Meeting With Former Québec Premier Jean Charest
The access that OLIP interns have to remarkable people continues to amaze us. We recently had the privilege of meeting with former Québec Premier, Jean Charest. How many people can say that? After many virtual meetings since September, it can be easy to forget how privileged we are to meet these individuals online. However, when we consider the probability of meeting individuals like Jean Charest, Paul Martin, and Beverly McLaughlin outside of the OLIP, it becomes clear that we’re pretty lucky to be a part of this programme!
Mr. Charest has seen a lot over the years. He was elected at the age of 26, appointed the youngest Cabinet Minister ever, forced to resign from Cabinet due to political controversy, and later named Deputy Prime Minister. He switched from federal to provincial politics and from the Conservative party to the Liberal party, became the Premier of Québec, and accomplished the rare feat of leading his party to 3 straight election victories.
During our meeting, Mr. Charest was extremely engaging and he immediately connected with each of us as we introduced ourselves. Our conversation covered a wide range of topics, as might be expected given his long career in politics. We discussed his experience as a federal Minister, the referendums in Québec, and bilingualism in Canada. Having worked at both the provincial and federal levels of government, Mr. Charest also gave us his insight into the challenges of making a federation work as different jurisdictions jockey for funding and control over certain policy areas.
Thank you Mr. Charest for a fascinating discussion! It was a pleasure to meet with you.