Jacques Léonard (born December 2, 1936) is a Canadian accountant, educator, and politician in the province of Quebec. He served in the National Assembly of Quebec from 1976 to 1985 and again from 1989 to 2001 and was a cabinet minister in the governments of René Lévesque, Jacques Parizeau, and Lucien Bouchard. Léonard is a Quebec sovereigntist and a member of the Parti Québécois (PQ) and Bloc Québécois (BQ).
|President of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for Administration and the Public Service|
Also styled as Minister of State for Administration and the Public Service after December 15, 1998.
November 3, 1995 – March 8, 2001
|Preceded by||Pauline Marois|
|Succeeded by||Sylvain Simard|
|Minister of Transport|
March 5, 1984 – November 22, 1984
|Preceded by||Michel Clair|
|Succeeded by||Guy Tardif|
September 26, 1994 – November 3, 1995
|Preceded by||Normand Cherry|
|Succeeded by||Jean Campeau|
|Vice-President of the Treasury Board|
March 2, 1978 – November 6, 1980
|Preceded by||Denis de Belleval|
|Succeeded by||Denis Vaugeois|
September 26, 1994 – November 3, 1995
|Preceded by||Jean Leclerc|
|Succeeded by||Jacques Brassard|
|Minister responsible for the Laurentides|
January 29, 1996 – March 8, 2001
|Preceded by||Hélène Robert|
|Succeeded by||François Legault|
|Minister of Municipal Affairs|
November 6, 1980 – March 5, 1984
|Preceded by||Guy Tardif|
|Succeeded by||Alain Marcoux|
|Minister of State for Planning|
November 26, 1976 – November 6, 1980
|Preceded by||position created|
|Succeeded by||Guy Tardif|
|Member of the National Assembly of Quebec for Labelle|
(known as Laurentides-Labelle before 1981)
1976 – May 23, 1985
|Preceded by||Roger Lapointe|
|Succeeded by||Damien Hétu|
1989 – March 8, 2001
|Preceded by||Damien Hétu|
|Succeeded by||Sylvain Pagé|
|Born||December 2, 1936|
Saint-Jovite, Quebec, Canada
|Political party||Parti Québécois|
|Alma mater||Université Laval|
Early life and career
Léonard was born in Saint-Jovite, in the Laurentides region of Quebec. He received a diploma in accountancy in 1959 and a master's degree in commercial sciences from the Université Laval in 1962. After working for two years in the Montreal firm of Clarkson and Gordon, he continued his studies in Paris, France, from 1964 to 1966. Léonard taught at the École des hautes études commerciales and the Université national du Rwanda from 1966 to 1968, at which time he returned to Quebec. From 1968 to 1976, he was a professor and vice-dean of education at the Université de Montréal.
Léonard became a member of the sovereigntist Rassemblement pour l'Indépendance Nationale in 1962 and joined the Parti Québécois after the former party wound down in 1968. He ran unsuccessfully as a PQ candidate in Labelle in the 1970 and 1973 provincial elections. The PQ won a historic majority government in the 1976 provincial election, and Léonard was elected on his third attempt in Labelle over one-term Liberal incumbent Roger Lapointe.
Cabinet minister (1976–84)
Léonard was named to René Lévesque's first cabinet on November 26, 1976, as the minister of state responsible for planning. This was intended as one of five "superministry" portfolios in the cabinet; Léonard was entrusted with working on long-term strategy for land use rather than having the day-to-day administrative duties of a department. On March 2, 1978, he was also named as vice-president of the treasury board.
- Municipal affairs
Léonard was reassigned as municipal affairs minister on November 6, 1980, exchanging portfolios with Guy Tardif. Shortly after his appointment, he ordered the municipal government of Aylmer to focus on basic administration after receiving a troubling audit of the city's finances.
In 1981, a representative of Montreal's municipal government requested that the Lévesque government impose a freeze on the construction of shopping centres, arguing that they often destroy traditional city centres. Léonard responded that he was reluctant to intervene, particularly as municipalities already had the power to impose a freeze themselves.
Léonard was re-elected in the 1981 general election, in which the Lévesque government was returned with a second consecutive majority, and was kept in the municipal affairs portfolio. He sought to restructure Montreal's municipal government in 1982, giving the smaller suburban communities more power in relation to the city. He faced opposition to this measure from long-standing Montreal mayor Jean Drapeau, whose power was threatened by the reform.
