MONTREAL – Jean Charest, who made the Quebec economy his priority during his nine years as premier, has landed a job specializing in business law.
Charest will join former Quebec premier Daniel Johnson and Marc-Andre Blanchard, who once served as president of the Quebec Liberal Party, at McCarthy Tetrault LLP.
“It is with great enthusiasm that I join the law firm and team of McCarthy Tetrault, the first Canadian law firm to establish a national presence and whose history is intimately linked to the development of Quebec and Canada,” Charest said in a statement Thursday.
“My association with such a prominent business law firm is an opportunity for me to contribute to the business and economic development of Quebec and Canada.”
Charest was Quebec premier between 2003 and his election defeat last September.
He was admitted to the Quebec Bar in 1981, three years before he first became a Progressive Conservative MP under Brian Mulroney.
Describing Charest as “a passionate leader and skilled negotiator,” the law firm said he will provide advice on initiatives by the firm and its clients in Canada and internationally, with a focus on the United States, Europe, China, India, Africa and Latin America.
Blanchard, the firm’s chief executive, said Charest is a unique resource because of his 28 years of political experience, the scope of the agreements he has negotiated, the challenges he has faced and the scale of the projects he has developed.
“With Mr. Charest and our legal excellence, McCarthy Tetrault will deliver analysis, solutions and results to our clients that are unmatched in the legal market,” Blanchard said.
Kim Thomassin, the law firm’s managing partner for Quebec, said the former premier is a catch.
“He had many options,” Thomassin said. “The fact that he wanted to work with us as much as we wanted to work with him is a testament to the leading position of our firm and our ability to attract talent who will provide insights and truly add value for our clients.”
During his political career, Charest was Canada’s youngest cabinet minister when he was named minister of state for youth in 1986 at age 28.
He also served as the Mulroney government’s minister of state for fitness and amateur sports in 1988 — a position he had to quit two years later after improperly speaking to a judge hearing a case involving the Canadian Track and Field Association. He returned to cabinet in 1991 as environment minister.
Charest also served as industry minister and deputy prime minister.
As Quebec premier, he cites as his major accomplishments the creation of the Council of the Federation and his Plan Nord northern development plan, which is being re-examined by the Parti Quebecois government.