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Profile of Pauline Marois, Premier of Quebec

Jul 25, 2013

 

 

Pauline Marois is the 30th and current Premier of Quebec and leader of the Parti Québécois, On September 4, 2012, Marois led her party to victory in the Quebec general election, thus becoming the first female premier in the province's history.

 

Family story:

 
Born in a working class family,  she is the oldest of five children. Her father was a heavy machinery mechanic and her mother a housewife while providing occasional housekeeping services to residents in the area. 
 

Education:

 
  • At the age of 12, she was enrolled at Collège Jésus-Marie de Sillery, an exclusive, all-girl, Catholic private school.
  • Social work degree from the Université Laval.
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from HEC Montréal.

Former occupations:

  
  • She worked with several community organizations throughout Quebec, including as CEO of a CLSC.  
  • Served as the head of the childhood services division at the Centre des services sociaux du Montréal Métropolitain.

Political beginnings:

 
  • She was recruited to serve as Chief of staff for Lise Payette, the Minister responsible for the Status of Women in Quebec (1979-1981).
  • In 1981, while seven months pregnant, she successfully contested the nomination for the PQ in her riding and won the seat in the provincial election.
  • 11 days after becoming a Member of the National Assembly of Quebec, she gave birth to her second child, Félix, on April 24. 
  • Days later, she was appointed as Minister for the Status of Women. She subsequently served as Minister of Labour and Income Security and Minister responsible for the Outaouais region.  
  • By 2003, Marois had occupied 15 different ministries and was instrumental in the legacy of multiple PQ governments.

Leadership bid:

 
  • After losing her bid for the leadership of the PQ in 2005 to a significantly lesser known and seasoned politician, Andre Boiclair, she resigned her seat in the legislature. 
  • Two years later, after one of the worst performances in the PQ’s history and the resignation of Mr. Boisclair, she ran for leader again, this time uncontested, and became the leader of the PQ and the Official Opposition from 2007 – 2012. 

Victory:

 
On September 4 2012, the PQ was re-elected to power as a minority government. 
 

Claims to fame/highlights:

 
  • During the 1990s, Marois dominated over the Quebec political scene. She became the only politician in Quebec history to hold the "three pillars of government" — the Finance, Education and Health portfolios.
  • While Pauline Marois was giving her victory speech in September 2012, an armed man attempted to entre the venue though a back door. One technician was shot to death and another injured. After two Quebec Security guards took Mrs. Marois away from center stage to the immediate hallway, she returned a few minutes later to calm down the crowd and ask them to leave quietly.
  • While a Minister, she led the introduction of a 5-dollar-a-day subsidized daycare program for Quebec families, the only one of its kind in Canada.  

 

 

This Premier's profile is part of EV's summer news series on the occasion of the annual Premiers' meeting at Niagara on the Lake in July 2013. This year, a historic six women premiers were at the table representing nearly half of all Premiers. Read more here.

 

 

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Thanks also to the Government of Canada (Status of Women & Canadian Heritage) for their financial support.