Philippe Couillard

Philippe Couillard, PC (French: [filɪp kujɑːʁ]; born June 26, 1957) is a Canadian business advisor[1] and former neurosurgeon, university professor and politician who served as 31st Premier of Quebec from 2014 to 2018. Between 2003 and 2008, he was Quebec's Minister of Health and Social Services in Jean Charest's Liberal government and was MNA for Mont-Royal until he resigned in 2008. In the 2014 election, Couillard moved to the riding of Roberval, where he resides. He was the leader of the Quebec Liberal Party from 2013 to 2018. He resigned as Liberal leader and MNA on October 4, 2018.

Philippe Couillard

Philippe Couillard en 2018 (coupé).jpg
Couillard in June 2018
31st Premier of Quebec
In office
April 23, 2014 – October 18, 2018
MonarchElizabeth II
Lieutenant GovernorPierre Duchesne
J. Michel Doyon
DeputyLise Thériault
Dominique Anglade
Preceded byPauline Marois
Succeeded byFrançois Legault
Leader of the Opposition in Quebec
In office
December 18, 2013 – April 23, 2014
Preceded byJean-Marc Fournier
Succeeded byStéphane Bédard
Leader of the Quebec Liberal Party
In office
March 17, 2013 – October 4, 2018
Preceded byJean Charest
Succeeded byPierre Arcand (interim)
In office
April 7, 2014 – October 4, 2018
Preceded byDenis Trottier
Succeeded byNancy Guillemette
In office
December 18, 2013 – April 7, 2014
Preceded byRaymond Bachand
Succeeded byHélène David
Minister of Health and Social Services
In office
April 29, 2003 – June 25, 2008
PremierJean Charest
Preceded byFrançois Legault
Succeeded byYves Bolduc
In office
March 26, 2007 – June 25, 2008
Preceded byMargaret F. Delisle
Succeeded byYves Bolduc
In office
April 14, 2003 – March 26, 2007
Preceded byAndré Tranchemontagne
Succeeded byPierre Arcand
Personal details
Born (1957-06-26) June 26, 1957 (age 64)
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Political partyQuebec Liberal Party
Spouse(s)Suzanne Pilote
Alma materUniversité de Montréal
OccupationNeurosurgeon, consultant, university professor

Background and early careerEdit

Couillard was born in Montreal, Quebec, the son of Canadian-born Joseph Alfred Jean Pierre Couillard de Lespinay and French-born Hélène Yvonne Pardé.[2] He holds a medical degree and a certification in neurosurgery from the Université de Montréal. He was the head of the department of neurosurgery at Hôpital Saint-Luc from 1989 to 1992 and again at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Sherbrooke from 1996 to 2003. From 1992 to 1996, he practised in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.

In 2003, he left the medical profession to run for the Montreal-area seat of Mont-Royal in the National Assembly, representing the Quebec Liberal Party. He was elected in the 2003 election and was appointed Minister of Health and Social Services on April 29, 2003.

After taking office, he proved skillful in the handling of his department's public relations and was regarded by some as the most popular minister in the Charest government.[3] His accomplishments during his tenure included a $4.2 billion increase in the Quebec health budget, the prohibition of smoking in public places, and a reduction in the number of union local accreditations in the health sector.

In 2007, Couillard transferred to the riding of Jean-Talon in the Quebec City area, replacing Margaret Delisle who did not seek re-election due to health reasons. Couillard won his seat in the 2007 election despite the Action démocratique du Québec's (ADQ) strong performance in the region in which the party gained the majority of the seats. Pierre Arcand succeeded Couillard in the Mont-Royal riding. Couillard was reappointed as Minister of Health and Social Services, as well as being the minister responsible for the provincial Capitale-Nationale (Quebec) region.

