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Josée Verner

Josée Verner
Deputy Leader of the
Canadian Senators Group
In office
November 4, 2019 – May 14, 2021
LeaderScott Tannas
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byDennis Patterson
Senator for Montarville, Quebec
Assumed office
June 13, 2011
Nominated byStephen Harper
Appointed byDavid Johnston
Preceded byRaymond Lavigne
Member of Parliament
for Louis-Saint-Laurent
In office
January 23, 2006 – May 2, 2011
Preceded byBernard Cleary
Succeeded byAlexandrine Latendresse
Personal details
Born (1959-12-30) December 30, 1959 (age 64)
Gatineau, Quebec, Canada
Political partyCanadian Senators Group (2019–present)
Conservative (provincial; 2021–present)
Other political
Independent Senators Group (2017–2019)
Conservative (federal; 2004–2017)
ADQ/CAQ (provincial; until 2021)
SpouseMarc Lacroix
Residence(s)Saint-Augustin-de-Desmaures, Quebec
ProfessionPolitical staffer, executive assistant

Josée Verner, PC (born December 30, 1959) is a Canadian politician. She represented the electoral district of Louis-Saint-Laurent in the House of Commons of Canada from 2006 to 2011 as a member of the Conservative Party of Canada. She also served as a minister in the Cabinet of Prime Minister Stephen Harper serving as Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister for La Francophonie. On May 18, 2011, it was announced that she would be appointed to the Senate of Canada following the loss of her Commons seat in the 2011 federal election. She was formally appointed on June 13, 2011.

Political career

More recently a member of the provincial Action démocratique du Québec and the federal Conservative Party of Canada, Verner had previously worked as a political staffer in Quebec City in the Robert Bourassa government. Verner has spent almost 20 years in the communications and public service fields.

She was a candidate for the Conservatives in the 2004 federal election and finished second with 31% of the vote, the party's best Quebec showing, in a three-way race that was won by the Bloc Québécois's Bernard Cleary. This was contrasted with her victory in a two-way race in 2006.

Looking to boost the party's profile in Quebec, and hoping to make Verner a viable candidate in future elections, Conservative leader Stephen Harper took the unusual step of naming Verner to the opposition shadow cabinet even though she was not a Member of Parliament. She served as critic for the Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec and the Minister responsible for La Francophonie, both posts then held by fellow Quebecker Jacques Saada. She was also appointed chair of the Quebec Conservative caucus which at the time was made up of herself and Conservative senators.


Running again in the 2006 election, she was elected with 57.68% of the vote in Louis-Saint-Laurent, defeating Bernard Cleary, and heading a wave of Conservative victories that swept the Quebec City area.

On February 6, 2006, she was sworn into Prime Minister Stephen Harper's cabinet as Minister of International Co-operation and Minister for La Francophonie and the Official Languages Act.

Her parliamentary secretary was Ted Menzies, who received some criticism for having La Francophonie as his portfolio while he does not speak French. It was subsequently specified that he was appointed parliamentary secretary to Josée Verner for his experience as opposition critic for International Co-operation rather than for La Francophonie.


After losing her seat in the House of Commons in the 2011 election, Verner was appointed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper to the Canadian Senate on May 18, 2011.[1] On January 31, 2017, Verner announced that she would be resigning from the Conservative caucus to sit as a non-affiliated senator.[2]

In May 2017, there was speculation that Verner may be selected as the CAQ candidate for a by-election in the Quebec City electoral district of Louis-Hébert.[3] Although Verner did not run, she did endorse CAQ candidate Geneviève Guilbault for the seat.[4]

Verner joined the Independent Senators Group caucus in October 2017.[5] On November 4, 2019, she joined the Canadian Senators Group.[6] At the same time, the CSG selected Senator Verner as its interim deputy leader.[7]

In January 2021, The Globe and Mail reported that Verner was vacationing in Florida contrary to public health advice to avoid non-essential international travel during the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada.[8]


  1. ^ "Harper's Senate picks turn off Canadians: Layton". CBC News. May 18, 2011. Retrieved 2015-05-26.
  2. ^ "Senator Verner quitting Tory caucus to sit as Independent". iPolitics. January 31, 2017. Retrieved 2017-01-31.
  3. ^ "Potins de Louis-Hébert!".
  4. ^ "Josée Verner appuie la candidate caquiste Geneviève Guilbault".
  5. ^ Aiello, Rachel (October 30, 2017). "Independent Senators Group now biggest contingent in the Senate". CTV News. Retrieved November 6, 2017. Last week, [former] Conservative Senators Stephen Greene and Josée Verner joined the group of independents
  6. ^ "Senators List". Senate of Canada. September 2016. Retrieved 5 November 2019.
  7. ^ Martin, Don (4 November 2019). "Tannas on Wexit and Western Alienation". Power Play with Don Martin. CTV News. Retrieved 5 November 2019.
  8. ^ Dickson, Janice (January 13, 2021). "Senators Tannas, Verner and Dagenais go to U.S. despite COVID-19 travel warnings". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved January 14, 2021.
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Josée Verner
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