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Michel Gauthier

Michel Gauthier
Leader of the Opposition
In office
February 17, 1996 – March 14, 1997
Preceded byGilles Duceppe
Succeeded byGilles Duceppe
Leader of the Bloc Québécois
In office
February 17, 1996 – March 14, 1997
Preceded byGilles Duceppe (interim)
Succeeded byGilles Duceppe
Member of Parliament
for Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean
In office
January 17, 1994 – July 29, 2007
Preceded byBenoit Bouchard
Succeeded byDenis Lebel
Member of the Quebec National Assembly
for Roberval
In office
Preceded byRobert Lamontagne
Succeeded byGaston Blackburn
Personal details
Born(1950-02-18)February 18, 1950
Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
DiedMay 30, 2020(2020-05-30) (aged 70)
Political partyConservative (2018–2020)
Other political
Bloc Québécois (1993–2007)
Parti Québécois (1981–1988)
ResidenceRoberval, Quebec
ProfessionTeacher, educational administrator, political advisor, broadcaster

Michel Gauthier (French pronunciation: [miʃɛl ɡotje]; February 18, 1950 – May 30, 2020) was a Canadian politician, who served as leader of the Bloc Québécois from 1996 to 1997. As the party was the Official Opposition in the Parliament of Canada, Gauthier was also the Leader of the Opposition during this time. He later recanted his sovereignist views when he joined the Conservative Party two years before his death.[1]

Early life

Gauthier was born in Quebec City on February 18, 1950, and was raised in Chambord. His father, Joseph-Georges Tremblay, worked as a motor engine technician; his mother, Cécile (Archambault), was a housewife.[2][3][4] Gauthier was a school teacher from 1970 to 1975, educational advisor from 1976 to 1979, then director of education services from 1979 to 1981 at the Roberval school board.[5]

He then served as president of the Tourism Corporation of Chambord in 1975 and in 1976 as president of Chambord Chamber of Commerce in 1977 and 1978.[5]

Political career

Gauthier was first elected as a Member of the National Assembly of Quebec for the Parti Québécois in 1981 for Roberval and was parliamentary secretary to the finance minister from 1983 to 1985. He was re-elected to the legislature in 1985 and served until 1988 when he resigned his seat to become director-general of the Roberval school board.[5]

He won a seat in the House of Commons of Canada as a candidate of the Bloc Québécois in 1993.[6]

Gauthier was not one of the Bloc's better-known Members of Parliament (MPs), but after Lucien Bouchard resigned to become Premier of Quebec, Gauthier won the Bloc Québécois leadership election of 1996, defeating Francine Lalonde.[7] The vote was conducted among members of the party's directorate rather than by all members of the party, and this hurt Gauthier's legitimacy.[7][8]

Gauthier's lack of profile resulted in some opposition parties mocking him as being the "faceless leader" of the opposition, as he was largely a political unknown in most of Canada and even in Quebec.[7] His leadership was unpopular with the caucus due to alleged conservative views and his lack of "charisma or authority" when compared to Bouchard.[2] Facing a revolt by his MPs, which culminated in the leaking of confidential caucus discussions, Gauthier resigned in March 1997.[2] He was succeeded by Gilles Duceppe.[6]

As a result of health issues after surgery, he announced in March 2007 that he would not run in the next federal election.[9] He served as BQ House Leader from 1997 until 2007.[2] Gauthier also served as the chief campaign organizer.[10] He formally resigned on July 29, 2007, and became the host of Gauthier, a television news show, which began airing on TQS in September 2007.[2]

On May 12, 2018, Gauthier joined the Conservative Party of Canada after not having been a member of any political party for eleven years.[1][11] He has also said he was no longer a sovereigntist, though he remained a Quebec nationalist.[11]

Personal life and death

Gauthier was married to Anne Allard until his death. He had two children from a previous marriage (Alexandre and Isabelle).[2][6]

Gauthier died on May 30, 2020, at the age of 70. He had been suffering from lung cancer in the years leading up to his death.[6][12]


  1. ^ a b The Canadian Press (May 12, 2018). "Ex-Bloc Quebecois leader, no longer a sovereigntist, joins Conservatives". CTV News. Retrieved May 11, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Ha, Tu Thanh (May 31, 2020). "Former Bloc leader Michel Gauthier, 70, was a longtime voice for Quebec in Ottawa". The Globe and Mail. Toronto. Archived from the original on June 1, 2020. Retrieved June 1, 2020.
  3. ^ Jonah Goldberg (2011). Prime Ministers We Never Had. ISBN 9781257925629. Retrieved May 31, 2020.
  4. ^ Deschênes, Gaston (1993). Dictionnaire des parlementaires du Québec, 1792-1992 - Gaston Deschęnes, Québec (Province). Bibliothčque de l'Assemblée nationale, Québec (Province). Assemblée nationale. Presses Université Laval. ISBN 9782763773049. Retrieved May 31, 2020.
  5. ^ a b c "Michel Gauthier". National Assembly of Québec. December 2, 1985. Retrieved May 31, 2020.
  6. ^ a b c d "Former Bloc Québécois leader Michel Gauthier dies at 70". CBC News. May 31, 2020. Retrieved June 1, 2020.
  7. ^ a b c Mutimer, David (January 1, 2002). Canadian Annual Review of Politics and Public Affairs: 1996. University of Toronto Press. p. 38. ISBN 9781770700857.
  8. ^ Bernard, Andre (October 1, 1997). Frizzell, Alan; Pammett, Jon H. (eds.). The Canadian General Election of 1997. Dundurn Press. pp. 135–138. ISBN 9781770700857.
  9. ^ "Bloc stalwart Gauthier hangs up his political hat". CTV News. The Canadian Press. March 28, 2007. Retrieved June 1, 2020.
  10. ^ Bernier, Jérémy; Paré, Étienne (May 30, 2020). "L'ex-politicien québécois Michel Gauthier est décédé". Le Journal de Québec (in French). Quebec City. Archived from the original on June 1, 2020. Retrieved June 1, 2020.
  11. ^ a b "Former Bloc Québécois leader Michel Gauthier renounces sovereignty, joins Conservatives". Montreal Gazette. Presse Canadienne. May 12, 2018. Retrieved May 12, 2018.
  12. ^ Blais, Stephane (May 31, 2020). "Former Bloc Quebecois leader Michel Gauthier dead at 70". Global News. The Canadian Press. Retrieved June 1, 2020.
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Michel Gauthier
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