Daniel Paillé, leader of the Bloc Québécois, federal and provincial politician, administrator, economist, university professor (born 1 April 1950 in Montréal); BAA (HEC Montréal) 1974, MSc (UQAM) 1976.
Daniel Paillé became leader of the Bloc Québécois in December 2011. An economist by training, Paillé has been a senior executive of several institutions and has taught economics at a number of universities. He served in Jaques Parizeau’s cabinet as Minister of Industry in the mid-1990s, and entered federal politics in 2009.
Education and Early Career
Paillé began studies at HEC Montréal (École des Hautes Études Commerciales de Montréal) in 1971, and earned his bachelor of business degree (BBA) in applied economics in 1974. In 1976 he received a Master of Science (MSc) in economics and finance from the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM).
Following graduation, Paillé became private secretary to the Cabinet of the Minister of Finance of Québec, a position he held from 1976 to 1980. He was Economist and Director General of the Ministry of Finance from 1981 to 1988, followed by several senior management positions at the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec. He also taught at a number of post-secondary institutions in this period, lecturing in economics at Université Laval, Université du Québec, and Collège de Bois-de-Boulogne from 1973 to 1983. In 1992 he became Senior Vice President of Business Development at Quebecor.
Provincial Politics and Senior Management
In 1994 Paillé entered provincial politics, winning the riding of Prévost to become its representative at the National Assembly of Québec. As a Parti Québécois member, he served as Minister of Industry, Trade, Science and Technology in the government of Jacques Parizeau. However, in 1996 he resigned his government position to become Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Quebec’s Société générale de financement. He remained there until 2001, when he was appointed Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at Canam. In September 2005 he became a professor in the finance department at HEC Montréal.
In 2007 Prime Minister Stephen Harper appointed Paillé to investigate the polling practices of the Liberal Party from 1990 to 2003. However, Paillé decided to extend the investigation to include the government’s practices up to that point, revealing that the Conservative Party had spent considerably more on polling than the previous Liberal government.
In September 2009 Paillé became economic advisor to the Bloc Québécois, and in November 2009 he won a by-election to become Member of Parliament for Hochelaga. However, he was one of the many Bloc Québécois MPs who lost their seats in the 2011 election, including BQ leader Gilles Duceppe. Overall, the party was reduced to four seats in the legislature. Duceppe resigned as leader and Paillé, despite having lost his own riding, was elected to succeed him in December 2011. Since becoming leader of the party, Paillé has emphasized Québec sovereignty to a much greater extent than did Duceppe; under his leadership the party introduced a bill in October 2012 calling for repeal of the Clarity Act, which set rules for referendums regarding Québec sovereignty.