Philippe Couillard

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The Honourable
Philippe Couillard
Philippe Couillard 2014-11-11 E.jpg
31st Premier of Quebec
Assumed office
April 23, 2014
Monarch Elizabeth II
Lieutenant Governor Pierre Duchesne
J. Michel Doyon
Preceded by Pauline Marois
Leader of the Official Opposition in Quebec
In office
December 18, 2013 – April 23, 2014
Preceded by Jean-Marc Fournier
Succeeded by Stéphane Bédard
Minister of Health
In office
April 29, 2003 – June 25, 2008
Preceded by François Legault
Succeeded by Yves Bolduc
Leader of the Quebec Liberal Party
Assumed office
March 17, 2013
Preceded by Jean Charest
Member of the National Assembly of Quebec for Mont-Royal
In office
April 14, 2003 – March 26, 2007
Preceded by André Tranchemontagne
Succeeded by Pierre Arcand
Member of the National Assembly of Quebec for Jean-Talon
In office
March 26, 2007 – June 25, 2008
Preceded by Margaret F. Delisle
Succeeded by Yves Bolduc
Member of the National Assembly of Quebec for Outremont
In office
December 18, 2013 – April 7, 2014
Preceded by Raymond Bachand
Succeeded by Hélène David
Member of the National Assembly of Quebec for Roberval
Assumed office
April 7, 2014
Preceded by Denis Trottier
Personal details
Born (1957-06-26) June 26, 1957 (age 61)
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Political party Quebec Liberal Party
Spouse(s) Suzanne Pilote
Residence Édifice Price, Québec City
Alma mater Université de Montréal
Profession university professor, neurosurgeon

Philippe Couillard (French: [filip kujaʁ]; born June 26, 1957) is the 31st and current Premier of Quebec, leader of the Quebec Liberal Party and a former university professor and neurosurgeon in Quebec, Canada. In the 2014 election he moved to the riding of Roberval where he resides. Until June 25, 2008, he served as the Quebec Minister for Health and Social Services and was also MNA of Mont-Royal until he resigned in 2008 under Jean Charest's Liberal government.

Life and career[edit]

Couillard was born in Montreal, Quebec, the son of Canadian-born Joseph Alfred Jean Pierre Couillard de Lespinay, and French-born Hélène Yvonne Pardé.[1] He holds a medical degree and a certification in neurosurgery from the Université de Montréal. He was the head of the department of neurosurgery at Hôpital Saint-Luc from 1989 to 1992 and again at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Sherbrooke from 1996 to 2003. From 1992 to 1996, he practised in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. In 2003, he left the medical profession to run for the Montreal-area seat of Mont-Royal in the National Assembly representing the Quebec Liberal Party. He was elected in the 2003 election and was appointed Minister of Health and Social Services on April 29, 2003.

After taking office, he proved skillful in the handling of his department's public relations and was regarded by some as the most popular minister in the Charest government.[2] His accomplishments during his tenure included a $4.2 billion increase in the Quebec health budget, the prohibition of smoking in public places, and a reduction in the number of union local accreditations in the health sector.

In 2007, Couillard transferred to the riding of Jean-Talon in the Quebec City area, replacing Margaret Delisle who did not seek re-election due to health reasons. Couillard won his seat in the 2007 election despite the Action démocratique du Québec's (ADQ) strong performance in the region in which the party gained the majority of the seats. Pierre Arcand succeeded Couillard in the Mont-Royal riding. Couillard was reappointed Health and Social Services Minister as well as the minister responsible for the provincial Capitale-Nationale (Quebec) region.

On June 25, 2008, Couillard officially announced his resignation as Minister and MNA. He was succeeded as Minister and Jean-Talon MNA by locally-known Alma doctor Yves Bolduc.[3][4]

On June 23, 2010, Couillard was appointed to the Security Intelligence Review Committee, and consequently was appointed to the Privy Council.[5]

On October 3, 2012, Couillard became the third person to enter the race to succeed Jean Charest as leader of the Quebec Liberal Party. When asked why he was re-entering politics, he said, "I feel the need to serve."[6]

Quebec election, 2014[edit]

On March 17, 2013, Couillard became the leader of the Quebec Liberal Party, beating ex-cabinet ministers Raymond Bachand and Pierre Moreau. On December 9, 2013, he was elected MNA for the safe Liberal seat of Outremont after Bachand stood down from the seat in his favour.[7]

On March 5, 2014, amid weeks of speculation that the Parti Québécois would call a snap election, Lieutenant Governor Pierre Duchesne dropped the writs for a general election at the request of Premier Pauline Marois. Couillard opted to run in the riding of Roberval, where he now lives, handing Outremont to star candidate Hélène David.

When the election campaign began, polls showed a close race between the Parti Québécois and the Liberals. However, the PQ held a wide lead among francophone voters, giving the advantage in terms of seat distribution to the PQ. Couillard stated that his campaign would focus on "healthcare, education and jobs". He also accused Premier Pauline Marois of mismanaging Quebec's economy, saying that "Quebec is living beyond its means". He also clarified his opposition to the Quebec Charter of Values, describing it as "an unnecessary bill that succeeds only in dividing Quebecers".

