Louise Harel

Louise Harel (born April 22, 1946) is a Quebec politician. In 2005 she served as interim leader of the Parti Québécois following the resignation of Bernard Landry. She was also interim leader of the opposition in the National Assembly of Quebec. She represented the riding of Hochelaga-Maisonneuve in the Montreal region, and its predecessors, from 1981 to 2008. She ran for Mayor of Montreal as the representative of the Vision Montreal municipal political party in the 2009 election, but was defeated by incumbent Gérald Tremblay. In the 2013 Montreal election, Harel supported federalist Marcel Côté for mayor but failed to be elected to her own council seat.

Louise Harel
City Councillor for Maisonneuve–Longue-Pointe
In office
Preceded byClaire St-Arnaud
Succeeded byLaurence Lavigne Lalonde
Leader of the Opposition of Quebec
In office
June 6, 2005  August 21, 2006
Preceded byBernard Landry
Succeeded byAndré Boisclair
Leader of the Parti Québécois
In office
June 6, 2005  November 15, 2005
Preceded byBernard Landry
Succeeded byAndré Boisclair
MNA for Hochelaga-Maisonneuve
In office
September 25, 1989  November 5, 2008
Preceded byFirst Member
Succeeded byCarole Poirier
MNA for Maisonneuve
In office
April 13, 1981  September 25, 1989
Preceded byGeorges Lalande
Succeeded byRiding Dissolved
Personal details
Born (1946-04-22) April 22, 1946
Sainte-Thérèse-de-Blainville, Quebec
Political partyParti Québécois
Coalition Montréal
Vision Montréal (formerly)
ResidenceMontreal, Quebec

Life and career

Harel was born in Sainte-Thérèse-de-Blainville, Quebec. She graduated in 1977 from the Université de Montréal with a law degree and was admitted to the bar in 1978. She worked at the national secretariat, the Centre des services sociaux de Montréal and the Social Development Council of Metropolitan Montreal as a staff member. She has been a member of the Parti Québécois (PQ) since 1970 and was the president of the party in Montreal-Centre in the 1970s and the vice-president of the party province wide from 1979 to 1981.

She was first elected to the National Assembly in the 1981 election as the Member of the National Assembly (MNA) for Maisonneuve. In 1984, she was appointed Minister of Cultural Communities and Immigration by Quebec Premier René Lévesque, and served until the government's electoral defeat in the 1985 election. She retained her seat that year and in 1989 (when it was renamed Hochelaga-Maisonneuve), however, and served in opposition for the next five years.

When the PQ returned to power in the 1994 election under the leadership of Jacques Parizeau, she returned to cabinet as Minister of Employment and minister responsible for immigration.

After being re-elected in 1998, she later served as Minister of Municipal Affairs. During her tenure as minister, she tabled a bill which forced the merger of several small municipalities into one entity and affected all key cities such as Gatineau, Montreal, Quebec City, Trois-Rivières, Saguenay, Longueuil and Sherbrooke. The project, which was implemented in 2002 was met with mixed reviews and later become a key issue during the 2003 provincial elections.

In 2002, she became the first woman to serve as Speaker of the National Assembly, and remained in that capacity until the 2003 election, after which she joined the PQ on the opposition benches.

Harel served as interim PQ leader and leader of the opposition until a leadership election chose André Boisclair as leader on November 15, 2005. She was not a candidate in the leadership election. She continued to serve as leader of the opposition until PQ leader André Boisclair won his seat in the National Assembly on August 14, 2006.

She was re-elected in the 2007 elections and named the PQ critic in social services and later she was also giving the portfolio of Status of Women. In October 2008, she announced that she will not seek another mandate.[1]

Montreal mayoralty campaign 2009

Harel ran for mayor of Montreal for the November 1, 2009 Montreal municipal election on behalf of the municipal Vision Montréal party. To that end, she studied to improve her poor English, a liability in a city where almost 20% the population is Anglophone. She has stated that the rise of "ethnic neighbourhoods" in the city is an undesirable situation, because she believes that Montrealers should feel part of the whole city, not just of their own borough.[2] A central aspect of her campaign has been to centralize municipal government.[3]

She came in second in the mayoralty race, and became city councillor for the district of Maisonneuve–Longue-Pointe. She announced she would remain leader of Vision Montréal and opposition leader at City Hall.

