As the former Deputy Prime Minister of Canada and Premier of Québec, Jean Charest is one of Canada’s most recognized political figures. He was first elected to Canada’s House of Commons in 1984 and by 1986 he became the youngest person to be named to cabinet when he assumed the role of Minister of State for the Youth. He was notably the initiator of the negotiation for the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA). As Minister of the Environment, he led his country’s delegation at the 1992 Earth Summit on the economy and the environment in Rio and was praised for his leadership role among G7 countries on climate change and biodiversity. The Charest government has been a world leader on the environment and climate change, and best known for a major initiative for the sustainable development of Northern Québec called “Plan Nord”. Furthermore, the Charest government initiated an unprecedented labour mobility agreement between France and Québec. Under his leadership, Québec experienced a sustained period of economic prosperity with stronger economic growth from 2008 to 2012 than the rest of Canada, the U.S and Europe despite a global financial and economic crisis.
In 2017-2018 Jean Charest led a year long consultation and delivered a report entitled ”Vision 2025” about the future of the aerospace industry in Canada on behalf of the Aerospace Industry Association of Canada (AIAC). In 2019, he was named Special envoy for the Canadian Prime Minister in the race to win a seat on the United Nations Security Council. More recently, he joined the Wilson Center border task force which studies the issue of US-Canadian cross border travel restrictions. Jean Charest is a Partner at McCarthy Tétrault.