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Pierre Reid

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Pierre Reid

Pierre Reid
Member of the National Assembly of Quebec for Orford
Assumed office
May 1, 2003
Preceded by Robert Benoit
Minister of Government Services
In office
Succeeded by Henri-François Gautrin
Minister of Education
In office
Preceded by Sylvain Simard
Succeeded by Jean-Marc Fournier
Personal details
Born (1948-08-16) August 16, 1948
Jonquière, Quebec
Political party Quebec Liberal Party
Profession teacher

Pierre Reid (born August 16, 1948) is a politician and educator in the Canadian province of Quebec. He has served in the National Assembly of Quebec since 2003, representing Orford as a member of the Quebec Liberal Party. Reid is a former cabinet minister in Jean Charest's government.

He is not to be confused with a senior public servant in Quebec named Pierre Reid.

Early life and academic career

Reid was born in Jonquière, Quebec. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Université Laval (1970) and a Ph.D. in mathematics from Université de Paris XI (1974).

After working as a computer consultant for IBM Canada, Reid became a professor of administrative data processing at the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi in 1976. Two years later, he joined the business administration department at the Université de Sherbrooke. He became a vice-rector of the university in 1989, and four years later he defeated Marie Malavoy to become university rector.[1][2]

Reid supported the Université de Sherbrooke's links to Gaz Métropolitain, which provided a $105,000 scholarship for research in the natural gas sector.[3] He speculated about privatizing some academic programs in 1996, to find new revenue sources in light of government cutbacks.[4] In 2001, he welcomed a $4.7 million investment from the government of Canada to fund health researchers on campus.[5]

Reid was appointed as an associate deputy minister at Industry Canada in 2001.[6]


Education minister

Reid was a star candidate for the Liberal Party in the 2003 provincial election and was easily elected as the Member of the National Assembly of Quebec for Orford. The Liberal Party won a majority government in this election under Jean Charest's leadership, and Charest appointed Reid as his education minister on April 29, 2003.[7] A Montreal Gazette report from this period indicated that Reid was well regarded for his skills as a manager and administrator.[8]

University funding

Reid made significant changes to university student funding in 2004, shifting $103 million from bursaries to repayable loans.[9] He also announced that student loans would become easier to obtain and that repayments would be proportional to income after graduation; in some cases, graduates would not be required to make payments during periods of unemployment.[10]

Student leaders and the opposition Parti Québécois strongly criticized the shift from bursaries to loans, describing it as a betrayal of the province's lower-income students.[11] The Canadian Federation of Students also criticized Reid's repayment policy, with one student leader sarcastically describing it as "Study now, pay forever".[12] Reid argued in response that his changes would allow more students to register at universities.[13]

There were several protests against Reid's funding reforms in 2004 and 2005, including one protest in February 2005 that turned violent.[14] Reid promised to re-invest "massive" funding into loans and bursaries after a revolt of the Liberal Party's youth wing in late 2004, but did not remain in the education portfolio long enough to carry this out.[15]

Reid promised in November 2004 that he would maintain Quebec's long-standing university tuition freeze during the Charest government's first mandate, but would not make any commitments beyond that time.[16]

Jewish private schools funding

In December 2004, Reid announced a new association between Quebec's public schools and Jewish private schools in a bid to improve cultural ties. This decision was made after the firebombing of one of Montreal's United Talmud Torah schools which resulted in the destruction of a library.[17]

The following month, Quebec media sources discovered that the Charest government had agreed to pay full funding to Jewish private schools through the cultural association. This was a shift from a previous policy of funding about sixty per cent of the costs.[18] The funding decision was made without cabinet approval or discussion; when it became public knowledge, Reid indicated that other private religious and cultural schools would also be eligible for such funding. Several public school officials, teachers groups, and parents groups criticized the decision on the grounds that it would undermine public education.[19]

The Charest government was ultimately forced to cancel its plans following an extremely negative public reaction. While still supporting the funding change in principle, Charest acknowledged that his government had handled the matter poorly.[20] One Montreal Gazette columnist argued that the Charest government mishandled the issue by not announcing its funding policy change from the beginning.[21] The controversy damaged Reid's public standing.[22]

High schools

In May 2003, Reid announced that francophone schools would start English lessons in the first grade and devote more class time to English-language education. The previous Parti Québécois government had brought English lessons forward from the fourth to the third grade, but had reduced the overall time devoted to English.[23]

Reid announced in 2004 that persons with serious criminal records would not receive provincial teaching certificates.[24] He dropped plans to introduce a professional teaching order after teachers voted in large numbers against the plan.[25]

Federal initiatives

In addition to serving as provincial education minister, Reid was also appointed to a two-year term as chair of the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada in October 2003.[26] Reid was critical of the Canadian Council on Learning introduced by Jean Chrétien's federal government, saying that its money would be better spent on provincial initiatives.[27]

