Bernard, Louis

Louis Bernard, senior civil servant (b at Montréal 27 Jul 1937). Number 1 civil servant and eminence grise for the Parti Québécois sovereignist government, Louis Bernard was at the heart of the development of the Québécois government of the last 30 years. A graduate of the U de Montréal in law, and of the London School of Economics and Political Science in administrative law, Louis Bernard became a lawyer with the firm of Stikeman & Elliott in 1960. From 1964 to 1970, he was Associate Deputy Minister for the Canadian Department of Intergovernmental affairs.

It was in 1970, initially as Principal Private Secretary to Camille Laurin, that Louis Bernard undertook the path that would lead him to the summit of the Québec civil service. As of 1976, he held the strategic position of Principal Private Secretary to Prime Minister René Lévesque. The following year, he became Secretary General for Electoral and Parliamentary Reform, and in 1978, Secretary General to the Executive Council, the highest post in the Quebec civil service, and a position he held during the 1980 Rererendum. Subsequently, he became a special advisor to the Executive Council until his departure from Government in 1987. In the private sector, he is executive-vice president of the Laurentian Bank.

In 1994 and 1995, Louis Bernard returned to government, again as Secretary General to the Executive Council, a job he held at the time of the 1995 Rererendum. Therefore, he was intimately connected in defining two strategic referenda.

In late 1995, Louis Bernard returned to the Laurentian Bank as executive-vice president, a position he held until his retirement in 1998. Since then, he has been a consultant and negotiator for the Québéc government, being appointed, amongst other things, as special negotiator on native issues, and government representative on the question of municipal reform in metropolitan Montreal. He was also given responsibility for finance and transport issues in the region. In 1987, he published Réflexions sur l'art de gouverner. He is president of the administrative council of the Montréal Heart Institute. The Institute of Public Administration of Canada awarded him the Vanier gold medal in 1992 for his exceptional contribution to the development of the Québec Civil Service. Also in 1992 he received the Prize for Excellence from the Institute of Public Administration of Québec. He is an Officer of l'Ordre national du Québec (2000).