Maurice Martel

Maurice Martel (born October 29, 1936) is a former politician in the Canadian province of Quebec. He served in the National Assembly of Quebec from 1966 to 1970 and again from 1976 to 1985, and was a cabinet minister in the governments of René Lévesque and Pierre-Marc Johnson.

Early life and career

Martel was born in Quebec City. He studied pharmaceutical sciences at the University of Montreal, receiving certification in 1963. In the same year, he opened a drugstore in Sorel. He also worked as a news editor for the weekly journal, La Voix métropolitaine. Martel was politically active in his youth, serving as president of the Union Nationale's university students organization in 1962.[1]

Political career

Martel was first elected to the Quebec legislature in the 1966 provincial election, scoring an upset victory over Liberal cabinet minister Gérard Cournoyer in Richelieu. The Union Nationale won a majority government in this election under Daniel Johnson's leadership, and Martel served for the next four years as a government backbencher. On December 23, 1969, and was appointed as parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Social Affairs. He was defeated by Claude Simard when the Liberals were returned to office in the 1970 provincial election.

The Union Nationale organization declined in the 1970s, and Martel joined the Parti Québécois in 1974. He was returned to the National Assembly in the 1976 election as the PQ formed its first majority government under René Lévesque. He served again as parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Social Affairs from 1976 to 1979, and later served as assistant to the Minister of Public Works and Supply (1979–1984) and the Minister of External Trade (1984).[1]

Cabinet minister

Martel was appointed to Levesque's cabinet as Minister of Revenue on December 20, 1984, as part of a larger shuffle that some believed was intended as an appeal to small-town Quebec.[2] In April 1985, he announced that the Quebec Lottery and Racing Board would be authorized to license arcades and conduct criminal background checks on their owners. He was retained as Revenue Minister when Pierre-Marc Johnson succeeded Levesque as Premier of Quebec in 1985,[3] but was defeated by Liberal candidate Albert Khelfa in the 1985 provincial election as the Liberals were again returned to office. He formally stepped down from cabinet with the rest of the Johnson administration on December 12, 1985.

After politics

Martel returned to his pharmacy practice after leaving political life. In 1991, he was president of Sorel's 350th anniversary celebrations.[1]

Electoral record

1985 Quebec general election: Richelieu
Party Candidate Votes%±%
LiberalAlbert Khelfa16,37353.14+13.01
Parti QuébécoisMaurice Martel13,32643.25−12.81
New DemocraticGuy Verville5871.91
IndependentMichel Guilbault3471.13
Christian SocialistDiane Dufour1050.34
Commonwealth of CanadaJean-Paul Belley720.23
Total valid votes 30,810
Rejected and declined votes 585
Turnout 31,395 81.90 −3.95
Electors on the lists 38,335
1981 Quebec general election: Richelieu
Party Candidate Votes%±%
Parti QuébécoisMaurice Martel18,19856.06
LiberalJean Frappier13,02540.13
Union NationaleJulien Cordeau1,0373.19
     Independent Guy Mandeville 77 0.24
     Workers Communist Jean-Paul Cadorette 72 0.22
Marxist–LeninistMario Bellavance500.15
Total valid votes 32,459 100.00
Rejected and declined votes 328
Turnout 32,787 85.85
Electors on the lists 38,189
1976 Quebec general election: Richelieu
Party Candidate Votes%±%
Parti QuébécoisMaurice Martel16,14151.98
LiberalJean Cournoyer11,86738.22
Union NationaleCamille Vertefeuille2,1897.05
Ralliement créditisteGuy Guilbault8542.75
Total valid votes 31,051 100.00
Rejected and declined votes 399
Turnout 31,450 90.28
Electors on the lists 34,835
1970 Quebec general election: Richelieu
Party Candidate Votes%±%
LiberalClaude Simard12,04742.01
Union NationaleMaurice Martel9,81934.24
Parti QuébécoisClaude Rochon5,86620.45
Ralliement créditisteOctave Grosariu9473.30
Total valid votes 28,679 100.00
Rejected and declined votes 462
Turnout 29,141 89.02
Electors on the lists 32,736
Source: Rapport du président général des élections, Élections 1970.
1966 Quebec general election: Richelieu
Party Candidate Votes%±%
Union NationaleMaurice Martel12,25749.43
LiberalGérard Cournoyer 11,17745.08
     RIN Normand Heon 1,221 4.92
     Ralliement national Lorenzo Bonneau 141 0.57
Total valid votes 24,796 100.00
Rejected, unmarked and declined ballots 379
Turnout 25,175 84.76
Electors on the lists 29,702
Source: Rapport du président général des élections (Quebec), Élections 1966.


  1. "Biography". Dictionnaire des parlementaires du Québec de 1792 à nos jours (in French). National Assembly of Quebec.
  2. Graham Fraser, "Levesque shuffles 5, adds 4 to PQ cabinet", Globe and Mail, 21 December 1984, p. 3; Graham Fraser, "Levesque's new message: he's tough and he's boss", Globe and Mail, 22 December 1984, p. 4. The latter article describes Martel as having been a "decent, reasonable and thoughtful but unexceptional MNA", appointed to cabinet for reasons of regional balance.
  3. "Premier responsible for second portfolio", Globe and Mail, 17 October 1985, A5.
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