Louise Beaudoin, OQ, politician, professor (born 26 September 1945 in Québec City, Québec). As a minister in the governments of Jacques Parizeau, Lucien Bouchard and Bernard Landry, Louise Beaudoin played a key role in Québec’s international relations and especially in its diplomatic relations with France.
Education and Early Career
Louise Beaudoin was born in Québec City to Jean-Robert Beaudoin, a judge on the Superior Court of Québec, and Louise Des Rivières. She graduated with a master's degree in history from Université Laval and a licence in sociology from the Sorbonne. Beaudoin was initially in charge of cooperation at the National School of Public Administration (ENAP) before filling the strategic role of principal private secretary to Québec's minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Claude Morin, from 1976 to 1981.
She was then named director of French Affairs in Québec’s Ministry of International Affairs (1981–83), before becoming the delegate general for Québec in Paris (1984–85). Following her return from France, she briefly occupied the position of minister of Intergovernmental Affairs for Québec.
After the Québec Liberal Party's victory in 1985, Beaudoin made the leap into the business world. She worked with Canadair in Europe before becoming director of distribution, marketing and international affairs at Telefilm Canada (1987–90) and, later, director of the cultural organization Société du Palais de la civilisation de Montréal (1990–92) and vice-president of business development at Raymond Chabot International (1992–94).
Québec Minister of International Relations
Elected Parti Québécois MLA in the riding of Chambly in 1994 and re-elected in 1998, Louise Beaudoin has held numerous ministerial responsibilities. She was minister delegate of Canadian Intergovernmental Affairs from 26 September 1994 to 2 August 1995, then minister of Culture and Communications, and in charge of the Information Highway from January 1996 to December 1998. Following the 1998 general election, she was named minister of International Relations and minister for the Francophonie. In August 1995, she became the minister responsible for the Charter of the French Language.
After her party's defeat in the 2003 general election (and her defeat in her own riding of Chambly), Louise Beaudoin pursued a university career as associate professor in the history department at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), research associate at the Centre for the Study of Integration and Globalization (Centre d’études sur l’intégration et la mondialisation — CEIM) and associate at the Canada Research Chair in Globalization, Citizenship and Democracy.
In the fall of 2003, and again in the spring of 2004 through to 2008, she was a visiting professor at the Université Jean-Moulin de Lyon. In 2007, she left UQAM to become an associate member of the Centre for International Studies (Centre d’études et de recherches internationales — CÉRIUM) at the Université de Montréal, where she was coordinator of the Réseau francophonie.
A Brief Return to Politics
After being elected as the Parti Québécois member for Rosemont in 2008, Louise Beaudoin was named vice-chair of the Committee on Health and Social Services in 2010. In June 2011, she was one of five members who left the PQ to sit as independents. Much like Pierre Curzi and Lisette Lapointe (the wife of Jacques Parizeau), she was opposed to Bill 204, which was introduced by Agnès Maltais, the member for Québec City, as a measure to protect from potential litigation the agreement between Quebecor Inc. and Québec City on the management of the new amphitheatre. She rejoined the caucus on 3 April 2012, but did not run in the general election held at the end of that summer.
Although she has left active political life, Beaudoin occasionally gets involved in public debate, both in Québec and in the Francophonie. She is most vocal on the issues of secularism and linguistic diversity, as well as on the future of the Parti Québécois following its defeat in the spring of 2014. She has been a guest columnist for the Journal de Montréal since 2014. She has also authored or co-authored several articles and works on Québec’s international relations, the French language and the Francophonie.
The Louise Beaudoin collection is kept at the Vieux-Montréal archives centre of the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec.
Honours and Awards
Officer of the Legion of Honour, Government of France (1986)
Commander of the Ordre de la Pléiade, Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie (2000)
Commander of the National Order of the Legion of Honour, Government of France (2004)
Gloire de l’Escolle Medal, Université Laval (2008)
Cultural Diversity Prize, Coalition française pour la diversité culturelle (2012)
Officer of the Ordre national du Québec (2014)