François Legault

Coalition Avenir Québec Bernard Landry National Assembly of Quebec

François Legault

François Legault 2011.jpg
Legault in 2011
32nd Premier of Quebec
Assumed office
October 18, 2018
MonarchElizabeth II
Lieutenant GovernorJ. Michel Doyon
DeputyGeneviève Guilbault
Preceded byPhilippe Couillard
Leader of the Coalition Avenir Québec
Assumed office
November 4, 2011
Preceded byPosition established
Member of the National Assembly of Quebec for L'Assomption
Assumed office
September 4, 2012
Preceded byScott McKay
Member of the National Assembly of Quebec for Rousseau
In office
December 15, 1998 – June 25, 2009
Preceded byLévis Brien
Succeeded byNicolas Marceau
Personal details
Joseph Léo François Legault

(1957-05-26) May 26, 1957 (age 63)
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Political partyParti Québécois (1998–2009)
Coalition Avenir Québec (2011–present)
Isabelle Brais
(m. 1992)
ResidenceEdifice Price
Alma materHEC Montréal
Net worth$10,000,000
PortfolioFinances, Economic Development

Joseph Léo François Legault (pronounced [fʁɑ̃swa ləɡo]; born May 26, 1957) is a Canadian politician and businessman serving as the 32nd and current premier of Quebec since 2018. He has been Leader of the Coalition Avenir Québec party since its founding in 2011 and a cabinet minister during the premierships of Lucien Bouchard and Bernard Landry. Prior to becoming a politician, he was the co-founder of the Canadian airline Air Transat.[1]

Legault was a member of the National Assembly of Quebec from 1998 to 2009, serving in the government of Quebec as Minister of Education from 1998 to 2002 and as Minister of Health from 2002 to 2003. As a member of the Parti Québécois (PQ), he was first elected in the 1998 Quebec election in the riding of Rousseau in the Lanaudière region. He was re-elected in 2003, 2007 and 2008 but resigned his seat on June 25, 2009.

He returned to the legislature at the 2012 Quebec provincial election as the MNA for L'Assomption, a suburb of Montreal. He was reelected in the 2014 election and won 2018 election. Legault is the first Premier since 1970, when Jean-Jacques Bertrand of the now-defunct Union Nationale party was in office, to not hail from either the Quebec Liberal Party or the Parti Québécois.

Early life and education

François Legault was born on May 26, 1957, at the Lachine Hospital and grew up in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, Quebec. His father, Lucien Legault, was a postmaster. His mother, Pauline Schetagne, was a housewife who also worked as a cashier at the local A&P grocery store.[2]

Legault has a bachelor's and master's degree in business administration from HEC Montréal. He is also a member of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants.[3]

Business career

Legault worked as an administrator for Provigo, and an auditor for Ernst & Young until 1984.[4] In 1985, Legault became the director of finance and administration at Nationair Canada and then marketing director at Québécair. He co-founded Air Transat in 1986 after being the director of marketing at Quebecair.[5] He was the Chief Executive Officer of that company until 1997. Air Transat quickly became one of the largest airline companies in Canada offering charter flights. From 1995 to 1998, Legault sat on the boards of various companies, including Provigo Inc., Culinar, Technilab Pharma Inc., Sico, Bestar Inc., and the Marc-Aurèle Fortin private museum.[6]

Political career

Parti Québécois

After his 1998 election, Legault was appointed by Lucien Bouchard as Minister for Industry and Commerce. He was later named the Minister of Education.

When Bouchard resigned, it was said that Legault would support Pauline Marois against Bernard Landry. He later clarified his position as being in favour of Landry's candidacy.

Landry appointed Legault as Minister of Education and later as Minister of Health and Social Services. He was re-elected in 2003 while the PQ lost to the Quebec Liberal Party. He remained on the PQ front bench as the critic for economics, economic development, and finances.