On June 25, 2008, Couillard officially announced his resignation as Minister and MNA. He was succeeded as Minister and Jean-Talon MNA by locally-known Alma doctor Yves Bolduc.[4][5]

On June 23, 2010, Couillard was appointed to the Security Intelligence Review Committee and consequently became a member of the Privy Council.[6]

On October 3, 2012, Couillard became the third person to enter the leadership election to succeed Jean Charest as leader of the Quebec Liberal Party. When asked why he was re-entering politics, he said, "I feel the need to serve."[7]

Premier of QuebecEdit

Quebec election, 2014Edit

On March 17, 2013, Couillard became the leader of the Quebec Liberal Party, beating ex-cabinet ministers Raymond Bachand and Pierre Moreau. On December 9, 2013, he was elected MNA for the safe Liberal seat of Outremont after Bachand stood down from the seat in his favour.[8]

On March 5, 2014, amid weeks of speculation that the Parti Québécois would call a snap election, Lieutenant Governor Pierre Duchesne dropped the writs for a general election at the request of Premier Pauline Marois. Couillard opted to run in the riding of Roberval, where he now lives, handing Outremont to star candidate Hélène David.

When the election campaign began, polls showed a close race between the Parti Québécois and the Liberals. However, the PQ held a wide lead among francophone voters, giving the advantage in terms of seat distribution to the PQ. Couillard stated that his campaign would focus on "healthcare, education and jobs". He also accused Premier Pauline Marois of mismanaging Quebec's economy, saying that "Quebec is living beyond its means". He also clarified his opposition to the Quebec Charter of Values, describing it as "an unnecessary bill that succeeds only in dividing Quebecers".

The election campaign immediately centred on the issue of sovereignty with the high-profile entry of Quebec media baron Pierre Karl Péladeau into the race as a candidate for the Parti Québécois in the riding of St-Jerome. Over the course of the next couple of weeks, the polls began to break heavily in the favour of Couillard and the Liberals as the PQ began to bleed support to all 3 major opposition parties. Most analysts agreed that Couillard had a strong performance during the first televised leaders' debate. During the second televised leaders' debate with a week to go in the campaign, Couillard was on the defensive as he held a sizeable lead over the other party leaders in the polls. His second debate performance was not as strong as his first one, and he was criticized by both Pauline Marois and Francois Legault of the CAQ for suggesting that a factory worker in Quebec ought to be bilingual in the event that an Anglophone businessperson was to walk on the floor. While his comment was portrayed by his critics as proof that he was soft on the French language issue, his poll numbers continued to exceed those of his opponents.

On April 7, Couillard led the Quebec Liberals to a sweeping victory, winning 70 seats in the National Assembly and a return to government a mere 19 months after being ousted in one of their poorest election showings in the party's history.[9] The Liberals even managed to unseat Marois in her own riding. On election night, Couillard stressed the importance of creating a better business climate in Quebec and doing away with some of the divisive policies that had characterized Marois' tenure as Premier. He also pledged to work cooperatively with other provinces and the federal government and to reassert Quebec's place as a leader in the Canadian federation.

Returning the Liberal Party of Quebec back to a majority government, after an eighteen-month stint led by Pauline Marois and the Parti Quebecois, Couillard assumed office on April 23, 2014, naming 26 ministers to his cabinet.[10]

In October 2017, a Quebec ban on face covering made headlines.[citation needed] Couillard supported the law, saying "We are in a free and democratic society. You speak to me, I should see your face, and you should see mine. It's as simple as that."[citation needed]

Quebec election, 2018Edit

Couillard's government was ousted after only one term by the Coalition Avenir Québec in the October 2018 provincial election. Couillard himself easily won reelection in Roberval.[11] However, he was the only Liberal elected from Saguenay, and one of only seven Liberals elected from outside Montreal and Laval. He resigned as party leader and MNA on October 4, 2018.