In 1983, Léonard attempted to pass legislation permitting the Quebec government to withhold funds from municipalities that accept federal money for job creation purposes. This bill was blocked in the legislature in December 1983, after the opposition Liberal Party threatened a filibuster. The Union des Municipalités du Québec also strongly opposed the measure, and discussions between the two levels of government reached an impasse in early 1984. After Léonard was moved to a different portfolio, the Lévesque government abandoned the legislation.
Léonard was shifted to the position of transport minister on March 5, 1984. Two months later, he said that the Quebec government would not make a bid for Nordair (which was then being sold by the federal government) but would oppose any deal under which the company would leave the province.
Opposition member (1984–85)
In late 1984, the Parti Québécois went through an internal crisis over Premier Lévesque's intention to de-emphasize Quebec sovereignty in the next provincial election. Léonard sided with the hardline indépendantiste wing of the party and resigned from cabinet on November 22. Five days later, he left the PQ caucus to sit as an independent member of the assembly. From the opposition benches, he demanded that Lévesque not make any constitutional agreement with Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney that would result in a weakening of Quebec's Charter of the French Language.
In early 1985, Léonard joined an informal grouping of former PQ MNAs centered around the newly formed Rassemblement démocratique pour l'indépendance. He resigned his seat on May 23, 1985, to become dean of the faculty of education at the Université de Montréal, a position he held until his return to politics in 1989.
Opposition member (1989–94)
Léonard returned to the Parti Québécois after Jacques Parizeau, a fellow indépendantiste and former cabinet colleague, became party leader in 1988. He was re-elected to the Quebec legislature in the 1989 provincial election over Liberal incumbent Damien Hétu, who had been elected in Labelle in 1985. The Liberals won a majority government provincially under Robert Bourassa's leadership, and Léonard re-entered the legislature as a member of the official opposition. For the next five years, he served as his party's finance critic. In 1993, he accused the Bourassa government of taking a laissez-faire approach to the economy and of having no overall vision.
Cabinet minister (1994–2001)
- Transport minister
The Parti Québécois won a majority government under Parizeau's leadership in the 1994 general election. Léonard was re-elected to the legislature and rejoined cabinet on September 26, 1994, as minister of transport, ironically the same position he had resigned from ten years earlier. He was also appointed to a second term as vice-president of the treasury board.
After his appointment, Léonard argued that highways are an exclusively provincial jurisdiction and tried to postpone the government of Canada's planned national highway program. He announced increased penalties for persons driving under the influence of alcohol in 1995 and introduced legislation to require photographs on Quebec driving licenses. He also expressed scepticism about mandatory helmet laws for cyclists, saying that safety education was a better approach.
In early 1995, Léonard and industry minister Daniel Paillé announced a proposal to save the financially troubled MIL Davie Inc. shipyard with a ferry construction contract. Later in the year, he announced that the Parizeau government had no choice but to drop the plan on the grounds it had become too expensive and complex. Following protests from the shipyard workers, the government reversed itself a second time and agreed to a modified sixty-six million dollar construction program over two years.
- Treasury Board president
Parizeau announced his resignation as premier after the sovereignty option's narrow defeat in the 1995 Quebec referendum. On November 3, 1995, while still leading a caretaker administration, he shuffled his cabinet and named Léonard as president of the treasury board and minister responsible for administration and the public service. In the following months, Parizeau, Léonard, and finance minister Pauline Marois worked in committee reviewing government expenses and revenues in a bid to reduce public spending.
Léonard was kept in the treasury board portfolio when Lucien Bouchard succeeded Parizeau as premier on January 29, 1996. He was also named to the priorities committee, an "inner cabinet" with significant control over the government's direction, and was named as minister responsible for the Laurentides. Over the next two years, he played a central role in the Bouchard government's ultimately successful effort to eliminate the provincial deficit.
He announced several austerity measures in March 1996, making significant spending cuts in areas such as health, education, and social assistance; the total cuts for the fiscal year amounted to $2.2 billion. In announcing these measures, Léonard said, "We have fallen behind other Canadian provinces in cleaning up public finances. Quebec must act now." He also expressed scepticism about proposed pay equity legislation later in 1996, arguing that it would put a strain on public-sector spending.
In late 1996, Léonard announced that the Bouchard government would try to achieve $1.4 billion in savings from Quebec's public-sector unions, to be achieved by unfreezing pension reserve funds rather than by taking measures that would result in significant job losses. The unions responded with a plan that focused on early retirement and employee buyouts. Negotiations continued into 1997.
