|Member of the National Assembly of Quebec|
October 6, 1997 – September 7, 2010
|Preceded by||France Dionne|
|Succeeded by||André Simard|
|Born||June 29, 1969|
|Died||September 7, 2010 (aged 41)|
Quebec City, Quebec
|Political party||Liberal Party of Québec|
|Cabinet||Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food |
Minister for Canadian Intergovermental Affairs
Claude Béchard (June 29, 1969 – September 7, 2010) was a politician in Quebec, Canada. He served as Quebec Liberal Party Member of the National Assembly (MNA) for the riding of Kamouraska-Témiscouata in the Bas-Saint-Laurent region; as Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food as well as the Minister for Canadian Intergovermental Affairs, and previously the Minister of Natural Resources and Wildlife, Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks, Minister of Economic Development, Innovation and Export Trade and Ministry of Employment and Social Solidarity.
Early life and career
Béchard was born in 1969 in Saint-Philippe-de-Néri. In 1991, he received a bachelor's degree in political science from Université Laval in Quebec City. He graduated with a master's degree in land planning and regional development in 1994. He began doctoral studies in public administration, but left it to work as a political adviser to Daniel Johnson, Jr. from 1993 to 1996. He became the vice-president of the Quebec Liberal Party in 1997 and in a by-election the same year was elected as a Member of the National Assembly of Quebec for the riding of Kamouraska-Témiscouata. 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 becoming Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks in 2006.
Soon after, Béchard became involved in a controversial plan to sell part of the Mont Orford provincial park to a developer who planned to build condominiums. The plan was eventually cancelled. In addition, Béchard announced that the Orford Park would double in size as a national park.
Béchard was re-elected in the 2007 elections and named the Minister of Natural Resources and Wildlife replacing Pierre Corbeil who was defeated by the PQ's Alexis Wawanoloath. Line Beauchamp succeeded him as Minister of Environment.
Cancer, recovery, and death
On May 30, 2008, Béchard was hospitalized for persistent stomach pain. On June 9, 2008, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. In addition, during the same year, his press secretary Nancy Michaud was kidnapped and later found murdered inside an abandoned home in Riviere-Ouelle.
Béchard 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 Resources and Wildlife portfolios to Agriculture, Fisheries and Food replacing Laurent Lessard. Nathalie Normandeau replaced Béchard as Minister of Natural Resources and Wildlife. Bechard was also named the Minister of Canadian Intergovermental Affairs replacing Jacques P. Dupuis.
- "Bechard was 'hungry for life'". Montreal Gazette. September 8, 2010. Archived from the original on September 14, 2010. Retrieved 13 September 2010.
- "Le ministre Béchard atteint d'un cancer" (in French). Le Canal Nouvelles. 2008-06-09. Retrieved 2010-09-08.
- "Man held in killing of abducted political aide". The Gazette. Montreal. 2008-05-19. Retrieved 2010-09-08.
- "Remaniement ministériel : jeu de chaise musicale à Québec" (in French). Le Canal Nouvelles. 2009-06-23. Retrieved 2010-09-08.
- Richer, Jocelyne (2010-09-07). "Cancer-stricken Quebec minister Claude Bechard quits politics". Lethbridge Herald. Archived from the original on 2010-09-08. Retrieved 2010-09-08.
- White, Marianne (2010-09-07). "Quebec minister Béchard loses battle with cancer". The Gazette. Montreal. Archived from the original on 2010-09-10. Retrieved 2018-04-10.
- "Quebec minister Claude Béchard dies". CBC News. 2010-09-07. Retrieved 2018-04-10.