Charest, Jean(zhäN shä`rĕ), 1958–, Canadian politician. A lawyer and member of the Progressive Conservative partyProgressive Conservative party,
former Canadian political party, formed in 1942 by the merger of the Progressive and Conservative parties. Beginning with the first Canadian prime minister, John A.
..... Click the link for more information. , he was a member of parliament from Quebec from 1984. From 1986 to 1993 Charest served in cabinet positions—as minister of state for youth (1986–90) and fitness and amateur sport (1988–90), minister of the environment (1991–93), and deputy prime minister (1993). After the Progressive Conservatives suffered a crushing defeat in the 1993 parliamentary elections, Charest replaced Kim CampbellCampbell, Kim
(Avril Phaedra Campbell), 1947–, Canadian political leader, prime minister of Canada (1993), b. Port Alberni, British Columbia. A litigation lawyer and originally a member of the Social Credit party, she held (1983–88) appointed and elected provincial
..... Click the link for more information. as head of the badly faltering national party and pledged to rejuvenate it. In the debate that preceded the Oct., 1995, referendum on Quebec independence from Canada, Charest proved himself a highly persuasive advocate of Canadian federalism and an important counterinfluence to Lucien BouchardBouchard, Lucien
, 1938–, French-Canadian separatist leader, b. Quebec. A lawyer and a political ally of Brian Mulroney, Bouchard served under him as Canada's ambassador to France (1985–88) and environment minister (1989–90).
..... Click the link for more information. 's impassioned separatist stance. Charest led the his party to a modest recovery in the 1997 national elections, but in 1998 he resigned as Progressive Conservative leader to assume leadership of the Quebec Liberal party. He led the Liberals to a majority in the National Assembly in 2003 and became Quebec's premier; he remained in the post after the 2007 and 2008 elections. In 2012, however, the Parti QuébécoisParti Québécois
(PQ), provincial political party committed to the independence of Quebec. Founded in 1968, it soon became a force in provincial elections. In 1976, led by René Lévesque, it captured control of the provincial assembly.
..... Click the link for more information. won a plurality, and Charest lost his seat; he subsequently retired from politics.