Montreal municipal election 2013

In early July 2013, Harel allied Vision Montreal with mayoral hopeful Marcel Côté.[4] She opted against another mayoral run in her own right after recognizing that given her massive unpopularity among anglophones it was impossible for her to become mayor.

After her own district was abolished, Harel ran for councillor in Sainte-Marie, the eastern section of Ville-Marie, but lost to Projet Montreal's Valérie Plante.[5] Côté came a distant fourth in the mayoral race at the head of a new party called Coalition Montréal Marcel Côté.[6]

In January 2014 Harel announced her intention to revive Vision Montreal but not to run for office again herself.[7] She has also begun a weekly broadcast on Radio Ville-Marie.[8]

Electoral record

Sainte-Marie, Ville-Marie borough, 2013[9]
  Candidate Party Vote %
  Valérie PlanteProjet Montréal2,526 32.95%
  Louise HarelCoalition Montréal2,263 29.52%
  Pierre MainvilleIndependent1,626 21.21%
  Pierre PaiementÉquipe Denis Coderre898 11.71%
  Anne-Marie GélinasParti Integrité Montréal354 4.62%
2009 Montreal municipal election[10]
  Candidate Party Vote %
  Gérald Tremblay (incumbent)Union Montréal159,02037.90%
  Louise HarelVision Montréal137,30132.73%
  Richard BergeronProjet Montréal106,76825.45%
  Louise O'SullivanParti Montréal - Ville-Marie8,4902.02%
  Michel BédardParti Fierté Montréal5,2971.26%
  Michel PrairieIndependent2,6480.63%
2007 Quebec general election: Hochelaga-Maisonneuve
Party Candidate Votes%±%
Parti QuébécoisLouise Harel13,01252.71−3.06
Action démocratiqueMarie-Chantal Pelletier3,83615.54+5.14
LiberalVahid Vidah-Fortin3,34713.56−12.80
Québec solidaireGabriel Chevrefils2,3889.67+6.33
GreenGeneviève Guérin1,7497.09+5.53
Bloc PotStarbuck Leroidurock1930.78−1.24
  Independent Daniel Laforest 97 0.39
Marxist–LeninistChristine Dandenault630.26−0.08
Total valid votes 24,685 98.58
Total rejected ballots 355 1.42
Turnout 25,040 62.18 +2.09
Electors on the lists 40,272
Source: Official Results, Le Directeur général des élections du Québec.
2003 Quebec general election: Hochelaga-Maisonneuve
Party Candidate Votes%±%
Parti QuébécoisLouise Harel13,13855.77−4.84
LiberalRicher Dompierre6,21026.36+0.83
Action démocratiqueLouise Blackburn2,44910.40−1.11
UFPLise Alarie7883.34
Bloc PotAlex Néron4762.02
GreenDaniel Breton3671.56
Marxist–LeninistChristine Dandenault790.34−0.28
Christian DemocracyMario Richard520.22
Total valid votes 23,55998.40
Total rejected ballots 3831.60
Turnout 23,94260.09−7.92
Electors on the lists 39,843
Source: Official Results, Le Directeur général des élections du Québec.
1998 Quebec general election: Hochelaga-Maisonneuve
Party Candidate Votes%±%
Parti QuébécoisLouise Harel12,92260.61−4.17
LiberalAndrée Trudel5,44425.53−0.80
Action démocratiqueJean-Louis Lalonde2,45411.51+6.06
Socialist DemocracyFélix Lapan2921.37−0.34
Marxist–LeninistChristine Dandenault1330.62+0.26
CommunistRobert Aubin750.35
Total valid votes 21,32098.41
Total rejected ballots 3451.59
Turnout 21,66568.01−7.53
Electors on the lists 31,855
Source: Official Results, Le Directeur général des élections du Québec.
1994 Quebec general election: Hochelaga-Maisonneuve
Party Candidate Votes%±%
Parti QuébécoisLouise Harel14,85864.78+1.28
LiberalEric Taillefer6,03926.33−2.98
Action démocratiqueMichèle Piché1,2495.45
New DemocraticHugues Tremblay3921.71+0.30
Natural LawRichard Lauzon1900.83
SovereigntyMarc Boyer1270.55
Marxist–LeninistChristine Dandenault820.36+0.10
Total valid votes 22,93797.68
Total rejected ballots 5452.32
Turnout 23,48275.54+6.83
Electors on the lists 31,087
Source: Official Results, Le Directeur général des élections du Québec.
1989 Quebec general election: Hochelaga-Maisonneuve
Party Candidate Votes%
Parti QuébécoisLouise Harel14,63963.50
LiberalYvon Lewis6,74929.28
GreenJean-Pierre Bonenfant6852.97
New DemocraticJocelyne Dupuis3261.41
WorkersGinette St-Amour1440.62
Progressive ConservativeSuzanne Ethier1410.61
Parti indépendantisteMichel Larocque1380.60
IndependentKeith Meadowcroft1140.49
Marxist–LeninistChristiane Robidoux600.26
Commonwealth of CanadaDaniel Ricard560.24
Total valid votes 23,052
Rejected and declined votes 548
Turnout 23,600 68.71
Electors on the lists 34,349
1985 Quebec general election: Maisonneuve
Party Candidate Votes%±%
Parti QuébécoisLouise Harel12,37351.75
LiberalMonelle Saindon10,28543.02
  New Democratic Party Milan Mirich 495 2.07
Union NationaleAndré Léveillé3221.35
     Progressive Conservative Morris Tremblay 138 0.58
     Humanist Victor Riquelme 117 0.49
     Christian Socialist Carole Dunn 76 0.32
CommunistMontserrat Escola520.22
     Non-affiliated Nelson Dubé 49 0.20
Total valid votes 23,907 100.00
Rejected and declined votes 552
Turnout 24,459 69.53
Electors on the lists 35,176
Source: Official Results, Le Directeur général des élections du Québec.

