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Martine Ouellet (born April 8, 1969) is a Canadian engineer and politician who served as leader of the Bloc Québécois from 2017 to 2018. She is also the former Minister of Natural Resources of Quebec from 2012 to 2014.

Martine Ouellet
Martine Ouellet 2016-06-30 B.jpg
Leader of the Bloc Québécois
In office
March 18, 2017 – June 11, 2018
Preceded byRhéal Fortin (interim)
Succeeded byMario Beaulieu (interim)
Member of the National Assembly of Quebec for Vachon
In office
July 5, 2010 – August 29, 2018
Preceded byCamil Bouchard
Succeeded byIan Lafrenière
Personal details
Born (1969-04-08) April 8, 1969 (age 50)
Longueuil, Quebec, Canada
Political partyBloc Québécois (federal)
Other political

Life and careerEdit

Ouellet graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering from McGill University in 1992 and received an M.B.A from the HEC Montreal.[1][when?]

Ouellet was elected to the National Assembly of Quebec in a by-election on July 5, 2010, representing the electoral district of Vachon, standing as a candidate for Parti Québécois.[2][3]

After the 2012 election she was appointed as Minister of Natural Resources and Wildlife. Ouellet contested the leadership of the Parti Québécois in 2015 and in 2016. She placed third both times. She was a member of the Parti Québécois from 2010 to 2017.[2]

On February 5, 2017, Ouellet announced her candidacy for the leadership of the federal Bloc Québécois.[4] At the same time, she resigned from the Parti Québécois and sat in the National Assembly of Quebec as an independent. She stated that she will not seek to enter the federal House of Commons via a by-election, saying that she wants to "have a foot" in both Quebec City and Ottawa.[4] After being the only candidate in the race at the end of the nomination period, she was officially acclaimed as leader on March 18, 2017.[5]

Prior to her first election, Ouellet worked as an engineer for Hydro-Québec.[2]


Ouellet was the acclaimed candidate in the 2017 Bloc leadership election, and became leader on 18 March 2017.[citation needed]

Ouellet led the Bloc Québécois without having a seat in the House of Commons and has instead remained an independent MNA in the Quebec National Assembly.[citation needed]

In June 2017, she faced a caucus revolt after her chief of staff, Louis-Philippe Dubois, leaked information to the media in an effort to discredit former interim leader Rhéal Fortin. Members of caucus suspected he had leaked the information on Ouellet's instructions. Ouellet resolved the conflict by firing Dubois and apologising to Fortin.[6]

On February 26, 2018, Gabriel Ste-Marie resigned as the Bloc's House Leader due to conflicts with Ouellet.[7] In a tumultuous caucus meeting, seven of the Bloc's 10 MPs voiced their opposition to Ouellet's leadership, accusing her of having an authoritarian style and boycotted Question Period in order to express their dissent.[8]

The previous week, Ouellet had given a speech to the Bloc's general council in which she complained that she had felt resistance to her leadership from caucus since becoming leader in 2017 and also argued that the Bloc needs to emphasize Quebec independence rather than soft-pedal it.[8]

Fortin criticised her speech saying: "A leader who opens a general council by posing as a victim, then saying that she is a victim of leaks and resistance. For me, it’s not a speech worthy of a leader."[8]

The party's general council also approved paying Ouellet a salary of $95,000 as, without a seat in the House of Commons, she was not eligible for a parliamentary leader's salary. It also approved a supplementary payment, which would have resulted in a total salary of $200,000 once her term as a member of the Quebec National Assembly ends with the 2018 provincial election.[9]

Opposition to Ouellet came to a breaking point on February 28, 2018 when seven MPs quit the caucus to sit as independents citing Ouellet's alleged authoritarianism as their reason for leaving. The defections left the Bloc with a caucus of three MPs.[10] More than 20 ex-Bloc MPs, including former leader Gilles Duceppe, issued an open letter supporting the seven current MPs who had resigned from caucus and demanding Ouellet's resignation.[11] Nevertheless, after a lengthy meeting, the party's executive issued a statement supporting Ouellet's leadership but also stating that the seven rebels could keep their Bloc Québécois memberships and would not be expelled from the party for quitting the caucus, inviting them to return to the caucus in the future.[12]

