Serge Joyal, The Honourable, PC, OC Senator, lawyer, visual arts specialist and arts patron (b at Montréal, 1945) Secretary of State in the last cabinet of Pierre Elliott TRUDEAU, he made a name for himself by his defence of the French Language Statute, his role in the adoption of the CANADIAN CHARTER OF RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS, and his ongoing support of cultural policies. After receiving a BA and a licence in law from the Université de Montréal and a post-graduate diploma in Comparative Law from the Université de Strasbourg, he earned master's degrees from the University of Sheffield (Administrative Law); and the London School of Economics and Political Science (Constitutional Law).
He was a Special assistant to the Honourable Jean MARCHAND, and since 1972 was elected Vice-President of the LIBERAL PARTY OF CANADA, (Québec division). In 1974, he was elected House of Commons MP for Maisonneuve-Rosemont. Within the Trudeau government, he initially acted as Vice-President for the Public Accounts Committee and undertook legal proceedings against his own government to recognize the status and use of French in aeronautics. He was a Montréal mayoralty candidate in 1978.
Re-elected in 1979 and 1980, he became Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board, and he co-chaired the Joint Committee of the Senate and the House of Commons in charge of the repatriation of the CONSTITUTION. He joined the Cabinet in 1981 as Minister of State then Secretary of State for Canada in 1982, the year he published the CONSTITUTION. He was renamed to this position in the brief cabinet of John TURNER. From 1985, he presided over the Québéc branch of the Federal Liberal Party's Policy Commission and was re-elected to this position eight times.
The Liberal defeat between 1985 and 1995, led to his great passion for the visual arts and the protection of Canada's cultural and historic heritage, as evidenced by his numerous preservation interventions (convents, churches, prisons, residences); founding the Musée d'art de Joliette; publication of many heritage-related book prefaces; collaboration on many important exhibitions and cultural events, and his ongoing financial support of community activities. In 1972, he was President of the Société des musées québécois and on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Museum Association. He has been a benefactor of the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts, the Musée de la civilisation de Québec, the Musée d'art de Joliette and donated art works to the Canadiana Fund, and a Board of Directors trustee of the CANADIAN CENTRE FOR ARCHITECTURE.
In 1997, Prime Minister Jean CHRÉTIEN named him to the Senate where he sat as a committee member on Banking, Legal and Constitutional Affairs, and Rules Procedures and the Rights of Parliament. In collaboration with Canadian universities, he wrote a book on the role of the Senate in Canadian parliamentary institutions.
Serge Joyal, received an honorary doctorate in law from the University of Moncton, New Brunswick, 1984; was named Chevalier de l'Ordre national de la Légion d'honneur, France 1995; Officer of the Order of Canada, 1996; and Officier de l'Ordre de la Pléiade, 2000.