréal, (Québec), Canada, Éditions Druide, 2014, 304 pages.
  • Steven Guilbeault, Alerte! : Le Québec à l'heure des changements climatiques, Montréal, (Québec), Canada, Éditions du Boréal, 2010, 248 pages.
  • Steven Guilbeault and Jean-Guy Vaillancourt, Changements climatiques, protocole de Kyoto et le rôle des organisations non gouvernementales dans le cadre de ces grandes questions internationales, in Gendron Corinne and Jean-Guy Vaillancourt, Développement durable et participation démocratique : De la contestation écologiste aux défis de la gouvernance, Presses de l’Université de Montréal, Montréal, 2003.
  • Steven Guilbeault and Jean-Guy Vaillancourt, Protocole de Kyoto : économie, politique et efficacité environnementale , in Actes de colloque Sociologie, économie et environnement, ACFAS, Québec, May 2002, pp. 223–239.
  • Regroupement montréalais pour la qualité de l’air, Pollution atmosphérique et impacts sur la santé et l’environnement dans la grande région de Montréal , Chapitre 3: « Les effets néfastes de la pollution atmosphérique d’origine anthropique sur l’environnement de la grande région de Montréal », pp. 155–173, Éditeur Direction régionale de la santé publique, Montréal, 1998.


  1. ^ Gerbet, Thomas (October 11, 2018). "Steven Guilbeault quitte Équiterre". Radio-Canada.
  2. ^ Valiante, Giuseppe (July 11, 2019). "Steven Guilbeault, Trans Mountain opponent, nominated as Montreal Liberal candidate". Global Montreal.
  3. ^ Tremblay, Audrey (December 6, 2019). ""Il est fidèle à lui-même", affirme le père de Steven Guilbeault". Le Nouvelliste (in French). Retrieved August 11, 2020.
  4. ^ "Edna O'Farrell: obituary and death notice". InMemoriam (in French). Retrieved August 11, 2020.
  5. ^, ICI Radio-Canada Première-. "ICI Radio-Canada Première | Émissions, horaire, fréquences radio". Les grands entretiens | Première (in French). Retrieved 2019-09-02.
  6. ^ a b "Steven Guilbeault, l'éminence verte!". (in French). 2019-07-15. Retrieved 2019-09-02.
  7. ^ Simpson, Jeffrey (11 September 2010). "Steven who? Steven Guilbeault. Remember the name". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 23 July 2018.
  8. ^ "26 ans... déjà! | - Pour des choix écologiques, équitables et solidaires". Retrieved 2019-09-02.
  9. ^ "Steven Guilbeault quitte Greenpeace, mais le militant demeure". Le Devoir (in French). Retrieved 2019-09-02.
  10. ^ "Greenpeace activists scale CN Tower". CBC News.
  11. ^ "Greenpeace takes Kyoto protest to new heights". Globe and Mail.
  13. ^ "Steven Guilbeault leaving Équiterre".
  14. ^ "En bref - Steven Guilbeault serait nommé à l'Agence d'efficacité énergétique". Le Devoir.
  15. ^ "Un prophète nommé Guilbeault". L'Actualité.
  16. ^ "Un prophète nommé Guilbeault". L'Actualité. 13 March 2007.
  17. ^ Robert-Sauvé, Mathieu (22 April 2015). "Steven Guilbeault, l'éminence verte!". Revue Les Diplômés.
  18. ^ "Steven Guilbeault passe chez Deloitte". Les Affaires. 19 September 2007.
  19. ^ "Une politique verte à la Chambre de commerce". Ville de Montréal. 6 March 2008.
  20. ^ "Equiterre founder Steven Guilbeault leaves environmental organization he founded". CTV News. October 12, 2018.
  21. ^ "Canada election results: Laurier—Sainte-Marie". Global News. Retrieved 2020-02-03.
  22. ^ "The Honourable Steven Guilbeault". Prime Minister of Canada. 2019-11-18. Retrieved 2020-02-03.
  23. ^ "Your free speech is at risk with Ottawa's push to regulate online content, experts warn".
  24. ^ "Feds plan change to Bill C-10 to make it 'crystal clear' social media uploads won't be regulated". Global News. Retrieved 2021-05-05.
  25. ^ "Minister suggest with Bill C-10, regulations could apply to accounts with a large enough following".
  26. ^ "Équiterre félicite Steven Guilbeault nommé membre du prestigieux Cercle des phénix de l'environnement". 11 June 2009.
  27. ^ "Sidney Ribaux et Steven Guilbeault d'Équiterre admis au Collège des fellows de la Société géographique royale du Canada".
  28. ^ "Voices from the New Generation | Americas Quarterly". Americas Quarterly. Winter 2010.
  29. ^ "Steven Guilbeault honoré par l'Université de Montréal". 2 November 2012.
  30. ^ "Le prix Mérite du CIQ". Ordre des Urbanistes du Québec.
  31. ^ "Prix Impératif français 2015-2016". Impératif Français. 20 March 2016.
  32. ^ "List of confirmed candidates". Elections Canada. Retrieved October 3, 2019.
  33. ^ "Election Night Results". Elections Canada. Retrieved November 11, 2019.

External links[edit]

29th Ministry – Cabinet of Justin Trudeau
Cabinet post (1)
Predecessor Office Successor
Pablo Rodríguez Minister of Canadian Heritage
November 20, 2019 – present