Government services minister and backbencher

Widely regarded as having mishandled the university funding and Jewish private school files, Reid was demoted to government services minister after a cabinet shuffle on February 18, 2005.[28] An editorial in the Montreal Gazette later described this as a "make-work" position for Reid.[29] This position offered him a much lower public profile, and he was dropped from cabinet entirely on February 27, 2006.[30] During his time as government services minister, Reid announced that the Charest government would replace an information management system approved by the previous ministry.[31]

Reid supported the Charest government's plan to sell part of the Mont-Orford National Park to private interests in 2006, despite the concerns of environmental groups and some Liberal backbenchers.[32] Critics noted that Reid was the friend of a key developer who stood to benefit from the sale, although Reid responded that his friend was only one of many potential buyers.[33]

Reid was narrowly re-elected in the 2007 provincial election, which reduced the Liberals to a minority government. He was returned to a third term in the 2008 election, as the Liberals regained majority status. He has not been returned to cabinet.

In 2010, Reid and Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper announced funding for a new arena in honour of hockey coach Pat Burns, who was suffering from and later died of terminal cancer. The arena is located in Stanstead, in Reid's Orford division.[34]

Electoral record

Quebec general election, 2008: Orford
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
Liberal Pierre Reid 14,709 43.40 +10.12
     Parti Québécois Michel Breton 12,516 36.93 +8.47
     Action démocratique Pierre Harvey 4,516 13.32 -16.77
     Québec Solidaire Patricia Tremblay 1,128 3.33 -0.25
Green Louis Hamel 1,026 3.03 -1.56
Total valid votes 33,895 100.00
Rejected and declined votes 425
Turnout 34,320 61.65 -12.43
Electors on the lists 55,668
Source: Official Results, Le Directeur général des élections du Québec.
Quebec general election, 2007: Orford
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
Liberal Pierre Reid 13,050 33.28 -16.20
     Action démocratique Steve Bourassa 11,798 30.09 +12.53
     Parti Québécois Michel Breton 11,158 28.46 -3.08
Green Louis Hamel 1,798 4.59 +3.17
     Québec Solidaire Patricia Tremblay 1,404 3.58
Total valid votes 39,208 100.00
Rejected and declined votes 344
Turnout 39,552 74.08 +2.66
Electors on the lists 53,391
Source: Official Results, Le Directeur général des élections du Québec.
Quebec general election, 2003: Orford
Party Candidate Votes % ∆%
Liberal Pierre Reid 17,314 49.48
     Parti Québécois Yvon Bélair 11,037 31.54
     Action démocratique Steve Bourassa 6,145 17.56
UFP Véronique Grenier 498 1.42
Total valid votes 34,994 100.00
Rejected and declined votes 393
Turnout 35,387 71.42
Electors on the lists 49,547
Source: Official Results, Le Directeur général des élections du Québec.