Léonard introduced more severe funding cuts, amounting to $2.3 billion, in March 1997. At the same time, however, he noted that the Quebec's financial situation was improving and that no comparable cuts would be needed in the future. He also argued that the Bouchard government's austerity plan would benefit Quebec sovereignty in the long term, saying "once Quebec is much more financially solid, Quebecers will look at the future with much more confidence in themselves and their state." Ultimately, an unexpectedly high rate of voluntary retirement in the public sector allowed the government to reach its goals without difficulty. Léonard announced further cuts of one billion dollars in 1998 and noted that the province would be out of debt the following year.
Re-elected in the 1998 general election, Léonard was kept in the treasury board portfolio in Bouchard's post-election cabinet shuffle. In January 1999, he began a new round of negotiations with public-sector workers on collective agreements. After protracted discussions, the two sides agreed on a nine per cent wage increase over four years.
After years of cutbacks, Léonard projected a $1.1 billion budget surplus in March 1999 and announced new public spending in areas such as health, education, and information technology. He also introduced new hiring in the public service, with a particular focus on minority communities. The same financial trend continued the following year, and Léonard introduced more new program funding in 2000.
Lucien Bouchard resigned as premier on March 8, 2001, and was succeeded by Bernard Landry. Léonard used the occasion to announce his own resignation from both cabinet and the legislature, saying "You are witnessing a changing of the guard. My decision will allow one more young person to be promoted to cabinet." He returned to accountancy work and, in 2002, became a professor of political science at the Université du Québec à Montréal. He joined the board of governors of the Conseil de la Souveraineté du Québec in early 2003.
In 2003–04, Léonard led a Bloc Québécois review of Canadian federal spending practices. He concluded that there had been sharp increases in some areas, including opinion polls, office furniture, and the office of the privacy commissioner of Canada.
Léonard ran as a Bloc Québécois candidate in the Montreal division of Outremont in the 2006 federal election and finished a close second against incumbent Liberal cabinet minister Jean Lapierre. Léonard later served as the Bloc's vice-president and worked on the party's campaign in the 2008 federal election.
|2006 Canadian federal election: Outremont|
|Bloc Québécois||Jacques Léonard||11,778||29.01||−4.24||$63,590|
|New Democratic||Léo-Paul Lauzon||6,984||17.20||+3.14||$26,625|
|Independent||Eric Roach Denis||101||0.25||$431|
|Progressive Canadian||Philip Paynter||94||0.23||none listed|
|Marxist–Leninist||Linda Sullivan||88||0.22||−0.09||none listed|
|Independent||Yan Lacombe||85||0.21||none listed|
|Independent||Régent Millette||22||0.05||none listed|
|Total valid votes||40,593||100.00|
|Total rejected ballots||282||0.69|
|Electors on the lists||67,253|
|1998 Quebec general election: Labelle|
|Parti Québécois||Jacques Léonard||17,023||58.61||−7.17|
|Action démocratique||Pierre Gauthier||2,781||9.57|
|Socialist Democracy||Nicole Vallée||218||0.75|
|Total valid votes||29,046||100.00|
|Rejected and declined votes||397|
|Electors on the lists||38,734|
|1994 Quebec general election: Labelle|
|Parti Québécois||Jacques Léonard||17,638||65.78|
|Natural Law||Michele Turbide||340||1.27|
|Total valid votes||26,814||100.00|
|Rejected and declined votes||566|
|Electors on the lists||34,980|
|1989 Quebec general election: Labelle|
|Parti Québécois||Jacques Léonard||16,897||54.80|
|Total valid votes||30,835||100.00|
|Rejected and declined votes||971|
|Electors on the lists||42,938|
|1981 Quebec general election: Labelle|
|Parti Québécois||Jacques Léonard||17,596||57.70|
|Union Nationale||Roger Labonté||1,079||3.54||–|
|Total valid votes||30,497||100.00|
|Rejected and declined votes||246|
|Electors on the lists||38,460|
|1976 Quebec general election: Laurentides—Labelle|
|Parti Québécois||Jacques Léonard||13,794||49.25||+17.48|
|Union Nationale||Laurent Jetté||2,992||10.68||−1.27|
|Ralliement créditiste||Antonio Lemire||1,499||5.35||−9.20|
|Total valid votes||28,010||100.00|
|Rejected and declined votes||374|
|Electors on the lists||34,066|
|1973 Quebec general election: Laurentides—Labelle|
|Parti Québécois||Jacques Léonard||7,612||31.77|
|Ralliement créditiste||Jean-Guy Sabourin||3,486||14.55|
|Union Nationale||Fernand Lafontaine||2,864||11.95|
|Total valid votes||23,962||100.00|
|Rejected and declined votes||275|
|Electors on the lists||30,035|
|1970 Quebec general election: Labelle|
|Union Nationale||Fernand Lafontaine||6,263||46.41|
|Parti Québécois||Jacques Léonard||2,724||20.19|
|Ralliement créditiste||Eugène Caraghiaur||1,585||11.75|
|Total valid votes||13,494|
|Rejected and declined votes||134|
|Electors on the lists||16,066|
- Hélène Robert was designated as the regional delegate for the Laurentides in the government of Jacques Parizeau and was not a government minister.
