Pierre-Marc Johnson

Last updated
Pierre-Marc Johnson

Pierre Marc Johnson.jpg
24th Premier of Quebec
In office
October 3, 1985 December 12, 1985
Monarch Elizabeth II
Lieutenant Governor Gilles Lamontagne
Deputy Marc-André Bédard
Preceded by René Lévesque
Succeeded by Robert Bourassa
Leader of the Opposition
In office
December 12, 1985 November 10, 1987
Preceded by Robert Bourassa
Succeeded by Guy Chevrette
MNA for Anjou
In office
November 15, 1976 November 10, 1987
Preceded byYves Tardif
Succeeded by René Serge Larouche
Personal details
Born (1946-07-05) July 5, 1946 (age 75)
Montreal, Quebec
Political party Parti Québécois
Louise Parent [1]
(m. 1973)
Profession lawyer, physician

Pierre-Marc Johnson, GOQ (born July 5, 1946) is a Canadian lawyer, physician and politician. He was the 24th premier of Quebec from October 3 to December 12, 1985, [2] making him the province's shortest-serving premier, and the first Baby Boomer to hold the office.


Early background

Born in Montreal, Quebec, on July 5, 1946, Johnson is of French-Canadian and Irish descent and is a Roman Catholic. He received a degree in law from the Université de Montréal in 1970 and a medical degree from the Université de Sherbrooke in 1976.

He is the son of Reine Gagné and Daniel Johnson, Sr., who served as Premier of Quebec from 1966 to 1968. His brother, Daniel Johnson, Jr., served as Premier for nine months in 1994.

Each of the Johnsons led different political parties:

Member of the Cabinet

In 1976, Pierre-Marc Johnson successfully ran as the Parti Québécois candidate for the district of Anjou. Premier René Lévesque appointed him to the cabinet in 1977 and he was re-elected in 1981.

Johnson served as Minister of Labour from 1977 to 1980, Minister to Consumers, Cooperatives and Financial Institutions from 1980 to 1981, Minister of Social Affairs from 1981 to 1984 and Attorney General from 1984 to 1985.

Premier of Quebec

In the leadership election of 1985, Johnson was chosen, following PQ founder René Lévesque as leader of the party and, consequently, as Quebec Premier.

Johnson was generally considered to be soft on the sovereignty of Quebec issue. He put independence on the back burner, as Lévesque had begun to do under the "Beau risque" approach and eventually made this approach the official constitutional policy of his party, calling it "National Affirmation".

Johnson was described as somewhat to the right of the PQ as a whole. [3]

Leader of the Official Opposition

He was re-elected to the legislature in 1985, but his party was defeated by the Liberals, led by Robert Bourassa.

His leadership was contested by more radical PQ supporters, such as Gérald Godin. On November 10, 1987, he resigned as head of the party, Leader of the Opposition and member of the National Assembly. He was succeeded as head of the PQ by interim leader Guy Chevrette and later Jacques Parizeau, who again made independence a primary goal.

Elections as party leader

Johnson lost in the December 1985 election after becoming leader in October. Johnson became as opposition leader and stepped down as party leader in 1987 (with next election in 1989).

Life after leaving politics

Both a lawyer and a physician, he is a former Professor of Law at McGill University in Montreal and was Counsel at the firm of Heenan Blaikie LLP in Montreal, Quebec until 2014. He is now Counsel at the firm of Lavery, also in Montreal. In 2001 he was appointed as chief advisor and negotiator of the Quebec government in the Softwood Lumber dispute between Canada and the United States by then Premier Bernard Landry.

In October 2006, he was chosen by the Charest government to preside over a public inquiry into the collapse of a viaduct over Autoroute 19 in Laval, Quebec, leaving five dead and six injured. The choice of Johnson was criticized by both leaders in opposition André Boisclair (PQ) and Mario Dumont (Action démocratique du Québec) because of the possibility of conflict of interest. As president, he was invested with the responsibility of investigating government administration while being a former Minister of the Quebec Government, a former Premier of Quebec, and, until shortly after this nomination, member of the board of directors of Ciment Saint-Laurent, a cement company. [4]

Johnson was appointed by the minority Conservative government to the Canadian delegation at the United Nations' Bali Conference on climate change.

Johnson was Quebec's negotiator for CETA (Canada-European-union Trade Agreement).

Attitude about sovereignty

Johnson refused to take a stance regarding the 1995 Quebec referendum on independence.

In December 2005 he made waves in sovereigntist circles by supporting Liberal candidate and close, longtime friend Raymond Bachand in a provincial by-election in the Outremont riding. [5]

Select publications

See also


  1. "Registration of marriage" (in French). Ministry of Health and Social Services. June 30, 1973. Retrieved March 27, 2020 via Institut généalogique Drouin.
  2. "Biography". Dictionnaire des parlementaires du Québec de 1792 à nos jours (in French). National Assembly of Quebec.
  3. Macpherson, Don (May 16, 2015). "The failure of the Parti Québécois leadership campaign". Montreal Gazette. Retrieved 2015-08-20.
  4. "Une bisbille éclate entre la commission Johnson et Transports Québec". La Presse. July 17, 2007. Retrieved 2015-08-20.
  5. "Pierre Marc Johnson tourne le dos au PQ". Radio-Canada. November 25, 2005. Retrieved 2015-08-20.
National Assembly of Quebec
Preceded by
Yves Tardif (Liberal)
MNA, District of Anjou
1976 1987
Succeeded by
René Serge Larouche (Liberal)
Party political offices
Preceded by
René Lévesque
Leader of the Parti Québécois
Succeeded by
Guy Chevrette
Political offices
Preceded by
René Lévesque (Parti Québécois)
Premier of Quebec
Succeeded by
Robert Bourassa (Liberal)
Preceded by
Robert Bourassa (Liberal)
Leader of the Opposition in Quebec
Succeeded by
Guy Chevrette (Parti Québécois)

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