  1. ^ "Biography". Dictionnaire des parlementaires du Québec de 1792 à nos jours (in French).  
  2. ^ Elizabeth Thompson, "A minister weaned on politics", Montreal Gazette, 12 November 1994, B1.
  3. ^ "Gaz Metropolitain, Inc. Contributes To The Fondation De L'Universite De Sherbrooke" [press release], Canada NewsWire, 24 October 1997, 12:15.
  4. ^ "Grad school privatized: McGill wants self-supporting post-grad programs", Canadian Press, 12 April 1996, B6.
  5. ^ "Sherbrooke's research capacity receives $4.7 million shot in the arm", Canada NewsWire, 13:58.
  6. ^ Kathryn May, "Ottawa creates new top-level bureaucrats," 20 August 2001, A04.
  7. ^ Rhéal Séguin, "Charest sworn in as Quebec", Globe and Mail, 30 April 2003, A7.
  8. ^ "Who's who in the cabinet", Montreal Gazette, 30 April 2003, A4.
  9. ^ "Students decry loan decision", Montreal Gazette, 16 August 2004, A7; "Debt Crisis: Students Are Taking Action", Canada NewsWire, 23 September 2004, 18:06; Eilis Quinn, "2,000 demonstrate outside Quebec provincial Liberal meeting in Montreal", Canadian Press, 20 November 2004, 19:19; Kevin Dougherty, "Students to get bigger loans, easier terms", Montreal Gazette, 2 April 2004, A8.
  10. ^ Rhéal Séguin, "Quebec ties loan repayment to students' future earnings", Globe and Mail, 2 April 2004, A7.
  11. ^ Rhéal Séguin, "Quebec ties loan repayment to students' future earnings", Globe and Mail, 2 April 2004, A7.
  12. ^ Les Perreaux, "Quebec introduces student loan repayment system based on income", Canadian Press, 12 January 2005, 17:16.
  13. ^ "Quebec students protest against funding changes", Globe and Mail, 11 November 2004, A11.
  14. ^ Eilis Quinn, "2,000 demonstrate outside Quebec provincial Liberal meeting in Montreal", Canadian Press, 20 November 2004, 19:19; Rhéal Séguin, "Violent protests mark Quebec caucus retreat", Globe and Mail, 17 February 2005, A7; Peggy Curran, "A year after Charest's bungle, who'll blink first?", Montreal Gazette, 30 March 2005, A6.
  15. ^ Rhéal Séguin, "Tuition hike could be coming, Charest warns", Globe and Mail (breaking news), 21 November 2004.
  16. ^ Ross Marowits, "Quebec should boost hydro capacity to enhance exports, says Charest", Canadian Press, 21 November 2004, 17:32.
  17. ^ Karen Seidman, "Joining forces to ward off hate", Montreal Gazette, 15 January 2005, A6.
  18. ^ "Quebec to boost funding for Jewish day schools, promote exchanges", Canadian Press, 13 January 2005, 23:45; Karen Seidman and Kevin Dougherty, "Funding for Jewish schools to be hiked: Subsidy boost to 100 % from 60 stirs controversy", Montreal Gazette, 14 January 2005, A1.
  19. ^ Rhéal Séguin and Caroline Alphonso, "Quebec boosts Jewish schools", Globe and Mail, 15 January 2005, A12.
  20. ^ Some of the opposition was fueled by media reports that the decision to fund Jewish private schools came only days after Jewish groups raised $750,000 for the Quebec Liberal Party. Charest angrily rejected the suggestion that there was any link between the political contributions and the policy decision, and described some of the public opposition as rooted in prejudice. Pauline Marois, then the Parti Québécois's education critic, criticized the latter statement, saying that popular opposition was in fact rooted in concern for public education. Les Perreaux, "Quebec backtracks on full Jewish-school funding; Charest cites `prejudice'", Canadian Press, 19 January 2005, 18:49; Peter Rakobowchuk, "Premier Jean Charest denies money for Jewish schools tied to fundraising", Canadian Press, 19 January 2005, 00:08; Rhéal Séguin, "Quebec abandons plan to fund religious schools", Globe and Mail, 20 January 2005, A10.
  21. ^ Don Macpherson, "Charest's political stupidity is revealed for all to see" [editorial], Montreal Gazette, 22 January 2005, A31.
  22. ^ Graeme Hamilton, "Cloud over Charest getting darker still", National Post, 19 February 2005, A9.
  23. ^ Allison Lampert, "English instruction to start in Grade 1, new education minister confirms", Canadian Press, 9 May 2003, 11:33.
  24. ^ "Quebec introduces measures to exclude future teachers with criminal past", Canadian Press, 19 May 2004, 19:42.
  25. ^ Ann Carroll, "Quebec teachers decide against forming professional order", Montreal Gazette, 20 February 2004, A5; Allison Lampert, "Order for teachers abandoned: Educators hated idea proposed by Quebec", Montreal Gazette, 22 April 2005, A10.
  26. ^ "Education ministers discuss joint projects to improve learning", Canada NewsWire, 1 October 2003, 12:58. In September 2004, the council announced that its priorities would be literacy, Aboriginal education, and postsecondary capacity. See "Three key priorities for ministers of education", Canada NewsWire, 28 September 2004, 14:22.
  27. ^ Heather Sokoloff, "Learning curve", National Post, 21 April 2004, A17.
  28. ^ Rhéal Séguin, "Demanding discipline, Charest cracks cabinet whip", Globe and Mail, 19 February 2005, A4; L. Ian MacDonald, "Quebec's government is in trouble" [editorial], National Post, 21 February 2005, A14.
  29. ^ Don MacPherson, "New shuffle, same deck" [editorial], Montreal Gazette, 28 February 2006, A21.
  30. ^ Rhéal Séguin, "Two ministers booted from Quebec cabinet", Globe and Mail, 28 February 2006, A7.
  31. ^ Mike de Souza, "$1-billion info system gone; new one to cost half that", Montreal Gazette, 21 June 2005, A11.
  32. ^ Pierre Reid, "Quebec's provincial park proposal is a balanced project" [editorial], Montreal Gazette, 13 March 2006, A21.
  33. ^ Philip Authier, "Liberal brass lash back at Orford critics," Montreal Gazette, 9 March 2006, A8; Kevin Dougherty, "Orford bill is sweet deal: critic", Montreal Gazette, 19 May 2006, A12; Rita Legault, "MNA tries to dispel snowballing rumours about Orford plan", Sherbrooke Record, 16 March 2006, p. 1.
  34. ^ Bill Beacon, "Former NHL head coach Pat Burns has arena in Quebec named after him", Canadian Press, 26 March 2010, 18:37.

External links

  • "Biography". Dictionnaire des parlementaires du Québec de 1792 à nos jours (in French).  
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