- "Biography". Dictionnaire des parlementaires du Québec de 1792 à nos jours (in French). National Assembly of Quebec.
- Jennifer Robinson, "Leonard quits political life for university post," Montreal Gazette, 2 May 1985, A6; Robert McKenzie, "Queen's last Quebec visit spawned tensions," Toronto Star, 19 October 1987, A8.
- Graham Fraser indicates that Léonard's office was restructured as the ministry responsible for the Quebec Planning and Development Bureau on February 2, 1977, after enabling legislation was passed. Graham Fraser, PQ: René Lévesque & the Parti Québécois in Power, (Toronto: MacMillan of Canada), 1984, p. 380. Other sources do not mention this, and Léonard was still generally described as the minister of planning after this time.
- "Leonard selected as vice-president of Quebec's Treasury Board," Globe and Mail, 3 March 1978, p. 9.
- "Quebec agreement," Globe and Mail, 16 May 1979, B6. See also "New pulp mill," Globe and Mail, 26 January 1980, p. 2.
- William Johnson, "Cautious Cabinet moves pick up a good pair," Globe and Mail, 7 November 1980, p. 8.
- "Aylmer probe triggers call for details of civic spending," Globe and Mail, 22 December 1980, p. 4; "Aylmer group seeking probe of city finances," Globe and Mail, 29 April 1981, p. 11; "Get mayor a job or he'll never quit, council counselled," Globe and Mail, 4 July 1981, p. 13.
- Margot Gibb-Clark, "Halt shopping centres to prop up city cores, politician-retailer says," Globe and Mail, 24 April 1981, p. 9.
- "Levesque ignores two anglophones in Cabinet shuffle," Globe and Mail, 1 May 1981, p. 8.
- John Cruickshank, "Drapeau fights to contain suburban role on council," Montreal Gazette, p. 11.
- Margot Gibb-Clark, "Liberals in scramble to block PQ control over federal grants," Globe and Mail, 21 December 1983, p. 10.
- Margot Gibb-Clark, "Error in Quebec House leaves Liberals gleeful," Globe and Mail, 21 December 1983, p. 10; Margot Gibb-Clark, "Quebec Liberals force delay in bill against federal grants," Globe and Mail, 22 December 1983, p. 14.
- Margot Gibb-Clark, "Musical chairs deftly played," Globe and Mail, 12 March 1984, p. 4.
- Fraser, PQ, p. 345.
- Margot Gibb-Clark, "Quebec deputy premier resigns before major Cabinet shuffle," Globe and Mail, 6 March 1984, p. 4.
- "Quebec plans no Nordair bid," Globe and Mail, 8 May 1984, B4; "Quebec reaction," Globe and Mail, 31 May 1984, B5.
- Margot Gibb-Clark, "2 Levesque ministers quit, 3 more may go," Globe and Mail, 23 November 1984, p. 1. Léonard was the second cabinet minister to quit, following Jacques Parizeau.
- "Changes in PQ Government," Globe and Mail, 28 November 1984, p. 4.
- Graham Fraser, "Levesque takes role in constitutional talks," Globe and Mail, 13 March 1985, p. 3.
- "Quebec movement using caution," Globe and Mail, 7 May 1985, p. 4.
- "Left PQ last year, Leonard quits seat," Globe and Mail, 24 May 1985, p. 3
- Robert McKenzie, "Bourassa wins in Quebec PQ, anglophones cut in to Liberal majority," Toronto Star, 26 September 1989, A1.
- Rheal Seguin, "Quebec forecasts tiny increase in spending for 1993-1994," Globe and Mail, 25 March 1993, A2.
- Kevin Dougherty, "Former Caisse executives get plum PQ cabinet posts," Financial Post, 27 September 1994, p. 10.
