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Biography Jean Charest

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Jean Charest Jean Charest
Jean Charest
Was the 29th Premier of Quebec, from 2003 to 2012.


Jean Charest Biography



John James "Jean" Charest, PC (born June 24, 1958) is a Canadian politician who served as the 29th Premier of Quebec, from 2003 to 2012. He lost the provincial election held September 4, 2012 and left his functions as Premier on September 19. He was the Deputy Prime Minister of Canada from June 25, 1993, until November 4, 1993. Charest was the leader of the federal Progressive Conservative Party of Canada from 1993 to 1998 and has been the leader of the Quebec Liberal Party since 1998. On September 5, 2012 Jean Charest announced he will be resigning as Quebec Liberal Leader and leaving politics.


Jean Charest was born on June 24, 1958 in Sherbrooke, located in the Eastern Townships (today known as the Estrie region). Some have claimed that Charest downplays his legal first name John by presenting himself in French as Jean so as to appeal more to francophone Quebecers.


Political career

He worked as a lawyer until he was elected Progressive Conservative member of the Canadian Parliament for the riding (electoral district) of Sherbrooke in the 1984 election. From 1984 to 1986, Charest served as Assistant Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons. In 1986, at age 28, he was appointed to the Cabinet of then Prime Minister Brian Mulroney as Minister of State for Youth. He was thus the "youngest cabinet minister in Canadian history." He was appointed Minister of State for Fitness and Amateur Sport in 1988, but had to resign from cabinet in 1990 after improperly speaking to a judge about a case regarding the Canadian Track and Field Association. He returned to cabinet as Minister of the Environment in 1991.


Quebec Liberal Party leadership

In April 1998, Charest gave in to considerable public and political pressure,especially among business circles, to leave federal politics and become leader of the Quebec Liberal Party. Charest was considered by many to be the best hope for the federalist QLP to defeat the sovereignist Parti Québécois government.


In the 1998 election, the Quebec Liberals received more votes than the PQ, but because the Liberal vote was concentrated in fewer ridings, the PQ won enough seats to form another majority government.


In the April 2003 election, Charest led the Quebec Liberals to a majority, ending nine years of PQ rule. He declared he had a mandate to reform health care, cut taxes, reduce spending and reduce the size of government.


In the March 2007 election, his government won re-election but was reduced to a minority government, the first minority government in Quebec in 129 years. It also gained the lowest percentage of the popular vote in 26 years.


In the December 2008 election, his government won a historic third consecutive term as he brought the Liberals back to majority governance. It was the first time a party has won a third consecutive term in Quebec since the Quiet Revolution.


In the September 2012 election his government lost the general election and the Parti Quebecois became the new government, following this he lost his own seat and with this outcome announced September 5 that will be resigning as Quebec Liberal Leader.


February 28, 2012

updated: 2012-11-15

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