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Jean Charest

Jean Charest


Bar Admission 1981

Law degree from the University of Sherbrooke

Contact Jean Charest

Jean Charest is a partner and strategic advisor based in Montreal. He assists clients with international transactions, projects and mandates. He also offers unique expertise thanks to his extensive experience in Canadian and international public policy and business.

Mr. Charest is one of Canada's best-known political figures. His public life spans more than 30 years, both at the federal level and in Quebec's National Assembly.

He was first elected to the House of Commons in 1984, where he was appointed one of the Deputy Speakers of the House. At the age of 28, he became Minister of State for Youth, the youngest cabinet minister in Canadian history. He also assumed the responsibilities of Minister of Sport and Deputy Leader of the Government in the House of Commons.

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In 1991, Mr. Charest was appointed Minister of the Environment.  A year later, he headed the Canadian delegation to the Rio Earth Summit on the Economy and the Environment. Canada was the first G7 country to sign the Framework Convention on Climate Change and Biodiversity.

In 1993, he was appointed Minister of Industry and Deputy Prime Minister of Canada. In 1994, he became leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada. During the 1995 referendum, he was vice-chairman of the NO committee. In the 1997 federal election, he had some twenty members elected to the House of Commons.

In 1998, Mr. Charest became leader of the Quebec Liberal Party. He won three consecutive mandates in the provincial elections of 2003, 2007 and 2008, something no other party had achieved in the last 50 years.

Between 2008 and 2012, despite the global financial and economic crisis, under Premier Charest's leadership, Quebec experienced stronger economic growth than the United States, Europe, the rest of Canada and Ontario. His government implemented a major infrastructure investment program.

When it comes to the environment and climate change, the Charest government has played a world-leading role, introducing the first carbon levy in North America and founding a carbon trading market with the State of California.

Mr. Charest's legacy includes a founding project for the sustainable development of northern Quebec: the Plan Nord. This plan covers the territory above the 49th parallel, an area of 1.2 million km2 (twice the size of France).

In the energy sector, the Charest government has completed several hydroelectric and wind power projects. These projects have enabled Québec to maintain its position as the world's 4th largest producer of clean, renewable hydroelectric power, after China, Brazil and the United States.

The Charest government has lead a strong offensive for Quebec in international politics. Premier Charest has led numerous economic missions to emerging countries, including China, India, Russia and Brazil. He was a guest speaker at the World Economic Forum in Davos, where he addressed issues such as the environment, climate change, international trade and labor mobility.

Mr. Charest has also participated in four Sommets de la Francophonie, bringing together more than fifty governments. He hosted the 2008 summit in Quebec City.  He also initiated an unprecedented agreement on labor mobility between France and Quebec, covering more than 80 trades and professions.

One of Mr. Charest's major achievements on the international stage is the decisive role he played in convincing Canada and the European Union to negotiate an expanded economic partnership, including cooperation agreements, following the failure of the WTO negotiations.

Mr. Charest is a strong advocate of women's participation in politics. In 2006, his government passed a law requiring parity between men and women on the boards of 22 state-owned corporations. In 2007, his 18-member cabinet included as many women as men. A first in the history of Quebec and Canada.

Mr. Charest was a lecturer in political science at Concordia University. He is a regular guest speaker.

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  • Services

    • Business Consultancy
    • Corporate governance
    • Mergers and Acquisitions
  • Mandates

    I offer clients unique expertise thanks to my experience of public policy, the Canadian business sector and international connections. I accompany clients through particularly complex transactions, projects and mandates, guiding them through the workings of the business world and public administration. My contacts in America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia contribute to the development of new markets.

  • Volunteering

    I'm involved in a variety of community activities. I'm co-chair of the MUHC Foundation's Dream Big campaign, which aims to transform the MUHC, one of the most advanced university hospital networks in the world.

    I also take an active interest in public policy. I'm involved in various boards and think tanks, including :

    • Canada ASEAN Business Council - Co-Chairman
    • Canada UAE Business Council - Co-Chairman
    • Canadian Global Affairs Institute (Canadian Global Affairs Institute) - advisory board member
    • Trilateral Commission - member
    • Historica Canada - Board member
    • Institute for Research on Public Policy - Board member
    • Leaders for Peace – member
    • Woodrow Wilson Canada Institute - member

    Public companies

    • Publicis - Member of the Supervisory Board and Chairman of the Audit Committee - Member of the Nominating Committee
    • Tikehau Capital - Member of the Supervisory Board and of the Governance and Sustainable Development Committee
    • Ondine - Chairman of the Board
  • Awards

    • Member of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada, June 1986 (Canada)
    • Inaugural Symons medal of the Confederation Centre of the Arts 2004 (Canada)
    • Commandeur de la Légion d'honneur, February 2009 (France)
    • Bavarian Order of Merit, July 2007 (Germany)
    • Grand-croix de l'Ordre de la Pléiade, November 2007 (Francophonie)
    • Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service, October 2011 (United States)
    • Medal of the Academy of Distinguished Canadians and Americans of the Maple Leaf Foundation, November 2009 (United States)
    • Statesman Award from the Foreign Policy Association, June 2011 (United States)
    • South Australian International Climate Change Leadership Award, December 2010 (Australia)
    • Lifetime Achievement Award, Canadian Association of Former Parliamentarians, 2019 (Canada)
    • Foreign Policy Association Medal - 2023 (United States)
    • Honorary doctorate, Université Pierre-Mendès, November 2009 (France)
    • Honorary doctorate from Champlain College in Vermont, May 2011 (United States)
    • Honorary doctorate, Bishop's University, June 2013 (Canada)
    • Honorary doctorate, Canadian University Dubai, April 2016 (United Arab Emirates)
    • Honorary doctorate, Lakehead University, April 2016 (Canada)
  • Publications

    • Jean Charest, "J'ai choisi le Québec", Éditions Pierre Tisseyre; c1998. 235 p.
      Also published in English under the title "My road to Québec".
    • Jean Charest and Antoine Dionne-Charest, "Introduction" in "Georges-Étienne Cartier, the canadian", Confederation Series, Macdonald-Laurier Institute.
    • Jean Charest and Wayne C. Farmer, "The Canada-ASEAN Business Council (CABC)" in Fen O. Hampson, Goldy Hyer and Tina J. Park, eds, The Indo-Pacific: new strategies for Canadian engagement with a critical region, Sutherland House, 2022 85.


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Contact Jean Charest