Electoral recordEdit

2018 Quebec general election
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Philippe Couillard 11,807 42.46 -12.71
Coalition Avenir Québec Denise Trudel 6,719 24.16 +17.23
Parti Québécois Thomas Gaudreault 5,290 19.02 -14.31
Québec solidaire Luc-Antoine Cauchon 2,975 10.7 +7.55
Conservative Carl C. Lamontagne 478 1.72
Citoyens au pouvoir Julie Boucher 305 1.1 +0.37
Parti nul Lynda Lalancette 236 0.85
Total valid votes 27,810 98.56
Total rejected ballots 407 1.44
Turnout 28,217 63.39 -8.9
Electors on the list 44,511
2014 Quebec general election: Roberval
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Philippe Couillard 17,816 55.17 +26.79
Parti Québécois Denis Trottier 10,764 33.33 -13.37
Coalition Avenir Québec François Truchon 2,239 6.93 -12.45
Québec solidaire Guillaume Néron 1,018 3.15 -0.88
Parti des sans Parti Julie Boucher 237 0.73
Option nationale Luc-Antoine Cauchon 218 0.68 -0.83
Total valid votes 32,292 98.95
Total rejected ballots 342 1.05
Turnout 32,634 72.29 -0.30
Electors on the lists 45,143
Liberal gain from Parti Québécois Swing +20.08

Quebec provincial by-election, December 9, 2013: Outremont
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Philippe Couillard 5,582 55.11 +13.59
Québec solidaire Édith Laperle 3,264 32.23 +14.21
Option nationale Julie Surprenant 677 6.68 +4.97
Green Alex Tyrrell 384 3.79
Conservative Pierre Ennio Crespi 145 1.43
Parti nul Mathieu Marcil 59 0.58 -0.34
Autonomist Team Guy Boivin 17 0.17
Total valid votes 10,128 99.13
Total rejected ballots 89 0.87
Turnout 10,217 26.42 -41.79
Electors on the lists 38,671
Liberal hold Swing -0.41
2007 Quebec general election: Jean-Talon
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
     Liberal Philippe Couillard 13,732 41.96 -4.64
Parti Québécois Véronique Hivon 9,859 30.13 -5.23
Action démocratique Luc de la Sablonnière 6,056 18.51 +3.34
Green Ali Dahan 1,518 4.64 +3.23
Québec solidaire Bill Clennett 1,463 4.47 +2.95*
Christian Democracy Francis Denis 95 0.29 -

* Increase is from UFP

2003 Quebec general election: Mont-Royal
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Philippe Couillard 21,021 80.91 +0.67
Parti Québécois Vincent Gagnon 3,465 13.34 +0.60
Action démocratique Nour-Eddine Hajibi 1,240 4.77 +1.23
Equality Frank Kiss 256 0.99 −0.90


  1. ^ "Philippe Couillard". Dentons. Retrieved 2021-01-19.
  2. ^ (in French) Mention marginale sur l'acte de naissance d'Hélène Yvonne Pardé : « mariée à Grenoble le 26 décembre 1955 avec Joseph Alfred Jean Pierre Couillard de Lespinay », état civil de la ville de Grenoble.
  3. ^ Le Devoir. "Ministère — Un réseau en santé... relative". Retrieved October 6, 2006.
  4. ^ "Philippe Couillard quitte la vie politique". Archived from the original on July 3, 2008. Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  5. ^ "Yves Bolduc devient le nouveau ministre de la Santé". Archived from the original on July 7, 2008. Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  6. ^ Prime Minister Stephen Harper announces appointments to the Security Intelligence Review Committee Archived 2012-03-06 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Philippe Couillard announces bid to lead Quebec Liberals[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ "Quebec Liberal Leader Philippe Couillard wins byelection to get legislature seat". 10 December 2013. Retrieved 2013-12-12.
  9. ^ "Quebec Election 2014: Pauline Marois Sets Date For April 7". The Huffington Post. March 26, 2014. Retrieved March 26, 2014.
  10. ^ "Philippe Couillard unveils new Liberal cabinet". CBC News. April 23, 2014. Retrieved April 24, 2014.
  11. ^ "Philippe Couillard steps down, making way for a 'new generation' of Liberals | CBC News". CBC. Retrieved 2018-10-04.

External linksEdit