Marc Lalonde | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Marc Lalonde

Marc Lalonde, OC, politician (born 26 July 1929 on Île-Perrot, QC; died 7 May 2023). Lalonde acted as an adviser to many Canadian politicians before himself becoming a Member of Parliament and government minister. He helped implement the controversial National Energy Program. Lalonde worked particularly closely with prime minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau.

Education and Early Career

Marc Lalonde studied at the Université de Montréal, Oxford and the University of Ottawa. At first, he sought a legal and academic career but interrupted it to become a special adviser in 1959–60 to Davie Fulton, minister of justice under PM John Diefenbaker. After practising law in Montreal, Lalonde returned to Ottawa as special adviser to PM Lester B. Pearson in 1967. He stayed on in the Office of the Prime Minister as Pierre Elliot Trudeau’s principal secretary from 1968 to 1972. (See also October Crisis.)

Government Minister

In 1972, Marc Lalonde ran successfully for Parliament. Under Pierre Elliot Trudeau, he held various ministerial portfolios, including being minister of national health and welfare (now Health Canada) and minister of state for federal-provincial relations. As minister of energy, mines and resources (1980–82), he implemented the National Energy Program. He also served as minister of finance under both Trudeau and PM John Turner from 1982 to 1984).

Lalonde was closely identified with Trudeau and his various causes. He was a vigorous federalist advocate in Quebec and Ottawa.

A partner with the Stikeman Elliott law firm, Lalonde was an ad hoc judge for the International Court of Justice in the 1990s. He also acted on Canada's behalf in trade disputes, including those with Brazil over aircraft subsidies, with Spain over fishing rights, and regarding the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Retirement and Honours

Following Pierre Elliot Trudeau's resignation, he retired from politics in 1984 and returned to private business. An Officer of the Order of Canada, Lalonde held several directorships and was the chairman of the board of the Hôtel-Dieu de Montréal.