Bernard Landry, lawyer, politician, premier of Québec from 2001 to 2003 (b at Sainte-Jacques de Montcalm, Qué 9 March 1937). Landry attended the Académie Saint-Louis, in Saint-Jacques, and the Séminaire de Joliette before pursuing law at the Université de Montréal.
Bernard Landry, lawyer, politician, premier of Québec from 2001 to 2003 (b at Sainte-Jacques de Montcalm, Qué 9 March 1937). Landry attended the Académie Saint-Louis, in Saint-Jacques, and the Séminaire de Joliette before pursuing law at the Université de Montréal. He also completed a degree in economics and finance at the Institut d'études politiques in Paris. Admitted to the Barreau du Québec in 1965, he underwent further training at the Ministère des Finances et des Affaires économiques in Paris from 1965 to 1967. He then practised law in Joliette and Montréal for nearly seven years, from 1969 to 1976.
Landry's interest in Québec politics and subsequent political career began during his years of post-secondary study. From 1964 to 1968, Landry was the technical adviser at the office of the minister of natural resources, co-ordinator for Québec of the Canadian Council of Resource Ministers and chargé de mission at the office of the minister of education. Landry was the PARTI QUÉBÉCOIS (PQ) candidate in Joliette in 1970. That first candidacy ended in defeat, as did his second, in Joliette-Montcalm in 1973. He was elected MNA for the first time on 15 November 1976, in the riding of Fabre, when the PQ came to power. In 1977 he was appointed minister of state for economic development in René LÉVESQUE's Cabinet, a position he held until the 1981 election. Landry was re-elected MNA on 13 April 1981, this time in the Laval-des-Rapides riding. During that second mandate, Prime Minister René Lévesque entrusted him successively with a number of ministerial responsibilities. He was reappointed minister of state for economic development in April 1981, then, in September 1982, he was named minister for external trade. From 1984 to 1985, he served as minister of international relations and, from 16 October to 12 December, 1985, he served as minister of finance in the Cabinet of the newly elected Premier Pierre Marc Johnson.
In the general election of 12 December 1985, the PQ was relegated to the rank of Official Opposition in the National Assembly. Landry was not re-elected in his riding. From 1986 to 1994 he devoted himself to teaching, as an associate professor at the École des sciences de la gestion of the Université du Québec in Montréal. Having widely recognized expertise in economics and finance, Landry was invited to teach in France, Mexico and Africa. From 1986 to 1987 he co-hosted Le Monde magazine, a public affairs program on television.
On 12 September 1994, the PQ returned to power. Landry was vice-chairman of the PQ from 1989 to 1994, when he decided to run in the Verchères riding. The MNA for Verchères was appointed deputy premier. During that mandate, Landry held numerous Cabinet portfolios. The first year, under Jacques PARIZEAU, he held several positions: he served as minister of international affairs, immigration and cultural communities; minister responsible for the Francophonie; minister responsible for the Secrétariat à la jeunesse; minister responsible for the Secrétariat à l'action humanitaire internationale; and was a member of the Committee on Priorities and of the Committee on Legislation.
On 31 October 1995, after the referendum on Québec sovereignty, Premier Jacques Parizeau resigned, and Lucien BOUCHARD succeeded him. Landry remained deputy premier and was also appointed minister of industry, trade, science and technology; minister of state for the economy and finance; minister of finance and minister of revenue; chairman of the Comité ministériel de l'emploi et du développement économique; and minister responsible for the Estrie region.
Re-elected in Verchères in the general election of November 1998, Landry remained deputy premier. He was also assigned the duties of minister of state for the economy and finance, minister of industry and trade, minister of finance, minister responsible for the Estrie region and chairman of the Comité ministériel de l'emploi et du développement économique. He was also named minister of revenue and chairman of the Comité ministériel spécial de la région de la Gaspésie-Îles-de-la-Madeleine in 1999.
Landry became the chairman of the PQ on 3 March 2001, and was appointed and sworn in as Québec premier on 8 March. During his administration, Landry made Québec's economic development one of his priorities. Yet, by 2002 the economy had still failed to make significant strides. Opinion polls showed a significant decline in the PQ's popularity, which began to be split by the success of Jean CHAREST's Liberal Party and the emerging Action démocratique du Québec (ADQ) and its vibrant young leader, Mario Dumont.
In the provincial election of 2003, Landry's PQ was defeated by the Liberals. His struggles on the campaign trail and ultimate defeat were the subject of an award-winning documentary film, À Hauteur d'homme. Landry remained as the leader of the PQ, the Official Opposition in the National Assembly, until 2005. Although he had planned to lead the party to victory in Québec and to hold another referendum in the province within five years, Landry resigned in June after gaining only 76.2% approval in a leadership confidence vote at the June 2005 PQ convention. He was succeeded by Louise Harel as interim leader on 6 June 2005.