At first, I chose Law but quickly became interested in the economy and business, an area in which I had studied for a long-time, here and in the Unites States. I knew that we as Quebecers must forge ahead if we want to take our rightful place and shape our future. By looking at my personal record, you will see that I still believe this, more than ever.
At the start of my career,
I was Lecturer and assistant professor at the École des hautes études commerciales. A role that keeps your eyes open and both feet on the ground!
My introduction into politics,
was working along side René Lévesque, with all my youthful energy focused on changing our society. During this period, I was also Pierre-Marc Johnson's Chief of Staff.
I moved on to the Business world,
first as Vice-President at Métro-Richelieu, then at Culinar. I then took a position as Vice-President at the Fonds de solidarité de la FTQ, to later be named PDG. I finally went to Groupe Secor where I occupied the positions of President and Director-General. From 1980 to 2005, I regularly offered my expertise and experience on numerous Boards, most notably the Canadian Public Accountability Board and the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montréal
I have always been involved in my community,
having sat on the Board of numerous community organisations such as the Fondation du maire de Montréal for our youth, in addition to being Co-President of the Board of the Fondation de la tolérance; founding member and Vice-President of Oxfam-Québec and President of Défi sportif. I was equally Vice-President of the Fondation Charles-Bruneau campaign.
What about culture in all of this?
A close-knit society like ours, that is yet open to the world, should support what makes us special, our language and culture. I have done my part and will continue to support the arts and culture. I Chaired the Board of Directors for Carbone 14 (Usine C) as well as being the Founding chair, finance committee for the Académie québécoise du theater. I was Head of the advisory group that drew up Montréal's first cultural policy. I sat on the Board of Directors for the Montréal Symphony Orchestra Endowment Fund and was a member of the Board for the National Theatre School of Canada.
My passion for politics resurfaces…
My passion for politics was always there, and I decided to get involved once again to serve my fellow Quebecers. I was elected as Member for Outremont, where I have lived for years, in the by-election of December 12, 2005. I was given the responsibility of the ministry of Economic Development, Innovation and Export Trade and named to the Comité des priorités of the Government. Reelected as Member for Outremont in the general election held on March 26, 2007, I held the same positions up until the dissolution of Parliament in November 2008. During this period, I was also given the responsibilities of Minister of Tourism and Minister responsible for the Montréal region.
As a minister, I had a stimulating experience and touched almost every domain. For example, as Minister of Economic Development, I initiated Québec’s innovation and research strategy, an action plan to help support the clothing and mode industry as well as strategies for the aeronautical, biopharmaceutical and manufacturing sectors. As Minister of Tourism, I launched the first ever development strategy for international cruises on the Saint-Lawrence River.
Reelected in the general election of December 8, 2008, I once again was named Minister of Economic Development, Innovation and Export Trade, a position I held until June 23, 2009. In April 2009, I was named Finance Minister, and in August 2010, I was also named Minister of Revenu Québec. From April 2007, up to the general election of September 4th, I also was responsible for the Montréal area.
As Finance Minister, I tabled three budgets, that will bring us to a balanced budget in 2013-2014 and that will begin the process of gradually reducing Québec’s debt to 45 % of GDP in 2025. While at the same time guaranteeing the funding of our public services, health sector, universities, culture and our infrastructures.
At Revenu Québec, fighting against tax evasion was a major priority, particularly in the construction and restaurant sectors as well as fighting against money laundering.
I equally negotiated a historic agreement with Canada that will see Quebec receive 2.2 billion dollars for harmonizing the provincial sales tax with the federal GST. I likewise defended Quebec on the question of securities regulation in Canada, which led us to a victory in the supreme court of Canada.