Remember the good old days when politicians were all lawyers?
Well, actually politicians have come from all sorts of jobs for a long time now, though lawyers and doctors tend to be over-represented. And journalism is among the former jobs of those who enter the political arena. But it seems like recently it’s become more prevalent. Just this week, former Montreal Gazette journalist Sue Montgomery announced she’s seeking the NDP nomination in N.D.G.-Westmount, and former TVA journalist Réjean Léveillé announced he’s running for the Conservatives.
Since the beginning of 2014, I count 14 Quebec journalists or former journalists who sought provincial or federal office by at least entering a nomination race. And since I find no list online of these people, I created one below. I’m adding to it as more announce, and there are undoubtedly plenty of former cases (particularly candidates that didn’t win) that I’m missing. Feel free to suggest additions below.
Some ground rules for the list though:
- This list includes only actual politicians, meaning people who have sought elected office (entering a nomination race is enough). It doesn’t include journalists who became political attachés or public relations officials. Nor does it include lieutenant-governors or governors-general.
- I’ve only included those seeking provincial or federal office. Expanding to include municipal, school board or other positions would make this list far too long and obscure to be manageable.
- I only include those who entered politics after 1955. Sorry, Henri Bourassa.
- The person must have been a journalist or worked in a related function (news anchor, news radio host, etc.) Just because someone was in the media doesn’t mean they were a journalist. I’ve excluded Lise Payette, for example, even though she was a figure on Radio-Canada before becoming an MNA. I’ve also excluded Pierre Karl Péladeau and others that owned media without being a journalist.
- The journalism career must have been non-partisan. By that I mean that people who worked for media with obvious partisan political goals are excluded. (Pierre Trudeau is sometimes listed as a former journalist, but the journal he founded was partisan.)
- I don’t put a limit on the time between when they were a journalist and when they became a politician. But the journalism job must have been a significant part of their careers. Doing an internship 20 years ago doesn’t count.
Here are the names I have so far, the parties they ran for, and the news outlets they used to work for. Those who actually got elected are in bold, and those who jumped directly from a political reporting job into running as a politician are marked with (*)
1956: Pierre Laporte (Independent) — Le Devoir — Went back into journalism after losing and re-entered politics as a Quebec Liberal in 1961
1960: René Lévesque (PLQ, then PQ) — Radio-Canada
1965: Gérard Pelletier (LPC) — Le Devoir, La Presse
1966: Yves Michaud (PLQ, PQ) — Clairon maskoutain, La Patrie
1972: Jeanne Sauvé (LPC) — CBC/Radio-Canada — Later served as governor general
1976: Jean-Pierre Charbonneau (PQ) — CKAC, CKVL, Le Devoir, La Presse
1976: Gérald Godin (PQ) — La Presse
1978: Claude Ryan (PLQ) — Le Devoir
1994: André Arthur (Independent) — TVA, CHRC — Lost this provincial election, but was elected federally in 2006
1994: Matthias Rioux (PQ) — CKAC, CKVL
2003: Dominique Vien (PLQ) — Radio-Canada, Radio Bellechasse
2004: André Bellavance (BQ) — KYQ-FM
2007: Pierre Arcand (PLQ) — CKAC, Metromedia
2007: Christine St-Pierre (PLQ) — Radio-Canada (*)
2007: Bernard Drainville (PQ) — Radio-Canada (*)
2008: Gérard Deltell (ADQ) — TQS
2008: Anne Lagacé-Dowson (NDP) — CBC
2008: Éric Boucher (PQ) — L’Actuel — Ran again for Québec solidaire in 2012
2009: Jean D’Amour (PLQ) — CJFP, CIBM
2011: Raymond Archambault (PQ) — Radio-Canada — Became president of the Parti Québécois in addition to a candidate
2012: Pierre Duchesne (PQ) — Radio-Canada (*)
2012: Jean-François Lisée (PQ) — La Presse, L’Actualité
2012: Sophie Stanké (PQ) — Canal M, La Semaine
2012: Nathalie Roy (CAQ) — TQS, Radio-Canada, TVA
2014: Alexis Deschênes (PQ) — TVA
2014: François Paradis (CAQ) — TVA
2014: Armand Dubois (PLQ) — TVA, Radio-Canada, Radio Ville-Marie
2014: Marie-Louise Séguin (PQ) — Radio-Canada — Previously had a career in municipal politics
2014: Dominique Payette (PQ) — Radio-Canada
2014: Yvon Moreau (BQ) — RNC Média
2014: Sylvain Rochon (PQ) — CJSO
2015: Pascale Déry (CPC) — TVA
2015: Jocelyne Cazin (CAQ) — TVA
2015: Sébastien Couture (PQ) — Écho du Lac
2015: Véronyque Tremblay (PLQ) — TQS, TVA, FM93
2015: Martin Leclerc (NDP) — Journal de Montréal, Radio-Canada
2015: Sue Montgomery (NDP) — Montreal Gazette (elected as a borough mayor in Montreal in 2017)
2015: Réjean Léveillé (CPC) — TVA
2015: Dominique Trottier (NDP) — TVA
2018: Vincent Marissal (QS) — La Presse
2018: Paule Robitaille (PLQ) — Radio-Canada
2018: Mathieu Lacombe (CAQ) — TVA
2018: Louis Lemieux (CAQ) — Radio-Canada
2022: Bernard Drainville (CAQ) — 98,5fm (returning to politics a second time)
2022: Kariane Bourassa (CAQ) — TVA
2022: Martine Biron (CAQ) — Radio-Canada (*)