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Jean Charest

Partner, McCarthy Tétrault LLP<br>Former Premier of Québec<br>Member of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada

With a public service career spanning almost 30 years, Jean Charest is one of Canada’s best known political figures. Mr. Charest was first elected to the House of Commons in 1984 and, at age 28, became Canada’s youngest cabinet minister as Minister of State for Youth.

In 1991, he was named Minister of the Environment and, a year later, he led Canada’s delegation at the 1992 Earth Summit on the economy and the environment in Rio. At the summit he was praised for his leadership role among G7 countries on climate change and biodiversity.

In 1993, Mr. Charest was named Minister of Industry and Deputy Prime Minister of Canada.

In 1994, Jean Charest was chosen Leader of the federal Progressive Conservative Party, becoming the party’s first French Canadian leader. He held that post until 1998 when he became the Leader of the Québec Liberal Party. Mr. Charest then broke a 50-year provincial record by winning three consecutive election campaigns in 2003, 2007 and 2008.

Under his leadership, Québec experienced a sustained period of economic prosperity with stronger economic growth from 2008 to 2012 than the US, Europe, Canada and Ontario, despite a global financial and economic crisis. His government implemented a major infrastructure investment program.

The Charest government has been a world leader on the environment and climate change, having brought forward the first carbon levy in North America with the implementation of its climate change policy.

His legacy includes a major initiative for the sustainable development of Northern Québec called “Plan Nord”. The plan covers a territory above the 49th parallel of 1.2 million sq. km (twice the size of France).

In the area of energy, the Charest government pushed ahead with major hydro-electric and wind power projects that will maintain Québec’s position as the 4th biggest producer of clean and renewable hydro-electric power in the world after China, Brazil and the USA.

In International arena, the Charest government has been the most active administration in the history of Québec. Premier Charest led numerous economic missions in emerging economies including China, India, Russia and Brazil. He has been a panellist at the World Economic Forum in Davos, discussing issues ranging from environment, climate change and international trade to labour mobility.

Mr. Charest has participated in four summits of French speaking countries that include more than fifty French speaking jurisdictions, and hosted the successful 2008 edition of this grouping in Québec City (Sommet de la Francophonie).

He initiated a ground-breaking and unprecedented labour mobility agreement between France and Québec for over eighty professions and trades.

Jean Charest’s most noteworthy international initiative has been to convince Canada and the European Union to negotiate a broad economic partnership, including cooperation agreements, in the wake of the failed Doha round.

As a leader, Mr. Charest has been a strong supporter and promoter of women in politics. In 2006 his government voted legislation that requires gender parity on the boards of the 22 most important state owned corporations, and in 2007, his 18 member cabinet had an equal number of men and women.

Mr. Charest has received the following distinguished awards and honours:

  • Member of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada, June 1986 (Canada)
  • Commandeur of the Légion d'honneur, February 2009 (France)
  • Bavarian Order of Merit, July 2007 (Germany)
  • Grand Croix of the Ordre de la Pléiade, November 2007 (Francophony)
  • The 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)

Mr. Charest has been a lecturer on political science at Concordia University, and he remains active in public policy and community activities. He obtained his law degree from the University of Sherbrooke in 1980 and was admitted to the Québec bar in 1981.

Jean Charest recently joined the law firm McCarthy Tétrault as a Partner in their Montréal office. He provides invaluable expertise to the firm’s clients with his in-depth knowledge and experience with public policy, corporate Canada and international matters. As a strategic advisor with a unique perspective, he supports clients on complex transactions, projects and international mandates, as they navigate the global business environment.

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As of February 5, 2016, Parks Canada announced that it would no longer be a partner or a supporter in the Never Forgotten National Memorial, and would as well, refuse permission for its construction at the Green Cove site. While the NFNM Foundation remains as a registered charity and continues to accept donations, we would however like to make it abundantly clear, that we are not actively engaged in any and all fundraising activities, that would be specifically intended for the sole purpose of the actual construction of this very same memorial at the Green Cove, or for that matter, at any other alternative and/or suggested sites.

However, we have and will remain strongly committed to our current mandate/goal of “Keeping The Flame Alive” for the sole purpose of achieving the final successful realization of the Never Forgotten National Memorial, and with that, in the creation of Mother Canada at that very same Green Cove site, and one that will forever be in the sanctity and the protection of the Cape Breton Highlands National Park.



A warm welcome and please do take a moment to properly review the considerable amount of information that is available on this site.

A great deal of careful attention, planning and research has gone into its creation, and we sincerely hope that you will passionately agree, as we do, that there is indeed an absolutely vital need for this national memorial to be proudly built on Canadian soil.

If so, then we would greatly appreciate you taking the time to contact your local MP to clearly express your strong personal support and enthusiasm for the successful realization of the Never Forgotten National Memorial, and with that, in the patriotic creation of Mother Canada at the Green Cove site, in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.