- "9 provinces agree to help fix highways," Kitchener-Waterloo Record, 6 October 1994, B5.
- "Compendium Drunk drivers beware," Globe and Mail, 21 April 1995, A2; Andy Riga, "Quebec driver's licenses to get photos next year," Montreal Gazette, 20 December 1994, A1.
- James Mennie, "Minister cool to mandatory-helmet law," Montreal Gazette, 9 June 1995, A3.
- "Quebec drops plan to help MIL Davie," Globe and Mail, 6 July 1995, B3.
- Ann Gibbon, "Quebec throws MIL Davie $66-million rescue line," Globe and Mail, 21 July 1995, B1.
- Rheal Seguin, "Parizeau rearranges Quebec," Globe and Mail, 4 November 1995, A11.
- "Quebecers told to brace for 'painful sacrifices'," Hamilton Spectator, 25 November 1995, A4.
- Philip Authier, "Bouchard's super-ministry system raises some eyebrows," Montreal Gazette, 24 February 1996, B3.
- "New Separatist Government Slashes Quebec Spending," Associated Press, 27 March 1996.
- Lysiane Gagnon, "Pay equity shakes up the Bouchard government," Globe and Mail, 8 June 1996, D3; Konrad Yakabuski, "Quebec employers battle pay equity bill," Globe and Mail, 23 July 1996, B1.
- "Quebec to ask unions for rollback," Globe and Mail, 13 November 1996, A9; Rheal Seguin, "Quebec civil servants reject wage restraints," Globe and Mail, 16 November 1996, A10.
- Rheal Seguin and Tu Thanh Ha, "Quebec unions threaten chaos," Globe and Mail, 10 December 1996, A1.
- Karen Unland, "Quebec's proposed cuts face more opposition," 17 December 1996, A4.
- Rheal Seguin, "Quebec's cuts draw angry response," Globe and Mail, 19 March 1997, A9.
- Robert McKenzie, "PQ says spending cuts will help sovereignty," Toronto Star, 19 March 1997, A25.
- "Quebec says on deficit target track with job cuts," Reuters News, 3 July 1997; "Stampede! 25,400 grab Quebec offer for early retirement," Toronto Star, 4 July 1997, A14.
- "Quebec deficit reduction on track," Globe and Mail, 26 March 1998, A11.
- Patrick White, "Quebec kicks off public sector contract talks," Reuters News, 28 January 1999, 12:31; "Quebec negotiates settlement with unions," Toronto Star, 19 December 1999, p. 1; "Higher salaries for public-sector workers will make it tougher to control government spending, says Jacques Leonard, president of the Quebec Treasury Board," Canadian Press Newswire, 26 January 2000.
- "Quebec sees rise in 1999/2000 program spending," Reuters News, 25 March 1999, 14:26; "Press Release No. 1 - Tabling of the 1999-2000 Expenditure Budget - ``The 1999-2000 Expenditure Budget: $1.1 Billion More for Government Priorities - Jacques Leonard," Canada NewsWire, 25 March 1999, 14:43; "Press Release No. 3 - Tabling of the 1999-2000 Expenditure Budget - ``The Public Administration's Performance Must Also Be Associated With a State That Is Wired - Jacques Leonard," Canada NewsWire, 25 March 1999, 14:45.
- Robert McKenzie, "Quebec seeks to hire minorities," Toronto Star, 14 May 1999, p. 1.
- "PRESS RELEASE NO 1 - 2000-2001 Expenditure Budget - ``Rigorous management of public finances and good economic performance have provided Quebec with the means to invest in its priorities - Jacques Leonard," Canada NewsWire, 28 March 2000, 15:18; "PRESS RELEASE NO 2 - 2000-2001 Expenditure Budget - ``Quebecers can now enjoy the benefits of their efforts - Jacques Leonard," Canada NewsWire, 28 march 2000, 15:20.
- Rheal Seguin, "Ministers' resignations signal new Quebec guard," Globe and Mail, 6 March 2001, A4.
- Kevin Dougherty, "Quebec premier sees charity breaks for separatist group," Calgary Herald, 1 December 2002, A5; Philip Authier, "Sovereignty council is just the start," Montreal Gazette, 2 December 2002, A10.
- Elizabeth Thompson, "Ottawa's bill for furniture soars 215%, Bloc says in cost study," National Post, 15 January 2004, A4.
- Layton welcomes sovereigntist's NDP-Bloc comparison, CTV, 10 September 2008.