See also


  1. "Former PQ cabinet minister Harel seeks Montreal mayor's job". CBC.ca. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 2009-06-04. Retrieved 2014-04-01.
  2. "Louise Harel appuiera Marcel Côté à la mairie de Montréal". radio-canada.ca. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 2013-07-02. Retrieved 2014-01-14.
  3. "Ville-Marie: Harel's loss to newcomer part of wave of change". montrealgazette.com. Montreal Gazette. 2013-11-04. Retrieved 2014-01-14.
  4. "Election results for Quebec". cbc.ca. cbc.ca. 2013-11-04. Retrieved 2014-01-14.
  5. "Vision Montréal pourrait revenir en force". journaldemontreal.com. Journal de Montréal. 2014-01-14. Retrieved 2014-01-14.
  6. "Louise Harel à Radio Ville-Marie". journalmetro.com. Métro. 2014-01-14. Retrieved 2014-01-14.
  7. "Quebec Municipal Elections 2013 - Election results for Quebec". CBC. 2009-11-02. Retrieved 2014-01-14.
  8. "City Mayor, Élection Montréal 2009". Élection Montréal. 2009-11-02. Retrieved 2009-11-02.
Political offices
Preceded by
Jean-Pierre Charbonneau
President of the National Assembly
2002-03-12 2003-06-04
Succeeded by
Michel Bissonnet
Preceded by
Bernard Landry
Leader of the Parti Québécois

Succeeded by
André Boisclair
Preceded by
Bernard Landry
Leader of the Opposition in Quebec
2005-06-06 2006-08-21
Succeeded by
André Boisclair
Preceded by
Minister of Employment
Succeeded by
Diane Lemieux
Preceded by
Remy Trudel
Minister of Municipal Affairs
Succeeded by
Andre Boisclair
Preceded by
Benoit Labonté
Leader of Vision Montréal
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Benoit Labonté
Leader the Opposition, Montreal City Council
Succeeded by
Richard Bergeron
Preceded by
Claire St-Arnaud
City Councillor, Maisonneuve–Longue-Pointe
Succeeded by
Laurence Lavigne Lalonde
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