On June 3, 2018, Ouellet was defeated in a leadership review referendum of party members with 32% of voting in favour of her continued leadership and 67% opposed.[13] In a media conference held the day after the results were announced, Ouellet blamed party president and MP Mario Beaulieu, Gilles Duceppe, and the party's old guard for her defeat, accusing them of campaigning against her, and announced that she was resigning as party leader effective June 11, 2018.[14][15]

Electoral recordEdit

2014 Quebec general election
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Parti Québécois Martine Ouellet 11,983 33.06 -6.53
     Liberal Michel Bienvenu 11,809 32.58 +11.37
Coalition Avenir Québec Stephane Robichaud 9,164 25.28 -4.38
Québec solidaire Sebastien Robert 2,644 7.29 +2.24
2012 Quebec general election
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Parti Québécois Martine Ouellet 14,723 39.59
Coalition Avenir Québec Jean-François Roberge 11,030 29.66
     Liberal Linda Langlois Saulnier 7,885 21.21
Québec solidaire Sebastien Robert 1,878 5.05

Quebec provincial by-election, July 5, 2010: Vachon
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Parti Québécois Martine Ouellet 7,863 59.15 +10.51
Liberal Simon-Pierre Diamond 3,236 24.34 −7.94
Action démocratique Alain Dépatie 879 6.61 −7.06
Québec solidaire Sébastien Robert 727 5.47 +3.23
Green Yvon Rudolphe 419 3.15 −0.01
     Independent Denis Durand 98 0.74 −2.42
     Independent Régent Millette 71 0.53 -
Total valid votes 13,293 100.00
Rejected and declined votes 174
Turnout 13,467 29.25 −32.23
Electors on the lists 46,046

Source: Official Results, Le Directeur général des élections du Québec.


  1. ^ Bloc Québécois' new leader: Who is Martine Ouellet? Montreal Gazette. Author - Andy Riga. Published 14 March 2017. Retrieved 7 April 2017.
  2. ^ a b c "Parti Quebecois holds on to a Montreal-area riding in Quebec byelection". Winnipeg Free Press, July 5, 2010.
  3. ^ "PQ retains riding in Que. byelection". CBC News. July 6, 2010. Retrieved June 4, 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Bloc québécois : Martine Ouellet se lance dans la course à la direction". Radio-Canada, February 5, 2017.
  5. ^ "Bloc Québécois' new leader: Who is Martine Ouellet?". The Montreal Gazette. Retrieved March 14, 2017.
  6. ^ "Bloc chief Martine Ouellet puts down revolt against her leadership". Montreal Gazette. June 8, 2017. Retrieved February 27, 2018.
  7. ^ "'Differences' with Martine Ouellet led Bloc MP to resign as house leader". 26 February 2018. Retrieved 21 March 2018.
  8. ^ a b c "Bloc Québécois in turmoil as MPs question Martine Ouellet's leadership". Montreal Gazette. Canadian Press. February 26, 2018. Retrieved February 27, 2018.
  9. ^ "Le controversé salaire de Martine Ouellet approuvé". Journal de Montreal. February 17, 2018. Retrieved February 27, 2018.
  10. ^ "Bloc Québécois hobbled as 7 of 10 MPs quit The MPs will form a separate parliamentary group". CBC News. February 28, 2018. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  11. ^ "More than 20 ex-Bloc Québécois MPs call on Martine Ouellet to quit". 3 March 2018. Retrieved 21 March 2018.
  12. ^ "Bloc Québécois national office rallies behind Martine Ouellet". 3 March 2018. Retrieved 21 March 2018.
  13. ^ "Martine Ouellet loses Bloc Québécois confidence vote with 32% support | CBC News". CBC. Retrieved 2018-06-03.
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External linksEdit