The election campaign immediately centred on the issue of sovereignty with the high-profile entry of Quebec media baron Pierre Karl Péladeau into the race as a candidate for the Parti Québécois in the riding of St-Jerome. Over the course of the next couple of weeks, the polls began to break heavily in the favour of Couillard and the Liberals as the PQ began to bleed support to all 3 major opposition parties. Most analysts agreed that Couillard had a strong performance during the first televised leaders' debate. During the second televised leaders' debate with a week to go in the campaign, Couillard was on the defensive as he held a sizeable lead over the other party leaders in the polls. His second debate performance was not as strong as his first one, and he was criticized by both Pauline Marois and Francois Legault of the CAQ for suggesting that a factory worker in Quebec ought to be bilingual in the event that an Anglophone businessperson was to walk on the floor. While his comment was portrayed by his critics as proof that he was soft on the French language issue, his poll numbers continued to exceed those of his opponents.

On April 7, Couillard led the Quebec Liberals to a sweeping victory, winning 70 seats in the National Assembly and a return to government a mere 19 months after being ousted in one of their poorest election showings in the party's history.[8] The Liberals even managed to unseat Marois in her own riding. On election night, Couillard stressed the importance of creating a better business climate in Quebec and doing away with some of the divisive policies that had characterized Marois' tenure as Premier. He also pledged to work cooperatively with other provinces and the federal government and to reassert Quebec's place as a leader in the Canadian federation.

Electoral record[edit]

Quebec general election, 2014: Roberval
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Philippe Couillard 17,816 55.17 +26.79
Parti Québécois Denis Trottier 10,764 33.33 -13.37
Coalition Avenir Québec François Truchon 2,239 6.93 -12.45
Québec solidaire Guillaume Néron 1,018 3.15 -0.88
Parti des sans Parti Julie Boucher 237 0.73
Option nationale Luc-Antoine Cauchon 218 0.68 -0.83
Total valid votes 32,292 98.95
Total rejected ballots 342 1.05
Turnout 32,634 72.29 -0.30
Electors on the lists 45,143
Liberal gain from Parti Québécois Swing +20.08
Quebec provincial by-election, December 9, 2013: Outremont
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Philippe Couillard 5,582 55.11 +13.59
Québec solidaire Édith Laperle 3,264 32.23 +14.21
Option nationale Julie Surprenant 677 6.68 +4.97
Green Alex Tyrrell 384 3.79
Conservative Pierre Ennio Crespi 145 1.43
Parti nul Mathieu Marcil 59 0.58 -0.34
Autonomist Team Guy Boivin 17 0.17
Total valid votes 10,128 99.13
Total rejected ballots 89 0.87
Turnout 10,217 26.42 -41.79
Electors on the lists 38,671
Liberal hold Swing -0.41
Quebec general election, 2007: Jean-Talon
Party Candidate Votes % ±
     Liberal Philippe Couillard 13,732 41.96 -4.64
Parti Québécois Véronique Hivon 9,859 30.13 -5.23
Action démocratique Luc de la Sablonnière 6,056 18.51 +3.34
Green Ali Dahan 1,518 4.64 +3.23
Québec solidaire Bill Clennett 1,463 4.47 +2.95*
Christian Democracy Francis Denis 95 0.29 -

* Increase is from UFP

Quebec general election, 2003: Mont-Royal
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Philippe Couillard 21,021 80.91 +0.67
Parti Québécois Vincent Gagnon 3,465 13.34 +0.60
Action démocratique Nour-Eddine Hajibi 1,240 4.77 +1.23
Equality Frank Kiss 256 0.99 −0.90

Premier of Quebec (2014-present)[edit]

Returning the Liberal Party of Quebec back to a majority government, after an eighteen-month stint led by Pauline Marois and the Parti Quebecois, Philippe Couillard assumed office on April 23, 2014, naming 26 ministers to his cabinet.[9]

In October 2017 a Quebec ban on face covering made headlines.[citation needed]

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard supported the law, saying "We are in a free and democratic society. You speak to me, I should see your face, and you should see mine. It's as simple as that."[citation needed]


  1. ^ (in French) Mention marginale sur l'acte de naissance d'Hélène Yvonne Pardé : « mariée à Grenoble le 26 décembre 1955 avec Joseph Alfred Jean Pierre Couillard de Lespinay », état civil de la ville de Grenoble.
  2. ^ Le Devoir. "Ministère — Un réseau en santé... relative". Retrieved October 6, 2006. 
  3. ^ "Philippe Couillard quitte la vie politique". Archived from the original on July 3, 2008. Retrieved February 19, 2016. 
  4. ^ "Yves Bolduc devient le nouveau ministre de la Santé". Archived from the original on July 7, 2008. Retrieved February 19, 2016. 
  5. ^ Prime Minister Stephen Harper announces appointments to the Security Intelligence Review Committee Archived 2012-03-06 at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ Philippe Couillard announces bid to lead Quebec Liberals[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ Quebec Liberal Leader Philippe Couillard wins byelection to get legislature seat
  8. ^ "Quebec Election 2014: Pauline Marois Sets Date For April 7". The Huffington Post. March 26, 2014. Retrieved March 26, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Philippe Couillard unveils new Liberal cabinet". CBC News. April 23, 2014. Retrieved April 24, 2014. 

External links[edit]