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Claude Béchard

Incumbent
Assumed office 
October 6, 1997
Preceded by France Dionne

Born June 29, 1969 (1969-06-29) (age 40)
Saint-Philippe-de-Néri, Quebec
Political party Liberal Party of Québec
Residence Quebec City
Cabinet Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
Minister for Canadian Intergovermental Affairs

Claude Béchard (born June 29, 1969 in Saint-Philippe-de-Néri, Quebec) is a politician in Quebec, Canada. He is the current Quebec Liberal Party Member of the National Assembly (MNA) for the riding of Kamouraska-Témiscouata in the Bas-Saint-Laurent region. He is also the current Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Foods as well as the Minister for Canadian Intergovermental Affairs and was formally the Minister of Natural Resources and Wildlife Sustainable Development, Environment, Parks, Economic Development, Innovation and Export Trade and Employment and Social Solidarity.

Béchard studied at the Université Laval in Quebec City and got a bachelor's degree in political science. He also got a master's degree in land planning and regional development during the 1990s. He later added a doctor's degree in administration (although the Canada Thesis Portal only has a record of his master's thesis).

He was a political adviser for Daniel Johnson, Jr. from 1993 to 1996. He later became the vice-president of the Quebec Liberal Party in 1997 and was elected as an MNA in a by-election in the riding of Kamouraska-Témiscouata on the same year. He was re-elected in 1998 and 2003, the latter which gave his party the power. During the years in the opposition benches he served as critic for employment, labour, energy and education.

When Jean Charest became Premier of Quebec in 2003, he was named the Minister of Employment, Social Solidarity and Family Welfare before a Cabinet shuffle caused by the departure of Yves Séguin as Finance Minister, promoted him to the position of Minister of Economic Development, Innovation and Export Trade in 2005. He occupied the position for year before the demotion of Thomas J. Mulcair as Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks in 2006.

Soon after Bechard claimed that position, he had made a deal to sell the Mont Orford Ski and Golf Resort to private interests that will develop the land with condominiums. In addition, Bechard announced that the Orford Park would double in size as a national park. Despite the opposition from the Parti Québécois, environmental groups and well-known figures, Bechard mentioned that the previous government under Bernard Landry, had plans to build other structures during their tenure including a shopping centre.

He was re-elected in the 2007 elections and named the Minister of Natural Ressources and Wildlife replacing Pierre Corbeil who was defeated by the PQ's Alexis Wawanoloath. Line Beauchamp succeeded him as Minister of Environment.

On May 30, 2008, Bechard was hospitalized for persistent stomach pain. On June 9, 2008, he was diagnosed with duodenal cancer. [1] In addition, during the same year, his press secretary was kidnapped and later found murdered inside an abandoned home in Riviere-Ouelle. [2]

Bechard recovered from his operation and was easily re-elected in the 2008 elections. On June 23, 2009, during a cabinet shuffle, Bechard was moved from the Natural Ressources and Wildlife portfolios to Agriculture, Fisheries and Food replacing Laurent Lessard. Nathalie Normandeau replaced Bechard as Minister of Natural Ressources and Wildlife. Bechard was also named the Minister of Canadian Intergovermental Affairs replacing Jacques P. Dupuis. [3]

Footnotes

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Linda Goupil (Social Solidarity) & Sylvain Simard (Employment)
Minister of Employment and Social Solidarity
2003–2005
Succeeded by
Michelle Courchesne
Preceded by
Michel Audet
Minister of Economic Development, Innovation and Trades
2005–2006
Succeeded by
Raymond Bachand
Preceded by
Thomas J. Mulcair (Liberal)
Minister of Environment
2006–2007
Succeeded by
Line Beauchamp (Liberal)
Preceded by
Pierre Corbeil (Liberal)
Minister of Natural Resources
2007–2009
Succeeded by
Nathalie Normandeau
Preceded by
Laurent Lessard
Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
2009–present
Succeeded by
Incumbent
Preceded by
Jacques P. Dupuis
Minister of Canadian Intergovermental Affairs
2009–present
Succeeded by
incumbent
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