Legault endorsed Richard Legendre in the 2005 PQ leadership election, which was won by André Boisclair. After his re-election in 2007, he was renamed the PQ critic for economic development and finances.

Legault was re-elected in the 2008 elections but announced on June 25, 2009, that would retire from politics.[7][8] He was seen by some political analysts at the time as a potential contender in a future leadership election.[9] However, some members of the Liberals thought that he could replace Jean Charest, then premier.[10]

Coalition Avenir Québec

In February 2011, Legault co-founded with Charles Sirois a new political movement called the "Coalition pour l'avenir du Québec" ("Coalition for the Future of Quebec").[11][12] In November 2011 it became an official party under the name Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ).[13] The CAQ aims to bring together like-minded voters in a single party regardless of their views on Quebec nationalism, Quebec federalism and Quebec autonomism. In a break with his sovereigntist past, Legault promised that a CAQ government will never hold a referendum on sovereignty.[14] Soon after retiring from politics, he had resigned from the PQ as well after becoming disenchanted with sovereigntism.[15] He now believes Quebec belongs within Canada, but has vowed that a CAQ government would "explore all options" to defend Quebec's interests and demand greater power.[16]

The party finished third in the 2012 general election, winning 19 seats and 27.05% of the vote.[17] In the 2014 general election, the CAQ finished third again, but increased their seat count to 22.[18][19]

In the 2018 general election on October 1, Legault led the CAQ to a gain of 53 seats for a total of 74, vaulting the CAQ from third place to a majority of 11 and becoming the Premier of Quebec.[20] He is the first premier in 48 years who is not either a Liberal or Péquiste, and the province's first centre-right premier since the Union Nationale's last government left office in 1970.

Premier of Quebec (2018–present)

Andrew Scheer with Legault in 2018

On October 18, 2018, Legault was sworn in as Premier of Quebec, marking the end of nearly 50 years of Liberal and Parti Québécois rule in the province.[21] He also announced new members to the province's 26-member cabinet.[21]

Religious symbols

Having run on the platform during the 2018 election, on March 28, 2019, the Quebec government tabled its long-awaited secularism bill. Bill 21, entitled "An Act respecting the laicity of the State", if made law, would ban public workers in positions of authority from wearing religious symbols. This would include any public employee who carries a weapon, including police officers, courthouse constables, bodyguards, prison guards and wildlife officers, as well as Crown prosecutors, government lawyers and judges, school principals, vice-principals and teachers.[22]

The government has said that it would use the Notwithstanding clause so as to prevent it from being overturned by the courts.[23]

The bill passed on June 17 by a 73-35 vote, with backing of the Parti Québécois while the Liberals and Quebec solidaire were opposed. The Coalition Avenir Quebec government also introduced a last-minute amendment toughening the law, making provisions for a minister to verify that it is being obeyed and to demand corrective measures if necessary.[24][25]


Under Legault CAQ government, he has decreased immigration numbers to 40,000 in 2019, and he has also in 2019 introduced a values test for immigrants.[26]

Apology to Indigenous people, 2019

Legault apologized to First Nations and Inuit people in October 2019 for discrimination they suffered in dealing with the state, noting the Province of Quebec had failed in its duty to them. He acknowledged, that apologies are but a first step, and more work needs to be done to break down barriers and rectify long-standing problems.[27]


Legault advocated a pragmatic approach to the environment.[28]

Coronavirus quarantines

During the 2020 coronavirus outbreak, Legault organized daily press conferences with Quebec director of public health Horacio Arruda and Minister of Health Danielle McCann, starting March 12, to encourage the population to stay home and keep hygiene measures that would help suppress spread of the virus.

Personal life

Legault married Isabelle Brais on March 7, 1992, in Mont-Saint-Hilaire, Quebec,[29] and has two children.[30] He was raised in the Montreal suburb of Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue.

Awards and honours

Legault has been a Fellow of the Ordre des comptables agréés du Québec (Order of Chartered Accountants of Québec) since 2000.[6]


  1. ^ "Coalition avenir Québec". Directeur général des élections du Québec. Retrieved 2012-02-04.[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ "Quebec election: François Legault is a pragmatist at heart | Montreal Gazette". September 22, 2018.
  3. ^ Macpherson, Don (October 14, 2010). "Legault's movement would fill a vacuum in Quebec". The Gazette (Montreal). Archived from the original on January 19, 2013. Retrieved 2012-01-23.
  4. ^ "Legault says he's not going to give up". Metro. April 5, 2014. Archived from the original on April 2, 2016. Retrieved 2016-03-20.
  5. ^ "CAQ leader François Legault wins riding". Global News. April 7, 2014. Retrieved 2016-03-20.
  6. ^ a b "François Legault". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved August 31, 2019.
  7. ^ "Legault resignation latest blow for PQ". National Post. June 25, 2009.[dead link]
  8. ^ "PQ critic Legault leaving politics". CBC News. June 25, 2009. Retrieved 2015-11-22.
  9. ^ Legault, Josée (June 25, 2009). "It is likely we haven't seen the end of François Legault". The Gazette. Montreal. Archived from the original on January 17, 2016. Retrieved 2015-11-22.
  10. ^ "Behind the scenes of the CAQ -". 2012-04-16. Retrieved 2018-10-06.
  11. ^ "Ex-PQ minister launches coalition". CBC News. February 21, 2011. Retrieved 2015-11-22.
  12. ^ "Francois Legault unveils Coalition for the Future". CTV News. February 21, 2011. Retrieved 2015-11-22.
  13. ^ "Quebec gets new political party". CBC News. November 14, 2011. Retrieved 2015-11-22.
  14. ^ "Francois Legault says CAQ would 'never' hold a referendum". CTV News. April 10, 2014. Retrieved 2015-11-22.
  15. ^ Keating, Cecilia (2 October 2018). "What just happened in Quebec? Seven things you need to know about François Legault's historic victory". National Observer. Retrieved 25 November 2019.
  16. ^ Les Perraux (October 1, 2018). "Coalition Avenir Québec wins historic majority as voters soundly reject old-line Liberals, PQ". The Globe and Mail.
  17. ^ "Pauline Marois to become Quebec's 1st female premier". CBC News. September 4, 2012. Retrieved 2015-11-22.
  18. ^ "Quebec election: Liberals win majority". CBC News. April 7, 2014. Retrieved 2015-11-22.
  19. ^ "Many of the CAQ's gains in ridings come at the PQ's expense". The Globe and Mail. April 7, 2014. Retrieved 2015-11-22.
  20. ^ "Premier-designate François Legault wants 'to make Quebec stronger within Canada' - iPolitics". iPolitics. 2018-10-02. Retrieved 2018-10-03.
  21. ^ a b "Change coming, Francois Legault vows as he becomes Quebec premier". October 18, 2018.
  22. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2019-03-29. Retrieved 2019-03-29.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  23. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2019-03-29. Retrieved 2019-03-29.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  24. ^ "Quebec passes bill banning public servants from wearing religious symbols" – via The Globe and Mail.
  25. ^ "Quebec bans religious symbols for state workers in new law". Global News.
  26. ^ Patriquin, Martin (January 29, 2019). "Quebec nationalism could once claim to be colour- and country-blind. Not anymore". CBC News. Retrieved December 11, 2019.
  27. ^ Quebec's First Nations and Inuit people receive apology from Premier Legault. A report found that Indigenous communities suffered systemic racism in the province., Huffington Post, October 2, 2019
  28. ^ "Legault veut une CAQ "verte", mais "pragmatique"". TVA Nouvelles. Retrieved 2019-11-17.
  29. ^ "Déclaration de mariage" (in French). Ministry of Health and Social Services. March 7, 1992. Retrieved March 19, 2020 – via Institut généalogique Drouin.
  30. ^ "François Legault biography | The Star". Retrieved 2018-09-30.